Keira, Cornelia, GA

Hi! My name is Keira and my story starts from when I was very little.

I was born on January 1, 2011. I was bought from my breeder when I was only 6 weeks old. Barely two weeks later, my first owner left me at the local pet store because they got evicted and couldn’t keep me anymore. They asked the owner of the store to “sell” me for what they bought me for. Luckily, that pet store doesn’t sell puppies or kittens because they do not support breeding in general and have an alliance with the local shelters.

My future parents had agreed to get a dog a week or so before they found me. They had planned to go to the shelter and adopt a small breed (my dad didn’t want a large dog!) adult that weekend. But when they saw me, it didn’t take very long for them to fall in love with me! Convincing my dad turned out to be relatively easy — my mom asked him to hold me for a few seconds while she put back on her coat. Just a few seconds was all it took! I was shy, scared, obviously had little experience in socialization.

My parents believe I was born in a Backyard Breeding “kennel” although my parents never spoken to them. They received the paperwork when they adopted me, as I am supposed to be a UKC-registered puppy, but after discovering how sick I was, my parents decided against contacting them. And honestly, I’m not a “Show quality” dog and I don’t have a lot of drive (like a “working” dog would need). I am, however, a perfect “Pet Bull” according to my parents, which is all they needed from me. On top of that, I am so very gentle with my younger human sibling, Jack. He was afraid of dogs in general, no matter the size or age but something about me pulled him in, and he sat on the floor of that pet shop for 20 minutes just holding me — and when I fell asleep, he refused to let me go. My parents say that was a HUGE step for him. About an hour and a half later, there we were, on our way home.

I looked healthy, but I was actually very sick—the breeder had never vaccinated or wormed me, and I had Coccidia, worms, and very very dry skin, which the vet initially thought was Demodex mange. My previous owner had never taken me to the vet either. The vet advised my parents that everything that was wrong with me could have been prevented, if the breeder was responsible. Luckily, what made me sick were easily treated. I was diagnosed with an allergy to fleas—and what everyone initially thought was Demodex mange was, in fact, flea dermatitis. Since being on antibiotics for the infections, and being de-wormed, I have been completely healthy.

I have to always be on a flea pill, which keeps my parents from getting an infestation that could give me a horrible rash. I am slightly hard of hearing — I can hear loud noises, but to get my attention you tend to have to speak up. I did a hearing test the other day and turned out I’m deaf in my left ear. I know a few hand signals already…a fist held up by the shoulder for “Sit” and a flat palm by the hip for “Down.” I’m extremely affectionate, and I “talk” by making growly, gurgling noises and high pitched barks. (This is actually something my parents encouraged at home. It gives me a way to express myself!)

The “let’s get a small dog” thing just really didn’t work out for my parents, since a few months after getting me, they rescued another dog — this time, one more than TWICE my size! Caesar is a German Shepherd and we have been inseparable since the night my parents brought the big guy home. Caesar instilled a lot of confidence in me, and  joint training sessions are easier, since I am a copycat. He is older and has arthritis — but he doesn’t let that slow him down at all. I somehow understands his limitations and always knows when to stop trying to engage him.

I’m really good with the children (ages 6 & 3) and the 3 cats: Poe, Maverick and Willow. They even allow me to lick and play with them! I know many voice commands — Sit, Fetch, Come, Stay (I’m still working on staying for longer than 30 seconds) and Jump. Eventually, I want to be CGC-certified.

My parents say I’m changing the perceptions of our community, showing that not all “Dangerous Dog Breeds” are scary. One of our neighbors is elderly, and had never met a Bully breed he’d liked…but he adores me! :-) He’s admitted he was disgusted when he learned what breed I was, but now says he wouldn’t have it any other way. One person at a time!

I’m not “different” or “talented” like some dogs out there — but to my family, I’m a shining star. My dad was once terrified of “Pit Bull type dogs,” but I have changed his heart. For my mom, that’s enough. Raising me thus far has been an utter delight—and she can not wait to see what the future brings!

Parent: Amber

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