Raegan, Georgetown, KY

Hello, everybody! My name is Raegan and I am an American Pit Bull Terrier. I am also a Certified Therapy Dog with Love on a Leash in Central Kentucky, as well as a certified Canine Good Citizen.

I am 3 years old, and have two brothers (Skeeter, a Beagle/Cattle dog mix and Baron, a Miniature Schnauzer), and one sister (Sasha, a German Shepherd). I have quite the story and I will try to keep short, even though it’s a long one! šŸ™‚

My story begins in late 2009. I was a sickly little Pitbull puppy that was brought into the veterinary clinic in Louisiana. The doctor diagnosed me with parvo. My old family hadn’t done any vaccines and I had lived outside since they brought me home a few months prior. They didn’t know how long I had been sick, they just noticed that I wasn’t moving much when they went out to feed me one day…

My condition was so severe, they were given the option to try to treat and see if I pulled through, or euthanize. They said to treat me so the doctor started immediately.

I was so malnourished and dehydrated. Over the next few days, the vomiting subsided and I was finally able to hold down a small amount of food. The staff tried to call my family daily with updates, but they never answered. They never called to check on me. Over the following weeks, I continually improved, however it became apparent that my “family” were never coming back for me. After many phone attempts, and letters sent, they responded that they didn’t want me anymore.

Protocol for an abandoned pet was to send them to the local shelter. Due to my breed and my unknown history (the area was know for dog fighting and breeding for dog fighting), the doctor was hesitant to adopt me out to just anyone. The good thing is, the vet tech/assistant at the clinic had fallen in love with me so she decided to adopt me!

My new mommy and daddy got to bring me home on Christmas Eve! It was the best Christmas ever! I got a new home and 3 siblings all at once and I was soo excited! šŸ™‚

Everything was going well until that next August when one morning, my momma went to get me for our morning potty break, and she opened the door to my crate and I couldn’t walk! She rushed me to work, and I had some tests done, but they couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong, and I heard the nice doctor telling my mom and dad that I should see a specialist right away! So off we rushed to a special hospital a few hours away, where they said the nice people would make me feel better.

There they discovered that my brain was swollen and I had a super high number of white blood cells in my spinal fluid! They call it Encephalitis, and they said that I was one of the worst cases they had seen. They couldn’t figure out why I got it, but that I needed to start treatment right away. Her specialist said it was one of the worst cases he had ever seen and he was surprised that I was still alive. He also couldn’t get over how happy I still seemed ā€” my tail never stopped wagging and I never stopped trying to lick everyone. After a few days there, they said I also tried to chase a squirrel even though I couldn’t stand or use my front legs (I just kind of sooted towards the squirrel). BOL!

I was there for 4 days before I got to go home. They sent my parents home with a sling so they could help me stand to go potty since I still couldn’t hold myself up on the front end. I had lots of medicine, injections and physical therapy that I had to get, and thankfully mommy had experience with how to do everything or I woulda been there longer! Because the medicine that I was on suppressed my immune system, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house except for doctor visits, and wasn’t allowed to have any friends over. šŸ™

After a very long time and lots of recheck and blood tests later, I was finally able to start living a somewhat normal life and rejoin the social world. I was so excited to see all the different peoples again!! Through it all, people would ask my parents ‘Why do you bother?’ ‘Shes just a dog.’ ‘That would be to much work for a dog.’ ‘Why would you spend all that money to help a dog?’…and countless others. My momma would always respond, “She isn’t ‘just a dog’; She is a family member. She’s one of our ‘kids’, and we would do anything for our dogs.” Don’t I have the best momma in the world? ā™„

Through all of my illness, I never stopped wagging my tail and managed to smile everyday. Nothing really ever got me down! My parents just knew that I have bigger plans and that there was a reason that I pulled through two life threatening illnesses.

Since I loved life and people SO MUCH and I had made it through SO MUCH, my momma knew I would make an amazing therapy dog.Ā  So I started training and in February, I passed my therapy dog evaluation for the wonderful organization Love on a Leash. I went through my 10 supervised visits and absolutely LOVE my visits. After 8 weeks of waiting for the paperwork, we finally got our official badges in July — I am officially a Certified Therapy Dog!! Momma told me that was my purpose.

Now I could spread some joy around to others who need it, and also show people that even though you may be different, different is NOT a bad thing! You see, even though I am healthy now, my illness left me with nerve damage on my right front leg and it doesn’t work or look right anymore. I can still use it some, it does help me balance at times, and it doesn’t stop me or slow me down one bit!

I love bringing joy to those I visit and I light up when I get my vest put on — I know that means I’m going to visit my favorite places, like the veteran’s center and the children’s home. I love it when I go to the library and the children read to me!

People still judge me because I’m a Pitbull and some are still afraid to pet me, the smiling, wiggly girl who wants to greet them. But little by little, my mommy and I are changing peoples minds and proving that dogs like me are not monsters. They all deserve a chance and should not be judged.

And remember: No matter what challenges you face, or how bad things may seem at the moment, you should always keep smiling, keep your head up and be proud to be what/who you are no matter what others think.

Thanks for reading my story! And don’t forget to stop by my Facebook page and follow my therapy adventure!

Pitty Kisses to all of you!!

Parent: Aslyn