My name is Piper and I would like to tell you about Amber and her Pit Bull, Dozer. Amber was Dozer’s foster parent, but she became a foster failure after two months with this amazing boy. However, a foster failure is a good thing, in a way, because that means she is the one who adopted him. Dozer lives with a female medium size English pointer mix, named Dottie and a senior male cat.
Prior to Dozer they had multiple dogs of the larger or bully breed mix of their own or as fosters - all rescues.
Amber’s husband, Eric, actually introduced her to pit bulls as he had owned some prior to their meeting and liked them ever since he was in high school. Amber grew up with German Shepherds, so she preferred large breeds, but chose to get short haired dogs for easy grooming. Amber was a little leery of pit bulls until she spent some time with them and does not have a breed preference per say, but pit bulls do fit a lot of what she wants in a dog. Her husband however, loves pit bulls over any other breed, hands down.
Here is how Dozer became part of the rescue and a foster for Amber. Dozer was owned by a man that chained him in the backyard and beat him. When the former owner left him out in a snow storm with no shelter, a neighbor called the Humane Society and it took the Humane Agents 2 hours to rescue him off the chain, because he was so scared. It was weeks at the shelter before he would let anyone touch him as he would sit in his cage or hide under the desk when he was moved from his cage. Dozer spent the next 15 months at the shelter.
Flash forward to when Katie, with All About The Paw Pet Rescue, was contacted about taking him out of the shelter and placing him in a foster home until he could find a forever home. Katie contacted Amber and asked her to foster him. Katie felt he would be a good fit with Amber and she was right-on about that! Dozer was listed as being good with cats, dogs and kids. Sounded like a good dog, but “what was the catch?” Amber asked. Apparently he was scared of men. Men couldn't touch him and he would sit on the other side of a room from one. Amber and her daughter met Dozer first. They noted that he was shy, but there was no actual aggression.
Amber’s husband Eric had to meet him before they committed to fostering and her husband had to see Dozer's reaction to know what they were getting into. So the next night they returned by bringing Eric and their own dog, Dottie, to meet him. Dozer saw Dottie and didn't even seem to notice a man was walking in with her. Nothing like we were prepped to expect happened and Amber walked Dozer while Eric walked Dottie. After walking for a while they all went inside where Amber and her family all went into a room and sat down to just let Dozer approach each of them at his own pace. That is when something incredible happened. Eric was sitting on the floor and Dozer walked over and sat in his lap! The workers and volunteers couldn't believe it. A dog afraid of men, a dog who was abused by men, who was afraid of people and that had been in the shelter for 15 months, walked right over to a man and sat on his lap!
They adopted Dozer after two months of fostering him. He's a bigger dog like they preferred and he's so laid back. Dozer will go running or hiking and responds well to training. His past made him hard to place elsewhere and they just felt since he was thriving so quickly and got along so well with them that he deserved to just find a happy ending already. They have had Dozer for a year now. He has gone from not wanting to being handled (feet touched, nail trimming, ears and teeth examined) to his family handling him. He used to have to be muzzled at the vet’s but last week the vet fully examined him without issue.
And the men thing? He has become Amber’s husband's dog and warms up to men just as quickly as any new people. He is everyone's favorite dog now when they come to visit. All this from just being in the right environment. “Dozer and Eric have a bromance” as Amber calls it. Dozer is Eric’s dog and Eric is his person. Dozer loves the entire family, but the bond between Dozer and Eric is what is special, especially from a dog originally deemed scared of men. Eric worked hard to earn Dozer's trust and in return, Dozer gave Eric a softer demeanor the he was missing.
Amber has wonderful neighbors who understand they treat and train their dogs well. She always tells them in advance, prior to getting a new dog, and has them meet them properly. Amber says they are very fortunate to have good neighbors who respect each other and that where she lives lots of people have pit bulls so they welcomed Dozer warmly. Amber advised that when they go out hiking as a family, Dozer’s good behavior usually wins people over and that she knows having her other dog being a non pit bull helps because then they just view them as dog people, rather than pit bull people. Amber’s family used to give her a hard time about having them, but Dozer has certainly changed their minds and they now realize pit bulls can be good dogs.
People who know of Dozer’s story and see that he is a pit bull with a big head tell Amber that she should be scared. They just assume he will snap. Dozer only wants to avoid confrontation. If ever he's been uncomfortable, he gives plenty of warning whereas many dogs can give very little. They think Amber is nuts for having such a strong and formerly abused dog around her kids and animals. That is until they meet him.
Dozer likes to make the family laugh or smile by the way he curls up under the covers as Amber is trying to make bed, how he looks so lovingly at Eric when he's about to invade his space to cuddle and just the way he gets so excited and his stubby tail and then entire butt wiggles. He also has the best pittie smile.
Amber & Dozer would like people to know that you should not judge a book by its cover or in this case, by its previous life story. Pit bulls can come from the worst circumstances and still only want to be loved. A true testament to when a dog is truly just a good dog.
Written by Youth Volunteer Piper
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Edited by Bob Stone