Energetic, loving, and wiggly—those are the three words Lindsay Rapp uses to describe her rescued Pit Bull, Kayla. It’s easy to figure out why: Her sunny disposition and affinity for huge kisses and long cuddles make Kayla a dog that’s hard not to adore. For Lindsay, it was love at first site.
It was 2009, and Kayla was one of a litter of five Pit Bull puppies left abandoned in a box on the side of the road in Chicago. Animal Care and Control found the box and was planning to euthanize the puppies until STAAR (Second Time Around Animal Rescue) stepped in and had them put into foster homes.
Meanwhile, Lindsay had just moved into a new home with a large backyard, and was ready to adopt another pet to join her two longhaired Chihuahua’s Dolce and Moxie, and her cat Chiquita. She knew she wanted to rescue a big dog, and that she wanted a Pit Bull puppy. A search on Petfinder.com led her to STAAR, and eventually to Kayla.
Lindsay immediately scheduled a time to go meet Kayla at her foster home. When she met her, she knew she had found the perfect dog. However, Kayla had been attacked by an adult dog while at ACC, and was still healing—Lindsay had to wait five long days for the stitches to come out before she could take Kayla home. When the day finally came, Lindsay excitedly brought her new 10-week-old puppy home. Kayla, exhausted and still recovering from the dog bite, slept the entire day.
Learning to adapt
Kayla’s adoption was life changing—both for Kayla herself, and for Lindsay.
Though she adjusted well to her new home and pet siblings, her negative experience at ACC meant that Kayla was rather fearful of strange dogs, and reactive when on a leash. Unsure of how to fix the situation and scared of what might happen, Lindsay knew she had to do something. She decided to become a dog trainer, and is now the owner of AnimalSense—a Chicago dog training facility with a focus on strengthening the human-animal bond.
“Kayla is the reason I became a dog trainer,” says Lindsay. “She taught me everything I know about reactive dogs on leash; how to work with them, and how to help other people with the same problems.”
At home, the hard work paid off: Kayla loves spending the day running free and getting extra muddy at the off-leash dog park. And despite still being wary of other dogs, she no longer barks or growls at them on walks.
The bond between Kayla and Lindsay is incredibly strong. “She is my best friend,” says Lindsay, and thus it’s no surprise that most of Kayla’s favorite activities involve hanging out with her mom. Between the 3 to 6 mile runs they do together three times a week, the training, and the nights spent cuddling and watching TV on the couch, they’re clearly happiest when they’re together (though Kayla does very much enjoy going crazy in the backyard with her squeak toys).
Rescuing Kayla filled a void in Lindsay’s life that she didn’t even know was there. She’s also the inspiration behind Lindsay’s career and how she runs AnimalSense. “She has taught me so much,” she says. “My love for her is different than it’s been with any other pet I’ve had.”
“I am truly blessed that Kayla came into my life when she did,” says Lindsay. We couldn’t agree more!
Thank you again to Lindsay Rapp for her support of The Trio Animal Foundation.