In honor of Pit Bull Awareness Month, Pit Bull Rescue Central's volunteers are sharing the stories of how their pit bulls became part of their families. PBRC envisions a compassionate world where pit bulls and pit bull mixes reside in responsible, loving homes and where their honor and positive image is restored and preserved.
The Story of Reggie—by Nikki Halip
I was not looking to adopt another pit bull. I still wasn't doing well after losing my best friend even though it had been well over a year. However, after leaving L.A., I moved to a small beach community to start another chapter in my life. I decided to volunteer with a local rescue group that partnered with a pet store that held adoption events. As I entered the back of the shop, all I could hear were dogs barking, crying and howling. As I made my way around, I noticed one particular dog that just sat there looking very stoic; no barking, no fussing, no jumping. I wanted to take him out for a walk but was advised it would not be a good idea because he was a rough, tough, uncontrollable boy who had absolutely no training. I wanted to know, then, why was he at the adoption event? I was told it was just a way of getting him out of the kennel because he had already been there 2-1/2 years waiting for a home but sadly was always overlooked because of no training and how formidable his looks were.
I learned he was tossed out of a truck on a two-lane highway. A lady watering her garden saw the incident and called the police/rescue group, advising them that the dog was frantically running down the freeway after the truck. The rescue took almost three days. The husband/wife team who finally found him in the bushes named him Reggie after the NFL player Reggie Bush.
I insisted on taking him out. I noticed a bench, sat down and asked him to join me. He laid his big body against me and let out a pitiful sighed. I knew he was emotionally shutdown. He never wagged his tail nor did he ever make eye contact. I can't begin to describe how I felt but knew he needed to get out from under, and I made a commitment to him on the bench. I was so surprised when he gazed up at me. He knew. I was confident that together we could make this work because I worked from home which would enable me to be with him. House check and adoption application were approved.
The day I picked him up at the kennel is a day I will never forget. He remembered me when they brought him out and he literally dragged the guy towards me! He still had the raw sores on his face and I asked what they were from. Apparently, since his ball was his only source of comfort all those years, when he got to go into the gravel pen, he just ran and ran after his ball, hence the open sores on his face. Talk about a tough guy! As I he pulled me to my car, I told him he will never see a kennel again.
I took him to the vet the day after and was told he was underweight, his tail was broken in 3 areas, both ears were infected, and he had kennel cough and tested positive for giardia. The vet also told me his teeth were either filed down or they were worn down from gnawing on the kennel bars.
It took me almost a year to fully house train him. It was an incredible challenge but I never gave up on him. Little by little, he came out of his shell. I put him on the “no free lunch” program, which worked wonders. Because Reggie was so food motivated, he caught on real quick and really enjoyed our training sessions. Although he still has loads of issues with other unfamiliar dogs, he is such a gentleman with my grandchildren. He loves all people. After two long years, he started vocalizing, running around the yard, doing zoomies in the house, throwing toys up in the air. Finally there came the day he wanted to cuddle on the couch. To this day, his ball is always beside him.
He truly is my best pal, and I often wonder who saved who. Reggie has given me such joy and happiness that words can never express.
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