I’ve read these letters before. They’ve made me cry, they’ve made me think, they’ve made me angry, but I never actually felt them until I was in possession of one of the dogs that they’re typically written about - a PitBull from terrible, horrible, past upbringings.
My boyfriend and I rescued our first PitBull, Nola, almost 3 years ago when she was 6 months old and she is the love of my life. The Bully Project, a rescue organization based out of NYC was having an adoption event in Hoboken where we spotted her, fell in love, and took her home a few weeks later.
It was the best day of my life. It was the last day of my corporate job from hell, I was adopting my first pet of my own, and I was pursuing my passion for fitness all in one.
I didn’t really know much about PitBulls except for what the media said, but I had grown up with Rottweilers my whole life, so the bigger the dog the happier I was. I also didn’t know that adopting one and becoming a PitBull parent would honestly change my life and my outlook on many different things.
Last Saturday, after a little over a month of falling in love at first sight, dealing with an extended vet visit, and a few pep talks with Nola, we decided to extend our family and adopted our second one, Frankie aka gramps aka Frankie Face aka Frankie Two Teeth and holy shit when I tell you my outlook has changed again, I am NOT lying.
Like any new mother, the first thing I did was bring him to the vet to make sure he was healthy. We had our suspicions that Frankie had been through some rough times, but having them clarified is a feeling I can’t describe. As I sat on the floor in the exam room and the vet told me that someone had purposely done all the physical damage to him and it didn’t just happen over time, I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. Tears choked my throat and poured out of my eyes as he laid on the ground completely relaxed and being taken care of feeling love that he probably never felt before in his life. I couldn’t (and still can’t) wrap my head around the fact that this poor, undernourished, sweet, gentle hearted, toothless, big headed animal had seen a lifetime of horror and was still accepting the creatures that did it to him.
As we left the vet with a handful of medication and a belly full of treats, Frankie gently walked next to me as I started to sob
uncontrollably. The feelings of pain, anger, resentment, rage, anything and everything took control and I just couldn’t stop the tears. Humans are the issue. Humans are the reason why these poor abused animals sometimes never trust again. Humans are the ones that cause the problems. And even though humans hurt my boy beyond anything I can imagine, Frankie still accepted my head pets and even gave me a few kisses when I stopped walking and let myself break down.
This is my thank you to everyone who had possession of my sweet, underweight, clumsy, big headed, bigger hearted, toothless wonder of a PitBull before I did. This is a thank you to everyone who made him the sweet boy I've quickly fell in love with.
Thank you to the person or people who purposely filed his teeth down because his toothless smile is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. The way he gums his treats and makes a pucker noise makes me laugh every single time and how he throws his plush toys up in the air rather than chew on them to play is perfection.
Thank you to the girl who had him for a day then returned him back to the shelter because you wouldn’t have been able to handle the extra care this sweet boy needs. The wiping of dried blood off his behind from his severed tail, the lotion-ing the callouses he has on all his elbows from neglect, the cooking extra pounds of chicken and rice at night to fatten him up. You’re helping my motherly instinct kick in (don't get any ideas, mom).
Thank you to the person who let him go in the first place because I never would have been able to call him mine if it wasn’t for you, you coward. The way he cowers when I lift a hand to pet him is probably because of you too, but then the nuzzle into my chest and roll overs for belly rubs when he realizes I’m just there to give him love aren't from you. That's all him starting to trust.
Thank you to the person or people who made my dog a little uneasy around other dogs (minus his fur sister) because you are helping me practice patience. You are helping me work on assessing situations, finding the root, and working on them from there rather than jumping to conclusions. You are helping me become a better helper.
Thank you to Liberty Humane Society and the Animal Control officer who brought him in because you truly saved my boy. Without you, he would still be out there or even worse, gone. For the short time he was there you made sure to keep him as safe and as comfortable as possible even when he came in with a tail that was a mess, you put up with my annoying ass calling you every two days to see how he is (a special shout out to Olivia, Chelsea, and Kristina for personally dealing with me), and you gave him love while he waited for ours to come. You are his angels.
Thank you to Dr.Santiago and the rest of the staff at East Orange Animal Hospital because if it wasn’t for you, my boy still might be walking around with a tail that is unfixable. You loved him like he was your own, you kept him safe and comfortable when he was at his worst, and it shows by the affection he gives to us.
And even though you didn’t have possession of him, thank you Dr. Williams and the rest of the crew at Dr.Tudors in Hoboken because you saw him immediately and gave me assurance that he is as imperfectly perfect as I think he is. You allowed, (and still do), me to text you and send you pictures WAY past business hours when I was having a fur mom freak out and reminded me that we will fix whatever comes our way by doing whatever it takes.
It’s only been a little over a week since we brought Frankie home, but we love him like we’ve had him since he was a puppy. We're learning something new about him everyday and he’s finally starting to feel comfortable enough to attempt zoomies when his fur sister does, but is still too clumsy for the hardwood floor. He’s learning that toys are for playing with and that he doesn’t just have to look at it when we give it to him. And he’s realizing that even when we put him in the crate, we are coming back eventually to let him out.
I know that I’ll probably have to defend my dogs for the rest of my life simply because they are PitBulls and outside circumstances haven’t helped their reputation. I also know that as a PitBull supporter, a believer in rescue, rehab, and adoption, I fully accept it.
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog and not 100% sure about it, don’t do it. They have emotions and are affected by everything that happens to them, so get off your selfish high horse and leave the thought behind. You don’t deserve one of these sweet animals.
If you’re someone who physically harms or abuses animals, I hope you know there are a lot of worse things that can be done to you and there’s a special spot in hell waiting. Karma, especially the animal loving one, will come back to you in an unimaginable way.
If you’re someone that doesn’t give abused dogs a second chance and only believes in buying dogs from breeders, you need to educate yourself. Unfortunately, a heartbreaking truth is that not every dog can be rehabbed. Some dogs are born with mental issues just like humans are, but majority of them can learn and will learn to love again. So give them a second chance and allow yourself to not be so narrow-minded.
If you’re someone who has the same beliefs that I do, thank you the most. Thank you for never giving up on these special dogs that need that extra attention. Thank you for speaking for the ones who cannot. Thank you for believing in the underdog when they need it. And most of all, thank you for the love you have for these dogs whether it’s in person or through distance. Without you, they wouldn’t stand a chance.