Buddy, San Clemente, CA

Hi! My name is Buddy and here’s how my story started.

If my memory serves me right, my old name was Sniper and I was pretty much a backyard dog. I don’t remember getting very much interaction or even being taken on walks. It was a pretty mundane existence, but I held out hope for something. Then one day, the man and woman put a leash on me; I thought “Woohoo! Finally, we’re going out for some fun!”

But they dropped me off at this dark, cold place with cages and lots of barking dogs. The next thing I knew, my backyard turned into a cell and the man and woman were gone. 🙁

My cell was the Baldwin Park Shelter, a high-kill shelter with only a 48–72 hour life expectancy because I was what’s called an owner surrender.

When the man and woman dropped me off, the shelter staff saw that I was well-behaved and asked them to take me to a more suitable shelter where I would have a better chance of being adopted. The man answered, “We don’t want this dog anymore — just take him!” The following day, the woman returned to the shelter, covered in bruises and crying. “I can’t take him, but please don’t kill my dog!” she begged.

Lucky for me, the people at this new place were very kind; my tail would just wag when they came to see me. You wouldn’t even know that I had a cracked femur, a dislocated hip and a broken canine tooth down to the root. (That was my condition when I was dropped off.)

Twice they brought me to the euthanasia room and twice I was “pulled.” They moved me around a lot — they were trying to keep me from the euthanasia room (I’m not sure what that was; I’m just glad I never ended up there…I heard some dogs never came back). Everyone kept saying, “He is just too friendly!”

One kind shelter worker finally called Molly from Molly’s Mutts & Meows out of Los Angeles, and she high-tailed it down there to pull me for good! She came to “foster me”; boy, was I glad to meet her!

After that, every day got better and better. They gave me so much love and attention, I met a bunch of new people and doggie friends; it was awesome! Molly started looking for a family for me. There was a family who had adopted their first pit bull Bella from her and they were ready to adopt another. So Molly told them about me.

One overcast L.A. day, all my wishes came true, my forever mom and dad came to meet me. They also brought my new sister Bella to meet me. I wondered, “Who are these two humans with huge grins on their faces with this cute little pink dog?” You would never know I was in pain because of my tremendously sunny disposition (I did occasionally wince if you caressed my jaw). I frolicked and played with Bella, and they knew I was the one.

Two days after their visit, my Mom came back to pick me up and bring me to my new home at the beach. This place was cool! Besides my new sister Bella, I also have two new cat brothers and I met Francie (my current Golden Retriever girlfriend), who lives down the block from my new home; we hit it off right away.

Molly’s Mutt’s & Meows paid for my orthopedic surgery and my parents had my broken bone and tooth fixed. Mom and Dad gave me my new name, “Buddy,” which I think suits me a whole lot better. I felt like a million bucks. I never realized how much fun life could be!

Once I was out of pain, my friskiness became even more evident, and my personality flourished. My mom thought I had all the attributes of a model pet therapy dog so she decided to start my training!

Two years after I was adopted, I took my therapy dog test with the Delta Society (now Pet Partners). Upon arrival to the testing facility, I greeted the first evaluator outside with smooches and a rub to her leg. My parents and I patiently waited our turn as another test was already in progress.

At the start of the exam, my mom said it was apparent that I was born to fill this role. The testing is somewhat chaotic because they want to see the dog’s reactions in unpredictable situations, but in true bully style, I did every exercise with a smile on my face and a wiggle in my butt!

I passed with flying colors, achieving the highest rank: “Qualified to visit in complex environments.” 🙂 My score sheet comments were loaded with: “tail wagging,” “nice job” and “loves hugs.” The three evaluators along with the neutral dog, Elvis, were as impressed with me. My parents were beaming!!

I started volunteering in the pet therapy program with my mom once a week; it’s so much fun. I visit hospitals and work in an outreach program teaching at-risk kids about the human animal bond. I get so excited when my mom gets out my vest and badge, I know we’re on our way to give some kisses and get lots of hugs and belly rubs from all my new friends!

The kids, nurses, doctors, parents and staff are so nice when they see me; they often give me treats and take my trading card. “The very fist pit bull–type therapy dog here at CHOC Children’s Hospital,” I overheard my mom boasting the other day and from the reactions she gets, it seems like a pretty big deal. What a turn my life has taken! I can hardly remember my former life.

My latest venture was to the Special Olympics at Cal State Long Beach. This was a huge event! We were there with the Paws 4 Healing team and I met many, many new friends. I got to kiss most of the athletes, hang out with the Long Beach Highway Patrol, SWAT team and all the guests. It was a great day!

So that’s my story, a little unwanted pit bull dumped at a high-kill shelter who became a Canine Good Citizen certified therapy dog and making a difference in the lives of so many!

Mommy says I’m a true ambassador for pit bull–type dogs because I embody the genuine pit bull spirit. I am the absolute love of my parents’ lives!

My mom says she’s the lucky one but I feel so blessed to have a forever family. My only wish is that all the homeless doggies out there get to live in a loving, safe home. Just like me.

Thanks for reading!

p.s. Oh, Mom came home with a new brother for us. His name was Skinny Vinny, he was so little (2.9lbs) and very stinky. Mom said he was a little bit sick but would be better soon. Bella and I welcomed him into our pack and taught him the ropes. Now he is bigger than both of us (80lbs) and he is our best friend. 🙂

Parent: Barbara