Jagger, Houston, TX
Hi! I’m Jagger. As you can see just by looking at me, my previous life was pretty rough.
A year ago in December 2010, I was confiscated from my previous “owner,” the bad man that made me fight. He was a sheriff’s officer! Imagine the surprised of everyone when he was arrested for being involved in narcotics and they found all of us dogs!
There were nine of us and we were held at the shelter for a month while the case went to court. We were all labeled as dangerous dogs. When the custody hearing came about and our custody was given to the shelter, the shelter began euthanizing my “family” one by one.
Everybody said I was the one with the most physical damage: My right upper lip is missing; I have countless scars down the front of my legs and on my back; I had burns on my “man parts” — some people think that was done to inflict pain to get me to fight. The shelter also claimed that I couldn’t eat or drink without assistance. With all my physical damage stacked against me, no one knew for sure why I wasn’t one of the first to be euthanized. I guess that was not my destiny.
A volunteer at the shelter contacted Treat Em Right Rescue (TERR) to let them know what was going on. TERR immediately mobilized a couple of its volunteers and they swopped in. I won’t ever forget the day I got picked up by a nice man who took the time to hug and kiss me before he drove me to another shelter where I would be safe. I was glad he also took along Bianca and my girl, Cupcake.
The nice people at the new shelter did everything to make me feel better. A month went by, I gained some weight and saw some special doctors that made plans to help me out as best they could. They were also trying to find me a new home so they took me to this thing called an adoption event and fundraiser.
At the fundraiser, this nice lady and man were there, and they were loving my son, Crumbs. (Oh, I forgot to tell you: Cupcake had our baby, Crumbs, the night that we were taken away from the bad man.) She watched me the whole time and I heard her talking about me. She knew my story and had come there to meet ME!
She sat next to me while I was in my crate. I wagged my tail and she talked so sweet to me. She then opened up my crate and let me sit in her lap. I gave her lots of kisses and she gave me lots of scratches and pets and let me snuggle close to her for a long time. She gave me a kiss before she left.
The next month, I had my surgery to remove my canine tooth from the side of my exposed mouth — the tooth had been damaged beyond repair and was rotting, and it was hurting me. I was also neutered. It was then time that I could be fostered and adopted! At first no one seemed very interested…
Then one day the nice lady from the adoption event showed up! She heard that I was finally healthy enough to be fostered or adopted. I ran out to see her, and I gave her lots of kisses and hugs. But I quickly saw that she had another dog with her. The nice lady wanted to bring me home but she had to make sure I get along with their dogs.
The other dog kinda looked like me, but was way bigger than me. I sniffed her and ran around her. She was calm and watched me. Then all of a sudden I got scared. I didn’t know what to do, and I behaved kinda bad. The shelter lady ran up to me and picked me up took me back inside. The nice lady was heartbroken and I thought I had messed up my chance to go to a home…
A couple of days later though the nice lady showed up again! I was so excited to see her because she didn’t give up on me! For the next few weeks, she drove an hour to pick me up, take me to a nearby park, and walk me with that other dog every day we could. After a couple of weeks of walking dates, she took me to her house for sleepovers! I’d stay for the night so that I could meet and play with the two small dogs in the house. I love the little dogs, and they liked me back.
Then she took me to this scary building with lots of other dogs. I was so scared!! All I could do was stand there and shake. The nice lady tried to give me treats to pay attention to her and to sit, but I couldn’t. I was a nervous wreck!! I was so relieved when we left that I threw up in the car.
The next weekend we did the same thing (throw up included). Then my weekend dates started getting longer until I didn’t go back to the shelter. I learned that the scary building wasn’t quite as bad as I thought — it’s where TERR hosts Behave-A-Bulls classes — and I started paying some attention to the nice lady while we were there. Slowly, things got better. I built up the courage to follow commands and focus.
We started taking field trips to different places where dogs were allowed, including events to help promote the wonderful things that TERR does and an appearance at The Pet Expo. All of a sudden I’m a rock star.
It clicked in my mind that she was not going to put me in a dangerous place; she was only giving out love and treats, nothing to be a afraid of, and when she took me to scary places, she guided me safely around and rewarded me for being “a good boy.” (Actually, I get LOTS of treats when I do what she wants me to do.) So I started concentrating on her really hard. And the more I concentrated, the more I got to do!
I got to spend more time other dogs. And I got lots of love all the time by lots of different people! Everywhere we went, people wanted to hug and kiss me. I thought it was pretty awesome. The nice lady would talk to them about me, and some people would cry, others would pet me and hold me close. All I know is I got a lot of attention. I realized that I really liked nice lady and her family a whole lot! And for the first time, I think I knew what love was…
And the day of my last class and graduation, nice lady told me that it was an extra big day with a lot to celebrate because this family was now MY FAMILY! Nice lady was now MY momma! We went to class and everyone was so excited for me!
The next week I took my CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test for the first time. I passed all except the stay — I mean really, who would want to stay away from their brand new momma?! So I didn’t get to earn my CGC at my first try, but I had a real family of my own for the first time! (I did earn my CGC over the summer along with my pittie sister, Kayla. :-))
My momma said working with me in the beginning required a lot of patience, but the rewards in the form of snuggles and love were more than worth it. She thinks what I’ve accomplished in such a short time is really amazing. In 9 short months I’ve gone from a fighting dog with little control, to a loving family member and a lap dog with control.
I’m a spokesdog for pit bull and dogs that were used for fighting and for the rescue that saved him. I love going to events and getting smothered with affection from everyone. Every time I venture out in public, lots of people were scared of me because of the way I looked. Lots of assumptions were made about me and some people made faces ranging from pity to fear.
My momma says I handle all that with patience and grace, and then they usually ask about me and pet me, and I wag my tail. And I change their minds.
People always say they had no idea pit bulls could be so friendly, especially ones that were victims of fighting. I’m teaching people daily that it is not what is on the outside but it is the inside that truly counts. And that even a dog that was a fighting dog knows a lot about forgiveness, love and compassion.
I hope more and more people will see past their assumptions and love us for who we are.