Our call to have our readers send in their favorite funny photos or cute puppy pictures has brought in some interesting photos of large and small puppies. Such is the case with Al Navas’s pit bull rescue, Princess. When we saw this photo of Princess in her little basketball shirt, we thought she looked like a pouting basketball fan–perfect for the beginning of NBA playoff, right?
But Princess has a deeper story that proves she’s now a team player and no sore loser. I will let Al tell you in his own words:
Princess is now 18 months old; she came to us when she was about 8 weeks old. My 19 year-old daughter brought her from a shelter where she was working as a volunteer when somebody was about to surrender this beautiful puppy. What I saw was a gorgeous, active, playful, intriguing puppy. I had a couple of dogs when I was younger but I had heard about pit bulls and their terrible reputation, which made me question the decision to adopt her. As the days went by and the excitement shared by my children and I grew, my wife became increasingly worried.
She saw Princess as a puppy that needed love and a home, but she also saw an aggressiveness about her that only would feed a lifelong fear of any and all dog breeds. I, on the other hand, figured that her defiant behavior was something that would disappear quickly as she got used to the family. But this wasn’t happening. Not only was she defiant, but she would jump on our 10 year-old cat Tigger and she nipped at my children when they got too close. Soon I realized that I had a big problem on my hands and if I couldn’t train my dog properly, there was no telling what a full-grown aggressive pit bull could do to a human being or a small animal.
My concern grew so quickly that I went and bought the book: “Cesar’s Way” by Cesar Milan, better known as the “the dog whisperer.” I also bought other magazines and read up on a few different articles on dog behavior, but Cesar’s book was the most helpful tool.
I learned through reading and a lot of observation that Princess’ aggression was triggered by fear and she was only trying to protect herself. She was so young when we brought her home that assuming that she had been abused could be very erroneous as some dogs suffer from fear due to other conditions. But my love for animals, especially pit bulls as I learned that they are so misunderstood and that they can make such wonderful companions, gave me the determination to make the time and have the patience that has made me bond with this animal more than I ever have to any other animal in my life.
I learned to correct any undesired behavior immediately and that training brings you closer to each other. I also got my children involved in training her and rewarding her with treats. Slowly she learned that aggression was unacceptable and that she had to obey everyone in the house and respect our cat.
Change didn’t come about fast, but anyone familiar with our dog can pet her safely even when she is eating. She is not obsessive with any toys or objects and she has also learned to release or surrender anything upon command. I think I successfully turned a potentially dangerous animal into the pet EVERYONE in my family loves and plays with. My children are so comfortable around her that they can safely get Princess to her crate and close the door when we have to either clean the floors or we had a guest who isn’t comfortable around pit bulls.
My wife who was afraid of any and all dogs now loves them, and this gives me great satisfaction. Our new found love and respect for this breed has made me become a vocal advocate of this breed and I don’t waste a chance to educate others and share my personal experience with the dog that I love as my best friend…Princess.
Al’s story demonstrates why breed-specific legislation won’t stop dog attacks as much as training will. Thanks to Al and his family, Princess is able to live Life to the MAX!
Send us YOUR funny dog photo, cute puppy picture or tell us the story of your dog and you could win a copy of our book. Have a GREAT day!