This Is What I’ve Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls

“I could argue for hours about the benefits of adopting a shelter dog… nothing can quite compare to their ride away from a life of confinement towards a life of freedom.”

 

 

Written by Neely Conway and originally posted on BarkPost:

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of pit bulls. As a mother to two and foster mom to many, I have always had a soft spot for a dog with a blocky head.

And although I wish I could say I’ve taught these dogs a thing or two, it would be a disservice to the role they have played in my life. They have taught me way more than I could ever begin to teach them.

Lesson #1:  Freedom Rides Are the Best Rides

When I picked Elly up from the shelter, I wrapped my arms around her belly and awkwardly placed her in my backseat. She rested her head outside the window, just enough to feel the air. She was an older, overweight pit bull mix who needed a foster home to recover during her heartworm treatment. We had no idea she would end up staying with us for eight months as she endured and recovered from many illnesses, infections, and hardships.

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls2

 

During those months, Elly would ride everywhere with me, her face poking out the window. Those were some of my favorite moments with her, and I can’t help but think she would agree. Even now, three months after she’s been adopted, I still miss her in my backseat.

I could argue for hours about the benefits of adopting a shelter dog, as opposed to purchasing a dog from a reputable breeder. But at the end of the day, nothing can quite compare to their ride away from a life of confinement towards a life of freedom.

Nothing can compare to the loud snoring when their head hits their brand new bed. Or the excitement in their eyes when they begin to devour their first real meal. Or the first time they realize that you will always come back home.

Nothing can quite compare to their gradual realization that humans really can be good.

Lesson #2:  Smiling Is Contageous

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls3

 

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls4

 

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls5

 

 

Lesson #3:  No Matter What’s Happened in Your Past, You Can Always Get Better

 

I first met Mari at the Fulton County Animal Shelter. She was the only dog out of a local fighting ring bust that was dog-friendly, but she was having difficulty warming up to humans. I knew immediately she’d be a perfect dog for our home.

The first few weeks presented many obstacles. Mari was terrified of me. She would shake in her crate as I walked by. She would plaster herself against my bedroom wall, begging for me to leave her. She would dart around the house frantically, hoping to find a spot where she could be alone.

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls6

 

I remember the exact day she began to warm up to me. I remember her head slowly poking out from her crate. I remember her tail beginning to wag. I remember the look on her face as she begged me not to hurt her. I remember the feeling as she crawled up into my lap, shaking. I remember how hard she was trying.

I remember every day after that getting better and better. Until one day the bad days were gone, and in their place were amazing days.

Lesson #4:  The Only Way to Break Through Stereotypes Is Through Your Actions

We found Lyla as we were driving down to Florida for vacation. She was a stray, pregnant, flea-infested pit bull. My eyes were wide as I looked at my husband: How were we going to pull this off?

As we were driving, we began to doubt our decision to pick her up off the side of the road. Would she get along with other dogs? Would she be ok with kids? Would we regret this?

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls7

 

Throughout the next few months, Lyla would prove us wrong on so many occasions. She would end up getting along perfectly with other dogs. She was amazing with children. And even two years later, she is still one of our favorite rescue stories. We never regretted it.

People often ask us why we choose to rescue pit bulls; why we’re fighting for a breed that has such a bad reputation. And our only answer is to invite them into our home, to allow them to meet our dogs. Because once they do, their mind is forever changed.

No argument or heated discussion will ever accomplish what setting a good example can.

Lesson #5:  Never Give Up on Them

Because somewhere inside, there’s a great dog just waiting to change your life.

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls8

 

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls9

 

 

5.18.16 - This Is What I've Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls10

28 thoughts on “This Is What I’ve Learned While Fostering Pit Bulls

  1. Great story. I have a lot of respect for foster parents that open their homes & families for animals even if it’s only temporarily.

    1. RButcher – that was an ignorant thing to say. You obviously have never been around well behaved, loved, pittbulls. Your silence would have been a positive thing. That is all.

