Texting, Texting

March 14, 2011  

The message I couldn’t resist any longer

By Cassie-Leigh Stock

“Little pit bull puppy needs an experienced handler,” said the text message. “I think you’d be the perfect owner.”

I’d been a dog trainer for three and a half years for PetSmart in Bellingham, Massachusetts. And now, when I had just started to get my feet wet in the profession, my boss had sent me a text about a puppy that needed some help.

For the next few days, she just kept on texting me, and even though I’d moved into a new living situation, eventually I couldn’t resist.

I went for a look. (But let’s face it, once you say “I’ll look” at a dog, you pretty much signed on the dotted line.)

Spark Plugge was a red and brindle pit bull, about 5 weeks old.

I picked up the little 7.7-pound, football-sized cutie, and brought him home. That evening, my boyfriend and I were going to look at a four-wheeler up the street, so I brought the new little puppy along with us. As soon as the seller got a look at him (this is while her little children and playing with him), she said, “Oh, I’d hate to see that dog in a year!”

My little Spark Plugge was asleep on my lap in the car and I just kept hearing the person tell me over and over again that pit bulls aren’t trustworthy. As I looked down at that sleeping puppy, I thought to myself, “I will do anything I can to protect you, pup.”

That was when I knew I wanted to do something to change how people view pit bulls.

During the next several months, while I was busy raising my new puppy and working 40 hours a week as a trainer, I kept searching for a way to become more involved.

I weighed a few options. Could I make an American Pit Bull Terrier Club? Should I form a weight-pull club? What about a bully breed club?

Then I stumbled upon my big idea and founded the New England Bully Breed Club (NEBBC). The organization helps to raise awareness, provide resources and aid local rescue efforts.

Two and a half years later, the NEBBC is 174 members strong and growing. We get together monthly to walk or hike or train with our dogs in public places where we can show how great pit bulls can really be. We’ve collected donations for shelters and helped Animal Planet’s Breeds 101 feature the American Pit Bull Terrier.

In the future, I would like to do more fundraising events for local rescues, and do it on a greater scale. But none of this would have happened if I hadn’t gone to take a look at the little red throw-away puppy, who became Spark Plugge and stole my heart.

You can see her in action, by the way, on this video called Cass and Spark Plugge.

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