Hi! My name is Reiley and I’m a Pit Bull.
My story started when I ended up in a high kill shelter that uses a gas chamber. I came in as a stray. I had scars on my body and I was unwanted because of my breed. What’s worse? The animals that ended in that shelter have only 30 days to live once they’re in there.
So at the shelter I sat, day after day…and before I knew, I was there for 30 days and I was at risk of being Put To Sleep…
Then a rescue group, CAWS (Community Animal Welfare Society), and my foster mom pulled me! When they first took me to the vet to be neutered, the vet thought that there was a possibility that I had been used as a bait dog. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s what people call dogs that they use other dogs to fight with. So it seems that my life before the shelter was bad too!
But my story has a happy ending! My foster family decided to adopt me because we have all fallen in love and I feel safe with them.
I still have bad memories from my past life. I get scared very easily and I also get anxious in new situations. Other dogs scare me. Some humans scare me too, but I love my family.
It takes a lot of love and being very patient to see what’s underneath this scared shy dog, but once you do, watch out because I love to play! I just have to get used to things, and once I do, I show my true self and I am a very loving boy. My mom nicknamed me “Reiley The Love Bull”!
I’m the first pit bull my family has ever had and they love me just as canine siblings. I love my mom the most because she’s the one who really showed me that I’m loved and safe. She has been very patient with me and has shown me that I don’t have to be so afraid all the time. And she lets me cuddles with her every night.
I still have a long way to go before I’m a normal and happy dog for my age. I have a wonderful trainer, Samantha, who has been helping me to feel more secure in my surroundings. Mom and Samantha both think that I have made a lot of progress. The first step to help me to lose my fear was the love and kindness of being part of a family.
My first doggie friend at my new home was Chloe and she is a Chow Chow. She taught me how to play with other doggies and not be so scared and she showed me what love is and now she’s going to be my big sissy.
I was taken to the shelter as a stray and nobody wanted me because I was a pit bull and covered in scars. Well, someone did want me! I am proof that fighting or bait dogs aren’t bad, and the reputation that Pit Bulls are dangerous is undeserved. We just need to be understood and — most importantly — loved.
Thank you for reading,
Reiley The Love Bull
Photos by Polina Sergeeybna Vyazovkina, a West Valley Animal Shelter volunteer who was fired after speaking out against the shelter’s carbon monoxide chamber.