Owning an English bull terrier
A loyal companion
English bull terrier a breed I would never normally have chosen,a good description was a dog that looked like it had downs syndrome,I always thought they were strange looking creatures,until one day my husband arrived home with one.
His name was Buster,my husband had wanted to own one of these dog's since he was a boy and someone he was talking to at work one day told him he had a friend who was living in an apartment and he had a bull terrier he wanted to rehome,we had a lot of land and I was home all day,so my husband seized the opportunity and said he could give the dog a good home,he just thought he would surprise me and that he did.
As soon as Buster and I met it was love at first site,he was so pleased to see me,wagging his tail and licking me,I instantly recognised his gentle nature and found myself drawn to him,he no longer looked ugly to me and I could only see him as cute.He was 3yrs old and a big boy all white with a brown patch over his left ear not quite covering his eye,he had a perfect egg shaped head and was a prime example of the breed.My husband explained the home he had come from was not at all suitable he was living in an apartment and his owner was out at work all day so Buster was alone all the time,he had near wrecked the apartment with his chewing.So this was a new start for him I would be with him all day he would have lots of space to run around and he would get plenty of walks.
Buster became a learning curve he certainly had a character that out did any othe breed of dog we had ever owned,everyday I learnt something new about this fascinating animal.
Bull terriers are extremely stubborn and difficult to train if you don't aquire them as a pup,from the minute we got him to the day he died he would merrily chew his way around the house and the jaw of these dogs is incredibly powerful,and boy he did some damage,this wasn't because he was lonely or bored,he would even chew the cushions as he sat upright next to me on the sofa,he loved to sit like a person,his head would tilt to one side and the next thing you knew there would be feathers everywhere,I think it was just sheer habit a habit that was formed when he was a lonely pup,and no matter how we tried we could never stop it.
He was a sociable character and liked the company of our cats and then when we got a welsh collie they were the best of friends,he used to let the collie pup snuggle up in his bed at night.These dogs are nothing like the way the general public perceive them,they don't have a vicious bone in there body,if one of these animals is vicious it is the person handling the dog that has made it that way unfortunately some unsavoury characters are attracted to owning this breed as they think they are good for fighting,once one of these dogs is turned and becomes nasty they have to be put to sleep as they can no longer be trusted and the power of that jaw makes the dog just far to dangerous,as we learnt to our peril when my husband tried to rescue another bull terrier.
The thing about bullies is as anyone who has these dogs will tell you they are addictive,so when my husband heard there was another one that needed rescuing,he was there.Bella was 2 yrs old when we went to pick her up she was on a short chain chewing a brick and her owner would not go anywhere near her,as we approached she bared her teeth and snarled,I was scared and moved away but my husband walked right up to her and said come on darling your coming home with me,gave her a treat,she wagged her tail and just about licked him to death.My eight year old daughter was with us at the time and he put the dog in the back of the car with her,she was fussing my daughter very excited,but I was so nervous,anyway when we arrived home we took her and buster for a good walk,he loved her and they got on real good.She settled well,but she hated the cats if she could have caught one she would have for sure killed it,she also had an aversion to other dogs,it was as though we were her property she accepted buster as part of the family she was great with all of us, but the minute anyone else came near any of us she wanted to kill them,this started to make life difficult,if she was in the garden she had to be tied up,and if anyone came to the house we had two gates in between them and the dog so we could be sure she couldn't harm anyone.Then one warm summers evening we could hear a child screaming in the garden,it was a friend of my daughters,despite being told not to go near the dog,she just couldn't resist and she was badly bitten,the child was taken to the hospital and the dog was taken to the vet's to be put to sleep,I don't think I ever saw my husband so distraught he cried like a baby,we found out the dog had been coached from a pup to fight other dog's,just bred to use for fighting,the only bit of peace in her life was the short time she spent with us,we will never know why she turned on the child that night,but a neighbour said her mild mannered collie went for the same child when she caught her poking a pencil into his eye's,the child was ok but it cost Bella her life,we just couldn't keep her after that we could no longer trust her and she had commited a mortal sin.
We were all affected by what had happened but it never made us feel differently towards the breed,we knew that was not the nature of the beast,so our love affair continued,so much so I wrote childrens stories about them,and would draw them at every oppourtunity,sadly bull terriers suffer with heart disease and can often seem fine but on exertion can collapse and die,sadly that was Buster's fate,he was playing with our collie,and just dropped dead,he had a massive heart attack,he was 9yrs old.For the 6yrs we owned him he brought us tremendous joy despite all the chewing,and if anyone out there is contemplating owning one of these dog's I say you won't regret it,you will be hooked,I think it is best to get a pup much easier to train being as they are such a stubborn breed.
If you are thinking of rescuing make sure you know the full background why the dog need's to be rescued,if you suspect the dog has been used for fighting steer clear,in general rescue bullies will need patient owners that can spend time with them,they don't like to be alone.But this breed will bring you hours of pleasure,as each one has it's own special personality and you will soon find yourself hooked on Bullie love.