In light of the heartbreaking BSL news this week, I wanted to share a Positively Pit Bull story that sheds a light on the lessons dogs can teach us. It is possible to overcome prejudice and fear!
Lua’s story, as told by her pet sitter, Liz Maradyn:
Lua, Another Dog in my Home
When I first meet a dog, it’s not always love at first sight. Like a good friendship, sometimes it takes a while to build up. That’s the way it was with Lua; my trust and love were slow to grow, but once I saw what a fantastic dog she was, there was no stopping my love for this girl.
I got a call from a pet sitter wanting to know if I would be interested in boarding a dog for Thanksgiving weekend. I have a pet services business, Paisley Dog & Cat Services, in Ottawa, Ontario. I don’t normally board dogs, but the owners were in a bit of a bind, no pet sitter. I knew that my husband, Mike, would not at be pleased. If I was going to board this dog, and make a ‘case’ for needing to, I would have to meet this dog, who may be a pit bull.
I hadn’t had any experience with pit bulls, and I was both nervous and curious. Of course I had heard all about pit bulls, some good, and some not so good. I had read about the ‘Vick Dogs’, and about the rescue ‘Dog Town’ in Utah. And I had also heard of attacks on dogs and humans, not pretty stories.
It was time to meet Lua. Lua a young dog, about a year and a half, was black brindle, small to medium in size, and well muscled. And she could jump very high from a standstill – impressive. She came right over and started to lick my face, and then rolled over on her back. Possibly it was what she did with everyone, but I thought that she was trying very hard to win me over, as if she knew that my being there was important. The pet sitter tried to get Lua to sit, or rather under some sort of control, because Lua was all over me!
I decided to take Lua for the weekend, but I wasn’t 100 % sold on her, and I wasn’t sure how it would work at my home. I had two dogs and a husband to be concerned about. I had to show greater confidence than I was feeling to pull this one off. In the end, my husband ignored her the whole weekend, well, all of us. My dog Claire, a Jack Russell cross pug mix, and Lua, acted as though they were long lost sisters from another life, they got on famously, except for a bit of toy resource guarding, and food resource guarding, and sometimes me, I was the resource. Nothing like a spicy relationship! Finnegan, my very soulful Labradoodle, took Lua like a champ, wasn’t too thrilled about the whole thing, especially when Claire and Lua gained up on him in the field.
What interested me in Lua was her thought process. I could tell that she was trying to figure out what the rules of the house were. She quickly discovered that in order to get outside, sitting was necessary, and that each dog would be called by his/her name to go outside. Lua looked at Claire and then Finnegan, just to be sure that she understood. And she did get it, and then she decided to do it better. She sat faster than my dogs, she lay down faster, she was better on recall. When I sat down at the dining room table, she lay at my feet. It sounds pretty incredible, and I began to look at how ‘slow’ my dogs were! Sleeping arrangements for us three: Claire, Lua and I sleeping on the foldout couch, Claire got the top half of me, Lua got the bottom half, and eventually all of me, over the course of the night. Finnegan got to sleep on his bed – enough girl stuff going on for him I think.
I think that it was Lua’s laying at my feet that really did it. When we came in from the field, and both of my dogs were goofing off, Lua laid at my feet. She has as much energy as the other two, but she was contented to lay down. And that very act, reminded me of dogs that I knew growing up in the countryside of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The dogs that I remember would go everywhere with their person, in the truck, in the fields, in the country store, and in the dining room, asleep at their feet while their person ate dinner. It began to dawn on me what a great dog Lua was. She’s one of those dogs that comes along, and is so very special, that even if she is not your own dog, it doesn’t matter.
It was hard to drop her off, let me tell you. But the way I figured it was that Lua was not the first very special dog in my life,and I think probably not the last.
Here’s to you sweet thing, all my love.