Kandie, Sandy, UT

Hi, my name is Kandie. I will be 4 years old in July and my adventures are just beginning.

I’m a registered therapy dog with Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society) and Therapy Animals of Utah. I’m also an ambassador for my breed and my local shelter, SLCo Animal Services.

My story begins at Salt Lake County Animal Services when I was 4 months old. I’m not sure how I ended up in the shelter, but I think I was just dropped off as a little baby. So the first 4 months of my life was spent in the shelter.

Lucky me, I was at SLCo Animal Services and a new program was being launched. The SLCo Pit Crew program is an initiative to help the many Pit Bull type dogs in the shelter find homes by promoting responsible ownership. The group of people that started this program were dedicated to making it a success! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

During this time, my mama and papa had just experienced some big changes in their lives. These changes opened up some opportunities that got them thinking about volunteering at the shelter. By them starting to ask questions, they were added to a mailing list for different volunteering opportunities and adoption events.

They had even started to think about adopting another dog when an URGENT plea went out for volunteers and supporters to STEP UP. It was November 2009; the shelter was full, the holidays were here and there were dogs that were listed to be euthanized in 4 days… including me.

When my mama and papa saw my picture (my name at the time was Aggie and I was dressed in a chicken outfit), they knew they had to get me. I look like a dog that was very near and dear to them. We met and I was adopted! Whew! That was close! 🙂

So my new life began! In my new home I got 2 new brothers – Kryton & Khaki (they are both Pit Bull / Pit Bull mixes). They were much older than me and didn’t really want to play. For a little pup, this wasn’t good. It led to a lot of mischievous behavior, especially when my mama and papa left the house. Let’s just say the 2 recliners didn’t fair too well. (I chewed them to pieces – utt ohh, not a good girl!)

My mama and papa knew that they needed to do something! They wanted to make sure that I was a very socialized dog, that I had lots of exercise, and that I would be able to go to new places to meet new friends. The walks began everyday and then I started school with my mama. When the school was finished, I took a test and passed (I almost didn’t because my mama was too nervous). I got my AKC Canine Good Citizen. Woohoo! I was so excited! I was a very good girl! No more couch potato for me! 🙂

Shortly thereafter, my brother Khaki passed. My mama and papa were very sad, but I worked really hard to keep them happy, especially my papa.

In the meantime, my parents were starting to notice that I really loved people more than I loved doggies. People are more interesting and I can get lots of attention. I’m a “Ham”. My parents talked to my friends at the shelter to see what types of things I could do to meet more people and they suggested looking into therapy work. And I haven’t looked back since!

We took the test to become a therapy team, but didn’t pass because I tucked my tail. The instructors were concerned that I was scared. That’s okay – it meant that I got to practice some more. I love to go to school!

And then I got a new sister, my best friend – Kismet! She is also a Pit Bull and the same age as me. We met her at an adoption event on the 4th of July. She is pawsome!

My parents and I discovered why I tuck my tail. I’m not scared; it’s my personality, its part of who I am. I’m a very submissive girl. This is part of what makes me a great therapy dog. We took the test again and I passed! Yay! I’m a very good girl! 🙂

And then another sad day occurred. My brother Kryton got sick and he too passed. It was very confusing for me. We were having many good and exciting days, and then there were really sad days. They say time heals – I miss him!! With his passing my mama and papa wanted to help the shelter more. We began fostering some new friends. It was a great opportunity for me to help other doggies looking for their furever homes.

I continued with school and practicing my skills. You may even be able to get me to do a few tricks. If you say “watch me” I’ll look you straight in the eye and I’ve got you. I received my B.A. in C.L.A.S.S (Canine Life And Social Skills) and then my M.A. in C.L.A.S.S. I was on a roll!

Once I received my official paperwork from Pet Partners, we were off! We began visiting the boys at Copper Hill’s Youth Center. Copper Hill’s is a lockdown youth detention center for children ages 12-17. In the beginning, we visited 1 group of boys every other week. Then we added another group and now we are visiting every week.

Having a Pit Bull visiting the boys has been a learning experience for us all. The boys are at the age where they are seeing Pit Bulls in a negative image, whether it’s through the media, their upbringing or peer pressure and it happens every day. Then they meet me! I’m very mellow, a little shy, somewhat small and I love to please. I’m a regular dog that is there for them. Boy, did their eyes open! It’s fantastic!

We discuss the day to day struggles of Pit Bulls and ways to help out. We talk about shelter animals and how they can be great additions to the family and what it takes to be a responsible pet owner. And they get to love me, and I get to love them! I love to visit my boys!

I volunteer for events for Therapy Animals of Utah, where we can encourage others to become therapy teams and show them that Pit Bulls can be great therapy dogs. I try to attend all local events such as the Doggie Olympics, Strut Your Mutt, local holiday functions and even a 5k Run benefiting TAU. I was also a featured guest at our National Pit Bull Day held by Utah FACES and Tooele Animal Outreach – it was so much fun having all the pitties together. What a great day!

Recently my shelter became a No Kill Shelter. How great is that!! Every chance I can do something that brings attention, donations and supplies to the shelter – I’m there!! Watch for my Kandie Drives! I’ve teamed up as a volunteer with Utah FACES, the nonprofit that supports SLCo Animal Services, to help promote and support the shelter. I attend various events promoting Pit Bulls and shelter dogs. I have even been on TV twice. 🙂

There have been 2 more additions to my family. I now have another sister – Kylie, who is a Pit Bull that is 1 year younger than me and adorable! And a little brother – Kanab, who is 3 years younger than me that is a Pit Bull mix and a goof ball!

I have also started to visit the clients at Paramount Health and Rehabilitation. This place is great! I love the wheelchairs, walkers and how it makes me feel when the people I visit become so happy! It’s the best job ever!

In all that I do, I try to show everyone that I meet that Pit Bulls are not monsters. My goals are to change minds, one person at a time and to make someone smile everyday! It’s pretty easy to do – I just be myself!

Wuff ya!!

p.s. Don’t forget to follow my pawsome adventure as a therapy pittie on my Facebook page: Kandie the Therapy Pittie

Parent: Kelly