Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is this finally enough proof?

This is a great story. I double-checked, as you will see throughout as you read, so I know the story is true.

Good News About the Bad Breed
Mar 31 2006 6:11PM
by Audrey Thomasson

Weela and her littermates were dumped in an alley when they were less than four weeks old. Lori Watkins discovered the five pit bull puppies whimpering from hunger and took them home to foster. Once they were old enough, the four male puppies were placed in loving homes, but the family decided Weela was special and decided to keep her.

As with most dogs, Weela grew up to become a reflection of her owners personalities and the training and care she received. Raised in a loving, responsible environment, she displayed traits typical of the best of her breed loyal, strong, brave and intelligent.

She was such a gentle companion to the family’s children that when she charged across the yard one day and hurled herself into Loris son with a body slam that sent the 11-year old boy sprawling, Lori was shocked. But shock quickly turned to horror when she saw a rattlesnake sink its fangs into the dogs face. Weela had sensed the snake’s presence from across the garden and rushed to push the child out of striking range. The boy was unhurt and his heroic canine companion recovered from the poisonous bite.

But the courage and fortitude of this family pet did not end here. Several years later, Weela’s bravery during a flood resulted in her being named Dog Hero of the Year and she became one of the most courageous pets of all time.

This is the rest of her story:

Weeks of heavy rain put so much pressure on the local dam several miles upstream that the wall gave way and turned the narrow, three-foot wide stream into a raging river. Lori, her husband Daniel and Weela worked for six hours battling heavy rain, strong currents and floating debris to reach a friends ranch and rescue their12 dogs. Weela displayed an amazing ability to sense peril, steering them clear of drop-offs, muddy bogs and quicksand. After that, the pit bull took the lead in dangerous situations, assisting anyone in need of help.

She led a rescue team to 13 stranded horses just as raising waters were about to engulf them. During weeks of flooding, Weela made several trips across the river to bring food to 17 dogs and one cat, all stranded on an island. With each crossing, the 65-pound pit bull had to pull 50 pounds of food harnessed into a backpack.

On one of her crossings, she found a group of 30 people who were attempting to cross the treacherous waters. Weela ran back and forth, barking at the group refusing to allow them to cross at that point because the waters ran deep and fast. She led them upstream to a shallower area where they were able to cross safely.

During that flood, the pit bull saved a total of 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses and one cat.

Over the years, America has celebrated pit bulls as the family pet. There was Petey, the faithful dog on the TV show, The Little Rascals, who was one of the most intelligent Hollywood dogs of all time. Petey spent countless hours with children day after day and never hurt anyone unlike Timmy’s collie Lassie who was known to take the occasional nip out of the cast and crew. Other famous pits include Nipper of RCA logo fame and Tige from the Buster Brown Shoe advertisements. Helen Keller was one of many famous people who claimed a pit bull as a canine companion. The breed is very successful as therapy dogs because of their high pain threshold and stable temperament. They do not bite or snap when accidentally bumped by a wheelchair or walker.

And there are other pit bull heroes. America's first war dog was a pit bull named Stubby who earned several medals and the rank of sergeant for his service in WWI. He received a hero's welcome and was even honored at the White House. Stubby was the inspiration for the U.S. Military K-9 Corps and become Georgetown University's mascot.

NASA requested the assistance of two search and rescue pits, Kris and Dakota, in the recovery of the Astronauts after the tragic 2003 shuttle disaster. These two dogs were also involved in the Laci Peterson investigation.

There are numerous stories of pit bulls protecting people like the one in Austin, Texas that jumped up and took a bullet in the chest to protect his guardian. Bogart is another pit bull that saved a four-year-old boy from drowning in a swimming pool, and in Chicago, a pit bull saved a small child from an attack by a dog of a different breed.

On an undercover drug raid, a federal agent discovered a pit bull half frozen in a freezer. The dog survived and became the officer’s partner. Popsicle is now a narcotic sniffing dog for the federal government.

Today’s generation of pit bulls get a bad rap because of careless people who either abuse their dogs or fail to control or train them properly. But as responsible owners of pit bulls will tell you, Judge the deed not the breed.

Go online to Animal Tails to view more animal stories or request a story on your furry companion.

(For adoptions in Lancaster contact the Animal Welfare League, 435-0822 or 462-0091, the Lancaster Animal Shelter, 462-7175, Friends of the Shelter, 435-0737, or Animals First, 462-5067.In Northumberland, call the Friends of the Shelter, 435-2597 or for cats, A Place in the Sun, 580-6484.)