Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pit Bulls & Optimism

Our newest rescue, Gino, has Ectrodactyly otherwise known as "lobster claw syndrome". It's an extremely rare birth defect that happens only in a few species including canines and humans. In the fetal developmental stages, the two bones in the leg separate down to the paw into what looks like a lobster claw. He walks on his deformed leg with a limp and runs holding it up.

When I and 2 other members of our rescue group went to temperament test him it was a dreary day. There had been an outbreak of ringworm and sulfur solution was all over the place. Yuck. He was in a crate across from another dog barking at him waiting for his resident kennel to be cleaned. This would have been my worst day on the planet for sure.

He came out of his kennel with happiness and joy to be alive; he seemed positive that we were there to see HIM! He held up his paw as if to shake our hands and thank us for stopping by. We laughed so hard. My day was already so much better. He actually changed the way I felt about life at that moment.

When we got to the testing area, we cried. He seemed to be smiling at us - anticipating being loved, cuddled, and kissed. His disability and a really crappy few days had not "turned this off" in him. He was a true gentleman when we tested him. Biddable, respectful, and careful of our bodies. It seemed as though he wanted to just snuggle together and ponder good times.

This is what I call optimism. Being "optimistic" on a good day is easy. Being optimistic, happy, loving, joyful, and full of appreciation for life on a bad stretch of days or a part of one's life is true optimism. That was Gino in a nutshell.

This is what I think of when I think of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Being human, hmmmmm, well....... true "optimism" seems to be taking me a bit longer to learn.

- Marthina McClay