August 15, 2012
Reprinted from StubbyDog
A special pit bulls tells how he went from homeless to a certified therapy dog
By Buddy, as told to Barbara Telesmanic
“The very first pit bull type therapy dog here at CHOC Children’s Hospital.” That’s what I overheard my mom boasting about the other day, and from the reactions she gets, it seems like a pretty big deal. Not long ago, I started volunteering in the pet therapy program with my mom once a week. It has been so much fun. I get so excited when she gets out my vest and badge because I know we’re on our way to give some kisses and get lots of hugs and belly rubs from all my new friends. The kids, nurses, doctors, parents and staff are so nice when they see me. They often give me treats and take my trading card (a card with my picture on it for the kids). What a turn my life has taken. I can hardly remember my former life.
If my memory serves me right, my old name was Sniper, and I was pretty much a backyard dog. I don’t remember getting very much interaction or even being taken on walks. Sadly, I somehow ended up with a broken canine tooth, dislocated hip and cracked femur. Then one day, the man and woman put a leash on me. I was excited to get some attention, but they dropped me off at this dark, cold place with cages and lots of barking dogs. The next thing I knew, my backyard turned into a cell, and the man and woman were gone.
The people at this new place were very kind and my tail would just wag when they came to see me. They moved me around a lot and “pulled” me twice. They said they were trying to keep me from the “euthanasia room.” I’m not sure what that was, I’m just glad I never ended up there … some dogs never came back. One day a lady named Molly came to “foster” me. Boy was I glad to meet her. After that, every day got better and better. They gave me so much love and attention, and I met a bunch of new people and doggie friends – it was awesome!
Then one overcast Los Angeles day, all my wishes came true: My forever Mom and Dad came to meet me. I wondered, “Who are these two humans with huge grins on their faces with this cute little pink dog?” (my now-sister Bella). Two days after their visit, my mom came back to pick me up and bring me to my new home at the beach. This place was cool! I had a new sister, two new cat brothers, and I met Francie (my current Golden Retriever girlfriend), who lives down the block from my new home. We hit it off right away. Mom and Dad had my broken bone and tooth fixed. They even gave me my new name “Buddy,” which I think suits me a whole lot better. I felt like a million bucks. I never realized how much fun life could be!
My sister and I both got our Canine Good Citizen certifications, and Mommy took me to become a certified therapy dog, which sure was a lot of fun. Then one day Mom came home with a new brother for us. His name was Skinny Vinny … he was so little (2.9 pounds) and very stinky. Mom said he was a little bit sick but would be better soon. Bella and I welcomed him into our pack and taught him the ropes. Now he is bigger than both of us (80 pounds), and he is our best friend.
My latest venture was to the Special Olympics at Cal State Long Beach. This was a huge event! We were there with the Paws for Healing team, and I met many, many new friends. I got to kiss most of the athletes, hang out with the Long Beach Highway Patrol SWAT team and all the guests. It was a great day. Mommy says she’s the lucky one, but I feel so blessed to have a forever family. My only wish is that all the homeless doggies out there get to live in a loving, safe home.
- New Therapy Dog Program Requires Dogs to be Trained Without Force (prweb.com)
- Therapy Dog Towers Above Competition (fox8.com)
- Group promotes using therapy dogs to help children read (thegazette.com)
- Pet Therapy and Depression (everydayhealth.com)