Whenever a person is involved in any advocacy type of program, there's usually more sad and terrible stories than good. This is a depressing reality of fighting for a cause.
However, every once in a while an uplifting story comes along that reminds us all why we keep on going against seemingly insurmountable odds.
As I was paging through my Readers Digest issue from June, I came across a story titled, "I Carried Him Down the Mountain", written by Melody Warnick (2014). Since the picture included with the article featured a woman hugging a pit bull, I quickly began to read.
The heroine of the story, Andi Davis, was hiking one day and came across an injured pit bull slightly off the trail. Andi described herself as, "a sucker for strays" (RD June.2014) but, having recognized the dog as a pit bull, she was hesitant to approach it because her families German Shepherd had been attacked by two pit bulls recently.
But Andi just couldn't leave a dog there to die, so she gathered her courage and carried the injured animal all the way down the mountain. Carrying the fifty pound dog, it took her an hour to reach the bottom, where her husband and daughter were waiting for her. From there they rushed to do in for treatment, where they discovered it had been shot and left there to die.
This story made me cry for a few different reasons. Thinking about what that poor dog must have went through made me very sad, but the biggest reasons I turned on the waterworks was because; one, I was touched beyond belief at the kindness this family showed towards an injured and abandoned dog. It would have been easy for them to say, it's a pit bull, our dog was attacked by that breed, so we want nothing to do with it. Instead, they opened their hearts and home and brought the dog into their family.
And two, Andi and her family once believed pit bulls were dangerous dogs who could attack viciously for no reason. I'm happy to say that this experience changed their perception radically. The Davis family is now all too happy to correct those who buy into all the negative stereotypes about pit bulls, and help spread the message that it's not the breed that is dangerous, but the humans who manipulate these dogs into displaying aggressive behaviors.
Included is a link to a YouTube video that features a brief interview with Andi and her daughter talking about what happened that day, and how things have gone since then. I urge you to take a few minutes and watch it. I would also suggest you to find the article in the Readers Digest June issue and read it for yourself.
For me, I know anytime I'm feeling overwhelmed by the odds pit bull advocates face, I'll remember Andi and her family. By doing so, I can remind myself that progress IS being made and that there are many, many people out there who care. It also serves as one of the best examples of how people can change their minds about pit bulls once they are able to have a positive interaction with one.
This is how we'll make a difference. One dog, one family at a time.