Chewy the Pit Bull
I was down in San Luis Obispo visiting my sister and she told me about a cute corgi-rottweiler mix at the San Luis Humane society. We had one of those before (our beloved Bert-dog) so I really wanted to go see it. But when we got there the shelter wasn't open yet. There were a bunch of dogs out in the pens (almost all pit bulls) and when we went over there, they all started barking at us - all except the dog in the first pen. He was playing with a ball, throwing it up and catching it.
When I walked over to the fence, he came running up and lay against the chain-link so I could pet him. Such a sweet dog!
When the shelter opened, we went in to find the corgi mix, but we couldn't find him anywhere. We finally asked someone and she said the corgi was in quarantine for biting someone. That didn't sound like my kind of dog, so I was ready to leave. But my sister suggested that we take out the cute pit bull and see what he was like. I was trying to talk her into adopting him, but she said there is no way her husband would let her bring home a pit bull. It would have been impossible not to love this little dog. He was totally untrained but clearly just loved life and loved everyone he came in contact with. He was definitely a people dog and just wanted to crawl into your lap.
I drove home that day thinking about that sweet little dog and to talk to my husband about adopting him.
My sister, Stephanie Laird - an award-winning photographer, sent me these pictures of our day with the dog (his name at the time was Raffa at the time, but we changed it to Chewy.)
But the last picture she sent me really did me in.
My husband agreed to meet the dog, so we called the shelter to make sure he was still there, but Chewy had been adopted! I was saddened, happy for him, and just a little relieved (we already had one dog and didn't really need another one.) Besides, what kind of nut drives 200 miles to adopt a pit bull, when there are plenty at any shelter you go to?
The following week my sister sent me an email to tell me that Chewy had been returned to the shelter. So my husband, daughter, and I jumped in the car and drove the 3 1/2 hours to go see him. (Hmm, yes, I guess we are those kind of nuts.) When the handler took him out to the pen for us he told us that Chewy was a good test dog for them. They could put other dogs with him to determine their temperament because Chewy was very much a beta dog and very tolerant of other dogs.
Chewy passed the daughter/husband test, so away we went for an incredibly painful 3 1/2 hour drive home. Chewy had apparently not been in a car before and he was nervous, wanting to chew on everything, and wanting to climb into everyone's lap. My poor daughter took the brunt of it in the back seat with him. We stopped at every Petsmart along the way to buy more chew toys!
We don't know anything of Chewy's history as he was originally found as a stray. His tail is mangled and broken and when it tries to wag it, it makes a funny little up and down motion. He had scars on his legs and there was clearly some trauma in his life, but you would never know it from his sunny disposition.
We were told that Chewy had been returned because the gentleman who adopted him had neighbors that did not want to live next door to a pit bull. Since he was renting, he didn't have much say in the matter. However, I'm not sure that is the real story. When Chewy got to our house we realized just how much energy an 8 month old puppy has. Then we realized that nothing was safe and the dog would chew on everything! Our older dog was not amused so Chewy mostly stayed out of his way.
I knew I needed to find an outlet for all this energy, so I started enrolling him in training classes. But I noticed that a Zoom Room had opened just down the hill from us. Agility seemed like just the thing to burn up that energy!
Chewy loves agility and he is a lot of fun to watch because he has one speed and it is fast! He is also a bit of a clown and likes to ham it up for an audience.
This story will be continued because we recently adopted another dog, Gemini. Gemini belonged to a friend who lost their house and couldn't keep her. (And besides we really needed three dogs!) Gemini is an adorable little pippet (pit bull-whippet mix.) It turns out that Gemini was just what we needed. Toah, our old dog, absolutely loves Gemini and she has made him more tolerant of Chewy. The three get along just great.