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It was nine years ago; I was adamantly opposed to the Pit Bull dog breed. In fact, I was an advocate of the total extinction of the breed! Today, I am deeply ashamed of how easily I permitted myself to be brainwashed by the media with all of their negative propaganda against the terrible, dangerous Pit Bull.
Then I met my [now] husband and his son’s dog. (Ralph’s son wasn’t able to keep Dazie where he resided.) You’ll never guess what the breed of his dog was . . . it was a Pit Bull and I was about to be shown just how dead wrong I can be!
I had asked Ralph to make absolutely sure that he’d keep Dazie restrained at all times the first time I visited his home. He agreed. With a terror filled heart, I rang his doorbell. Inside the house I could hear a vicious-sounding barking and growling. I literally “shivered in my boots.” Ralph came to the door, opened it, and I saw this muscular, fierce-sounding animal; one end of a horse rope attached to her collar and the other end inside Ralph’s tightly closed fist. (After all, he had promised to keep me safe from this dreaded Pit Bull.)
From the moment I entered his house, this dog kept trying to get to me! Growling? . . . no! (I’ve always had “a way” with dogs of all breeds.) I was not about to trust this breed!
We spent that day and night with Dazie stretching her neck on that horse rope trying to physically get to me. Finally, I noticed that her eyes were beginning to bulge from pulling so hard on that rope. Feeling more than a little apprehensive, I finally told Ralph that he could release her from the rope.
Of all things, that fierce, dreaded animal came rushing over to me and licked my hand (as she did this, feeling totally amazed, I asked myself, “Wait a minute, she just did what?”) From that moment forward, Dazie sat at my side nearly all of the time, occasionally leaning over to lick my hand. My head still filled with all of the negative hype about the Pit Bull, you can only imagine my utter shock and disbelief. Although I felt tempted, I still didn’t allow myself to trust her.
A couple of weeks later, Ralph and his son had to travel out-of-state for a car model show. They had no one to watch and care for Dazie in their absence. (I silently asked myself the question, “Are you crazy, Jeanie?” as I heard myself offer to stay with her. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings of apprehension I experienced as I entered Ralph’s home the day he and his son were about to leave on their trip.
Suddenly, as they closed the door behind them, I realized, that I was alone with a dangerous Pit Bull! Shock, fear, apprehension, and sheer gut-level terror set in!
Oddly enough, as the day wore on, Dazie just slept on the sofa. When it was her dinner time she refused to eat. (I was to discover later how, out of sadness, she never ate the first few meals after Ralph left on a trip.)
Before long bedtime rolled around. Ralph had told me that Dazie always slept in bed with him. Ever so reluctantly, I started up the stairs to the master bedroom, Dazie following slowly behind me. I remember gulping loudly as I wondered what on earth I was going to do with her once we reached the bedroom at the end of the long, upstairs hallway. As I opened the bedroom door, I gulped again, and thought to myself, “Okay Jeanie, this is going to be your moment of truth!”
I was preparing for bed when I noticed that Dazie appeared to be peacefully sleeping on the floor beside the bed. Once I was prepared to climb into bed, I thought to myself, “There is no way that I’m going to invite a fierce-appearing Pit Bull into the bed beside me!” With fear-stricken heart, I turned the light out. Just as I snuggled down underneath the warm blankets, I heard a whimpering sound. It was coming from the floor where Dazie had lain down. Then . . . more whimpers. Soon, she was crying!
I turned on the light and peered over the edge of the bed. (Now bear in mind that this dog had the most expressive eyes I think I’ve ever seen.) There she was, whimpering and looking up sadly at me! My heart melted. (Ralph had always lifted her up onto the bed since she was getting older and a bit over-weight.) I climbed out of bed and attempted to assist her in getting onto the bed. Although I tried several times, my efforts just didn’t work. Dazie was too heavy for me to lift up onto the bed.
Finally, out of desperation to get some much needed sleep, I decided to put my fears aside, and pulled the mattress off of the bed onto the floor. As I struggled with the mattress, I looked down at her and said, “Well Dazie, if you can’t come to the bed, the bed will come to you!”
I finally got the mattress situated on the floor and somewhat reluctantly laid down on it. I invited her to join me. She did. Falling asleep I said to myself, “Well, if I’m going to be killed by a Pit Bull, so be it.” Exhausted, I fell into a deep sleep. To my pleasant surprise, I awakened the following morning . . . alive!
From that point forward, Dazie and I became the very best of friends. Before long, we became inseparable. As time passed, I’m honestly not certain which one (Ralph or Dazie) became the love of my life first!
Tragically, we lost Dazie two months ago to liver cancer. Our love for her continues to burn brightly inside our hearts. In an attempt to soothe the pain of loss, we purchased another dog a year before our sweet Dazie left us to journey to dog heaven. Chloe is a total love and a true blessing in our lives, too. I thank God that we have her.
As time went on, I found that I wasn’t able to shake a gnawing sense of guilt. Why? Because I felt that I had done Dazie (and all Pit Bulls) a horrible injustice by judging them so unfairly. With Dazie as my inspiration, I decided that I would author a book about her and about all Pit Bulls. I felt driven to right my wrong.
Thus was born my book, “BAD RAP, The Truth About the Tragically Misunderstood Pit Bull.” (It can be purchased at Amazon.) I was determined to help every Pit Bull out there from all of the negative, misleading, negative media hype that I possibly could. I also created this website.
Just the other day, something amazing happened! I was contacted by a world wide dog website that hosts veterinarians and other wonderful dog professionals. Dog Trophy asked if I would accept their invitation to be their published Pit Bull Expert! Needless to say, I was elated! Ever since meeting Dazie, it has been my mission in life to spread the truth about the amazing, wonderful, Pit Bull. (God, please bless all the Pit Bulls.)
Finally . . . . . my dream is coming true.
(Copyright 2018 by Jeanie Cooke-Fredlund, ABC-DT)