As we’ve progressed through our Sunday Pack Walks, I’ve been trying to keep you up to date on our successes as well as our learnings because both are so important to not only our development as a pack, but as dog owners in general. In honor of not only Adopt a Shelter Pet month, but Pit Bull Awareness month, I’ve asked the founders of our Pack Walks to share a story about their dogs. This week, Lisa Reyes, has agreed to talk a bit about her dog Clyde (click and go LIKE him on Facebook…we’ll wait) and how he came to be hers.
I wasn’t looking to adopt. As a matter of fact, it is my job to find homes for adoptable animals. I work part-time, for my city’s Animal Care and Control, as the off- site adoption Coordinator. When I had an event at our local Petco, I chose a Pit Bull mix named Loki to take along with 2 other dogs. He was cute, had green eyes and about 8 months old. I like to take our Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes so the public can see that the shelter has them in our adoption program.
Everyone loved Loki. He was pretty calm for a puppy and was gorgeous. Unfortunately, he did not get any applications at our event. I decided to take him to the next event to see if we had any luck, again he went without any serious interest. Pit Bulls tend to spend a longer amount of time at the shelter, because we have stricter rules for adopting. Loki was going on a good month or longer in the kennels.
Photo: Lisa Reyes
I couldn’t stop thinking about this well-behaved little guy that had such a rough start to life. It seemed that his previous family was evicted from their home and did not take him with them. He was rescued by one of our Officers and came into the shelter with a good case of mange.
I knew I was serious about adopting him after I realized I was constantly thinking about him, but I hesitated. I already have an 11-year-old Boxer /Lab mix named Adeshka. In her aging process, she has become less tolerant of other dogs and I didn’t want to stress her out. I wasn’t sure she would even like having another dog in the house after being the only one for the last 6 years.
My reason for hesitation was the fact that Loki was a Pit Bull mix. I wasn’t concerned about the breed and all the nonsense you hear about them being inherently aggressive. I had worked with and around enough of them through the years to know that they are good dogs. My concerns were more practical. I am a renter. I live with a friend that owns his home now, but I will be moving out in a year or so. How will I find a home? I am not in the position to buy a house and it is hard to find a place that allows Pit Bulls. Will I end up in the “worse” part of town? Will I end up adopting a dog and find myself homeless next year? Can I afford the renters insurance that covers Pit Bull/mixes?
My other concern was general ignorance. Like so many pet Moms/Dads, I’m protective of my fur babies. How will I respond to prejudice? Will I be able to hold my tongue and be a good Pit Bull owner role model? Pit Bulls tend to get a bad rap, but let’s be honest, there are a lot of really poor Pit Bull owners out there that don’t represent the breed well. I don’t want to be one of them.
So, it took me about 2 weeks to decide if I was going to adopt Loki. I got in touch with our local Pit Bull coalition and asked about housing. I talked to several friends and colleagues about Pit Bull parenting. I felt confident that I would be able to do this. All the while, poor Loki was still sitting in the kennel waiting for a family. I called the shelter on a Friday and said “I want him”! The response was, “Oh, sorry, he got 2 applications today. He will probably go home on Monday”. Wow, my bubble burst. I figured it wasn’t meant to be. I told myself that the only thing that mattered was that he had a good home and didn’t spend another day in the kennel.
Monday came and I had to head into the shelter to do some work. My colleague said that the people were there to meet with Loki and another little Pit mix, so they could decide which dog they wanted to adopt. Apparently the other people who put a hold on him did not follow through. I prepared myself to say goodbye to him. It was a bittersweet day.
Did I mention that Loki had mange? Well, the people that came to see him decided that they didn’t want to put the money into treating him and decided to go with the other dog. Loki could be mine!! Now, I just have to see if my dog and my roommate got along with him.
Adeshka came in to meet him and it went as expected. She pretty much ignored him. My roommate thought he was great. It all worked out. I could take him home the next day.
I picked him up in the morning and we started our new journey together. First things first, Loki was not his name. He was too calm, kind of an old soul. He is Clyde. Yes, an old man’s name for a little boy who has already lived through too much.
Clyde has since come out of his shell. He is a wonderful, spirited, affectionate, snuggly, tail thumping, face licking boy. I feel lucky every day to have him in my life. He is a true ambassador for his breed. He is not perfect. We are still working on manners and training. He is still young and I am still learning myself. I took for granted how easy my girl, Adeshka, is. She is so well-behaved and very low maintenance.
I’ve been lucky not to have had to deal with much prejudice so far. I am thrilled that I am able to take Clyde to work with me. Most of our clients look forward to seeing him and the staff treats him like a king. Surprisingly, the neighbors behind me had a Pit Bull for 14 years and he was loved by everyone. My neighborhood, considered to be in the “nice part of town”, has several Pit Bull’s/mixes. I love that the face of the Pit Bull guardian is changing into someone just like me and you.