"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Touched By A Dog - A Story of Rescue, Love and New Understanding

I was forwarded this email from a reader just before the start of the new year. The person that received the email was touched by the writer's words. I was touched also. I am not going to attempt to re-word the letter as it is perfect just as it is.

The email was sent to Jason Flatt, President and Founder of Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue, Inc. The letter is a beautiful recount of a woman that has been deeply touched by the love of an abused Pit Bull.

The letter is long, but incredibly moving and worth the effort to read.


I have been wanting to write this for some time, but have not been able to get the words right. Maybe I thought if I kept putting it off, it would magically write itself.

I was one of those people who never really thought much about pitbulls. It's not that I disliked them, I just never considered them and I am ashamed to say that. I come from Laguna Beach, Ca where people bring their dogs into stores, sit with them at outdoor cafes and where there is a fancy dog boutique on every block. I have always loved animals, took in everything that came along when I was a kid.

To this day I carry cat and dog food in my car and can build a dog house in record time. No animal has ever been unworthy of my time. I never saw pitbulls, didn't know anyone who had them. They were....not my problem. When I moved to Alabama, everything changed. I would see dead dogs and cats by the road. Afraid, lost, unwanted and starving animals everywhere just trying to survive. It did and still does break my heart. Horses shot for no reason, dogs skinned and left in agony.

However, it was the day to day attitude....the disregard for their well being, their safety, their quality of life that haunted me. I was so shocked and I hurt for all these lost and lonely souls. I will leave food, I will help spay and neuter, but what can I do, what good is the little I can offer when I can't make a dent? People would tell me to forget it, "you're just making yourself sad, who cares." "Animals can take care of themselves, they like being free." I would scan the roadside for my strays, do my small part, feel bad when days or weeks went by when I didn't see a dog who always waited for me in the same spot. But I was doing my part, right?

Fast forward a few months and I started volunteering at a kennel. One day we got a call about a pitbull who had been found by the side of the road and was in very bad shape. The Vet believed he had been a bait dog and was so badly beaten, one side of his skull was sunk in and that might mean brain damage. The Vet also said he had begun to show aggression and people were afraid of him so he needed to be put down or moved.

The rescue wanted to know if we could take him and we did. I happened to be sitting in the lobby when Sawyer arrived and I had never seen anything so "forlorn." I didn't even know what a bait dog was before that day, but there he was, all 31 pounds of him. Bones breaking out through the skin, head down, ears flat, tail so tucked we didn't even realize he had one at first. He walked over to me, put his bony, misshapen head in my lap and began this slow, long wail.

I had never heard anything like it and I honestly thought my heart would split in two. In that instant something happened, some crazy, unbreakable bond was made. I never in my life expected to fall in love with a pitbull, but I did. Maybe it's because I didn't see a breed, I saw another living creature who had probably never known a moment that was not full of pain. He became mine, I became his.....I'm not sure, but there it was. I was new to all this and naive in thinking that the wounds to his inside could be healed the way the ones to his outside were. That the scars I could not see, were the deepest, the ones that had caused him the most suffering.

Those wounds would not close easily. We had our battles, Sawyer and I. Sometimes he won and sometimes I won, but neither of us gave up trying to find a way out of his past. I could see how badly he wanted to join in, to trust, to believe. I guess having never known love, he could only take a little bit at a time. There were some scary moments and almost everyone said, "put him down, he's ruined." "He's only a dog and only a pitbull at that, those kinds of dogs are just meant to be mean." "Get rid of him before he hurts you, pitbulls can't be loving, they simply are not family dogs." But there was a light in this dog I could not ignore. I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars, we saw specialists and trainers....it was always two steps forward and five steps back.

But Sawyer could only go at his own pace, he could only accept and trust so much at a time. My telling him it was all going to be ok, was not enough....I had to show him over and over and over again. It was more than a year before he would let me rub his belly without his eyes flying wide open and panic spreading all through him. A year before a little tap on the rear was a sign of affection and not the start of a beating. He does have a tail, by the way and these days it never stops. He loves petsmart, loves kids....the harder they laugh, the harder he tries to make them laugh that much more.

I see the look of horror at first because their parents think my pitbull is destined to eat their children before their very eyes. He licks faces and fingers, follows the little voices carried on little feet and he is happy. Older people always ask to pet him, this now 65 pound pit sitting calmly while an old withered hand bangs him on the head....lol. I never know who will attract his attention first, or why he is drawn to someone, but it's beautiful to watch. He has a sense and I have learned he sees things I do not.

I don't mind though, I'm just glad he saw something in me that day. That one day back in June that started so simply, but changed everything. In the year and a half sense then, I don't know who changed whom the most. I do know that one broken and battered pitbull taught me more than anything else ever has about love and trust, about second chances and redemption.

About forgiveness and hope. And something else that I can't explain.....it's probably that feeling I can't explain that made me put this off for so long, but I don't need to explain that feeling to you, to others like you because you already understand, you already know. I am happy to be one of you now, having seen that full pitbull body wag and knowing with absolute certainty that I will never, ever stop doing everything I can to end the wrong done to these dogs.

So, I guess this was a VERY long way to say thank you....thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing your part and mine. For keeping it going until people like me could catch up. For getting it faster than the rest of us and for going on when you thought you couldn't because these noble dogs have so much to give and deserve better than they have been given. I understand now and I'm hapy to have pittie fever which I am told lasts forever....lol

Cynthia and Saywer

By Penny Eims


  1. I should not have read this at work. I now have mascara all over my face. Thank you for sharing!! :)

  2. This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful story. I am happy for Cynthia and Sawyer and the bond they share.

  3. WOW this is a amazing story!! I love it, truly shows the incredibull power of these amazing dogs to change minds if just given a chance to show what very good dogs they are!!

  4. This is a touching story and well written. People that believe crap like " Pitbulls aren't family dogs, pitbulls are made to be evil and having one put down doesnt matte because it's a pitbull are blind fools!!!

  5. This story is PIT BULL. The most amazing breed Ive ever known and loved. And always will.

  6. What an amazing, unbelievable and touching story!!
    I dont have a Pit, (have 5 other dogs) but LOVE the breed, and
    have always said they get a bad rap!! Its never the Dog, its the
    evil of the Human! Lets keep the fight going!!

  7. I have had at least 1 pit in my life for years. I raised my kids with them. They are the most fantastic and loving dogs ever. I never have to worry about my children's safety when they were there. They are fantastic family dogs and will protect their "pack".