All admirers of this breed know that the American Pit Bull Terrier is capable of some pretty amazing feats. The dogs featured in this article are true canine all-stars, risking their lives to save that of their family and using their intelligence, dedication, obedience and loyal nature to protect those they love. I can only hope that in the same way a few poorly trained, unsocialized Pitbulls are able to stigmatize the entire breed as vicious animals, that featuring a handful of the outstanding pit bull dogs will have the same effect. Enjoy the stories below featuring these pit bull heroes and be sure to spread the word of their good deeds, the more positive Pit Bull press that is out there, the better is for our dogs.
Cheyenne, Dakota and Tahoe
One of the top rated Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs is Dakota, an Am Pit Bull Terrier. Kris Crawford, who has two other pit bulls that are also certified Search and Rescue dogs, owns Dakota. Dakota is so good at what she does that NASA requested Kris and Dakota to assist in the recovery of the Astronauts, after the tragic 2003 shuttle disaster. Kris and Dakota were also involved in the Laci Peterson investigation. Kris and her team have been involved in many cases and have made national news on several occasions. Cheyenne, Dakota and Tahoe, in addition to their work as SAR dogs, are also certified hospital therapy dogs. They can often be seen at pet fairs, shows and schools, informing the public about their work and education about the Pit Bull breed. It is important to Kris to have the girls out educating the public about the true spirit of the Pit Bull and teaching children canine safety, as most fatal dog bite incidents involve children.
One day while outside in the yard with one of her “kids”, Weela suddenly body-slammed 11-year-old Gary and sent him flying into the yard. Gary’s mom, Lori, who was watching from the window saw the whole thing and was very surprised. Weela had always played so well with the kids, and she quickly rushed out to see why Weela would have done such a rough move given her usually calm, gentle demeanor. It was then she saw a big rattlesnake sink its fangs into Weela’s face, and she immediately understood Weela had saved Gary’s life by pushing him out of the way! Weela’s good deeds did not stop there, a few years later, Weela saved the lives of 30 people, 29 Dogs, 13 horses and 1 cat. Heavy rains caused a damn to break on the Tijuana River. Weela pulled 30 to 50lb loads of food across the river to a tiny island to feed the stranded animals the entire month they were there.
One night two armed men broke into Melissa Willis’s home. They pointed a gun at her while her son stood behind her. Weezie, their male pit bull, immediatelycame to the rescue. In addition to growling, barking, snapping and otherwise causing a scene, Weezie placed himself between his family and danger, and with every advance by the men, he pushed his family backwards until they were to the exit. He kept the armed robbers focused on him so his family would be safe.
The Number 1 United States Customs Dog is an American Pit Bull Terrier named Popsicle. How did he get that name? He was found during a drug bust in a freezer where he had been left to die after being used as a bait dog for dog fighters. Not soon after his rescue, Popsicle began training at the Canine Enforcement Training Center in Front Royal, VA. He then went on to work at the Pharr and Hidalgo bridges in Texas. While working at the Pharr bridge, Popsicle alerted to drugs in a tractor trailer. It turned out to be a ton and a half of cocaine with a street value of $139,605,000, the largest cocaine seizure in the McAllen area in 10 years.
Popsicle later and went to work at the Port of Roma, Tex. While working in Roma, Popsicle made 24 seizures of Marijuana: 12,080 pounds with a street value of $640,000; one cocaine seizure of 148 pounds worth $6,719,200; and two currency seizures with a total value of $65,144.
Popsicle and Rudy have done more than work hard detecting drugs, they’ve also made numerous public relations and outreach appearances. Popsicle is a dog who overcame his abusive start in life and had his chance to get back at the crooks. While working at Roma, Popsicle suffered a career ending injury to his knee – an injury that required surgery. Popsicle is now retired and is living a life of leisure at his owner’s home.
A little over five years ago, Norton’s owners heard of this “loser” dog needing a home, loser because he was a pitbull that ‘wouldn’t fight!’ We had two dogs at the time, a Rottie and an Amstaff, so we weren’t looking for another dog, but something made us call these people to find out about Norton. The owner said thanks but they’d already found a home for him. A week or so later the dog’s owner called back to say Norton was returned and offered for them to come by and take a look. When they went to visit Norton they found a dog with not only physical scars, but extreme separation anxiety. They worked with Norton on this but he refused to not be with his people, these people that loved him, cared for him and took him away from his bad situation, so the owners made peace with the fact that Norton would need to be with them at all times.
Little did they know how much this would wind up coming in handy. One evening while in the bathroom, Norton’s owner was bitten by a spider. She was on medication at the time and it inhibited her body from producing any antihistamines, so she went into anaphylactic shock. She couldn’t make it out of the bathroom and could not make a sound to let her husband know she was in trouble. For some unknown reason, Norton got up from his bed in the closet and went over to her sleeping husband and kept pushing him with him nose until Barrie woke up. When her husband saw how upset Norton was and realized his wife was not there, he went looking for her and found her almost unconscious. She spent two days in intensive care and a week at home recovering from a spider bite that would have killed her within a matter of minutes if it were not for Norton.