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Unusual Housemates: Three Pit Bulls

Updated on July 2, 2016

Contemplation of the Move

"But they're friendly, Mom," my daugther's voice came over the phone. "I want to help you."

"I'll think about it," I said. We said our 'I love you, I love you, too' and the conversation ended.

Over the next several months, I did think about it. I had grown up on a farm where animals, including cats and dogs, were always kept outdoors. The only exceptions I could recall were kittens that had been abandoned by their mother. I had put them into a shoe box and brought them into the house in an attempt to save their lives. I was only five. The other exception occurred years later when the only family dog, a German Shepherd, suffered panic attacks during electrical thunderstorms. She simply could not tolerate the seemingly impending doom. We allowed her to come into the garage during these times. On the other hand, I knew how important pets were in providing companionship for the elderly. I had taken care of my widowed, octogenarian father-in-law after his hip surgery. Two dogs, a Lab-Doberman mix and an Alaskan Husky, were his companions--they also happened to be part of the reason he needed hip surgery!

So, three Pit bulls? It didn't seem like a very good propostion. As I learned from my farming days and the in-home healthcare experience, animals were a lot of work. But I hadn't seen my daughter in years, and I wasn't very happy about my group-home-living arrangement. As the saying goes, "blood is thicker than water," and I knew I'd be happier living with a blood relative who truly cared about me, so I decided to do my best to deal with the Pit bulls--all three of them!

Spanish Moss in Florida
Spanish Moss in Florida | Source

The Journey Summarized in Sonnet


I left my state while still in winter clime

With daughter and possessions I did ride

To see the seasons unfold in their tide,

And the magnolia blossom in its time.

Left behind me were memories sublime.

Green espial met like pastoral mime.

Betony, Spanish moss, and river’s side

Comprise a new world before child-like me,

Caught up in the midst of expanded space

As I now endeavor to find my place.

Slowly, surely, I will know God-success

While learning about the community;

For wisely in his kindness, He does bless

His own children—wherever they may be.

A First Impression

We arrived at my daughter's home at 10:30 in the evening after traveling a little over a day and a half. When we opened the door, the dogs came to greet us with tails wagging in spite of the late evening hour. There was no barking and no jumping.

"So far, so good," I thought as I worked my way through the meandering furry bodies. Having arrived safely after driving a stick-shift the last half of the journey without any driving experience for four years, I was just glad the journey had ended as I took my night bag to my untidied bedroom. We would unload in the morning.

Kodiak, The Guardian Sage

I've shared the house with the dogs for over a month and am still trying to figure out the inner workings of this medium-large male that is part Mastiff. He sleeps much of the day in his favorite reclining chair and, when outdoors, can usually be found lying on a cool patch of ground in a shaded corner of the west yard. His movements are generally slow and he's a little over the size of the other two Pit bulls put together. In fact, he rests so much that he sometimes has difficulty getting up and walking initially due to delayed leg circulation. He enjoys walks, though, and his owners are trying to help him maintain a healthy weight.

Kodiak in the Pond Ready to Fetch a Stick
Kodiak in the Pond Ready to Fetch a Stick | Source

Kodiak's greatest activity occurs in mid-afternoon when he runs back and forth along the western fence in a territorial urge to compete with the neighbor's dog. His second physical feat is when my daughter takes him to a pond off a public bike trail to fetch sticks thrown into the water. He seems to relish this task and faithfully swims out to the stick and returns it to shore for his owner to throw it again and again. This routine often lasts half an hour.

Overall, this dog reflects intelligence, enjoys getting brushed, but will vocal a low growl at the younger male Pit bull when there's space infringement at one of the three food bowls. Other than delayed cooperation during bath time, I have had no problem with this dog and enjoy his trick performances when offered a treat. I have to laugh, though, when he takes his belly-up, paws-suspended-in-air position in his recliner chair. The position makes me think he is in some kind of dog's nirvana, so I have dubbed him, "The Guardian Sage" or "Zen Dog."

Qinling with Her Watermelon
Qinling with Her Watermelon | Source

Qinling, the Adorable Huntress

If you happen to sense a wet nose checking things out while you are opening the refrigerator, it's Qinling (KWIN ling). If you feel you're being watched while eating your lunch, look down, and you'll see Qinling's brown eyes adoring you in the hopes of getting a piece or two of romaine lettuce or a stem of fresh bok choy. You'll discover Qinling will eat almost anything that has a crunch: apple slices, carrot sticks, popcorn, and even watermelon. Grapes, onions, and spices, though, are off limits.

She is the most patient of the three dogs when it comes to brushing. Her tender rolls of fat beneath her fur at the neck and just behind the shoulders typifies her female physique. If I personally had to make a choice of which dog to keep, it would probably be Qinling for her gentleness and loving disposition, which seems a paradox the way she goes after small, moving creatures.

