American Staffordshire Terriers as Service Dogs (Athena's story)

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Athena Boo Bear,- my little Blue- Angel
Barked: Tue Sep 4, '12 9:55pm PST 
I recently had my Staffy registered as an Emotional Support Service Animal. She is a rescue from Tucson and who knows the horrors she saw in the first year and a half of her life. My friend found her in an alley and called me to ask if I wanted to meet her. It was love at first sight.

The poor little soul had no body fat or muscle mass on her and was covered in hives, severe bug bites and fresh fighting/breeding wounds. But when I saw that beautiful little face, so relieved to finally be safe, so tired, smiling up at me with the biggest, most beautiful smile I have ever seen, I knew she would never leave my side after that day. I could never allow her to be hurt ever again.

Since the day I brought her home, all she did was sit like a little blue lump on my couch....never even blinking an eye at my two kitties and never asking to go out or even wanting to eat.

After months of cooking fresh dinners for her every night and rubbing healing aids on her wounds and doctor's visits almost weekly, she finally began to act like a dog. I came home from work one day and she had chewed up an entire box of markers, tissues and a few other things. I was so excited that she was feeling better that all I could do was laugh. She was covered in every color of marker and so was her bed. There was such a mess that you couldn't see the floor. I wish I had a picture for that very moment and the look on her face. : ) I just hugged her and laughed and said, "Well, I'm glad to see you're actually a dog after all."

Every since then our bond has grown. AmStaffs are very strong minded and an intelligent breed. I found out with Athena that they are always willing to please their owners but they are also always willing to take control of a situation.

I went through some very dramatic changes in my life after having Athena for about 3 years. I won't go into detail but let's just say my world did a 360 and it was very difficult to adjust to....still is.

So I began working with Athena from sun up to sun down to begin her training to calm her natural playful and protective natural Staffy traits. Always using positive reinforcement and studying dog psychology every day.

After working with her for about 6 to 8 months, she was finally at the point where our bond and our understanding was so strong and my knowledge of how to handle my Staffy was at it's peak......she has finally been certified as my personal Service Dog. She is completely legal and goes EVERYWHERE with me!

I take her to restaurants, movies, she sits beside me on the plane wherever we go, and she makes more doggy and kitty and human friends than any dog I've ever seen. She even gets along with my pet rats. She is amazing. And everywhere we go people constantly comment on how well behaved she is and how beautiful she is.

But one thing I've found is that people are so sadly misinformed of "bully" breeds, (which I hate to call them), and what an actual "pit bull" is or even the origin and history of the terms.

So one thing I love is that everywhere we go we teach people about the correct breed types and history of the poor dogs who are being demonized right now in our society.

And the more people that see children run up to Athena and giving her huge hugs, the happier I get. Staffys love children and since the 1800's their bloodline had been used as a sort of "Nanny Dog" to protect families and their children.

What people don't understand is how in tune these animals are to a human's thoughts and emotions. I'm not sure about other breeds specifically, but my Staffy, Athena can pick up someone's tension or nasty attitude from a mile away. And she will react to it. I've taught her to be very reserved and well behaved. But people cannot hide their true intentions and my girl knows it right away.

Anyway, enough blabbering, I thought someone that is a Staffy lover might enjoy that story. I will simply close by saying that the American Staffordshire Terrier is the most amazing dog I've ever known and I've never experienced a bond with such an amazing soul before.
Be kind to your Staffy and exercise regularly and you will be greatly rewarded with a friendship that you will never forget.

Good night doggy lovers. Any comments or similar stories are greatly welcome. wink

Much love!

Barked: Fri Sep 28, '12 1:12am PST 
Such a great story! Glad she is working out so well with you.