Pit Bull Inspiration

April 25, 2011  

One pit bull changes perceptions, another inspires new non-profit

By Barbara Blackman

When I adopted a young puppy from a friend, the puppy was supposed to be a black Labrador. Three weeks later, my friend told me the truth. The puppy, who I had named Dozer, was actually half Rottweiler and half “pit bull.”

I believed the hype about pit bulls and was terrified of them, but I was already madly in love with my dog. Dozer changed my whole view of pit bulls. I started reading everything I could about them, meeting so many of them, talking with people about them, etc.

I went through a lot with Dozer. In his eight and a half years with me, Dozer had surgery on both hind knees and had physical therapy on an underwater treadmill. He also had a thyroid condition and a slew of other problems, but he was my baby boy. He died in June 2010 from complications of bloat. I was crushed. I didn’t go to work for a week, barely left my house and didn’t answer my phone. My family thought I needed to adopt another dog right away, but I didn’t want to be bothered.

After a week or so, I agreed to go to a couple of shelters to meet some dogs. But I only wanted to adopt a pit bull. I met a few dogs but felt no “connection” to them. A week later, I saw a black and white pittie girl on Petfinder. She had been bred, gotten an infection and was left tied to a fence in South Philadelphia. Animal control picked her up and, the day that she was scheduled to be euthanized, PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) rescued her. She was now in foster care. The pittie girl was living with a cat in her foster home, which was good because I also have a cat (it was actually Dozer’s cat). Her eyes just stuck with me and resonated in my brain. I called and e-mailed the foster and scheduled a time to meet, which she canceled. I rescheduled and she canceled again. I was not giving up — I wanted to meet this girl! We finally set up a time to meet, and I drove from New Jersey to Philadelphia.

When the foster mom opened the door, Savannah, the black and white pittie girl sat down, looked at me and cocked her head to the side. I said “I want her!” She was perfect, beautiful, short legs and all. (She waddles instead of runs.)

To my surprise, Savannah did not like my cat, Bianca, at first. It took six or seven LONG weeks of separation, supervised play, wearing a leash in the house, and positive reinforcement before Savannah and Bianca were OK with each other. (Now they are best friends and left out in the house all day together.)

Savannah is black and white, with enormous beautiful brown eyes, little floppy ears and a “paint-dipped” tail. I swear Dozer sent her to me.

I am now working with four other women to start a rescue for the homeless pit bulls across the country. We just got our 501(c)(3) non-profit status and are working to raise money to save “death row” pit bulls and get them into rescues or foster care. We hope to establish a network of foster homes and eventually put money into a facility of our own. It is very exciting. It is called The Freckles Freedom Fund after the first pittie we saved, Freckles, from Van Nuys, Calif.

Meanwhile, Savannah (adopted June 18, 2010) has earned her therapy dog status after earning her Canine Good Citizen certification on the first try with no preparation. She is my local shelter’s mascot on all printed materials and event T-shirts. She is even going to be on the shelter’s billboard in southern New Jersey this month. She had a birthday party in March for her second birthday and had 27 furry friends join her in celebrating at Camp Bow Wow in Cherry Hill, N.J.

I’m so glad I overcame my prejudice against pit bulls. It has really changed my life. And Dozer’s. And Savannah’s.

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10 Responses to “Pit Bull Inspiration”
  1. petdiggity says:

    I have known many sweet and adorable pitties. Thanks for the great story! I posted it on http://www.petdiggity.com. Please feel free to post any inspiring stories there!!

  2. StubbyDog says:

    @petdiggity Thanks for the comments and reposting!

  3. vbweales says:

    I am so proud of Savannah and her mommy for being such wonderful ambassadors for pit bulls!! I love you Savannah and Barbara (and Bianca)!!

  4. StubbyDog says:

    @vbweales They really are wonderful! Thanks for commenting.

  5. WendySchugar says:

    We love you Barb, Sav and Bianca. So proud to be part of your lives. Dozer watches over us all. Everytime we get a chance to share our stories we change the lives of many more sweet pittie pups. Thank you for putting into words your amazing story. You’re an inspiration to us all.

  6. StubbyDog says:

    @WendySchugar Thank you for your comments, she is very inspiring, and we hope her story inspires more people to help pit bulls.

  7. Iluvmypibble says:

    @WendySchugar we love you too!!!

  8. Iluvmypibble says:

    @vbweales XOXOXO

  9. Iluvmypibble says:

    @petdiggity THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  10. Iluvmypibble says:

    @AngelaMaeWalker We miss you Ang…been a while…I miss Janey too!