      1. Agreed with Angela. Next time if you can’t say anything nice then don’t bother opening your ignorant mouth. Keep your nasty comments and opinions to yourself.
        BTW Melanie thanks for sharing with us. I love my pitbull and the smiles on all of your faces in those pictures are contagious 🙂

    2. I have had them sll my life and they haven’t tore my face off yet….Rbuthcher…you are a spoon and a troll….

    3. I have a male Pitt Bull and I still HAVE MY FACE , People like you are the ones that give Pitt Bulls a bad name……..GET A LIFE RB BUTCHER !!!!

    4. If you want to have a comment on this breed maybe you should do some research first. You have no idea about the love and forgiveness that this breed has towards humans. These dogs just keep forgiving and want to be loved. Do Your Research!!!

    5. Wow, someone who is clueless. I’ve been rescuing Pitts for a long time, I’m 52 and have been bit three times, 1. A beagle, 2. A Welch corgi, 3. A jack russle

      Grow up and learn something factual before you shoot you mouth off

  2. I have a lab/pit mix and he is the most friendly thing. Actually he is friendlier than my pure bred labs.

  3. Statistics and research data are not stereotypes. The breed is dangerous. Insert your anecdotal fallacy argument here…….

    1. All research can be skewed in a way to show what you want to see. Real professionals know that pitbulls are not dangerous. All dogs have the potential to bite. I have owned and been around hundreds of pitbulls and not one time were these dogs aggressive towards anything but a toy.

    2. Wow, someone who is clueless. I’ve been rescuing Pitts for a long time, I’m 52 and have been bit three times, 1. A beagle, 2. A Welch corgi, 3. A jack russle

      Grow up and learn something factual before you shoot you mouth off

    3. Please tell me what statics (with sources) according to Einhorn insurance the American Temperment Testing Society (2013 data) 86..4 % of America Staffordshire Terrier PASSED the temperment testing, which was better than labs, chihuahuas and many other ‘safe’ breeds.

  4. The Sweetest, Most Loving, Most Loyal Dog Ive Ever Had Is My Pit Bull That I Got From My Local Shelter! Bless This Woman Who Fosters Pit Bulls!

  5. When I was a little boy, my great granny had a pit bull. Back then I don’t think they had such a bad reputation. I certainly was too young to know about that stuff. All I knew was this was a very friendly dog. I would run around unsupervised in the back yard and it would chase me, jump all over me, and cover my in slobber. I would go back inside a sticky, smelly mess, but it was wonderful.

  6. While what Rbutcher said may seem ignorant what he/she said could also become true, a big part of the problem with Pits is that they are like a grenade waiting to go off. Might happen next week, month, year or never and there is no way to know on many Pits as even the nicest acting ones can go off and attackfor seemingly no reason. Happens in the news every week where someone gets attacked by a Pit and they said there was zero warning.

  7. Thank you for being so articulate and putting words to such a touching story. I am thankful that you have found something you believe in and put positive energy into it to make the world a better place. I only wish more people would put positive energy out other for other living creatures.

  8. Melanie you are a special person. There are so many ignorant people when it comes to THIS breed. They are the most loving, caring, playful and most of all forgiving. All they want and Lord knows is to be loved. I just lost mine. He was the best dog I have ever had in my 60 years of life. I loved him so much and don’t know how long it will take to love another one, but I will. And the dog that I will choose or chooses me will be a Pit Bull. May you always be blessed in your life for your kindness.

  9. Save them from the n—-rs. They are the ones who abuse and kill these wonderful dogs. Dogs lives matter. I’m sure this true comment will never be seen. Honesty hurts so many innocent souls.

  10. This was a beautiful story. Pitbulls are amazingly sweet creatures, and I’m glad Lyra is open enough to get this experience firsthand. To everyone saying that pitbull’s are dangerous, please do your own research. When looking at statistics, see where the information is coming from. What population are they pulling from? Because most dog bits aren’t recorded, and most breeds are misidentified. Also, the news has a track record for creating stereotypes. Do your research.

    https://athingforbaddogs.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.