If you read my letter last month about our foster dog, Dimples, you may not be surprised by my announcement: We failed our first fostering assignment!
Back in July, we visited Felines & Canines animal shelter and came home with a giant, goofy Pit Bull. After losing two dogs in the past two years, we were not ready to adopt, so fostering was the perfect solution for our family.
When we began talking about what we were looking for in a family dog, we agreed that a puppy was the best choice. Even with the work of puppy-proofing and potty training, I believed it was the kindest way to introduce a dog into the chaos that comes along with having four kids and two adults in one house.
But in the meantime, there we were, falling for a 1-year-old Pit Bull with an unknown history—everything I thought I didn’t want! Little did I know that this gentle soul arrived with just the lesson I was ready to receive.
I have been in the pet industry for more than 14 years. I have written articles against Breed Specific Legislation, touted the high scores Pit Bulls receive on their temperament tests, and traced the history of this loyal and dedicated breed back to their “nanny dog” roots—when no one seemed concerned that Petey was hanging out with the Little Rascals.
Yet, despite all of this knowledge, I still somehow felt it was not responsible for a family with young kids to take on the “risk” of living with a Pit Bull.
How judgmental of me. I believed the hype. Mainstream media had terrified even me—who knew better—into believing that just because this sweet dog has some Pit Bull in her, she might wake up one day and attack my kids out of nowhere.
In the right environment, Pit Bulls respond to love and positive reinforcement with kindness, kisses, and good manners. In the worst of situations, they are capable of engaging in horrible, aggressive, violent acts that no human should ever witness, let alone cheer on. Just as guns are only dangerous in the hands of a person, these sweet dogs get a bad rap only when they end up in the wrong homes.
We cannot paint an entire group of people with one brush, and it is absolutely unfair to say that all Pit Bulls are dangerous. Sadly, the traits that make them amazing pets—their loyalty, desire to please, and love of people—are the same attributes that make them good fighters. These dedicated dogs want to please their humans so much, that they will do anything to make them happy. In fact, these special dogs may be the best teachers of living with an open heart and mind.
After just few days with Dimples in our house, it was clear she deserved a more spiritual name. We decided on Tula, which means “balance” in Sanskrit. It fits her perfectly, as she is one of the smartest, most confident, intuitive, loving, and balanced dogs I have ever met. It was also clear that we needed to be more than a foster home for this special puppy who had already taught us so much. We needed to be her permanent, adoptive family.
So now when people ask me about our newest family member, I look at them proudly and say, “She’s everything I never wanted in a dog!”