During the holiday season, I've asked my rescue friends and contacts to share their heartwarming stories involving pets that they've rescued or adopted. Today's story illustrates what happens when people go to bat for a dog so he or she isn't left behind. With the large number of pit bulls at Chicago Animal Care and Control, Jake could have been a sad statistic. Thanks to a police office and Peace for Pits he's home for Christmas.
By Megan Lindberg – Founder of Peace for Pits
When a Chicago police officer named Carla arrived at a crime scene, Jake's sister had already been shot and killed. Jake had run to the opposite corner of the yard - away from the shots, away from his sister - and that had saved his life. As the police officers moved around the scene collecting evidence, Jake left the corner spot in the yard and started following Carla around the scene, just hoping to be noticed, just hoping she would lead him towards a kinder life.
Jake was taken from the scene to CACC. Carla contacted rescues and Peace for Pits responded and went to the shelter to meet him. He was a little timid around people, unsure of other dogs and not ready to be a family dog just yet. But we felt a connection to him, a scared young dog, who had not received a fair chance in life.
And, like so many pit bulls at the shelter, it was a situation where we could take the dog into our rescue or we could wait a few days to think about it. But there is always a risk in waiting. The shelter is not a safe place for a dog and he was already showing signs of a kennel cough, which means he would most likely be put to sleep in the next few days for space or medical reasons.
So, we took Jake into the rescue. We lifted him into the backseat of our car, and he stood stiff, not sure where he was going, not knowing this was his freedom ride. His first foster family was having trouble with his lack of social skills, so my husband and I took him in to our home as a foster.
Balancing a dog lacking socialization in a busy household with a baby, two other dogs, and day jobs was work. Starting with us hand feeding him his meals for him to finally learn "sit" and then he sat for everything (Nothing in Life is Free plan).
We then took his "sit" and built on it for "touch" then "down." And, before any of us knew it, we not only loved Jake, but we were bonded to him as he was bonded to us. Training was fun for him and we were his safe environment. Jake relaxed, started zooming around our house in pure bliss and wouldn't leave my husband's side from the second he took off his shoes.
In his foster home, Jake learned manners and slowly how to feel comfortable around some dogs. He learned what is it like to live inside a home. We said he was "rough around the edges," but really all he did was make us smile, laugh and giggle every day.
Fostering is as much about saving the life as it is about dedicating yourself to helping the animal become adoptable and patiently waiting for the dog to find the right home. Jake went on several meet and greets, but it was the couple who Jake's backyard he zoomed around and then out of breath he sat by the potential adopter. He left our side for theirs and that made us realize there was something happening here.
Jake could have been just another great pit bull killed in violence. But instead, thanks to a police officer he followed around, he was fostered and then officially adopted by a nice couple who treats him not like a dog or even a pet, but like an important and loved family member.
We will miss him dearly, but he will always have our support and hopefully we will get to visit him soon for some kisses!
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