Browse Category by Romeo the Pit Bull
life lessons thanks to my dogs, Lily the Ridgeback, Romeo the Pit Bull

3 Reasons Why Dogs Make Life Better (From a 6 & 9 year old)

“Whoever said “it’s only a dog” obviously never loved one.”

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Now having dogs, I wish I had grown up with one!  

The bond I see with Lily, Romeo & my kids is really special.  There’s just something about seeing a big head resting peacefully on a little person’s body that can melt your heart like no other.  Or the joy that displays instantly on their faces when they finally get to see each other after a long day at school or a sleepover at their dad’s.  

From what I hear, nobody forgets their childhood dog(s) and I have to think it has something to do with the sense of comfort and unconditional love that comes along with having a dog.  And the trouble you can get into with a pup…. you know, like playing tug with socks or digging holes together in the front yard!  

Without any coaxing, I asked both my kids why having a dog makes our lives better.  Here are their responses.  I couldn’t agree any more with them, especially Hannah’s first answer!

Hannah, 9 years old

1.  They understand you better than people.

2.  They are better than people.

3.  They don’t care where you live, or how rich or poor you are.  They just want to be with you.  They are family.

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Christian, 6 years old

1.  I wouldn’t have someone to love.

2.  I’m never alone.

3.  We eat Popsicles together.

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I can think of a few more reasons, but I may save them for a list of my own.  And truthfully, I think the reasons are endless!  If you have a dog, I’d love to hear how they’ve made your life better in the comments below. :)

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life lessons thanks to my dogs, Romeo the Pit Bull

Trusting Again

Trust: the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety of a person or thing; confidence

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Trust is earned.

It was only after I lost all trust in someone I loved that I fully understood what that first sentence meant.  Trust is earned.  It is not given.  It cannot be demanded.  And it won’t be easily regained after it’s lost.  It’s earned.  It’s built from experiences you have that give you confidence in yourself and others.

It’s as simple as keeping your word to someone.  Listening without judgment.  Taking that painting class that keeps popping up in your head for some reason.  It’s being honest and respectful.  It is showing compassion towards yourself and others.  And following that little voice inside your head.

A few days ago I wrote about a dog I recently rescued named Romeo.  I talked about the challenges I am facing and how I actually had the thought of not wanting him.  Thankfully because I trusted myself things have quickly changed for us and I feel like I love this not so little guy more than I ever have.

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Since I have no idea what his story was before we got him I can only go off of his behavior.  When he first came home he was quiet, calm and acting like he was just taking it all in.  He was hard to read but I thought that was just how he was.

I’m learning he had absolutely no trust in me, and rightfully so.  He went from his old home, into a shelter for eight days, got neutered and then was in the car for 2.5 hours before he made it to my home.  I was a complete stranger to him.  I misread the signs and thought he was adjusting well…until he started acting out.

That’s when I was reminded, trust is earned.  Instead of seeing only his “bad” behavior, I started to see a dog who was scared.  

Anxious.  Nervous.  On guard.  

A dog who was waiting to be hit.  And a little light bulb in my head went off and I started focusing on creating a trusting and loving relationship with him instead of controlling his undesired behavior.  Funny thing is, just in a matter of a few days, shifting my focus on strengthening our bond has HELPED SO MUCH!

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This will be a long process and I’m excited to see how we unfold together because there is so much to be learned on both ends.  One of the biggest (and hardest) take away’s I had with my last relationship was once trust is broken it is nearly impossible to regain.  And I think for that situation, with that specific guy, it was and still is completely true.  But it doesn’t mean I can’t trust anyone again.  It doesn’t mean everyone I meet will hurt me and it doesn’t mean I need to stay guarded forever.

It simply means I got to experience a small part of my life where I lost trust in someone I loved…. and that I get to move on.

Just like our Romeo <3

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life lessons thanks to my dogs, Romeo the Pit Bull

Letting Go of Control to Gain…. Control

Hello Wonderful Readers!  

I hope this post finds you well and you are having a great start to your day.  The first day of fall was yesterday and everyone in Ohio got to enjoy some beautiful weather.  I had a great day yesterday and wanted to share my “ah-ha” moment with you.

Almost 8 weeks ago I fostered an American Pit Bull Terrier.  He was past due on his euth date so unless someone stepped in ASAP, he was going to be “terminated.”  Even though he was not on the adoption floor, a wonderful rescue group and I were able to save him.  He came home Tuesday, August 5th and this is him on his freedom ride home. 

We named him Romeo.

Romeo's Freedom Ride

The first 5-6 weeks were great.  He was a little stubborn when it came to listening and pulled a lot when being walked (and man, is he STRONG!) but otherwise, was great.  He snuggled, was calm and loving towards my kids, loved sticking his head out my car window, could be crated with no issue AND he LOVED my first dog, Lily.  I took him to the dog park daily and there he made a lot of friends, ran like a mad man and rolled around in the grass. 

Happy as pie.

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It wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago or so that I saw a change.  He became overly protective over my kids and his rough housing with other dogs came on quicker and more intense than before.  His bark is loud and deep, quite intimidating at times.  He also charged a dog that was jumping all over my kids and since that experience I’ve been quite a nervous wreck.  I shamefully questioned what I was even doing with him.

Could I handle him?  Is he going to hurt a dog?  Or worse, a person?  Will I be able to train him and have him listen to me?  I was very emotional over this.  Here I did this great thing and rescued a dog that I wasn’t so sure I wanted anymore.  Sadly, it just seemed that life was easier without him.

However, that isn’t the kind of person I am.  I knew I wasn’t getting “rid” of him but I couldn’t deny the feelings of wanting to.  He needs work.  A lot of work but that’s what I signed up for when I signed the adoption papers.  I’m a big believer that certain things speak to us for a reason and that I am meant to help rehab him and keep him until his time on Earth is over.  What’s the reason?  I’m not quite sure but I have faith we will both come out better for it though.

What’s the reason?  I’m not quite sure but I have faith we will both come out better for it though.

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But like I said earlier, yesterday was wonderful.  I woke up to him resting his head on me.  I decided it was time to take a break from the dog park because it became a source of negative experiences and stress for him and I.  So we went for a walk on a trail close to my home with my son, he listened incredibly well and took a long afternoon nap. 

It was the first day in 2 weeks where I wasn’t stressed.  He wasn’t stressed.  It was enjoyable.  He even wagged his tail a few times which, let me tell you, is hard to get out of him!  My heart was full of so much happiness I could have cried.

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He still needs a lot of work- consistent training and structure.  Maybe we will never be able to play at the dog park like we did before because the excitement is too much for him.  Yesterday, I let go of my need to control everything and realized: that’s okay.  And that’s where my big ah-ha moment came. 

My need to control everything was making things worse.  I was trying to figure out how to keep him integrated with other dogs and he was clearly telling me it was too much and was acting out.  So I let go of control and seemed to gain exactly what I was looking for in the first place; control.

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My only job is to create a loving, compassionate and safe environment that helps him be HIS best.

I don’t know his history but I do know he is truly wonderful and I know he’s here to teach me quite a bit about life so… here goes nothing.

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