Positively Pit Bull: Meet Sadie
Favorite things: Her favorite activity, hands down, is giving and receiving love. She gives the best kisses. Next to love, she’s slightly obsessed with swimming. She’s been known to swim alongside me when I take a long walk on a nearby beach and hates when it’s time to get out of the water. Her favorite backyard game is “defensive” fetch as I call it. She has absolutely no interest in retrieving the ball, unlike her ball-obsessed lab sister, but she sure enjoys tackling sister Maggie before Mags has a chance to grab the ball.
Sadie’s story, as told by her person Sarah of marriedwithdawgs.blogspot.com:
We adopted Sadie, our pitbull mix, several years ago. It all started out when we decided that our black lab, Maggie, needed a big sister. The search came with a list of restricted breeds – no pitbulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, etc. I had no experience with any of those breeds, so my exposure to them was limited to what is in the media. I don’t think at that time I actually thought all dogs of these breeds were aggressive, but I certainly did not think I had the experience and knowledge to deal with aggressive behaviors. So how on earth did we end up with a pitbull mix with fear aggression issues?
It started with a craigslist ad, one which advertised a lab mix and pictured a dog that was not at all Sadie. A few days later, we were in a field meeting Sadie for the first time. It was apparent from the get-go that this was more of a pitbull mix than a lab mix but there was one person there who didn’t care about the type of dog she was: Maggie. From the first second they laid eyes on each other, Maggie and Sadie were BFF’s. Maggie chose Sadie; thank god, we were smart enough not to get in the way of her selection.
Sadie’s fear aggression issues presented themselves rather instantly that first day. She was cautious with us, and we were cautious with her. When a friend came over and she shook in the corner for hours, snarling at anyone that came close to her and snapping when anyone tried to touch her, our fears and uncertainty grew. It was obvious that she was terrified; it was not so obvious if we were equipped to deal with how her fear caused aggressive behaviors.
I spent that first week rather fearful of my new dog. The week capped itself off with a trip to our vet. I barely had finished my description of the behavior issues we were seeing before my vet insisted upon a muzzle and proceeded to lecture me on my new aggressive, dangerous breed of dog. She barely observed Sadie, who patiently allowed me to put her muzzle on and mostly hid between my legs shaking. That visit, besides being the last time I ever set foot in that vet’s office, was the day I decided to change. I knew that I did not have a dangerous, aggressive breed. I knew that I had a terrified pooch and that the way she dealt with her fear was the problem.
It has been a long road with our dear Sadie. And it’s taken a lot of love, encouragement, socialization and training. She’s not 100% perfect, and many may not consider her an ambassador for her breed. She still is fearful of anyone new who comes to our home. After those first few minutes where she barks and is cautious of newbies, not many will continue to deny her ambassadorship. Once she warms up to you, she. warms. up. to. you. Her favorite activity in the world is giving and receiving love.
True to her breed, she gives the best kisses. What I think is the best example of how she is an ambassador is that she is like every other dog and breed in the world. She is an individual and has her own personality. She is as worthy of the work we put into her to make her a happier dog as any other breed.
Note: This is the FIRST Positively Pit Bull story! My inbox was flooded with submissions (yay!!!) after the Blog the Change post. I’ll be posting them on Fridays then archiving them in the Positively Pit Bull tab above. Please share your story! All the Positively Pit Bull details are here.