Torrey Blue, San Diego, CA
Hi! I’m Torrey Blue and I’m a senior Rottie/Pit, with maybe a little Bulmastiff mix. I’m about 11 years old now, and I was found by Animal Services when I was about 4 years old, malnourished and pregnant, wandering the streets of a bad neighborhood in San Diego.
I wasn’t very pretty back then. I was full of ticks and fleas, with worn down teeth, patches of fur missing from my rump and tail and really sore hips. Still, as bad as I felt, my tail wagged for anyone who came near me, so the shelter tried to adopt me out.
When I was spayed by the shelter people, I lost my babies and became post-natally depressed; I stopped wanting to go out for walks and was no longer interested in anything. I just sat in my kennel, low to the ground and looking scary to the people who came in looking for a pet.
I wouldn’t walk for the shelter volunteers, I would just get dragged out to the halls and then I’d lie down and refuse to move. Weighing in at 73 lbs. despite being malnourished, I was not easily maneuvered and often I was left in the hallway where I dropped in pain and fear and yes, ok, a bit of stubbornness, until the volunteers could find a staff member to pick me back up and take me back to my kennel.
The staff didn’t care for that and my behaviors earned me a sign on my kennel that warned “DO NOT WALK!” Because of this sign, everybody thought I was a vicious dog and they stopped visiting me altogether. 🙁
I got even more sad and lonely, and every day the people would walk by my kennel quickly, trying to avoid the scary monster dog at the end of the kennel ward who would just stare at them from her frightened, depressed position in the corner of the cement box.
Then F.M. came. (F.M. is code for “Future Mom.” But she didn’t know this at the time.)
I had her picked out and adopted for my mom by the first Kong she brought me, stuffed with frozen yums. F.M. had been a volunteer with the shelter for over a year or so, and she had a tendency to like to work and play with the big scary “monster” dogs.
She ignored the “DO NOT WALK!” sign on my kennel, and came right in to sit with me until I finished expertly licking out the surprise kibble treats from the Kong. She spoke to me softly and told me how I was going to find a beautiful home and a wonderful family to take care of me, and she was going to help. I giggled secretly, because I had already found her! Little did she know, but she did mean well! ♥
She visited me often, and took me out for walks by learning how to overcome my “palump-pumps,” as she called them when I tried to throw myself down to the ground and stop all movement. The staff was surprised and happy to see me prancing on by them in the halls, sassy as can be.
Two months passed, though, and still no one stopped by my kennel to say “hi” to me or ask about taking me home. I didn’t care, I had F.M. and she had what seemed like an endless supply of love and frozen stuffed Kongs for me.
One day when F.M. tried to slip out of my kennel before I finished my Kong, I stopped paying attention to the Kong and looked up at her as she was sneaking out. She turned back to look at me, and I gave her my best “but where are you going?” sad, mournful eyes, and I just stared at her as she backed out of the kennel, and then the ward.
Uh-oh, I thought. Uh-oh.
Happily, it turned out that F.M. had to leave town for work, but she had already decided in no uncertain terms that we had to be together. So she’d asked the shelter to hold me in a special “backstage” kennel until she could come back and get me. She was going to be my mom! I was going home! HOME! I had a home!! I was LOVED!
The former F.M. — now “MY MOM!” — named me Torrey. I was named after a beautiful, peaceful artist’s town in the red rocks of southern Utah where mom used to spend time, because I am red, and because I am peaceful. “Blue” is my middle name, because it’s not “red.” 🙂
After much time healing and working together, my Mom realized what a real people dog I am, and she knew I needed a “job” working with people. We took the AKC Canine Good Citizen test and I passed, first try with no training except Mom’s coaxing. We then applied to work with the San Diego Humane Society as a Pet Therapy team, which we did for several years until my Mom said my health needs had to come first.
I had been diagnosed with spinal spondylosis of the entire spine. Mom was afraid that the rigors of having to maneuver my body in various positions in the process of visiting with hospital patients and senior home residents might cause me more pain than I had to be already in with the condition. So we retired, much to my sadness.
I miss seeing the faces of the children and the seniors we visited, and sometimes people who were afraid of dogs, especially a big scary-looking one like me, when they would look into my big, soulful eyes, and melt into my hugs! I think we changed a lot of minds and hearts about what dogs like me are really like.
Today, I live by the ocean with my beloved Mom, my three cats and my cousin/sister, Mila, who just came to live with us recently. I love to walk down by the water and visit with the tourists and the locals who know me by name. Whenever I hear,”Toooooooorrrrreeeeeeeey!” I scramble to greet the caller and deliver sloppy kisses immediately.
I’ve slowed down a bit lately, and my health stays about the same, but my Mom says that she knows every moment that she has with me is one more than she thought she was going to have with me seven years ago, when she came back for me in the shelter. It was thought by the shelter that I was not long for this world, given my conditions and size, so every moment is a gift.
No one knows exactly what the first 4 years of my life held for me, although judging from my condition and the manner in which the shelter found me, they were far from ideal. But like most other bully breeds, we always have a smile on our face and an optimistic view of the world and of people, despite what we’ve been through.
I have tried to be a good ambassador for the bully breeds everywhere I go. I worked hard to get people to look beyond the outward appearance and see into our hearts. And although I’ve retired from the Therapy world, I still walk the walk in my personal life. Everyone I meet gets a sloppy kiss and a big bully hug. I just love you!
Thanks for listening to my story.