A Furry Friendship

January 31, 2012  

After spending most of his life in the shelter, a young pit bull becomes a friend to a guinea pig and many cats

By Nicole Ross

My husband and I adopted our guinea pig, Mr. Chunks, about 10 years ago during a time when I was very ill, and we didn’t have the time or resources to bring in any other type of pet. Mr. Chunks brought me great comfort at that time. He was litter trained and had his own indoor herb garden in our tiny studio apartment.

As I got better, we decided to volunteer with an animal shelter across the bridge in New Jersey. We couldn’t have any other pet in our apartment, but we wanted to help out anyway. We took the train over to The Animal Adoption Center in Lindenwold, N.J., every weekend and at least two or three times per week.

During our orientation we had to learn how to handle and train the larger bully breeds, some of which had been in the shelter for years. My husband, Chris, and I were given a sweet, brindle boy named Nathan. It was love at first site for everyone involved. Nathan was tied to the shelter gates and abandoned at only a few weeks old. He had spent about a year there, and he was adopted out only to be returned a few short weeks later with clear signs of abuse. When he came back to the shelter, he was very fearful of the other dogs, men, brushes, leashes, et cetera. That’s when we met him. He was a gentle giant, and at only about 1.5 years old, he had the eyes of an old soul desperately needing love. Our mission became to take as much time as we could to play with him, love him and rehabilitate him so that he could find a wonderful forever home.

After we had gone to the shelter to walk dogs, clean kennels and spend time with Nathan for about six months, a family finally came in to meet him and potentially add him to their family. I was thrilled! Then, I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness that this family could never love him the way my husband and I could, and I realized that he had chosen us to be his family. I immediately filled out an adoption application and began searching for a new apartment that allowed dogs. We broke our lease and moved into our new place, three doors down from our old apartment, in the beginning of November 2002. We brought Nathan home a few weeks later on Thanksgiving.

Immediately Nathan and Mr. Chunks became best friends! They loved to snuggle together and play. Mr. Chunks passed away in the spring of 2006, shortly after we had adopted our second brindle boy, Myles, who was also buddies with Mr. C.

Since Mr. Chunks passing, we have fostered many litters of kittens to which Nathan has played mama, and we have since added three foster feline failures to our family. Everyone gets along wonderfully. Nathan is now about 11 years old, and he is kinder and sweeter than ever. He is my heart.

I planned on only writing a few words here, but the relationship that Nathan had with Mr. Chunks and all of the other critters that have come through our home makes my heart smile. He was once deemed a vicious bully breed that was abused and abandoned. Today, he is my inspiration and a true example of pit bull type dogs – their resilience, unconditional love and patience.

Editor’s note: Inspired by her brindle pit bulls, Nicole named her business Brindle Boys Design, a full-service design studio.

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2 Responses to “A Furry Friendship”
  1. RN2DR says:

    Heartwarming story, I adopted a girl for my brothers family from Lindenwold shelter Dec 2010. The volunteers were so great she was 4yrs old boxer that was so skinny and so sweet! She is spoiled rotten now!! You said your dog was adopted only to be brought back abused, It breaks my heart that more through checks can’t be done
    B4 these dogs get adopted. I rescued 3 pits from ACCT Philly, they are my heart and soul!! I wake up every morning and ask them how I got sooo lucky to b blessed w them, their response, kisses and a butt wiggle!!!! Thanks for all you do!!!!