I've mentioned that I've been volunteering at the county animal shelter for the last two or three years. Unfortunately, that activity has been interrupted from time to time. But I've been thinking about some of the dogs there that had become my favorites before they were (happily) adopted. One was named (by the shelter) Eleanor. She was a pit bull of about three or four years of age, and to those who don't read dog language, she probably appeared, well, scary. She was bulky and strong, and had cropped ears. But Eleanor was one of the sweetest dogs I've known, and she became a favorite of many of the volunteers. She projected a calmness that had a wonderful effect on every dog that happened to be in the exercise yard adjacent to hers. Her tail was always at half-mast, she never reacted to an overly-excited dog displaying a show of aggression, was friendly with everybody, and loved her walks.
Unfortunately, she was adopted and then returned by one family; they reported that their other dog "didn't like a new dog in the house." (My opinion: they didn't understand how to introduce a new dog into a home with another dog.) So she was back. No big deal for Eleanor; she just takes whatever comes, with a magnaminity that people could learn from.
Shortly before my departure for the medical center in L.A., Eleanor was adopted by another family, and it was a successful adoption. Eleanor could be an ambassador for pit bulls, to show that members of this breed are not vicious or unpredictable animals with an innate drive to kill that could boil to the surface at any time. They are simply very strong dogs. And like any strong dog, they are capable of doing a lot of damage if they are not socialized properly and been made to understand that they are not the boss. She could even be a therapy dog, or a reading companion for young children at a local library.
|The Chi is a little unsure, but Look at Eleanor's great body language!|
|Now the little one has been put at ease by Eleanor's demeanor|