My name is Kaida and I was adopted in May 2009 from a pit bull rescue in Culpepper, VA. Mom named me Kaida, because it means ‘gentle’ in Japanese. But she calls me her little sweet angel.
When I was at the foster farm, Mom made the 2-hour drive to come out at meet me. My foster family introduced Mom to a few dogs, until they got to me. I immediately snuggled with Mom and started to give her kisses. We then went for a walk outside, I followed mom off leash all over the farm. All the humans started saying, “She’s the one.” Whatever that meant.
A couple weeks later, I went with my foster dad to a house and I saw Mom again! We hung out at the house while my foster dad walked around the house and back yard, I followed mommy and him the whole time. Afterwards, my foster dad gave me a big hug and kiss and left me with my new mom.
After a couple weeks, mom started taking me out and about; I went to a lot of outdoor festivals, and doggie events. And mom started dressing me up in costumes and clothes. A lot of the time I matched her! Mom baked me treats, and snuggled with me everyday.
Mom introduced me to her family; I met so many new aunties and uncles. At first, everyone was afraid of me. But eventually, they saw how sweet I was and now they love having me visit. Mom even says that my uncle Nick and La adopted a pit bull because of me!
In 2010, after some training my mom decided I was ready for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. While at my test, the evaluator suggested to Mom that I was a good candidate for therapy work. Then in 2011, Mom took me for my Therapy Dog International evaluation and I passed! From there, I went to nursing homes, and libraries to meet with senior citizens and read with kids.
Mom and her friends say I was an instrumental tool at Camp Fusion, a leadership, and self-esteem building camp for minority kids, organized by Females United for Self Esteem Development (FUSED). At Camp Fusion, counselors used me to help kids open up, and feel more comfortable during activities and one on one time. All the kids loved me, especially the really shy ones, so a counselor would borrow me, and ask the shy kids to take a walk. During the walk, I was a really good listener, and made the kids feel more comfortable to open up and talk to the counselors so that they could help the shy kids engage in the activities and games. I helped the kids open up more, and feel more comfortable participating with the other kids. Some kids even asked me to dance on stage with them and play some of their games!
In 2012, Mom met the folks of Jasmine’s House Rescue at the Super Pet Expo, and they told her of a program they were starting called Project Mickey. This program teaches Baltimore City elementary school children build positive attitudes towards animals. The program focuses on empathy and responsible ownership, through hands on visits, from dogs, cats, and rescue and shelter professionals.
The Project Mickey folks invite me to meet with the classes and they talk about pit bull stereotypes, training, and animal abuse. At the end of the lesson, the kids get to visit with me and pet me and I get to give kisses!
I was invited to visit the first year, and have been a fixture in the program ever since. So Mom makes the hour-long drive every few weeks during the school year so I can visit with my classes. We used to go to just one elementary school, but since the first year’s success, we have been visiting a number of more schools in Baltimore City.
I absolutely love visiting with the kids, and have helped change many of the views of the kids and their parents. I am especially effective with working with the kids who are fearful of dogs, because of my calm and loving demeanor. Many kids who are fearful of dogs, or have never been around a dog will pet me, often for the first time ever! I’m really good at staying calm and patient while the fearful kids work up the courage to pet me. When they do, it’s such a reward, because I usually get a lot of pets!
Mom volunteers for a rescue called Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance (APBA), whose focus is to support and foster responsible ownership, breed awareness, and advocacy. I go with Mom to all their events as a breed ambassador, I love meeting all the people and dogs. The APBA family like having me around, and tell people that even though I’m a pit bull, I am a therapy dog, and I do a lot of volunteering, especially with kids. People are always so shocked to hear about all that I do.
I have also been invited to join a public speaking project for an APBA volunteer about BSL and breed discrimination at George Mason University. It’s such hard work to sit front of a class and let people see how awesome pit bulls are!
In 2013, Mommy brought home an 8-week-old foster puppy, and we named her Kabuki, because it means “mask” in Japanese, and she had an all black face. A rescue friend of Mom’s had come across a homeless woman in Springfield, VA, with a small brindle puppy. After approaching the woman about the puppy, she had told the rescuer that some teenage boys had asked her to watch their puppy while they went to the library and never returned.
The rescuer asked if the homeless woman was capable of caring for the puppy, to which the homeless woman said no. The puppy was taken into APBA to be cared for.
We fostered Kabuki for a little over a month, when our small family fell in love with the puppy, and within a short amount of time she was a foster fail.
I love this goofy little girl, we like to play tug-of-war and chase squirrels in the yard. Kabuki is a lot of energy and love. She keeps me active and on my toes. Mom even has an ongoing series of her on our Facebook Page called “Guess What Kabuki Did.” She’s so loving, she gives everyone kisses, even me! She’s Mom and my snuggle buddy.
Kabuki joined Mom and I at Project Mickey as a puppy and has been invited back every year. Kabuki loves giving kisses to the kids and snuggles. After Kabuki turned 1, to remain a Project Mickey ambassador, she had to pass her CGC. In May of 2014, at one and a half, Mom took her and she passed! She is now an official Project Mickey dog, and loves spending time with the students.
Mom calls us the Brindle Babes, we go to all APBA events and lots of other events around the DC area as breed ambassadors, changing the minds of all who meet us.
Photo credit: Dirty Paw Photography