Dock diving gives a timid pit bull the courage to soar
By Kirstyn Northrop Cobb ((Reprinted from StubbyDog.org)
The SPCA worker knew about the frightened little pit bull running through her neighborhood, and frequently tried to get her in off the streets. Due to sheer determination on the part of the SPCA worker, the little pit bull finally ended up in the shelter, afraid, heartworm positive, and very pregnant. Within a week, little pit bull puppies were born. As is too often the case, the puppies were adopted, but mom was left behind. One of those puppies went home with Ashley Rogers, but had to return to be microchipped. During that return trip, the shelter worker asked Ashley if she would like to meet her puppy’s mother. Ashley said “yes” and was led to an office where the little mommy pit bull was residing during her heartworm treatment. When Ashley sat down, the mommy pit bull placed her head in Ashley’s lap. The shelter worker started crying, because this was the first time that the little pit bull had voluntarily gone near someone, much less put her head in someone’s lap. It was fate, and the little pit bull was adopted and named Raja.
Raja was still nervous, and life was still overwhelming; she would go to the pet store with her mom and cower the entire time. About a year later, Ashley became involved in dock diving, a sport where dogs jump off a dock into a body of water, and are judged by the distance that they soar. Maybe dock diving would be the thing to build confidence in Raja.
At first, Ashley had some concerns about taking a pit bull into a sport dominated by labs and Chesapeake Bay retrievers, but the community was very supportive of her. Soon, Ashley had a winner on her hands, and Raja won the senior title! Currently, Raja is the #1 pit bull in the country, with a personal best jump of 19 feet.
Dock diving did the trick, and Raja gained confidence. And don’t think that the accomplishments stopped at dock diving – Raja has also earned her Canine Good Citizen certificate and passed her therapy dog test! How amazing is that?
Congratulations to Ashley and Raja, two amazing champions!