How Has Your Dog Impacted Your Life?

March 30, 2012  

We asked our Facebook fans, How has your dog impacted your life?

Your answers were so heartfelt and moving. Our dogs give us love, teach us about patience, help us through loss and pain and are always there for us, no matter what. We couldn’t ask for a better friend.

Thanks everyone for sharing.

I never thought adopting a dog would change my life, but it truly has! We started off volunteering with a local rescue, helping out at events and such. This lead to walking foster dogs, which lead to pet sitting, which lead to fostering. My husband and I became foster failures on our first try LOL! We adopted Ozzie, (above) and we truly can’t imagine life without him. Sometimes we ask ourselves what we did before he came along and we can’t think of anything meaningful. Ozzie fills our lives with joy and love. There isn’t a day we don’t laugh hysterically at something he does.

~ Alicia Anthony Baldwin

My dogs make me go outside and get exercise. Hopefully they also keep my stay-at-home spouse entertained.

~ Ike Mao

With an education and background in finance and economics I now sit in a small cramped office making less than I did, work 60 hours a week or more, constantly have dog hair all over me, and have to listen to dogs barking all day. Because one day I adopted a pit bull from a shelter that helped me realize I should be doing something else.

~ Rhett Nicks

My pittie helped me with the loss of my brother. He was in hospital for a week before he passed away. So coming home every night from the hospital my pittie was there for me. He just knew I was going through a hard time and was always by my side beside my family he was my life line.

~ Chimene Gino Du Toit

My dog is my buddy, all my boys are grown and she is my baby. She makes me smile, gives me love, keep me fit with exercise, she is a breath of fresh air.

~ Cindy Tierney

My first and second dog helped me get over my anxiety (they were anxious, and to help them, I had to get over mine); my third dog helped me decide to fight for the breed (a pit that was to be put down) and to help her overcome her fears, I had to overcome mine.

~ Christy Middleton

In every way possible. ~ Ashley Fine

I am also separated from my husband of 27 years, and I don’t think I could make it without her.

~ Debra Lewis Caruso

In 2007 I went on Petfinder to find a dog to adopt. The rescue I got him from asked if I’d like to foster a second pup who was waiting on a home, and I did. I loved the experience so much that I kept fostering, and two years later I started Charm City Animal Rescue.

~ Michelle Ingrodi

My Gunner has made me a more compassionate person. He has brought me more happiness than I even knew existed! He also inspired me to work at a local kennel (so that he can play with lots of friends), he inspired me to get a tattoo (it says “Know Love… Rescue a Pit Bull”), and he has taught me how truly caring for an animal can make all the difference in the world… All of that is just for starters.

~ Jill Rheaume

Our dog makes me feel complete! He gives me purpose each and every day. I know that when I get home from work he will be waiting with unconditional love…and waiting for that walk! Since Sept. of 2011 I set a goal to walk him every day and I have only missed seven days due to rain or an emergency. We have a blessed life and even more since we got our dog. He is one of 10 pups that a friend rescued the mom off the streets. He makes me a much happier person. I can’t imagine our life without him. I love Stewart.

~ Jamie DeVine Legato

Because of a pit bull female I met, and later took back home with me, while rescuing dogs and cats after Hurricane Katrina, I have become a tireless advocate for this breed and have rescued three of my personal pit bulls that are my companions now, and four others as well. It is my passion that arises from compassion!

~ Tiffany Bair Gillooly

My dog loves me to death no matter what and I her-truly the best friend ever!!

~ Denise Shaw

It has made me more tolerant of being licked in the face, on the arm, on the neck, on the leg, in the mouth.

~ Liesa Stiller

Ranger, will be 2 on May 1, has brought me from the depths of hell and is such a happy boy. He refuses to let me get down for any reason. He is the best buddy anyone could ever have!!! I love him with all my heart!

~ Connie Sanders

She’s become such an extension of mine that when I am invited places I don’t even think about not taking her, sometimes till the last minute. And, when my father is at his daycare, he looks for her. They do bring therapy dogs in for the program and even though he can’t remember a lot of things, he knows that dog is not his Lacy.

