My name is Diesel. By all rights…I shouldn’t have lived.
My story begins with my mother whose life was spent in suffering. You see, my mom was found in a bad part of town alone, starved, and scarred. Her ears were cut down to nothing and she had scars around her muzzle, which looked like someone had tied her mouth shut. She was 30 pounds underweight for a healthy female pit bull her size, but in reality she was worse off than anyone knew.
When she was found, she was a month pregnant and you could literally see every bone in her aching body. She was lucky. Lucky to be found. Lucky to have survived. Lucky to have found love, even if it was only for a short time.
On July 20th, 2010, she went into labor. It took her 10 hours to have us all, and I was the last to come out. When I was born, my mom didn’t want me. She ignored me and wouldn’t even clean me off or help me breathe. My human lady had to step in to help me. After she helped me, mom stepped in and took over. I got to spend 11 wonderful days with my mom. She loved us all very much, but it was that love that killed her.
On the day that we all turned 11 days old, a feral cat crept just a little too close to us all and my mom’s instincts set in and she escaped to chase the cat away. Before anyone could catch her, she darted out after the cat onto a busy road and was struck by a truck.
Her people heard the accident and my mom’s screams and ran to her. They picked her up to get her off of the road and her new human held onto her while she passed. Before she went though, they tell me that she kept looking back for us and wanted to get to us. She only survived for minutes after the accident and there was nothing anyone could do to save her.
We were orphans. Eight little puppies with not a chance in this world. Well that would have been the case for a normal litter of puppies, but that was not us. Our human lady stepped in and started to bottle feed us. Granted, it wasn’t anything we were used to, but we were so hungry that we couldn’t care. We needed to eat. We needed warmth. We needed love. And she gave it all.
For weeks, she didn’t get much sleep. We were just too demanding. But through the exhaustion, she still loved us all so much.
It came time for us to go on to our new homes. For us to find our own families to love. One by one, they all left. I was starting to feel like no one wanted me because I continued to stay. I watched everyone leave with their families but I stayed, even though everyone was admiring me while I gave my cutest eyes. Little did I know that I already had my family and my family had a plan for me.
My human lady and I worked very hard together. I was a very hard puppy. I never gave her a break. I was constantly into something I shouldn’t had been and always had my nose in trouble. We just worked harder…together.
My human lady saw something in me when most just saw an ornery puppy. My determination was unique and I NEVER gave up on anything that I put my mind to. I excelled in obedience and earned my AKC CGC shortly after I turned a year old. Still, though, that wasn’t enough. She tried to satisfy my need to work by using me as a demo dog for obedience. I excelled and thoroughly enjoyed showing off my skills to obedience students, but still it wasn’t enough.
It was right before my second birthday that she started to research canine Search and Rescue (SAR). She began by looking up what traits make up solid SAR K9 and wouldn’t you know that my determination and no-quit attitude were high on the list! She had heard about our county SAR team through a friend who was a member. My human lady contacted the senior K9 handler to see about joining.
My very first training was awesome! I showed them my work drive and my even temperament. I even passed out a few kisses and shared my Kong with these new friends. It didn’t take long for me to pick up on the “game” and within a few weeks I showed such great enthusiasm for work that I knew when we were leaving for work and would do everything but push my human lady out of the door!
I trained solidly with my team for 10 long months. It was not always pretty. It was hard work. We train in any and all weather… snow and rain included. In late June 2013, we had our team seminar with our instructors from Tactical Dog Enterprises. My human lady and I worked very hard that weekend and took in any and all suggestions that they had. By the second day, we seemed to understand each other a little better. What a wonderful feeling!
On the fourth and final day of the seminar, only those of us that were ready to test attended. I could tell that my human lady was very nervous. I took it easy on her. She was so scared when they called us up for our turn to test that her hands were shaking but that didn’t hold either of us back.
She harnessed me up, gave me my scent article and told me to “find”. I dropped my nose and followed his trail. It didn’t take me long to find him. He tossed me my Kong and mom unharnessed me. While she was pulling my harness off, our instructor congratulated my human lady and told her that I officially was the first pit bull to pass their Level 1 test and certify. She almost cried.
It has been months now since I certified and we still train just as hard and in any weather. Next year I will test again for Level 2 and next year I hope to make my human lady just as proud. With that Level 2 certification, I will become operational and will then get to officially start working to save human lives.
My work doesn’t stop there though. I want to share with the world that those of us that were discarded, abused, starved and were given a second chance can make amazing work dogs. Not just in SAR, but police work, detection and even performance sports.
Our unfortunate pasts make us that more determined to prove to the world that we can do ANYTHING.