"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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dog Goes from Homeless to Healer

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Thanks to a fairly new program at the Almost Home Humane Society, a very lucky pit bull mix got a second chance at life, and she's making it count.

Five-year-old Lilac has come a long way in eight months.

"They found her as a stray. She was out on the streets," said Lilac's now owner dog trainer Carolyn Butera.

Butera and her boyfriend first saw Lilac at the Almost Home Humane Society in Lafayette in December.

"She's gentle. She listens very well. They are very obedient dogs," Butera said.

That got Butera thinking about Lilac's potential to go from homeless to healer. After a lot of work, Lilac is now a certified therapy dog.

"It lowers blood pressure and it relaxes the patient," Butera explained. "For people that have had dogs in the past, it is just a friendly face that they are getting through some hard times. It's fun to see a waggin' tail and a slobbery face every once in a while."

Lilac was part of the bully breed program at the Humane Society. The program focuses on breeds subject to a bad reputation, but Lilac is proof stereotypes are meant to be broken.

Those wishing to adopt a bully breed have to go through a background check and home visits by either the shelter or animal control.

"We see some of the most awful things you could see people do to other creatures," said Almost Home Humane Society Executive Director Michelle Warren. "When we hear a story like this, it's so rewarding. It is so awesome, makes it all worthwhile."

Warren said the program keeps the dogs from getting into the hands of the wrong owners.

She said there are many dogs in the program like Lilac waiting to reach their full potential.

Even though Butera gave Lilac a second chance, Butera said her buddy has given her more.

"She's my best friend. I try to take her everywhere with me," Butera said.

Not only is Lilac a therapy dog, she also participates in agility and obedience competitions. Lilac is working on getting certified with the Dog Scouts of America.

By Tiffanie Dismore               

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