The Fabulous Che’

September 24, 2012  

This special elderbull helps teach foster pups the ins and outs of being a great dog

By Diana Larson

Well, basically my life with pit bulls started eight years ago. Before that I had owned various types of dogs – large, small and medium – all rescued in one way or another, including Dobermans in the late ’70s, early ’80s who were also great dogs, and they were the ones with the bad name at that time.

My story with Che’ (pronounced Shay) began in Oregon, when my daughter Katrina came home with the cutest puppy I had ever seen. I didn’t even know what kind of dog she was until my daughter’s boyfriend at the time told me she was a pit bull. (I found out later she is really an American Staffordshire Terrier.) My reaction was, “Of all the dogs out there, why did you have to get this kind?” I didn’t know anything about them but what the media had fed us for years, about how mean they were, etc. But when I sat in the rocking chair with this little tiny puppy, we had an instant bond. She loved the rocking chair and still thinks she is a lap dog to this day.

We lived in a rural area, and Che’ would stay with my daughter in a little cabin down the road from us, but as soon as Kat would let her out in the morning, Che’ would run to my house and stay for the day. We had two other dogs that she terrorized every day, so she had “friends” there. She loved my daughter Kat, too, and would sleep under the covers (which she still loves to do) because it was pretty cold in Oregon in the winter.

Che’s Christmas Cheer

Che’ tore up and chewed anything she could get hold of. I remember one time going shopping a week or so before Christmas and leaving her at home, not crated because at this time I didn’t know the value of a crate yet! When we came home we were greeted at the door with broken ornaments. She had pretty much destroyed the Christmas tree. There were broken glass balls everywhere; I think she must have batted them around before they broke, but luckily she wasn’t hurt. The whole bottom of the tree about 3 feet up was completely empty of ornaments, and the tree was halfway tipped over, lights hanging half off. I was pretty mad about that.

She was also the smartest dog I had ever had. Kat taught Che’ to sit, speak and shake within just a few weeks. It just took about two years to get past the destruction phase! Now she’s great. She tells on the other dogs when they do bad things. I can always tell by the way she looks at me that one of the other dogs has been bad.

When Che’ was about 1.5, we moved to Texas and Katrina went off to college and left Che’ with me and my husband and two younger boys. After about six years Katrina finally had her own house, but by that time, I couldn’t give her back. Che’ is my baby now.

Che’ has never been dog or cat aggressive, and we always socialized her, so she has been around kids and people her whole life. She trusts everyone, has never had a reason not to, since she has been supremely spoiled! At first we took her to dog parks, but we noticed that a lot of times other dogs would try to start stuff with her. She always just rolled over and played submissive, but the more research I did on pit bulls, the more nervous I got about taking her there. I knew, if anything were to happen and a scuffle broke out, my dog would be blamed, even if she didn’t start it, and I couldn’t take that chance. But we do take her to the park to play Frisbee, her favorite game in the world, and her Frisbee is her security blanket – she drags it everywhere. We do let her off the leash at the park if there aren’t a lot of other people around because she has never been a “runner.” She always stays by us, and it is too hard for her to chase the Frisbee on a leash! Not to mention hard on us!

Charismatic Che’

Absolutely everyone who meets Che’ just loves her, and most people want her! She is constantly changing people’s perceptions of the breed. She is also mistaken for a Boxer quite a bit. How, I don’t know – I guess because of her coloring. But to me it’s kind of funny that most people don’t even know they are petting a pit bull! So this tells me that trying to categorize a dog by its looks just doesn’t work.

It wasn’t until I had Che’ for about five years that I really started to research breed-discriminatory legislation. It hurts my soul to think of the many, many wonderful dogs that have been killed because of it. And it started to really bother me that there are so many pit bulls in the shelters around the country that are euthanized. So when I moved to Phoenix I called a local pit bull rescue and became a foster mom. My first foster was a pit bull/Shar-Pei mix named Riley. He was only about 3-months old when we got him. Che’ played with him and taught him how to tug and not to bite when he played. Che’ has never been food aggressive, and all of our fosters, (five of them so far, mixes of some sort, but still labeled as pit bulls), have learned a great deal from her. Of course she lets them all know, somehow, that she is alpha dog in her home, and they all respect that.

