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The Love of a Pit Bull
By Irene Reed
The moment I saw her I felt sympathy. A bony and emaciated six month old Pit-bull. She gazed at be with her huge beautiful brown eyes that looked like big bowls of chocolate, warm and comforting. She stared at me as if I was going to lash out at her at any moment. Her beautiful white fur was accompanied by splotches of brindle and gold; it was a shame that it was encrusted with mud and dirt. She leaned up against my legs and looked up at me as if begging me to protect her. I had no means to take care of a dog, especially one that I had no prior knowledge on but something in her struck me. I knew she needed me.
I brought her home and bathed her, I remember that first bath well. I felt as if I was torturing her. Every time I looked at those eyes it reminded me of where she had come from, a place of neglect and abuse. I remember dwelling on how someone could be so cruel to an animal so sweet and pure. As I sat there scrubbing, I watched all her past running down the drain. All of the fleas, mud and feces dripping from her tattered fur to reveal a beautiful shiny white coat. Despite her constant shivering and expression of fear, I knew she felt better.
After arranging her a small bed, laying out a dish of water and blanket to keep her warm she still refused to comfort herself. I realized how broken she truly was. The first few days she neither ate nor slept. All she could do was curl into the tightest ball in the farthest corner as if she just wanted to disappear into the background. I wondered was she was thinking; if I too would abuse her, if I would feed her or take care of her. If I would keep her or send her away. I’m not sure she even knew what it felt like to be loved and cared for. It wasn’t until the third day did she show me any hope of a friendship.
I remember sitting about five feet away from her with my hand extended in front of me and a treat lay on my fingers. We sat like this for almost an hour. She finally moved but just enough to sniff the air in front of her in hopes to catch a whiff of the treat I offered her. Her ribs ballooning up as she tried to catch the scent of the treat I held in my hand. She twitched her nose back and forth as if she was an innocent little bunny. It took her almost forty minutes to inch up and so gently retrieve the treat from my fingers. She was sure of me finally. I think she knew I was her friend and indeed I was.
Over the next few months there was a lot of training that needed to be done; I couldn’t comprehend that a puppy didn’t know how to play. I would try everything: a ball, a rope and even a stick at one point but she just wouldn’t budge. I had to train her to play, to go on walks, even to eat correctly. She was so shy of people; every time we walked I would ask strangers to stop and give her a treat. She would hide behind me, cowered over, tail between her legs and the saddest look on her face. Still to this day I wonder if these strangers ever thought that I was the one the mistreated her.
Today, she stands tall and is constantly wagging her tail. She is the most gentle dog I have ever met; she can play rough with the dogs and easy with the kittens. One of her favorite pastimes is playing tug-of-war with her fellow canine friends. She loves belly rubs and treats. Even though it may take her a little bit she warms up to people and actually trusts them to treat her right. She loves all other animals and adores children; I think it’s because they are more her size. One thing has never changed though, she uses her sad face to get what she wants! She knows it is my weakness!
Looking at her now, it amazes me how far she has come; it has been nine months since I began to call her my own. I have named her Marley and she has become a bigger part of my life than I would have ever imagined. She has become my best friend. I never have to impress her or hide my emotions. She listens to me and never judges. Even if I am angry at the world she will always make me smile. That dog ended up saving me just as much as I saved her. I know what true unconditional love and loyalty actually means because of my American Pit-bull Terrier.
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