54: A Pit Bull Love Story

54: A Pit Bull Love Story

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

A Pit Bull Love Story

Fun fact: Pit Bulls were created by breeding Bulldogs and Terriers together.

Juliet is my Pit Bull rescue. She lived in the Humane Society’s shelter for more than eighteen months after being dropped off in the middle of the night. Abandoned. I saw her picture featured in a local paper, and something deep inside me told me I had to meet her. Upon arriving at the shelter, I found her cowering at the back of her kennel. It took a lot of coaxing to even get her to come close enough for me to reach my fingers through the chain links and pet her. She licked my hand.

I took her out to play in their meet-and-greet area. She was cute, but still aloof. I asked a million questions about her. Why had she been there for more than eighteen months? What was she like with other dogs? Kids? Cats? They were unsure of her history and gave her a bad rep at first. One of the volunteers told me she did not do well with children or dogs, so I left disappointed. I didn’t want to risk putting another animal or child in danger. I was well aware of the reputation of Pit Bulls.

Later that day, I had several messages and an e-mail about Juliet from the Humane Society asking me to give her a chance. They asked me to foster her for one week and see how she did. They sent a video of her interacting with other dogs, and she seemed okay, so I agreed and went to pick her up.

The minute she got in the car, I knew she was mine. I read everything I could about rescues and Pit Bulls. I watched every video I could about dog training. I took owning her very seriously. I asked friends with big rescue dogs about socializing her. I exercised her religiously. I walked her. I ran her. I took her to the park and ran up and down the slides, like an obstacle course. She was happy and loved.

But I watched as people crossed the street to avoid her when we were out for our evening walks. They were afraid to get too close, but she was more afraid of letting them get too close to her. She was the most gentle, loving, sweet dog within the walls of my house. She even learned to interact with my cats without trying to eat them. I was so proud of her accomplishments. She never disappointed me. She never chewed anything she wasn’t supposed to. She was perfection, and I loved her wholeheartedly. It was then I realized that all she ever needed was for someone to have faith in her, to give her a chance to prove herself, to be loved.

It occurred to me that Juliet was the perfect metaphor for my life. I had spent many years feeling abandoned by my father, my husband, and at times my family. All I ever wanted was a chance to be loved, but I was always afraid to let someone get too close, always proving myself to others only to be let down and left again. I understood now her initial reaction to meeting me. Why would she extend herself to me and trust me when I was just going to walk past that cage as others before me did for eighteen months?

We have spent the last four years together, rehabilitating each other and learning to trust. I cannot imagine my life without her.

Juliet does not have a tragic ending. She is my best friend, companion and soul mate. Because of her, I have learned to love unconditionally, and so has she.

~Christie Page

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