This is him. Captain. The dog that changed everything.
We first met him at a local adoption event in July 2011 where the hubs feel in love with him as soon as he saw him. Captain was three then and spent 1 1/2 years at a shelter. This was half of his life! And not because he was a bad dog, but simply because he’s been overlooked. He is big, strong and well, he’s a Pit Bull. He also is a goofy,whiny cry baby. He’s a hunk and a big mush. And he’s handsome. He is smart, gentle, and loving and he can’t stand to hear people fighting or yelling. He’s a great dog.
Captain, who was named “Beau” during his stay at Animal Control (yes, he made it 1 1/2 years at a Animal Control Shelter!) was picked up as a stray by the Animal Control Officer in March of 2010. After a year at the pound he was very distracted, and just not much into human interaction. According to the ACO (Animal Control Officer) he was never aggressive or mean, just not really interested. He was polite and neat in his cage, and did whatever he was asked to do. “Beau” was never put down because he was a favorite of the kennel attendant and the ACO’s, they recognized that he was a special dog even though he was a bully breed. Often, Pit Bulls don’t get a fair chance when they enter a shelter. Most of them won’t make it out, which is very sad but true. All because of their reputation, because of prejudgment, and ignorance.
It is really stressful for a dog to live in a shelter environment as you can imagine, and this can affects the dogs (or any animal for that matter) greatly. It can “break” an animal, especially after such a long time. Beau never showed any signs of breaking down physically or mentally, apart from him being distracted.
Just a few short months before we adopted Beau someone came along who also saw that this dog was special. They saw what the ACO’s saw but potential adopters overlooked for so long. And this someone wanted to give him a chance. He had waited for so long, and so patiently he had earned that chance. Money was donated to a Animal Hospital in his name and he got vetted. He got neutered, and vaccinated. Being vetted meant his adoption fee dropped, everyone knew he was healthy and potential adopters wouldn’t have to worry about high vet bills first thing after getting him. He also got some toys and extra time outside, some love and affection on a regular basis.
Next, Beau was tested for aggression issues. Many assumed he was dog aggressive simply because he was a big Pit Bull, but as it turned out he was a big lover. He was social and laid back. He was good with every dog, and became the shelters test dog. Even when other dogs weren’t good with him he wasn’t aggressive or even reactive.
Captain hanging with our current foster Max
Not long after that special person invested some time and love in this homeless dog things changed. He began showing some interest, he began “being there”.
On the last July weekend of 2011 we met Captain. We spent hours at the adoption event, just hanging out with him, getting as much information as we could, and taking him out for little walks around the area. He was so excited, and jumpy and strong. I’ve never met a dog that pulled that much on a leash. But it was his reaction to the other people, the other dogs, little kids, puppies,… that completely overwhelmed us. He was so great with all of them! Besides, he was handsome and I just loved his big head. At the end of day, we filled out an application, all the volunteers were so excited and happy that someone finally showed interest in giving this dog the home and life he deserves.
We went straight to the pet store, and got food and water bowls, food, treats, bones, toys, a harness and a new leash. The next days I spent reading and researching the breed since I never really met a pit bull before, nor knew anything about them. And then we waited. We waited for someone from the shelter to call us. A couple of days passed and the hubs called the lady who took our application. As it turned out she never forwarded the application because she thought we weren’t right for the dog. We are a young couple, the hubs in the military, no previous experience with the breed. She was just as ignorant towards us as people tend to be towards specific breeds. And people were towards Captain.
We took things into out own hands and started fighting for Captain. We made phone calls, wrote e-mail, collected references. We took the hour-long trip to the Shelter to see Captain again, meet the ACO and show them how serious we are. Well, it worked. We brought Captain home a week later and couldn’t be happier. As it turned out the person who made all this possible, never got our application. Captain living the life he deserves was made possible only because people didn’t give up, people saw that special something in him and kept fighting for him. I’m incredibly thankful to have him in our life.
Only yesterday he graduated from his first training class, which was an intermediate obedience class. It was his first professional training ever and he did beautifully! I couldn’t be more proud. He loved the classes and improved so much. The trainer fell in love with him as well, couldn’t believe how smart and bright he was for being at a shelter for so long. This class prepared him to become a Canine Good Citizen and the trainer is convinced he has it in him!