Pit Bulls Wait Longer
Many pit bulls in Reno-area shelters are waiting for a forever home. They often must wait longer than other breeds because of fear.
To spread the word that this fear is generally unjustified and to inspire people to take a chance on adopting a homeless pittie, Nevada Humane Society and RGJ.com’s Mostly Dogs blog teamed up for a contest where readers told their stories about an adopted pit bull or pit mix.
Tom Jacobs, SPCA of Northern Nevada executive director, said, “It is very tragic when we get some absolutely wonderful pit bulls into our shelter and they stay for long periods of time simply because of their breed and an unjust reputation thanks to some irresponsible owners.” He said the average stay for most animals at the Reno SPCA shelter is 10 to 14 days. But, Jacobs said, “It takes months to find homes for some of the pit bulls we have rescued. These are beautiful, well-behaved animals just hoping that people like those who took the time to write these great stories will come along and give them a loving home.”
Pacy Plays Drum on David Letterman
Among the stories were one pit bull from Reno named Pacy who learned to play the bass drum and appeared on David Letterman’s show, Brindy who was trained by a woman to help with her needs due to multiple sclerosis, Petey who stands guard over foster kittens, Dakota who inspired two CDs worth of music, more than a few who maintained a sweet disposition despite being rescued from horrific abuse, and Panda, who 9-year-old Megan declares “is the best dog in the whole universe!”
Out of a few dozen entries viewable at RGJ.com/pitbulls, three stories received the most votes based on comments and “recommends” from readers as well as ratings from four judges: the SPCA’s Jacobs; Nevada Humane Society special events manager Lilli Walker; Bob Lissner, president of Lifestyle Homes Foundation, which funds children’s education programs and a voucher program to spay and neuter pit bulls for low-income people; and Reno Gazette-Journal animal writer Mark Robison.
And The Winners Are…
Third place comes from Kaitlin O’Connor, whose dog Mia taught herself to lie down when other hikers pass on a trail and who lets a child paint her toenails.
Second place is Vicky Wellman’s story of Sally, who enjoys camping and long hikes in the Sierras. “You give her an ounce of kindness, and she will return it tenfold,” Wellman says.
And the winner is from Joanne Bolander, who lied to save a dog’s life. “The writer really took a leap of faith by reaching out to help this dog in its time of need and then saved its life by saying it was hers so it wouldn’t be put to death,” Walker said. “We should all be so brave!”
“I came across Baby Girl over seven years ago. I lived in Phoenix amidst the raids of pit bull fighting camps. I actually lived by one that had recently been raided. I had noticed a stray that was out in my front yard every morning when I would get my paper. She would hide around the corner, but would be there when I got home from work.
“I could tell she was starving, so I started to leave water and bought dog food and gave her a blanket to sleep on. After a few days, she was on my porch when I went out to get my paper. I could see she had been beaten, and her paws were raw from the hot pavement. I kept my distance since she wouldn’t let me pet her, but she would let me sit by her. I finally put my arm around her and she was fine with that, so we sat on the porch and pondered what to do in this situation.
“The next day, someone knocked on my door and it was animal control. The man asked if she was my dog, and I told him the story. He said, ‘Well, I will take her and have her put down.’ Not, try to find her a home — have her put down! I asked if they try to find a home for pit bulls, and he said, ‘Of course not, they are vicious dogs! We put them down! They will rip you apart!’
“I took the dog out of the noose he had her in and told him, ‘This is my dog!’
Brightened My Deepest Days
“Baby Girl came into my life at a very dark time and has brightened my deepest days. I brought her home to Reno, and she has never left my side. She hugs my grandson and loves everyone. There has never been a moment that she was vicious!
“She still has terrible dreams, which I am sure are from her past. I always wake her up, and she gives me the most grateful look a dog can give.
“I received a head injury two years ago and suffer from blackouts. When I have these she will lick my face or stay by my side until I am OK.
“If she sees me packing to go away, she removes the clothes, hoping I won’t go.
“Now, if pit bulls are bad or vicious, come meet Baby Girl! You will surely change your mind.”
Written by Mark Robinson