Tuesday, October 7, 2014

PBRC's Volunteers and Their Dogs: Stephanie and Wilbur (and Moby!)

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.

Moby (hearts) Wilbur! —by Stephanie Feldstein

When I brought Wilbur home, I didn't know he was the one. The local humane society had called and asked if I'd be willing to foster him. They adopted out pit bulls, but had a limit on how many could be up for adoption at any one time. They were already full and had at least half a dozen young, friendly pit bulls waiting for their shot at a home. This one was older, and he had some cuts on his face that might deter adopters.

I agreed to meet him. I brought my pit bull Moby with me to the shelter. My three girls—two shepherd mixes and one pit bull—had been through dozens of fosters with me over the years, so I knew they could handle the new routine, whether this one fit into the household or had to be rotated with other dogs. But I'd had Moby for less than a year and wanted to get an impression of how they'd react to each other.

When we arrived at the shelter, I put Moby into an outdoor playpen and waited for them to bring out the hard-to-adopt dog. Two volunteers emerged from the kennels, each with a separate leash around the dog's thick neck. The dog, a nameless stray at the time, trotted along with his tail wagging, oblivious to their tension. I knew I had to get him out of there. He and Moby greeted each other well, played a little on their leashes, and I took him home.

I started taking Wilbur to adoption events with a local pit bull rescue group. When adopters checked him out, I was happy that he was getting the attention—he really was a good dog and deserved the second chance. He listened well and adored people, an older dog who was still playful. He was good with my dogs and cats, and had plenty of silly pit bull charm. But at the same time, I started to wonder if these potential adopters could handle him -- especially his separation anxiety and small but powerful destructive streak when left alone. I found myself rejecting them before they even applied...but it didn't matter, because even though a few people said they were interested, he never got any applications at the end of the day.

Wilbur was well-behaved in his crate at events, but started breaking out of his crate at home. At first it was kind of funny— I'd wake up to find him standing proudly on my bed, happy to see everyone. But then one night I came home from a movie and he was trapped halfway out of the wire door. That was the last time I left him alone in a crate. Instead, he had his own room in my house when I went out, which wasn't that often since I worked from home now.

About four adoption events into his foster care, something had changed in my house. Moby had decided Wilbur was the one—and I mean The One. They spent their days following each other around and finding new creative ways to cuddle to get as close as possible.

I tried to imagine the perfect adopter for him. Someone who didn't have to leave him for long periods and could deal with his separation anxiety when they did go out. Someone who would be consistent with him and could manage him—he was a strong dog, and the more he settled in with my dogs, the less he liked new dogs. And, of course, it had to be someone who loved him.

It occurred to me that I kept describing my situation and my home as the perfect place for him, so I stopped taking him to adoption events and took down his PBRC listing. If he wasn't right for me, I would've kept him listed, but Wilbur had grown on me by then, more than previous foster dogs. And there was no way I could tear him and Moby apart.


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