~ Valerie Sherman

Which dog? Which aspect of life? Sadie has shown me what it’s like to have unconditional love regardless of how the rest of the world looks at me or how I even look at myself. She shaped what I wanted to do for a career and how I look at animals in general. She’s the truest friend a person could have the most empathic creature that I’ve ever met. Cassie has taught me what it’s like to truly earn something’s trust. She came off of the streets of West Virginia with minimal human contact and scared of her own shadow. Working and training with her has impacted how I see people even, knowing that their journey may have come a long way to where they are now, even if it doesn’t seem like much to me. Jett (My search and rescue K9) has shown me what it’s like to be a true team. I may get some flak for this, but until someone has a true working dog where someone else’s life is at stake, they will never understand the bond that a working dog has with their handler. We have to trust each other unconditionally and no matter what we have to look out for each other. He trusts me not to send him somewhere that he could get hurt and understands when I push him beyond what he would push himself. And the flip of that is true too. I trust him to tell me when he’s found someone that’s lost, and to push me when I don’t think I can do it anymore.

~ Ashley Scott

My pup got me through a bout of depression and helped me get out n about especially when she is with me. She is my pride and joy and my agility partner.

~ Amy Lynne

Thanks to my dog, I’m a better person. ~ Kaidi Pavlenko

Keeps me active and such… I’m diabetic so I need to be and he has helped me to lower my blood pressure and be the best I can be , and for that he’s like my son I’d do anything for him. Oh and he’s an APBT.

~ Logan William Taylor

My dogs (and pets) give me and show me every day how to give unconditional love.

~ Brittany Bertsch

My dog has helped me cope with depression, he’s helped me focus my thoughts on him and his wellbeing versus the depression, I always tell everyone– he rescued me.

~ Ashton Paige Keenan

There is not enough space to tell you how Shiloh my first pit bull has impacted my life.I have depression and other issues, and she is my reason for keep on going. She completed a part of my heart I didn’t even know was missing … there is so much more. She is my first pit bull, and I love her more than life itself.

~ Debra Lewis Caruso

Before Mocha I knew pits got a bad rap, but didn’t know to what extent. Now I’m championing pit bulls and fighting for these dogs tagged with an undeserved reputation. Also, I learned how exciting teaching a dog is, and would consider learning to be dog trainer in the future. Finally, she has taught my wife and I what unconditional love is, and how, despite humans that failed her in the past, how resilient and adoring dogs are.

~ Dustin May

My pit bull Daphney has brought a lot more laughter into my life. Even though we have two other dogs, she is the one that makes we laugh the most. From digging a hole and trying to bury her basketball. Or her nosey ways of having to be in the middle of everything. And her funny reaction to anything new. She brings joy and laughter into my life every day.

~ Holly Alessi

My dog has helped me to, if not lose some weight, at least not get any fatter. She gives me a good reason to take several short walks every day. Sometimes we get a nice long walk besides. She is my walking buddy, my cheerleader, and best friend. That unconditional doggie love and enthusiastic puppy kisses are priceless. I love her right back!

~ Janet Wiley Chesnut

I just love knowing there’s always wagging tails when I come home from work!

~ JohnAshley Brueggemann Grimes

When it was finally time to get the puppy to go with my new house, I knew I wanted an American Bulldog. I had never heard of these dogs before my younger brother brought one home. Our family fell in love with him immediately and I’ve dearly loved the breed since. After purchasing my sweet Izzy from a breeder (I know, I know) I spent hours on the internet searching for everything bulldog. This quickly led to pit bulls and I learned that Izzy was a pit bull type dog. I was very surprised. Pit bull, to me, had always meant a Staffordshire terrier or bull terrier. I now understand that the pit bull has become more of a mutt, and refers to a type of dog, not a breed. I’ve always liked pit bulls, so this information didn’t really bother me but it led me on a journey to advocate for pit bulls. Knowing what I know now, I am deeply, sincerely ashamed that I bought a dog. From a breeder. NEVER AGAIN. I am on the verge of obsession now in anticipation of my next dog. I don’t have the fenced yard, yet, for the new house. It’s coming soon though, and when it’s completed I’m racing to my local shelter to find Izzy’s perfect PIT BULL playmate. My dog has enlightened me and we work every day to be great ambassadors.

