Thursday, July 30, 2009

Before and After - A Dog Tale

Okay, everyone that knows me well, knows I am a huge dog person. However many don't know WHY I am so crazy about dogs. Of course there are the usual reasons - dogs provide unconditional love (which is really more like 'unconditional worship' if you ask me), they are workout partners, they keep you warm on cold nights, they are endlessly entertaining, and well, the list goes on and on. But for me, the reason I am classified by pet food marketers as 'proud parent' or 'crazy dog lady' by my neighbor kids or 'fellow dog advocate' by my kismet 'dog friends', can be summed up in one simple word. ATHENA.

I have always had a soft spot for animals. Especially dogs. And most especially dogs needing homes. But the day Athena came into my life was the day that my love for 'all things dog' went into overdrive. Why Athena? Well...Athena is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She is one of the breeds that make up what the media lumps into one breed - a Pit Bull Terrier. I'm not going to rehash how maligned these dogs are, you already now (if you don't, email me, we'll chat!).

Being a 'proud parent' to Athena meant that I had to be THE most educated, THE most diligent, THE most informed, THE biggest advocate I could be as a dog owner. It is my belief that until you know and love a pit bull type dog, you can not claim to be a real dog person. I have learned more about dog behavior, dog health, government, stigmatism, stereotypes, injustice, endurance, compassion, and love than I ever thought possible.

Not only am I a better dog owner, but I am a better person because of Athena. Funny how adopting a dog can do that, isn't it? I'm not alone in thoughts on this. Because of Athena I have so many wonderful friends that are 'crazy dog people' just like me thanks to the special wiggle butts that have come into their much the same way as Athena came into mine.

Before Athena found her forever home with me - I was a different person and she, a different dog. I look back on these photos and wonder what would have become of Athena if I hadn't adopted her? The answer comes quickly and I force it out of my mind as fast as I can remove it. Because of her breed, she wouldn't have been given a chance. Before me (and her saviour, Michelle, my sister), Athena was covered in motor oil, eyes swollen shut, very ill. She was a mess. Now, she is healthy, happy, spoiled and lacking every trait that gives her 'kind' a bad name.

I took a gamble on a dog that was called 'dangerous' and was very ill...and she took a gamble on me, as all dogs do when the find themselves a new home. As you can see by these pictures, 'after' for her is a much better place. If only I could visibly show just how much better I am 'after' owning Athena.

I sincerely hope that everyone would take a gamble like I did...I promise you, you'll be a much better person 'after' than you were 'before'.

No comments: