Pibbling with Theodore: Interview with Theodore McMillan Loehr

June 1, 2015  

teo 1

Where did you come from?

I was born in Alabama, and spent my first eight months living in the woods on a chain with more than 100 other pit bulls. We were expected to fight other dogs to make money for our former owners when we grew up, and we only had a barrel or a small wooden house for shelter, winter and summer. We received minimal care, unless we were training for a fight.

Then some amazing people from the ASPCA rescued me in August, 2013. I hear mine was the second largest dogfighting bust in US history – 367 dogs were rescued, and many bad people went to jail. I am glad I was still too young to have started training to fight. I love other dogs!

That summer day was wonderful! I loved having that heavy chain and collar taken off my neck, and getting good food and medical care for the first time ever. Here is a still from the video “Life on a Chain” that tells about dog fighting and shows some video and pictures from my case. (Warning: it’s a little hard to watch.)

 

Tell us your adoption story.

I no longer have an “owner” – I have “staff”. Trish and Barry are wonderful, I hug them all the time. They even put a bell on the door so I can let them know when I want something! They call it a “potty bell,” but I ring it for everything!

teo 2My mom is a dog trainer, and she spent some time working at the ASPCA emergency shelter where I lived for eight months while my old owner’s case worked its way through the courts, whatever that means.

When the ASPCA trainers discovered that I was super good at playing with other dogs, I became a “helper dog.” This is a very important job. I taught shy dogs to play. I taught grumpy dogs to play. And I had lots of fun helping maintain the social skills of the other playful dogs!

teo 3After I was released, I took a long trip on a transport to an awesome rescue group, Bully Project in NYC. Mom couldn’t stop thinking about me though, and soon drove out there to adopt me for good.

Now we live in the mountains of North Carolina, and I have two other dog siblings, Aleli the Sato and Duncan the Doberman. My non-dog siblings are Kindi the kitty and Joey the horse. I love all of them so much!

 

What are your favorite things to do?

I love going to stores, shopping for dog toys and meeting people. I also have a strong interest in recycling and saving the planet, and I often carry cans or bottles home from walks. I like kissing people cats and horses, and I love love love playing with dogs. I have special dog play skills and taught lots of dogs how to play, both at the shelter and when they board with my mom. My amazing play skills were even featured on Julie Hecht’s Scientific American blog! Mom says I would have been terrible at dogfighting, so I’m glad I never had to do it.

teo 5I really love going for off-leash hikes in the forest. I had to learn to run in a straight line after growing up on a chain and then in a shelter cage. I’m pretty good at it now though, and I can climb hills and hop over streams. There are so many wonderful things to smell in the forest, I had no idea the world was such a big place.

And at the end of the day I curl up under the covers with my people and dogfriends – no more sleeping in a barrel outside for this guy!

teo 7

 

What is “pibbling?”

teo 8Pibbling, as defined by me, the expert on it, is exuberant silliness, and we bully type dogs excel at it! It includes hopping around, zoomies, rolling around on our backs, playing with our friends, giving hugs, chewing stuff up, rearranging stuff, shopping, giving kisses, and or course snuggling. You don’t have to be a pit bull to pibble, any dog can do it!

 

 

 

 

How can pibbling awareness help other pit bulls?

teo 6My page celebrates the joy that comes from sharing a home with dogs, especially fun-loving blockheads like me. Pit bulls are smart and goofy and creative, and our people love us so much!

I would also like to promote rescue by helping people understand that behavior doesn’t just depend on “how we are raised”. Many truly amazing dogs, like me, come from less than wonderful backgrounds. So many of us can learn and heal and be wonderful pets. Like most rescued dogs, I truly appreciate my comfortable new life so much. I especially want to highlight the fact that many of us fight bust pit bulls are just normal dogs, who want to live with people and other animals, have fun and have a great life, like any other dog.

teo 9

 

Do you enjoy training?  What kind of training? 

I have learned so many things! At the ASPCA emergency shelter, volunteers and staff learned to train us, it was so much fun. They taught us all what a clicker was, and we learned to sit, wait at gates, target hands with our noses. I even learned how to crawl and shake a paw!

teo 10I love clicker training because I get cookies when I figure out what they’re clicking for. Since moving in with my staff, I have learned so many more things, like “Be a Bear!” “Go to your bed” and I even retrieve my dinner bowl after meals. I love retrieving! I also love playing tug of war, with people or with dogs.

I have been going to dog school and perhaps one day when I am a little more grown up, I will be able to do dog sports like my dog siblings. We have lots of time to decide, I’m only two years old, but guess what I just started!  Therapy Dog School! I’m ok with medical equipment and we’re working on making my greetings a little less over-the-top friendly 😉

Pibble on, friends!

teo 11

Love, Theodore.

 

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