~ Nicole Hartman

My girl pit/rottie mix helped me get through the death of our boy dog…. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

~ Kelly Kempke-Knueppel

Sasha and Krush have impacted our lives so much we started an organization to spread the word about pitties and their AWESOMENESS! The Pretty Chic with the Pits.

~ Kelli Parker

Twelve years ago I purchased my first Am Staff from a reputable breeder. By the time she was 6 months old I had founded my own pit bull rescue (Power Breed Rescue), and because of her we saved nearly 100 pit and pit mixes in need. Jamie changed my life and more importantly the lives of each and every family who adopted one of the rescues. To celebrate her 10th birthday I founded Palouse Pit Bull Project and now as one of the ambassadogs of the program our pit bull family has grown to a unified positive pit bull community.

~ Lori Klimas Burkett

My dog Bruiser is a therapy dog. He just passed his certification, one week later my dad committed suicide. I swear he knew something was wrong. From the time I got the call he never left my side. He has kept me sane through the whole thing. When we go on visits I can relate to how he makes the residents feel.

~ Nikki Oliver

They keep me out of trouble! ~ Mark Castelluccio

I’ve always had rescue dogs, and somehow I knew I had to adopt Pumkin when I saw her video. She had been at the humane society for six months but still was affectionate, playful and wanted to give kisses, thanks to their great staff and volunteers, plus her sunny disposition. She loves her brother JT and having her has made me better at training a dog and an advocate of how wonderfully sweet and silly pitties are.

~ Chris Schlutt

My Bama has made me a better person. She has taught me unconditional love. I am so glad she rescued me.

~ Kerrie Mcgaha Stack

I have two dogs, we adopted Buddy 12 years ago he has been a loyal companion, his hips starting bothering him when he was around 9, we then got Blitz when he was 2 months old, Buddy taught Blitz his boundaries, yet Blitz being a pit, he would just go on the furniture, bed where ever he felt like it, so Buddy decided to join in with him and we didn’t stop it, Buddy became younger because of Blitz and when I walk in the door at night, I have two of the most happiest dogs in the world to greet me and put a smile on my face no matter how bad the day was. They make my life complete.

~ Debbie Bateman Auletta

My Daisy saved my life. I adopted her about a month after my daughter died. She gave me a reason to live.

~ Pink Daisy

Before I adopted a pit bull, I thought I was open-minded, free of prejudice, accepting. Then, I adopted Sam and thought to myself, “Are you crazy?? You just brought home a pit bull…ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?” I realized I wasn’t as open-minded as I liked to believe, and I was rather ashamed and embarrassed. I decided Sam deserved not to be judged just because he had a big blocky head. It was a journey for me to stop saying he was a mixed-breed, or a mutt to saying I own a pit bull, but that is how I now proudly answer, “What kind of dog is he?” Sam has made me a better person in so many ways, and he reminds me every day what wonderful dogs pit bulls are.

~ Janice Cartera Mahaffey

I have suffered with rheumatoid arthritis for years and exercise seems to help. My dogs force me to go for walks twice a day. Without them I would have difficulty finding the ambition to keep going.

~ Steve Townes

My dogs are my artistic inspiration! They bring joy, sanity and unconditional love to a world that sometimes forgets how important these things are. They draw my attention back to what’s important in life, and because they are part of my business and its success, I love what I do because I do it for them.

~ Sophie Duncan

Zeke brought with him love. He left the NYC-ACC bearing gifts for us. Love, support, loyalty, snuggles, sloppy kisses and healing. He has been instrumental in bringing awareness into our lives about abuse, neglect, BSL, and the dire circumstances too many animals live in. He has also been vital in the initial phase of my husband’s recovery from a service connected injury. Zeke has been a catalyst for so many events in our lives in the last two years. It has been an intense time for us, and he has been worth every minute. To simplfy, Zeke has been a blessing.