About a year ago, we added Star to the family. My son was working with someone who had two female pit bulls, and he was going to have Star euthanized because she didn’t get along with his other female, and he couldn’t find a home for her. She is a black and white pit bull. She was literally at the vet’s office when Kyle went in and took her out of there. Star was not spayed and neither was his other dog, which I’m sure was part of the reason why they didn’t get along. We got Star spayed immediately, and she has been best friends with Che’.

Star does like to chew on shoes and leather belts though. She has a damaged larynx – not sure why, but I can guess maybe there was some abuse in her past.

Che’ the Elderbull

Che’ is 8 years old now, and I dread the day she leaves me. She is my heart, I love her so much. She follows me everywhere, and she senses when I am sad or mad or even if my tone of voice changes. She will run over to me, sits down and try to get my attention with her foot, and she won’t stop until I look at her and tell her it’s OK, or she nudges me when I’m at the computer to come play with her. I honestly don’t know what I will do without her, and if anyone ever threatened to take her away because of the type of dog she is, they seriously would have to get past me first. She would never leave me, and I will never leave her.

I think with the advent of social media, more and more people are becoming aware of pit bulls that are being killed, or taken from their families for no reason other than their breed. I really hope that pit bull lovers worldwide can band together and make a change for the better, get rid of breed discrimination and educate people about the true nature of the pit bull. I know I have made it my passion to do as much as I can by fostering, donating to pit bull rescues and signing petitions to help other pit bull owners get their dogs back who have been discriminated against because of their breed.

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11 Responses to “The Fabulous Che’”
  1. adoremydogs says:

    Diana, you’re among so many of us, who have opened our hearts to these dogs despite the negative press, who know these animals are soooo special and do not deserve the sterotype.  As long as we continue to fight against discrimination, some day BSL against pits will go away and they will be just another “dog”.  Your Che is a gorgeous girl and the pictures are great!  Thanks for sharing!

    • StubbyDog says:

      adoremydogs Che is wonderful and changed not only Diana’s perception, but many others. Thanks for commenting.

  2. ReneeMKeller says:

    Thank you for sharing Che with all of us.  Thank you for opening your heart and home to these wonderful dogs!!!!

  3. GreggBarnes says:

    I love the picture of Che with the kitty. So cute!

  4. DianaJones says:

    Headline:  Love conquers media hype!!Dogs are truly mirrors of our souls, because they reflect our true natures, and that`s why this amazing dog shines. It takes time, patience, knowledge and love to raise a great dog, and you and your family have that in spades! Wonderful story and such a lovely girl you have.

    • StubbyDog says:

      DianaJones Thanks Diana, we think it’s a wonderful story too. and we love your headline! Thanks for commenting.

  5. Wonderful story! The mere thought of losing either of my dogs is unsettling as well.  Didn’t know how hard it was to lose a furever member until the loss of my moms’ Akita (Max).  I cried for days on end, these creatures are wonderful!

  6. Wonderful story! The mere thought of losing either of my dogs is unsettling as well.  Didn’t know how hard it was to lose a furever member until the loss of my moms’ Akita (Max).  I cried for days on end, these creatures are wonderful!

  7. chuerta_1954 says:

    Wonderful story.  So typical of pit bull behavior when the pit bull is in the hands of responsible owners.
    I hope that everyone who reads this will get involved and help us make a difference for all pit bulls and pit bull mixes around the world.  Our Coast to Coast Bully Walk on Facebook is a very good start.
    Thanks to everyone out there who advocates for pit bulls!
    Regards,Cheryl HuertaCo-founder of the Portland Pit Bull ProjectFounder of the Coast to Coast Bully Walk

  8. Judithg says:

    I love your story and Che is so gorgeous!  I love these turnaround stories where people start to realize how great these dogs are and change their minds about pibbles!  That’s what we need; one person changing their mind at a time.  Pretty soon, there will be a new understanding about them and how they shine in the souls of those that love them.  

  9. Matt.S says:

    Che’ is beautiful! Sounds like Che’ is a good influence on other dogs and most importantly she’s inspired you! Thanks for all you do for pit bulls.