I wanted to adopt a dog and actually Missy wasn't my first choice. I went to the shelter looking for a small dog. But, my deadbeat wannabe macho ex-husband wanted a bigger dog. We were living in a big home at the time, so we had the space to welcome a big dog, so I agreed. I actually wanted a dog that was next to Missy's cell, but the dog was not up for adoption. Missy kept doing these back flips and she got our attention. We came to visit several times and finally I agreed that she could come home with us. The shelter was very adamant on getting her adopted. They literally carried her to our car.
Missy had been at the shelter for 6 months before we came to the rescue. She had been dumped after giving birth to a litter of puppies. They said she was still lactating and her breast were very large. She was potty trained and knew basic commands.
Usually, the shelter is supposed to do a home check before adopting out an American Pit Bull Terrier, but our home wasn't checked till a week after Missy was already residing at our home. This is a requirement that most shelters have when adopting out an American Pit Bull Terrier. Also, Missy was not neutered when we took her home. They gave us a number to call to set up an appointment. Usually, this is done prior to being adopted. I think our case is very rare, well at least I hope.
When we brought Missy home. I didn't realize I would become an advocate for American Pit Bull Terriers (APBT). Frankly, I didn't know that there was a war against Pit Bulls.
I grew up in a home that loved animals. We had so many dogs in our home. My neighbors had Jindo's and Rottweilers. I never feared dogs. I knew that there were unfriendly dogs, but our family always turned those dogs into loving creatures. I dreamed about having a farm where I could rescue dogs and they could live their lives running around on a big property.
I knew so little about APBT. Honestly, I really don't think that the shelter should have let me take Missy. It's such a huge responsibility to raise a APBT. I grew to become a responsible owner. I did a lot of research, joined a Pit Bull group, and several online forums. I immersed myself in being the best owner I could possibly be.
Not only was I experiencing the stigma of being a APBT owner, but Missy had several emotional issues. She had separation anxiety and would tear up my house. She could not stand us leaving the home even for an hour. She wouldn't go on a walk. If I put a leash on her and took her outside, she would just lay on the floor. She was terrified of other dogs, especially if they were barking at her. She would try to runaway. I'm not sure what happened to her before, but it took a toll on her. It took me 2 years of consistent, patient training. I got a crate to help her with her separation anxiety. I would work with her on walking just a few feet every day. To be honest, I almost took her back to the shelter because it was so hard. I'm glad I didn't, 7 years later you would never know she had these issues.
When I did my research on APBT, I realized how misunderstood this breed really was. But, I see both sides. I completely understand people's fears. The media loves to report about the next Pit Bull attack. If I watched the news everyday, I would be depressed and believe everything they say. That's why I don't watch the news. The truth is there are some Pit Bulls that are scary. But, the problem isn't the breed, it's irresponsible breeders and owners. If you look at the history of APBT, there were no records of any Pit Bull attacks till the 80's.
Finding a rental with a dog is hard, but with an APBT is even harder. But, somehow I have always managed. People like my personality and I'm a very responsible person. I currently reside in a house with a backyard.
If you meet Missy, you would love her. She loves to be petted. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Yet, people like to say rude comments towards me and her. I've been asked if she's dangerous. How on earth is a dog wagging her tail and smiling dangerous? I've also been told in my face that I'm a horrible person for having a Pit Bull. But for every 1 mean person, there are 10 nice people. People love to pet her. I have a lot of older people say how wonderful she is.
I know I've changed a lot of people's minds about APBT's. I've educated people and debunked the myths. Most people don't even know what an APBT looks like. I once had a lady pet her till she found out she was an APBT. Somehow the name changes everything.
I've seen in the past few years a lot of responsible owners with APBT's. I've also seen a lot of great stories of APBT's saving lives. The stigma is fading slowly. I hope in the next few years, more people will understand the truth. The truth is, that not every person should be an owner, and certainly not every dog owner should have an APBT.
You have to be a strong person, mentally and physically, to be a APBT owner. This has been one of the hardest jobs I've had, raising Missy.
I don't know if every APBT owner has gone through the same things I have, but this is my experience. Would I adopt another APBT? Maybe.