Getting a puppy? an adult? a pit bull perhaps? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Getting a puppy? an adult? a pit bull perhaps?

I see threads about adopting an adult dog from time-to-time. I have adopted an adult dog only once. Her name was Sophie. Every other time (including my extended family) we have always got a puppy. I don't know if that is just the American way, but it never occurs to me to get an adult. I have never lived in an area where strays roam through and set up housekeeping, looking for new owners.

I could argue either way. Getting an adult is practical because they have already been trained. But from an emotional side, you feel you have missed something by not having the pet from the beginning.

As I said, I have adopted only one adult. I would not hesitate to get an adult again, under the right circumstances.

Here is the story of Sophie.

My first wife saw Sophie playing in traffic near where she worked. She was afraid Sophie was going to get run over. So she brought Sophie home with her.

Sophie had a collar, but no tags. She was not a stray. She was completely clean and well-manicured. We have to assume she was dumped. But we still looked for the owners just in case she accidentally got loose. We put up signs at grocery/department stores, vet's offices, and placed an ad in the paper. No one called. And we watched the papers for lost dog ads. She wasn't chipped.

We already had three dogs (a Cairn Terrier, black lab mix, husky mix) and I did not want a fourth. I contacted local shelters and "pounds" to see if they thought someone would adopt Sophie.
Oh oh. Then the bombshell dropped.

Sophie was a pit bull / chow mix, according to the vet and our groomer. Our groomer described Sophie as a mix of two of the meanest animals God ever put on the face of this earth. She said she would lose her business insurance if she let a pit bull (full or mixed) in her shop. The shelters all claimed that if you brought a pit bull (full or mixed) to them, they would immediately destroy her. (This was 20 years ago.)

So... Sophie was ours.

But she was the most polite dog I ever met. She was so sweet and gentle. She was a little reserved, but not scared or skiddish. And she loved me as though I had raised her from a pup.

Abby, my Cairn Terrier, would sit on my lap. I think Sophie thought she was missing out on something. When I sat on the floor Indian style, Sophie sat down in the hole created by my legs crossing at the ankles. I would hug her and she thought she was on my lap like Abby got to be. She was in Heaven!

I really loved Sophie (almost as much as I did Abby) and we really enjoyed her company. So I found out I could be content with an adult dog. I didn't feel like I had missed out on anything. And just because a breed was labeled as "bad", it doesn't mean you couldn't have a good experience with one.

Disclaimer: I am not going to encourage anyone to buy a dog they are afraid of. Our groomer has a big scar on her face where a pit bull attacked her. It was very well-behaved. She was giving it a bath and it just turned around and tore a chunk out of her face.

Even when my current wife Sue and I bought our house a couple years ago, our insurance agent asked if we were getting a dog. The agent gave us a list of breeds and said if we bought one of those dogs they would cancel our insurance.

I have to say that even though chronologically speaking, Sue is my second wife... Sue will always be first place in my heart.

Jeff
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 09:57 PM
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Great, great story. Sophie was a lucky girl.







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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 10:27 PM
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Sophie is adorable. But she looks like a cattle dog cross to me, not pittie!


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 12:19 AM
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Sophie sure was a cutie with those pointed ears. I am very afraid of Chows. Years ago a coworkers one year old dog attacked her and a friend visiting. Sophie doesn't look like a Chow to me. Your terrier and Sophie look like they were best buddies. They even have the same ears.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 01:19 AM
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Oh your Sophie was beautiful! What personality and a lucky girl. I agree with Karen I saw cattle dog in there first look also.

One of the reasons so many people get in trouble with pit bulls is so many say it's all in how you raise them....which is in most cases not true. If that were the case, all abused/rescue dogs would be "dangerous". I know several super nice pit bulls....but just like sporting dogs were bred to hunt, herding dogs were bred to herd, etc and they have the instinct and drive for their jobs, the pit bull was bred to be tenacious and fearless enough to hold a bull by the nose while the farmer butchered him. And sadly, also many have been bred as fighting dogs. So it is one of the breeds that has more of a propensity to be agressive, especially to dogs and other animals, but people also. Owners of these breeds have to be very responsible and not let potential trouble happen by keeping their dog contained and supervised at all times (as all dogs should be...but more caution yet with them).

My friend Diane Jessup wrote a great book on pits and myths "The Working Pit Bull" is a good read.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 08:06 AM
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Oh your Sophie was beautiful! What personality and a lucky girl. I agree with Karen I saw cattle dog in there first look also.

One of the reasons so many people get in trouble with pit bulls is so many say it's all in how you raise them....which is in most cases not true. If that were the case, all abused/rescue dogs would be "dangerous". I know several super nice pit bulls....but just like sporting dogs were bred to hunt, herding dogs were bred to herd, etc and they have the instinct and drive for their jobs, the pit bull was bred to be tenacious and fearless enough to hold a bull by the nose while the farmer butchered him. And sadly, also many have been bred as fighting dogs. So it is one of the breeds that has more of a propensity to be agressive, especially to dogs and other animals, but people also. Owners of these breeds have to be very responsible and not let potential trouble happen by keeping their dog contained and supervised at all times (as all dogs should be...but more caution yet with them).

My friend Diane Jessup wrote a great book on pits and myths "The Working Pit Bull" is a good read.
I think most Pitties are good with people (of course they are terribly over bred, which means that there are also plenty with unstable temperaments) but, as you said, they are notoriously non-trustworthy with other animals, and dogs in particular.

The other BIG problem with them from the perspective of a bite is the way their jaws have been (intentionally) bred. They have SUPER strong jaws and jaw muscles. Few other breeds are capable of biting and holding the way a Pit can, even if they try.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Here is Abby the Cairn terrier with Annie the black lab mix (mixed with horse!). Abby was buddies with everyone, dog and people alike. And there is a picture of Abby beating up Annie. LOL

Sophie was a "stray" or lost dog. Annie was a rescue dog. She was still a puppy and had cuts on her head. And a scab on each of her spine bumps like she had tried to force herself under something - maybe to escape. Annie's lower jaw would quiver when I sang to her.

Notice the hardwood floor in the first picture. That room was carpeted. Annie had extreme separation anxiety and pulled the carpet up.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2016, 02:06 PM
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Nice story, Jeff. Thanks for sharing. All your dogs are precious.
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