Completing the Pack: How We Became Pooch Parents to Three Rescued Dogs

In 2009, my husband and I were in a rut. We were both in school and were looking for a way to become more active. My future mother-in-law suggested that we get a dog.  After talking about it, we decided it was a great idea.

While we were looking for a dog to adopt, it just so happened that my husband’s boss found a dog on her property in Northern Kentucky. She knew that we were thinking of getting a dog and she couldn’t keep him, so she suggested that we give it a try.

But there was only one catch: he was a Pit Bull.

I have to admit that when we heard that, we were a little nervous. At the time, I didn’t have a lot of experience with dogs, let alone Pit Bulls, as my family only briefly had two dogs when I was a child. My husband, on the other hand, grew up having dogs and other animals in his family, but he wasn’t familiar with Pit Bulls. Ultimately, the thought of the dog not finding a home troubled us, and we agreed to give it a try. Once we met Chancho, I knew right away that we would keep him, because he was fun-loving, playful and affectionate.

Now, I would be lying if I said that first year with Chancho was smooth sailing.

We definitely had our ups and downs. There were many, many times we felt a tad overwhelmed and unprepared to be dog parents.

Our man Chancho, chillin' out

Our man Chancho, chillin’ out

Our first big surprise came during that first walk with Chancho. Instead of walking with me, he literally pulled me down the street. I didn’t realize until that moment how strong he was, and we worked on getting him trained on the leash right away.

happy pit bullAfter we had him for a couple of weeks, we left him at home in his crate while we attended a few pre-Christmas celebrations. When we got home, Chancho was there to greet us at the front door. When we first walked in, we thought we had been robbed because all of our things had been tossed around the apartment, but upon further inspection we realized that Chancho had escaped his crate and decided to have himself a little party.  There were remnants of our pillows scattered on the floor, along with blankets and a container once filled with Christmas goodies.

And there sat Chancho with his innocent face, looking at us as we stood there in shock.  While the beginning was difficult, things improved as we developed daily routines and he adapted to life in our family.

Seven months later, we decided that Chancho needed a sibling, so we visited our local SPCA in the hopes of finding a suitable playmate. We spotted a brindle Boxer/Pit Bull mix named “Mindy” that we thought would be a good fit. She was supposed to be three months old, so we thought we could train her. In the kennel next to her was a beautiful adult female Boxer that we thought “Mindy” would grow to become.

Imagine our surprise after our first vet appointment when we were told she was nine months old and already fully grown!  In spite of the mix-up with her age, the pup we renamed Luna officially became part of our family.

How We Became Dog Parents. Luna

This little girl had the shelter fooled about her real age.

During the first couple of months, we noticed that something about Luna was different. She had an insatiable appetite and no matter how we much she ate, she couldn’t gain weight. She would often pace around our apartment searching for scraps of food on the floor.  We tried feeding her different dog food, increasing her diet and giving her supplements, but nothing worked.  Another trip to the vet revealed that Luna had a liver shunt, which prevented her body from properly digesting nutrients. In spite of her health issues, Luna is still full of life, a never-ending ball of energy with an unhealthy obsession with toys and a mischievous personality.

With two dogs, our family was complete, for a little while at least.

Then we moved to Colorado in 2011, shortly after we got married.  One day we saw a post on Craigslist from a family searching for a new home for their female Pit Bull. Because the family lived in Denver, where there was a breed ban on Pit Bulls, they had to find her a home; she would have been  put down if taken to a shelter. Osa, known then as Nala, had been given to the family after her first family relocated and decided not to take her with them. Osa’s transition into our family was the easiest out of our three dogs. She was well behaved and eager to please, which made the process smoother for all of us.

We saved Osa from certain death at the hands of breed-specific legislation.

We were able to save Osa from certain death at the hands of breed-specific legislation.

Two cross-country moves and countless adventures later, our dogs have become an important part of our lives. While they do impact where we live or how often we travel, I can’t imagine our lives without them. They’ve taught us to love unconditionally and have helped us lived healthier, fuller lives.

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