Don't Adopt A Pit Bull Unless You Want To Have Your Life Changed

Don't Adopt A Pit Bull Unless You Want To Have Your Life Changed

Every dog is special but here is the story of mine.

In August of 2017, my girlfriend and I decided to adopt a dog. We had been together for about 2 years and we thought it was the perfect time to take a big step in our relationship and also add a furry friend to our lives. We both agreed that we wanted to adopt instead of shop because we knew there was a pup out there who had a rough time and needed a loving home. So, we went to the animal shelter and hoped for the best.

It was so hard walking through the halls of the shelter seeing cute face after cute face and not being able to adopt them all! My mind created the worst possible past for every dog I saw and anger fueled inside of me at the people who gave up on these animals and threw them away like the meant nothing. Despite my overwhelming emotions, my heart stopped when I saw her. Laying on a sad excuse for a "cot" and a ripped up rag of a blanket, she was the only dog in the entire shelter who wasn't barking and scratching at the cage to get out. She had a sign on her cage that said, "I just had surgery. I can go out and play, but please be slow and gentle." I'm guessing this signed turned a lot of people away from her. But not us. My girlfriend and I knelt down and smiled at her. We put our hands through the holes of the cage and showed her we were friendly. Although it took some time, she stood up and came to sniff our hands. As soon as she was comfortable, we took her out to the back to play and get to know her.

As soon as we got outside, she started sniffing the ground immediately and in about 30 seconds, she had used the bathroom. Most of the other dogs had used the bathroom in their cages. Right away we could tell that she had been a part of someone's home before. She was house trained. Someone had taken the time to train and raise her and then gave up on her.

As we started trying to play with her, we noticed that all she really enjoyed was being pet. She loved belly rubs and scratches behind her ears. She just wanted attention. She just wanted love. I remember looking at my girlfriend and being like, "are we really doing this?" And she said, "Yeah. Why? Are you changing your mind?" I said "No. I've already fallen in love. She's the one."

So we took her home. The shelter had given her a name since she was found with no tags or chip, but she didn't respond to it. Since she was only 2 years old, we figured we could train her to respond to a new name. He real name. He forever name: Hazel!

Hazel slept in our bed the first night. She slept for close to 10 continuous hours. We figured this was the first time she probably truly rested in a long time. The first couple of days were hard. She wouldn't eat, she slept all the time, and although she seemed comfortable, she acted like she was sad. Once she settled in, we took her to the vet.

"She's depressed." The vet was talking to us and all I could think was "I didn't know dogs could become depressed." But they do. Their symptoms are similar to humans in that they are fatigued and only want to sleep and they don't have an appetite. Along with her depression, we were told that Hazel had double chronic ear infections, was not at a healthy weight, and had many scars that needed to be monitored closely. All of these issues were caused by lack of funding at the animal shelter, malnutrition from being a stray, and negligence of her previous owner.

"Give her three months. You'll have a different dog, I promise." I wanted to believe the vet, I really did. But I had never seen a dog depressed like this. She wouldn't play with toys, barely ate, had bald patches all over her body from lack of nutrition, scratched and cried over her aching ears, and wasn't accepting of the love my girlfriend and I so desperately wanted to give her.

But slowely, she started to eat. And she ate a lot! Then she sort of figured out what a toy was. And boy oh boy did she discover her love for walks and the outdoors! Her scars started healing, her chronic ear infections were being treated, and the vitamins we were giving her started helping her hair to grow and body to become stronger.

Hazel is now at a healthy weight with no more ear infections. Her scars are healed and all her hair has grown back! She probably eats more than she should and loves treats! Balls are her favorite and she loves running outside. It seems like a miracle, but she is finally happy.

So you're probably asking, why shouldn't someone adopt a Pit Bull? Well, because your heart will be forever changed. You will realize the stereotypes about this "aggressive bread" aren't true. You will start to hate the individuals who use them for fighting or breading or those who neglect them and leave them on the street. You will fall COMPLETELY in love with them. Your life will never be the same'll want to adopt every Pit Bull you see from now on.

Cover Image Credit: Ciara Gazaway

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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