This dog has been known to kill squirrels and, during my outdoor garden preparation, bite a small, non-poisonous ringneck snake in two. She loves chasing lizards, so I have to remind her to stay out of the front flower bed when I go to mailbox at the end of the driveway in the afternooon. Other habits which seem less than feminine include pulling on her leash during walks and deploring the halti. She has outswum Kodiak during a fetch-the-stick excursion at the pond and enjoys playful sparring matches with Brindle, the younger male.

Brindle | Source

Brindle, the Budding Athlete

Last, but not least, there's Brindle, undoubtedly the most energetic of the three Pit bulls. The first thing you'll notice about him is that his tail is short--you might even think he's not a Pit bull or mixed with some other breed. The truth of the matter is Brindle's unbridled energy resulted in being hit by an automobile when he dashed after a neighbor's dog in the street, and his tail was crushed to the extent it had to be amputated.

In spite of his bouncy energy, he shows elements of loyalty by waiting outside my bedroom door for me to awaken. Like the others, he enjoys being brushed but I have to hold him by the collar in order to do this. He loves fetching but, unlike Kodiak or Qinling, is afraid of the water, so he limits his eager display of running and fetching on solid ground.

He mimicks Qinling by enjoying crunchy popcorn or the yummy fat of an avocado, but usually drops vegetable sticks after accepting them. While Qinling enchants you to feed her, Brindle's dancing, dark brown eyes seem to say, "Let's play!"

What I Get from the Dogs

My daughter and son-in-law work outside the home all day, so the dogs provide some companionship. I am a nurturing type by nature, so being with the dogs allows me to express myself by grooming and feeding them. They also remind me not to take myself too seriously and help me get exercise by playing with them in the backyard or taking them on walks. I have to maintain my confidence and authority when disciplining seems necessary. So, they are helping me to build character. While I'm not interested in having a pet of my own and still believe animals belong outdoors due to the way I was raised, I respect my hosting couple's choices as a guest in their home. And, for the most part, the arrangement seems to be symbiotic. The dogs seem happier with my presence, or so I'm told. And where else can you get a free tongue massage? . . . . Well, I'd best go sweep the living room floor--those dogs shed and bring in a lot of dirt!

Three Dog Groups with Five Associated Breeds

Doberman Pinscher
Cocker Spaniel
Australian Cattle Dog
English Setter
Siberian Husky
Golden Retriever
Border Collie
St. Bernard
Irish Setter
German Shepherd
Labrador Retriever
Old English Sheepdog

What's your favorite dog breed?

See results

© 2013 Marie Flint


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    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      As of Sunday, October 5, 2014, I no longer reside with the dogs; however, they are still glad to see me when I go back to the house for a visit.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Two of the Pit bulls, Qinling and Brindle, seem to be allergic to Trifexis, which is supposed to be a super prescription medication for heartworm, other parasites, and fleas.

      I've been caring for these two poor dogs for weeks now by changing bandages on their paws and soothing the sores on their mouths with gentle washing and ointment. My daughter doesn't even want to take the dogs to the vet anymore because of this experience.

      She had only given the dogs one treatment. The third dog, Kodiak, didn't have the medication and shows none of the symptoms of the other two.

      The dogs are slowly getting a little better. We look forward to the medication leaving their systems soon with only a few days until the expiration of one month happens.

      We've learned about Trifexis complaints through a local (Florida) radio program. Various dog owners claim their dogs have died from the medication--900+ cases, I understand. Yet, when I research the drug online, veterinarians support this drug wholeheartedly.

      So, if you're a dog owner and Trifexis has been recommended to you, think twice about following the recommendation.

      God bless the elementals. May they be quickened and protected from all human error with ease and dignity.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      I have been with the dogs over a year now and have developed a kind of "pack leader" relationship unintentionally.

      I find Kodiak the most intelligent of the three. One day while supervising my step-granddaughter's bathing of him, I stood outside by the front door and saw that he had come up beside me and needed further rinsing. "Go get rinsed," I said and pointed. The dog obediently left my side and went to Olivia for a final rinse. This was the first time I had ever issued this command, and we had never prepared for it.

      What can I say? I just think he's a rather remarkable dog.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      I have created a new poll. In the previous one, three people felt my hub helped them to understand Pit bulls.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Since writing this story, my daughter has left work to pursue studies in computer software development, so she is at home during the day. I interact with the dogs a little less and have been working on a quilt, some of the pictures of which are posted on my Facebook timeline. The condition of the living room floor, constantly in need of cleaning, hasn't changed.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Johnson 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Animal therapy is great. I have kids to help me with mine. It is nice.

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      A lovely Hub! I do envy you with these dogs, as I also live with another family, but sadly, NO PETS IN THE HOUSE! Actually, no pets! There is one, though, a box turtle who is really quite funny, but not what you would call a cudly pet. He lives inside, because he doesn't cause alergies. Have fun while you can! See you!

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      The following website was helpful in creating the table for this hub: