An Unexpected Treasure

September 5, 2012  

A heartworm positive elderbull with cancer gets a second chance and changes her new guardian’s life forever

By Kaitlyn Krol

Working at a shelter is hard. You are faced with some of the most heartbreaking cases and, unfortunately, some of the saddest outcomes. I can’t quite remember the day Bobby Jo came into the shelter … all I know is when I did her intake, she looked at me with kind eyes and wagged her tail as I drew her blood. We guessed her age to be around 6 – 8 years old, and as the heartworm test came up positive, I knew she would be sitting here at the shelter for a long time.

Bobby Jo, as we quickly found out, is a fabulous dog! She has this calm, dominant presence about her with other dogs. Those “unruly” dogs that snarled and growled as they walked past her run were met with a calm stare of indifference. Those that rushed to her cage, wagging and wanting to play were met with kisses and wiggles, her sign that she, too would love to play. In the nine months she spent at the shelter, I never saw her mess in her cage. When the students from the local vet tech program came to practice drawing blood, I knew whom to volunteer. Although wiggly and wanting to give kisses, Bobby Jo never snapped, jerked or even gave a nasty look while having blood drawn from her legs and jugular.

Because she was heartworm positive and a pit bull, it took eight months before she was finally put on the list to get spayed. While prepping for her spay, I noticed masses on her side and mammary chain. When the biopsy came back, the truth was out; she had mast cell. Her outlook was not good in the shelter. After all, she was a pit bull, she was still heartworm positive, and she now had cancer. I had been coming in early each morning to spend time with her, and I knew I couldn’t bear seeing her euthanized. So, I volunteered to “foster” her.

Bobby Jo is perhaps the best dog I have ever had the pleasure of adopting. The first night I had her, I took her to a pet store to get a new collar and ID tag. While there, an unattended child ran around the corner and bear hugged her. I tensed, as I did not know how she was with children. Just as I went to tell the child to let go of my dog, Bjo (as I affectionately call her), began licking the child and rolling over for belly rubs. When my time at the shelter was up (I could not take the sadness anymore), I made the choice to adopt her. How could I take her back after all of this time?

Bjo warms the hearts of everyone she meets. I love taking her with me to public places, where people who look down on pit bull breeds get a glimpse of what a real pit bull is like. She is kind, she is gentle and she has not met a person (or dog!) that she does not love. She thoroughly loves car rides and gets very upset if I leave her behind! She has been everywhere with me, to the park, fishing, to horseshows, and I cannot fathom not having her in my life.

Heartworm disease (although gone now) has left her with a bad heart. She cannot be outside in any heat unless it is to potty (though she doesn’t mind as sleeping on the bed – it’s her favorite pastime). While I have been told by two vets that my time with her is limited (she has new masses that we cannot put her under for due to her heart), I treasure every day I am blessed to have. She has been with me through heartbreaks, losses and has never left my side.

She is the one thing I know I can always count on to give me a kiss and force a laugh out of me. In the almost two years that I have had her, not a day has gone by that she hasn’t taught me something, or brightened my day. When she leaves this world, she will leave behind all the people that she has touched and that she has had an everlasting impact on. She opened my eyes to a breed of dog that is so misunderstood, and I am proud to say I will always own a pit bull. I have been so blessed to have such a once-in-a-lifetime dog that I cannot imagine the day I wake up without her. I can only hope we will have many more years together on this earth and that she will continue to change the minds of people she meets.

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13 Responses to “An Unexpected Treasure”
  1. ScottSwenson says:

    Bless you and Bobbie Jo:)

  2. adoremydogs says:

    When she leaves this world, she will leave having had a wonderful life, if only for a little while, with a wonderful pittie-mom.  Thanks for opening your heart for this sweet soul.

    • StubbyDog says:

      adoremydogs It seems like both Bobby Jo and Kaitlyn are forever changed by each other. We love it.

  3. tiff58 says:

    This one made me cry.  God Bless Bobby Jo, and Kaitlyn for being such a wonderful momma.

  4. Lynne Exley King says:

    When she leaves this world, don’t be sad for what you have lost, be happy for what you both gained, Bobby Jo has had more happiness with you than she could have hoped for when she was first brought to you, and you have had the love and companionship of a beautiful friend xxxx

  5. BeckyKennedyMunson says:

    This is such a lovely story – bless you both. You are lucky to have eachother!

  6. Sheiv001 says:

    Thank you for sharing your story & your precious girl with us! They call us guardians, but I’m not sure who is ever really the guardian! We might provide food, shelter, & safety, yet they seem to give us so much more!

  7. WOW there’s no other words to say.  Thank you for having a heart and giving Bjo the best years she’s ever had! You’re a blessing and Bjo will always be with you even when’s gone!

  8. Matt.S says:

    Beautiful dog, Beautiful story. Thank you!