Adopting Lily: How we decided she was the “one”

Jul 18, 2012


I spotted Lily about 50 feet away sleeping on a bench. I would have seen her a mile away. I love pit bulls and always wanted to adopt one.  I never was keen on adopting a puppy, but knew Baxter (my four year old blond beagle mix) would  probably adapt best to a puppy.  Puppies are a LOT of work. I also always felt guilty going in to the shelter and wanting to get a puppy because they are always adopted so quickly.  My husband and I really wanted to give a dog a chance that might have a longer stay in the shelter, like a pit bull, an older dog, a dog with health issues or an all black dog (yes, black dogs and cats are often overlooked b/c of  their lack of coloring).  Thankfully Lily never had to go to the shelter. She came directly to our home. We decided to foster her at first, knowing chances were high that she’d become a permanent addition to the family.

I immediately had several people interested in adopting her.  One particular story broke my heart.  A friend of my husband’s lost both of her dogs last year.  She’s been waiting to find the right dog and immediately fell in love with Lily. This perhaps was the hardest factor in deciding if Lily indeed was going to be “our” dog.  Would she be better suited in another home? Was she supposed to belong ot somebody else and we would continue to search for one of those “less adoptable” dogs that may need us more?  My hubby said if we didn’t adopt Lily, we’d get another dog. For me, it was Lily or nothing and that really helped solidify the decision. We had been looking for another dog for a while, but moving in to a new home and eventually starting a family, was it really the right move? The answer was yes!

Adopting a dog is a FOREVER decision.  It’s not an “I’ll love you until you get too big” commitment or an “I’ll love you till you get sick or too expensive to care for.”  It’s an “I love you no matter and will give you the best home possible” decision.

I am a huge fan of pit bulls, however I did have one fear about adopting a pibble (as I love to call them.) WOULD I BE GOOD ENOUGH?  Adopting a pit bull should be the same as adopting a lab or any other type of dog. But unfortunately it’s not.  When you adopt a pit bull, you are automatically held to a higher standard of how you train and raise your dog.  How many times have you gone to a friend’s home with an unruly little dog that drives you nuts?  You may say “geesh…that dog is annoying!”  But what about an untrained pit bull type dog? The reaction might more likely be “wow, that dog is dangerous!”  The perception, although unfair, is just different.  I’ve said for a while that I’d let my (future) child play on the ground with some of the members of the Pit Crew at the SPCA running around before I would let my current dog Baxter. Baxter DOES NOT care for children and this is something we know, take precautions with and are working on so he is not a danger.  But I guarantee if Baxter bit a child, the reaction wouldn’t be as overwhelming as if a “pit bull” type dog bit a child.  We can debate all day about the varying degrees of  damage different dogs can do…but the bottom line is that in everyday life pit bull type dogs are discriminated against.

Everybody loves Lily. She’s quite the adorable puppy.  But will they be as willing to approach her when she’s full grown?  I personally think she will be just as adorable and approachable.  I just read an article for the Stubby Dog Project about one woman who says people cross the street when she walks her pit pull mix.  Will I be able to handle the discrimination my dog may face? Will I be able to help educate people that pit bulls are just like any other dog and have been villianized by negligent and cruel humans?  That is my mission and my goal.  I’m up for the challenge.  I see Lily as an adorable abandoned puppy that needed a loving home. She is MY dog and I will love her like any other breed of dog.

 *side note* I’ve reread this about eight times before posting. I always feel compelled to give disclaimers on my statements to pre-arguement against critiques and comments, but then every other sentence would be a disclaimer.  Perhaps some may say that event writing this post calls attention to the fact that Lily is a “pit bull” and why not just post about her and not draw attention to that. Am I not making an issue of it myself?  Well, I feel compelled to use her as an example of what many other dogs experience just because of the way they look.