Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Czara and The Bruise

I have two fur babies, Benny and Czara. Benny is a five and a half year old pit bull/ American Bulldog mix. We rescued him from an animal shelter a little over 4 years ago. We live right outside of Denver where pit bulls are illegal (I won't get on my soapbox today but trust me, I could) and there are many that need good homes. Rob and I decided we wanted a dog and while we were open to any breed, Rob had it in his head that he wanted a pit bull (we did research pit bulls extensively prior to coming to that conclusion). After searching a few shelters, we found Benny.

As we walked past "Pit Row" at Table Mountain Animal Shelter, we saw a little white paw pop out from under one of the gates. Upon peering inside, we saw the cutest dog with an enthusiastically wagging tail. Rob's heart immediately melted as Benny slid his paw out wildly, attempting to put his paw on Rob's hand. When we took Benny into the meet and greet room and he crawled into Rob's lab and fell asleep, we knew we had found our baby. The whole way home Benny sat in my lap, unaware that 65 lbs is a little large for a lap dog.

I will admit that it has not been easy owning a pit bull, though not for the reasons most may think. He is piebald, which means that he inherited a recessive gene that gives him white fur and predisposition to several medical conditions, including severe skin allergies. His allergies are so bad that he is on daily steroids.

Yes, we know that prednizone is a heavy duty medication and will likely shorten his life, but it is the only way we can provide any relief. In over four years we've tried just about everything else. Yes, everything.
The ban on his breed also proves a problem. We can't live within the Denver city limits, nor can we rent or travel easily with him. In fact, Benny was the catalyst that led us to purchasing a home at the age of 23. When we decided we wanted to move from the condo that we were renting from a friend and no where else would let us rent, we bought instead!

Benny is a sweet and low-key dog who would much prefer lounging to almost anything else. He loves sunbathing and cuddling and was pretty much fully trained when we got him. He loves other dogs and can't help but cry when he sees one. He is protective, but is definitely a lover and not a fighter. The tiny dog from across the street ran over to our fence a few weeks back, barking up a storm over something. Since every other slat was missing (it's since been fixed), Benny easily stuck his head through the fence and grabbed the other dog by his scruff and just kind of held him until the owner could retrieve his runaway. The owner's wife actually scolded her dog, saying that she wished Benny would have bit him so he would have learned his lesson! Not often heard in regards to a pit bull.

When Benny was about three, I got it in my head that he needed a puppy. So when a woman at work was giving away her litter of boxer/lab puppies, I jumped at the chance and took home the runt of litter, whom we named Czara. Again we did our research and introduced the two gradually, as recommended. Now I'm sure that it is much more amazing when you are talking about your human children, but seeing the way Benny interacted with "his" puppy made me feel incredibly teary and proud. He was so patient, so calm. He never minded her constant "arfing" or playful bites. When she crossed the line, he let her know in a firm but gentle manner. Yep, Benny basically trained his younger sister.

Now that Cara is two years old and no longer chewing on drywall and shoes, they are the best of friends. We have two kennels (we kennel during the day due to Benny's pill - it's a diuretic and the poor guy just can't hold it some days) but often we will find that if they aren't kenneled in their own crate, they both end up in the same one to nap in.

Czara is as energetic and playful as Benny is relaxed and low-key. She constantly wants love and attention and TOYS. Benny is emotional and easily gets his feelings hurt. Czara is emotionally intuitive and nothing can keep her sad for long. Benny takes after Rob a bit more and Czara, well Czara is a little more like me. I love Benny with all my heart, and Czara is my heart.

Here is our little family on a typical lazy night(please ignore the mess). We work really hard to make sure they are happy and mostly behaved. They are both really tolerant (I've never seen either snap at a person, at rarely at each other), great with other dogs, great with kids. The only problem we really have is their excitement! Both get really riled up when meeting new people and dogs.

Overall we completely lucked out by having two of the most perfect dogs for us that we could ever imagine.


Jess Craig said...

that's awesome that you love your dogs so much. i'm a huge pitbull fan too. unfortunately we were stationed to a place that won't allow us to have pits, so we had to leave my dog with my sister back home. it's not so bad though. at least he's with someone he loves and knows. :(

Nicole said...

It's sad that a lot of places descriminate based on breed and not on behaviors.