~ Berwick Louisiana, it’s discriminatory Breed Specific Law, one-drop rule

My three have made me a morning person…nothing like going out with them for our usual early morning walk and watching the sun come up.

~ Susan Rodriguez

She is my life and I am hers. She waited watched me cry looked at me like she felt my pain, she came into my life when i lost my mother and father, she kept butting in drying my tears and talking to me and I knew she was there for a reason. I didn’t want go out much but i was determined she would see the mountains, feel freedom on her face. She impacted my life with pure unconditional love, and I was determined to return this. She is my life and I am hers. She comes first in every decision I make now I always do what’s best for her, She is Honey, Honey owns my heart. I love her, wee Stubby-legged Honey.

~ Gloria Hanna

Having pit bulls in general has made me more aware of the stigma they carry which is so unfair. My two Elderbulls are my kids. I love them more than I can describe. I had there mama for 13 years until she passed away from cancer in 2010. She was the most awesome smart beautiful loving dog anyone could have imagined…I just wish that I can make an announcement so the whole world can see that these dogs are precious that everyone should give them a chance. That if you truly want love I mean truly, get a pitty. I promise from the first time you lay eyes on one you will fall completely and totally in love.

~ Renee Gainey

My Lab/terrier mix, Sprocket, got me to be more involved in dog rescue. My parent’s “pit bull,” Jester, and my “pit bull,” Sukha, got me more involved in “pit bull” rescue. Now, I can’t imagine not educating and advocating for pit bull type dogs.

~ Marie Desrosiers

In ways only bull lovers could understand. ~ Kt Hardesty

I lived in the UK, where pit bulls are banned. In March 2008, I came to the US for treatment for breast cancer. Throughout my eight months of surgeries and chemo and radiation, I spent my days volunteering at an animal rescue (against the order of my doctors who thought I would catch something from having a low immune system…they were especially worried about dogs licking my face which bullies specialize in). I was immediately drawn to the pit bulls. One pit bull in particular – a large black one who people in the street would be scared of – became my therapy dog and I spent every day with her. She had been at the rescue for three years, and right when my treatments ended, she was adopted by a wonderful woman! I decided to stay in the US to help pit bulls and started fostering and volunteering for different groups and earlier this year started my own pit bull rescue (we help small dogs as well if they come from homes where we are helping a pit. I have three foster pits and one pit who is my boy in my home at the moment:

~ Nicole Bruck

My five have been the joys of my life for the last few years. They listen to me and never tell, they make me laugh when I want to cry. They keep me warm on the cold nights. They let me know there is unconditional love in this world. I would be forever lost if I did not have my rescue babies.

~ Kellie Winstead

At least once every day, one or both of these guys will do something so hilarious that I belly-laugh for five minutes straight. They remind me to have fun and appreciate life.

~ Heather McClain Howell

My dogs not only massively impacted my life, they ARE my life! They inspired myself and my husband to start Heart Dog, a nonprofit rescue and education organization. I don’t know what I would do without my furbabies!

~ Dawn Marshall

I’m dogless at the moment and I feel a bit incomplete. I’ve had dogs off and on my whole life. They are trusted confidantes, never revealing your secrets. They always love you even when you look/feel like hell. They let you cry into their fur and then lick your face after you are done.

~ Holly Magnani

The easier question to answer would be ‘how has your dog NOT impacted your life’ …answering YOUR question might take a lifetime.

~ Grace Handlen

My dogs have impacted my life in big ways. I have met new friends. I have learned to be more selfless. I have opened my eyes to the way the uneducated world views my dogs. I want to do something to change the way the world looked at my dogs! I started a group called Charit-a-Bull with my good friend (who i met because of my dog) and now we are helping shelters help more dogs! I have a new fire in my heart that was sparked by my dogs.

~ Angela Wood

Made me more responsible in terms of really thinking about the wellbeing of others and what my job is in ensuring that I always do not only what is necessary but what is right.

~ Raquel Elle Bell

My 14-year-old black lab – Katie has been my little companion since she was 4 mos old. I met my husband three years ago and JC his pit came into our lives. He has been precious and lets Katie be the ruler. They are so good for us. We have both suffered loss in our lives and they bring so much joy.

~ Vicki Pullin

Ollie came into my life after I lost my disabled beagle Charlie. A shopped every shelter and pound in the area. There were so many wonderful dogs but I just wasn’t sure if I was ready…until I saw his beautiful face. There he was, just a number, sitting behind a rusty chain link gate in a dilapidated pound. It was cold and drafty and overflowing with dogs. I knew there was a high-kill rate there. Pit bulls were rarely, if ever, adopted out. There were so many great dogs but the pit mix in the 2nd cell was special. I still don’t know what it was but I knew he was the one. I’ve never had a pit bull or pit mix and had only been around one before. All I knew was what the media said. I was worried about taking him home. I’m so glad I listened to my heart!! Oliver (aka Ollie) has completely stolen my heart. He is so happy, silly, and people friendly. I began reading up on pit bulls and fell in love with this breed, especially the homeless, abandoned, neglected. Ollie has spondylosis, allergies, and a few other little issues. We’ve spent loads of money and time at the vet’s office trying to keep him happy and healthy, but I wouldn’t give him up for the world! He was someone’s pet before he was found wandering from house to house. I’ve been inspired by Oliver to campaign and educate people about the plight of all dogs and cats in shelters and on the streets, especially pitties. Due to Ollie’s medical bills and therapy I can’t do much financially but I spread the word every chance I get. I thank God every night for holding off the snow that nearly made me cancel my trip to the pound. Ollie would have lost his life the next morning. His time was up. Please adopt!

~ Brandy Stewart

My dog has made me realize what unconditional love is.

~ Paula Yarlott Morin

My mutt has been my rock. She was abused before I got her but when I realized that she got worse and it was due to the then husband, I realized that his treatment wasn’t healthy in the least and that it affected more than just me. That realization jolted me into action, if just for my animals (I had a Norwegian mixed cat as well). After that, I got my first pibble, Clarence, who really jump started my activism and continued advocating for the rights of animals. Due to the fact that playing with him hurt my mutt every day, even putting her on bed rest/sedation for a week (she’s 15 lb with arthritis, he was 70 lbs. of gorgeous AmStaff) which broke his heart every time it happened and resulted in separation of the two often because the two lugheads couldn’t put two and two together, I found him another home with a stay at home mom and two girls who he immediately took a liking to. It broke my heart, but he definitely has a better life and he was already smiling before he left me because if there is one thing that he loves in the world, it is children. Clarence taught me that what I want is not always what is best for others. Before him, I was still putting my wants first but he helped me realize that rescuing animals needs to be about helping them have the life that they deserve.

