Anyone who knows me knows who Reagan is. She is my overly excited and anxious five-year-old Pitbull mix, who is basically the love of my life…and I try to take her everywhere…that I’m allowed to anyways. I adopted her back in March 2014 from Houlagan’s Rest (a rescue near Richmond, Virginia). They are a pretty awesome rescue, so if you live in the area and would like to adopt a dog check them out.
This dog has been one of the most challenging things in my life, but at the same time one of the best things that has ever happened to me. She and I have had our ups and downs but she is my soul-dog.
When I rescued her she had been at the rescue for 15 months and was a year and a half old. She was completely untrained, not house broken, not potty trained, and utterly obnoxious. There were times that I wanted to take her back and would call my sister-in-law in tears asking for help (she grew up with dogs and is one of the best people you could ever ask for dog advice). However, my heart could not give up on her, and I refused to take her back after I made a commitment to be her “Forever Mom.”
The list of destruction began when she and her bestie, Akira (pictured left), decided it was an excellent idea to drag in a potted strawberry plant from the balcony and dump wet potting soil all over my beige carpet (mind you I was renting an apartment at the time of the crime) and my micro-suede couch. It was a mess. I couldn’t even be mad because I was too impressed with how the hell they were able to bring it inside. Also, for anyone that knows, getting wet potting soil out of carpet is not an easy task at all.
From there the destruction continued:
- Pulling up the carpet in my apartment
- Eating through one of the doors in the same apartment
- Chewing in half four leashes and three gentle leaders (pictured left below)
- Permanently locking a bathroom door at my mom’s house (pictured middle below)
- Pulling coat racks out of the walls
- Eating through the bathroom floor at my brother’s place (pictured right below)
- Destroying four crates, including the trays
- Having explosive diarrhea in the back of my SUV… twice!
- Chewing through my ottoman, while inside her crate
- Eating the meat of a turkey beard, then rolling in the hair (dead animal smell, ugh)
The list goes on, but those are some of the more memorable events when I have wanted to pull my hair out. It has not been an easy ride with this ball of fur, not to mention the $$$$ it has cost to fix the damage she has caused. But somehow, I still love her and wouldn’t trade her for anything.
So here we are, three years later, and this crazy animal has me wrapped around her finger. She is now crate trained (mostly, still have some accidents), knows basic commands plus some, and is still just as obnoxious.
She still has some pretty bad separation anxiety, but I have learned how to control it, for the most part. Having a sturdy, “Reagan Proof” crate has helped tremendously. It looks like a jail cell, but it does the job. For anyone who has a dog who eats through their crate or is an escape artist, the SmithBuilt Crate is the way to go; it collapses too so you can travel with it as well. I have two, one to keep in the house, and one that is ready to travel.
Her anxiety still goes way up when we get in the car to go anywhere, so I am still working on curing that. I have tried almost everything, from Benedryl and calming tablets/liquids to the ThunderShirt, but have yet to find something that really helps.
Aside from her anxiety, the only problem I have is her getting too excited around people and jumping up on them. So I have been looking into a boot-camp class or some training classes with Off Leash K9 Training. It is owned and operated by Nick White who is a former U.S. Marine. My brother and sister-in-law are putting their two Pitbulls through the boot-camp in a few weeks, so I’m interested in hearing and seeing the improvements. I also bought Nick’s book “Raising the Perfect Dog” a couple years ago, which I found highly educational and helped me to train Reagan. Reagan was already an adult dog when I adopted her, so the book can definitely help with older dogs not just puppies.
(My brother and sister-in-law’s two Pits, Hazel and Tux, with Reagan; also, they are always in the same order)
I like to say that Reagan “LOVES LOVE” because she has always been a very sweet and loving dog, anyone who meets her will tell you that from the second they meet her. She kind of just warms your heart with her sweet face and charming personality. If you’re not a dog person, don’t judge the dog by the breed please, because you will be surprised how sweet and loving Pitbulls are. What’s that saying? “Don’t judge the breed, judge the deed.”
The past few years have been full of highs and lows, but after some training and shit load of patience, she has turned out to be a pretty incredible dog. She is smart as all get out, even though she likes to play dumb sometimes. I find myself having conversations with her, which I swear she can understand what I am saying. She loves belly rubs and I always find her in the most uncomfortable looking sleeping positions…
And who ever said that your pets aren’t your kids, never truly had a soulmate in their pet. I swear I spend more money on this baby dog than I do on myself; her beds (yes beds, plural) are more comfortable than my own.
Did I mention that she has the cutest ears ever?!? They are kind of too big for her head, but she wears them well. This dog is definitely the way to my heart!!!