Grandma got won over by a pit bull

I never in my wildest imagination thought I'd be someone to own a pit bull. Horror stories abound of the vicious canines terrorizing innocent people and there was no way I'd even consider having such a dangerous dog around my loved ones.

Until I met Mickey. And until I learned that the majority of horror stories about pit bulls are just that -- stories ... stories based on unfounded fears and an unfair bad rap.

In 2005, the animal quota in our house was met. We had our black lab/collie mix Moses, a tabby cat named Abigail (Abby) and a goofy sorta calico/sorta black Halloween cat with a crooked tail and a bizarre way of drinking water (by dipping her paw in the bowl and sucking the water off) named Isabel. We didn't need any more animals.

Then an e-mail went out at work about a dog who needed a home. A little brown and white puppy who, at 6 weeks old, had his back legs stepped on by his mentally challenged owner, breaking both back legs. That owner couldn't afford to repair the pup's legs and requested that he just be put down.

The vet couldn't do it. She kept the dog, placed pins (LONG pins!) in each of his back legs, and searched for a home for him.

After seeing the photo, I couldn't resist "just looking." And once we met him, Jim and I together couldn't resist just taking him home.

We were responsible for keeping the recuperating patient from walking for several weeks, carrying him out to go potty then returning him to his kennel. He was on a schedule to slowly return to activity, and because of his sad eyes and penchant for snuggling, we agreed to it -- despite the vet telling us that she "thinks" he might have some pit bull in him, along with something else, possibly pointer.

We took the little guy home, kept him kenneled, and kept him calmed with a CD of lullabies for dogs. We allowed Andie to choose his new name: Mickey, short for Macchiatto because his coloring was similar to carmel macchiattos, her favorite drink at the time. (No, I didn't let my little girl consume caffeine; she was a young adult, in college!)

Within months, Mickey was good as new. And in no time, we learned to question all the scary reports about the horrors of pit bulls. I can honestly say he's the sweetest animal we've ever had -- and the biggest baby. He runs around the yard like a maniac all day, chasing squirrels and making up for the time he lost in his first few months of life. But he regularly makes pit stops on the deck or patio for some treats and tummy rubs. His most feared enemy: Brianna's little Hunter, the Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix with a Napoleon complex. Oh, and the ear drops I have to put in his ears occasionally; he shakes and cowers and crawls between Jim's legs to hide from me when it's time. But he always gives in and sweetly turns his head for me to administer the medication.

Mickey is one of THE best animal addition we've ever made to our family. Everyone who takes the time to get to know him -- rather than succumbing to the sensationalized stories of dogs gone bad; stories that could be true of ANY animal trained to be vicious -- absolutely loves Mickey. He truly is the sweetest dog ever.

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a friend about a dog who needed a home. The e-mail included a picture of "Carly," who was recently found by an animal control officer and placed with an animal adoption organization. One of her front legs was severely injured and required amputation (done by the same vet office that rescued Mickey, by the same vet that recently showed incredible compassion when Jim and I had to put our Moses to sleep). She's now recuperating with a foster family until a new owner can be found. Reports are that she's sweet as can be and she loves to snuggle.




She's also part pit bull.


Jim and I are meeting her on Saturday.


I'll let you know what happens.