~ Patty Tink

Each dog I have been blessed with has taught me something different. The one thing I know is that I could never be without a dog. I’ve had pure breeds and a few that weren’t, their love for me and mine for them was the same with or without a pedigree. I guess one of my biggest lessons has come from my sweet princess, Mia. Mia is a pit bull. When I was approached about taking her, she was 4-weeks-old, her momma had been hit by a car. The family didn’t want to take the time, nor do I believe they could have afforded to feed all of the pups. I would have taken more of them but I already had three dogs, she would make four and the city had an ordinance of no more than three at that time. I was apprehensive because I had heard all of the hype about pitties, but I was confident in my abilities and I believed that a dog is a product of their owner. Though I realized that dogs are much like children, they sometimes have a mind of their own…I wanted to save her and she was so cute. So our adventure began, bottle feedings and sleeping on the floor next to the heat register during the winter months so I could hear her and help pottie train her. She is something. She loves the other dogs, even now at 3 she allows the others to constantly groom her. She learned that “talking” gets her EVERYTHING she wants, she can jump up on the bed but she won’t…I lift her up and down. To this day (in fact, as I type) she talks to me, goes in the bathroom and sits in front of the heater until I get my bathrobe down, turn up the heat, cover her up and let her stay there until the heater kicks off, then its bedtime. She loves her swimming pool and is scared to death of fireworks…she is my diva. She plays carefully with my daughters Silky Terrier, Rusty she knows that my Aussie, Red is 13 and is a little fragile. My daughter’s mini Aussie, Roxie is her surrogate sister and is her best playmate. Mia gives the most gentle, sweet kisses to my 8 month old grandson. I never knew how much power a pit bull had in their tail! When it wags, watch out. Though she has never shown any type of aggression, I believe that she loves me and if someone where to harm me…she would do whatever she could to protect me for only one reason. She loves me like I love her. She has taught me exactly what I was hoping to understand about this misunderstood breed, they love…they need those big chests to house their big hearts.
My Aussie, Red is one beautiful dog. He is 13 now, he grew up with my kids. Red has been my shadow for those 13 years. He is lying next to the tub when I shower, at my feet when I cook, sleeping next to my bed, follows me downstairs to do laundry and watching me as I garden. Many a times I have tripped over him. Always waiting for me at the door when I walk in, with a medley of barking to let me know he is so happy I’m home. This dog is just beyond words. When he was a baby, I should have sent in video to the fire prevention folks or the quit smoking groups. He would knock a cigarette out of someone’s hand and paw it out. Chase a ball until he dropped…any ball, my boys loved practicing soccer with him until he managed to bite a whole in the ball. He knows the sound of the cupboard in the kitchen that houses the flashlight from any other room in the house. This last year was tough, I lost my dad and my grandfather within 6 days of each other. There were some long, heartbreaking days leading up to their departures, Red knew how much I needed a hug and he was there to kiss away the tears. Then in October he was losing his voice, two vets later I was told that the cords that run along side of his esophagus were paralyzed. He wouldn’t make it long without surgery and that surgery would hold his throat open allowing water to be ingested into his lungs. I was devastated, I couldn’t lose him too. I was torn between surgery to keep him with me or sending him to heaven with dad and grandpa. I kept him on steroids for a month, his voice came back. I decided that steroids were only going to damage his liver and the surgery would eventually take him as well. I took him off of the drugs and laid awake many nights listening to him breathe. Today that phenomenal, loving dog is right here next to me, breathing, barking and still giving me all of his love. I don’t know if I’m willing him on or if he just isn’t ready to go? I know that he has taught me what unconditional love, perseverance and loyalty are all about. I know I will be able to look in his eyes and know, he will tell me that it’s time to let him go. Until then, I thank God for each day and remind myself that life is short…even shorter in dog years so never take for granted that they are there and what a tremendous gift they are!

~ Shauna Godfrey Muztafago

(all photos except first one by Melissa Lipani)

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5 Responses to “How Has Your Dog Impacted Your Life?”
  1. pester says:

    mustlovepitbulls14@  our pibull before he was killed would always make me laugh and fell happy inside specially the days i would come home from school feeling tired and worn out  he would be there to greet me as i opened the door but now that he is gone he is greatly missed from our lives there will not be another on like hiom

    • StubbyDog says:

       @pester We are so sorry for your loss, dogs are so special, they leave paw prints on our hearts.

  2. pester says:

    his name was GRIT LIKE TRUE GRIT  but i called him my roo roo he was not a moring dog at all  a few time he had to be dragged out of bed just to get up and go out side to go potty lol

  3. pester says:

    he was 26 months when he died and brindle and white

  4. honeyremedy says:

    I was searching for months for that perfect puppy. I jumped from pure-breed, to shelter, to baby, to adult and I got so worn out from looking. Then one day my friend called me and told me to come to the park; her coworker was trying to find a new home for her puppy. The moment I knew he was mine was on the ride back to my friends house; Bubba came up from the backseat and made himself at home in my lap, he let me know that he was okay with me. I took him home 3 days after my dad moved to New York and I was alone as an adult. He’s taught me to take care of myself because I had to take care of him, he’s taught me patience,  understanding and most importantly love!
    I don’t know what it is about his concerned brown eyes, and his nibbly kisses- but they can lift me right out of a dark day and bring me to better place. I love my Bubster, my little ray of sunshine on a cloudy day!