The hardest thing is to feel less than. Unwanted. Unworthy. No one really cares, can understand the suffering, or imagine where I have been. The waiting is agonizing. Will it get better? Will I find comfort, safety, and trust? A home for my heart where I can rest and repair my weak body and injured soul. Everyone passing by, glancing, but not seeing the real being underneath the gloom. If just one person would stop, smile, say hello, let me free to show them my best side. I could turn it all around, be loyal, and be true. It just takes one person to open their heart and let me in. I will love them in return until the end. I could be their best friend, make them laugh, and stay by their side when they cry. I would do my best each day to follow all the rules of this new bond and forever friendship. I just need a chance. One chance! You’ll look into my eyes and know I’m honest, lovable, and adorable. Please, open the gate, pet me, cuddle with me, and then adopt me. I am a shelter pit bull. And I am waiting for you to take me to my furever home!
I began writing this opening paragraph from my own mindset. I struggle with mild depression and extremely negative thoughts. I always find shock when I share these thoughts with others. They can’t believe the peppy outgoing person they know struggles to get out of bed some days. With so much good surrounding me, so much apparent happiness, and love, “why can’t I pull it together?!?”, I tell myself.
A few months back I hit a hard low. There is no middle. No gray. Just extremes of joy and sadness inside of me during these moments. I was teetering, staring into a downward spiral that would eventually leave me, as always, a little thin on my mental and physical health. My husband saw the storm clouds roll in. He watched nearly helpless as the thunder rattled my bones, and the lightening frazzled my nerves. He tried each time to fortify my soul with compliments, gifts of tender kindness, and the present of his presence and attentiveness. I perk up like a water starved plant. I grown, and I learn.
I’ve began over and over again the task of healing through therapy. I’m learning to trust my husband. Seek his guidance and request his support whenever I need it. He pulled me, and promises to always pull me back up again. Promises to laugh when the times are good and promises to endure when the times are bad. I will do anything for him and he deserve the best I can offer each and everyday. No, I’m not turning into a shelter dog, like in my opening paragraph. But my life and the one I saved in Devore sometimes feel one in the same.
As part of plan “pull Valarie up by her boot straps” my husband conceded to allowing a dog into our home. We definitely planned on starting a fur family someday, but truth be told we weren’t ready. Our busy lives revolve around our business, work, family, and many more stressful factors. How would a dog fit into that? How would we find the time to care, and give the love she or he needs? We both grew up around dogs and pets, and understood the serious responsibility. My husband, with the best of intentions, hoped this last trick up his sleeve would be the ticket too pulling me up and out of the slump I was in. So we drove to Devore, a tiny town just north of Rancho Cucamonga. A town you never even knew you passed each time you road tripped to Vegas. An hour to one of the highest kill rate shelters around, to find a dog that would speak to my soul.
It was Saturday and we were squeezing in the impromptu trip between a dozen other things we had already planned to do that day. I was looking for a brindle colored dog and my husband wanted a pit bull. I had never had a pit before, but knew the stigma well. I trusted my husband when he said they are the most loyal breed he has ever owned. Loyal. That sounds good, I thought. The dog we were looking for was there. A pretty brindle. Young and playful. Sweet, but could she be The One? We walked up and down all the other isles. Almost three full rows of pits, and one more for other breeds. My heart ached at what I saw. Mothers with swarms of puppies suckling. Others with ears chewed up from the mean streets or a bad home. Some mangier than others. Some sad. Some happy. Some with a last call. I had already passed each kennel once, and my husband suggested we visit this one particular on the far side again. Two dogs, and I can’t remember much about the other because The One sat perfectly still and stared into my eyes. She said, “take me home”.
I loved both. The brindle and the blue with the eyes. I couldn’t have both. Believe me, I tried. The deal was to come back Tuesday morning when they were both available and take home whoever was still there. I waited three long days and thought about both those precious babies. Both almost a year old. Both sweet with darling dispositions. That blue kept coming back to me. She edge her way into my conscious and somehow I knew that on my return she would be the one I would take home. I didn’t dare voice it, aware of the jinx. Tuesday finally came and my husband couldn’t return with me. The decision was all mine, and it was meant to be that way. I drove the hour there, asked for the blue, sat just a few minutes with her, and knew she was mine. I paid the adoption fee on September 23rd, dropped an extra $20 in the donation box, and sent all my extra karma to the brindle. I will never know if she ever found her furever home too.
Thus it became, Luna Petunia Joy Anderson and me. Since her adoption she has gained 12 much needed pounds and given me a much heavier heart full of love. She makes me laugh, has taught me patience, and loves me for the human I am. I have a soul to care for, and in return she enriches mine. Loyal is not a strong enough word to describe my Luna. Her complete body fit (wiggles, turns, flips) when I return from out of sight for any given length of time expresses more love than any words. My husband and I both agree we don’t believe in soul mates. We found, love each other, and married because of common interests and a passion for adventure. But truly I know, Luna is my soul mate.
I want every pit like her and every human like me to feel love, be loved, and give love. To help with this I have joined team Angel City Pit Bulls, an official LA Marathon charity. My personal goal is to raise $500, oh and of course running 26.2 miles under 4 hours for the rescue, fostering, and adoption of this breed. NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) estimated that last year more than 13,000 healthy or treatable animals (9,000 dogs of which 2,000 were labeled pit breed) were killed in L.A City shelters due to room and resource constraints, instead of being adopted. More than 80 organizations, including ACPB, work with NKLA to make these numbers exactly zero! Already this year ACPB has supported 600 low income families through spay/neutering services. Additionally through their fostering services, community training classes, monthly social pack hikes, and advocacy by educating the public, pit bulls like my Luna find homes! Educate, Advocate, Celebrate these wonderful loving family pets with me and ACPB!
Please join me on my next adventure to health and helping these beautiful beasts. You don’t have to run a marathon with me. Just donate to this cause and share the fundraiser on social media. Follow any of the links below to find out more.