This one’s for you, J!
This one’s for you, J!
Today we started a handling class that is put on by a local rescue. It is specifically for pit bulls, which is awesome. There are only 3 other dogs, so it’s not too overwhelming. It’ll be nice to have a safe place to work on Inara’s reactivity issues.
Today we just worked on loose leash walking. Always easier said than done, especially when there are other dogs around. Inara did really well though. She had one minor meltdown before class started when a super-reactive dog immediately started barking and screaming as soon as she (the other dog, not Inara) entered the room. Inara got pretty worked up but as soon as the dog left she settled down pretty quickly.
We took turns walking across the room and back, focusing a lot on eye contact. Inara really made me proud, bouncing along beside me, glancing up at me frequently. Near the end of the hour though she was starting to get antsy. She was tired of the treats I had brought so they weren’t keeping her attention any more. Next week I’m planning on taking 2 or 3 different kinds of treats. I’m also going to try to keep her moving more next week, even when it’s not our turn. That way she doesn’t have time to get bored and start obsessing over her Halti and being dramatic.
On a side note, they are selling hand-made leashes with these phenomenal clasps on them:
These are neat – they actually “lock” by sliding a toggle so there isn’t any possible way for it to come detached from the collar. They’re very strong but still lightweight. I’m pretty excited – I never trust “regular” leash snaps.
Inara’s already smart, but hopefully she’ll get even smarter as we attend dog school. I think it’s 6 weeks long, and I’ll probably sign up for it again, just for the experience.
I usually get asked that with a sneer. There’s no short answer for it, but I’m always intrigued about what got people interested in this fantastic breed.
Here’s my story.
In the early fall of 2005 I was out with the fugitive taskforce (I’m in law enforcement) searching for fugitives. At one house I was in the back, making sure nobody escaped through a window. We had crappy equipment and my radio ended up falling off my belt. I leaned over to pick it up and the guy out back with me said, “Don’t move, there’s a pit bull right by your head.”
Well, crap. I’d never met a real pit bull. I had never even really thought about them. But I didn’t relish the thought of being scalped by a dog, regardless of breed. So I moved one hand slowly to my weapon and then lifted my head a bit to see the dog. The guy with me laughed and said, “never mind, it’s fine.” I stood up and saw a ball of wiggling mush. She was white, and chained to a concrete porch. No shade, no food, no water. She was malnourished, every rib visible. She didn’t have a collar on, just a large chain wrapped very tightly around her neck (I couldn’t fit a finger underneath it). She only had about 2 feet to move, and that was all on concrete with nowhere soft to sit or lie down.
I stood there giving her lovings until the guys inside were done. She was so starved for attention. The guys offered to help me steal her, but I couldn’t. As I walked back down the driveway she whined and stuck her head through the porch railing, watching me go. Her eyes broke my heart. I still regret not taking her.
I called the humane investigators as soon as I got in the car, and told them that if they confiscated her I would take her. Unfortunately I was never able to get a follow-up from them. I hope with all my heart that they took her. Even if they euthed her it would have been more humane than the life she was living.
I’ll never be able to forget her. I couldn’t get over how sweet she was even though she was so obviously neglected. She was “my first.” After meeting her, I did weeks worth of research online, reading everything I could find about the breed. It was eye-opening and I decided I had to have one. The rest is history.
So what’s your story?
I wanted to share some pics of Inara when she was younger. I know I’m biased, but I thought she was damned cute! Inara and her brother were born at a shelter. Their pregnant mother had been confiscated from a pit fighting ring in Akron, so the pups were at least born in safety. They were born October 22, 2005. I don’t know how many there were originally – by the time I arrived only Inara and her brother were alive. I adopted them on December 26, 2005. Here they are on the drive home, sharing a cardboard box:
Inara was a holy terror from day one, but Atlas was very sedate. Unfortunately, on January 6, ’06, Atlas woke up at about 6am having seizures, stumbling around in a circle and foaming at the mouth. I rushed him to the e-vet where they kept him for a couple hours then said his bloodwork was perfect and I should take him to my vet. My vet kept him over the weekend, heavily sedated. Sadly, on January 9, they told me that even if they could get the seizures under control there was a good possibility that he would be brain-damaged. So he was euthanized that morning as I held him.
Inara quickly grew into a gangly adolescent, all legs. For the longest time she had this fantastic puppy fat on her neck:
She was such a playful puppy, always ready for a game of tug or chase, but then also perfectly content to curl up on the couch and cuddle.
Time flew, and pretty soon it was her first birthday:
I could post billions of pictures, but she really didn’t change too much, appearance-wise, after her first birthday. She got a smidgeon taller and filled out a bit, but she’s still my little girl. I love her and cherish every day I have with her.
Let me count the ways…
I could go on and on, but that’s enough for now. She’s special, and I adore her.