I’m sure you get it by now. I’m obsessed with our dog.
On top of all this cuteness, she snores like a chainsaw and can play frisbee. She’s rad.
After I started volunteering at the Sacramento County Animal Shelter, I knew I would adopt a pit bull. It wasn’t immediate. Some of them were intimidating little tanks of muscle. Some of them barked a lot. And pit bulls have a whine that you could not believe. But after being walked around the block and allowed to play outside of their small kennel, I realized that they were just dogs. Adorable, wide mouthed, whippy tailed dogs.
Adorableness aside, there is an astronomical number of pit bull type (I say “type” because most people mistake anything with a big head for a pit bull) dogs available for adoption that get passed over out of fear, home owners insurance regulations, and general ignorance. It’s no secret that the breed was initially developed for their strength, but physical attributes rarely determine personality. For all that we do to encourage people to look past physical appearances, why can’t we practice it with animals that need a loving home?
I cried the day that I adopted Piper. Not because I had just become a proud parent. And not because I had succeeded in filibustering my parents into getting another dog. As I walked up to the front desk with her kennel paperwork to make it official, I turned around, grabbed onto my Dad and started sobbing. Rightfully confused, he asked me why I was crying and, inconsolable, I replied, “Because the rest of them have to stay here.”
It’s always the worst when someone is crying over the truth. There’s nothing you can say. No way to spin the situation and provide encouragement. The rest of them would stay there, and if they were lucky, they would be adopted. So, my parents just had to let me hyperventilate and sniffle through the adoption process as I did my small part in saving one.
Piper runs in her sleep. She drools uncontrollably when it’s dinner time. She fetches like a fiend. She tolerates ferocious head pats from small children. She’s my registered service dog and has helped me face anxiety, depression, trauma and grief. I’m not asserting that she’s better than any other dog, or that pit bulls are better than any other breed, but if I had held onto my initial reservations about blocky headed dogs, I wouldn’t have one of the most important pieces of my life laying next to me (snoring) right now.
Keeping an open mind can change your life. Having preconceived ideas or snap judgements about anything can cause you to miss out on experiences, new friends, and life altering opportunities. Whether it’s adopting a dog, going on a first date, or applying for a new job, looking past the surface and identifying your truth (not the “truth” fed to you by external factors) can open the door to big things. Fear can often be the facilitator of closed mindedness. And if you’re living in fear, then you’re not really living.
Piper taught me that.