Nervous Neighbors Warm to George

March 7, 2011  

“By the end of the month, they realized he was just a giant teddy bear”

By Andi Keller

It was sad to see that most of the dogs at my local shelter were pit bulls. But I was excited knowing I was going to bring one home.

I’d been heartbroken over the death of Aida, the 15½-year-old black Lab I’d known since the day she was born. But being without a dog was not a possibility. Aida and I had won some training competitions so I felt confident that I could handle a more challenging dog, like a pit bull. I’d always admired their strength, beauty, and loyalty. And knowing their bad rap, I felt it my duty to show others they are not all spawns of the devil.

My husband, Mike, had a list of reasons why it was a bad idea to bring home a young dog. But George changed everything. His smile was bigger than any smile I had ever seen. He was 3 years old, so he was a more mature, relaxed pit. His tail wagged so much that he had rubbed it raw and bloody on the chain link fence. Anyone walking by was greeted with a wonderful wag and smile. Even Mike could not deny George’s charm and warmth.

So, two weeks after saying goodbye to my dear Aida, Mike and I were saying hello to our new pal, George.

As he raced throughout the house on his first day home, taking it all in, I realized he was lame on his right hind leg. We later discovered he’d torn his ACL. It was to be expected… once you spend any time with George you realize it’s all or nothing. He lives life to the fullest while still maintaining a certain sense of decorum. He flies down our stairs like superman, hitting the landing with all his might. And without any carpet at the time, traction was minimal.

Eventually, word got out to the neighbors that there was a new dog in town, a nasty pit named George. Neighbors were nervous. But by the end of the month everyone realized that George is nothing but a giant teddy bear. I sometimes walk past neighbors I have not yet met who shout out “Hi, George!” as we walk by.

I’ve had several friends come over for a visit who announce to me as they enter that they are not pit bull fans. But a few hours later, as they leave, they’re kneeling on the ground, petting and kissing him as they say their good-byes.

My next goal for George is training as a therapy dog. Now that he has healed from his ACL surgery, we can start preparing to help others. He is such a people dog that I am hoping to help people heal with some George love.

« « Samantha the Service Dog | Athena Wows Them on the National Mall » »

Comments are closed.