The following story is one of many that inspires me to continue championing the pit bull breed. Not only is this a true and beautiful account of events, but also beautifully written by the person, whom would like to respectfully remain anonymous, who saved Teak.
Please enjoy and share:
It was September of my 19th year, and I’d never been lower. I had a great apartment, lived alone, and had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I remember soaking in the tub one night, wondering how long it would take for someone to find my body if I decided to drown; days, weeks, months? The conclusion I came to: I needed to get a dog.
Naturally, as an emotionally unstable teenager, everyone told me I was nuts. I couldn’t handle it. I’d end up returning the dog to the shelter and just feel worse, but I knew. I knew I needed something to keep me accountable. That if I could care for something else, there was a chance I’d learn how to care about myself.
I searched on Pet Finder, cycling through “less complicated” breeds although I’d always had a love for Bullies. I finally stumbled across an 8 month-old, bluenose boy on “medical alert” (aka get your butt down here because he’s next up to be euthanized). Panicked, I pulled my best friend out of bed at 8 am the next morning, and tore my way to South Central to pick him up. I prayed to the traffic gods, I would get there before it was too late. She, my landlord, and everyone else had the same question: “Can’t you just get a Yorkie-Poo like a normal person?” Answer: Of course not.
When we arrived, I was crushed to find out my Pet Finder pup had already been moved to “The Annex” to meet his doggie doom. The man at the desk looked at me straight and said, “we have 368 dogs here, most of them Pitts. I know you had your heart set on this guy but- just take a look”.
I wandered through kennels and kennels, filled with every type of dog you could imagine. The cacophony of barks was making my head hurt, I was overwhelmed and defeated. That was when I saw one little Pitt lady in the back, getting stepped on. Her face smushed under the paws, and butts of bigger cellmates. I swear, 367 dogs were barking, but she was silent. When they brought her out to meet me, she made a break for it. Wriggling her skinny body through the fence, while staff jumped to pull her back by her bum. Once they finally reeled her in, she came and sat between my feet, looking up at me with round eyes and a wagging tail. The guys were laughing and taking bets. There was no way this tiny white girl was taking home a Pit Bull. But she had gumption, and I thrive on the unexpected. I knew she was meant to be mine.
Much like myself at the time, she was a complete mess. Wouldn’t eat a thing, and when she did, it’d all get thrown up anyway. My mom called to see how it was going, all I could reply was, “I would get a dog with an eating disorder. Wouldn’t I”. I took her to the vet a day later, and they told me I had wasted my time. By the looks of it, she had contracted PARVO, an illness commonly found in county shelter dogs. Highly transmittable, and a death sentence for puppies, I was told she probably had 48 hours or a week left to live. I couldn’t bear bringing her back to the pound, and decided to take care of her until the end. I gave the vet the go ahead to run all tests, and do the best they could to keep her comfortable. She spent two whole days in their ‘ICU’, and I was let in three times a day just to sit with her. The staff was amazing.
When it turned out she didn’t have PARVO, just a whole host of other things including severe malnutrition; they did everything they could to help her pull through. By the end of her stay, there was a 98 percent chance she’d be totally fine.
In the following weeks, I put her on a weight gain plan. Something I needed to be on as well. We snacked on peanut butter, went for walks, worked through social anxiety by playing with pups and humans at the park. She wouldn’t eat her breakfast until she saw me take the first bite of mine. If I skipped dinner, she wouldn’t touch hers. Taking care of her forced me to regulate myself. We began to find a routine, and in my usefulness, I was happy.
Of course, getting a pit bull is not a solution to everybody’s problems. It’s a lot of work, discipline, and education on both ends. However, I will say that as much as I (with the help of highly trained, big hearted professionals) saved her life, she saved mine too. Pit Bull Terriers are highly misunderstood, incredibly loyal and sensitive dogs. Her intuitive nature played a huge role in our mutual recovery. I don’t think I would have had the same experience with a different breed.
It took me a while to figure out her name. Especially since it looked like she might not make it, and I didn’t want to get too attached. Ultimately, I decided on “Teak”. It seemed fitting for a multitude of reasons. Her color is a deep russet brown, similar to teak wood. Teak is incredibly rare, renowned for it’s beauty and strength. Tikva is a Hebrew word for hope, its root etymology also found in words meaning purification, renewal or rebirth. The name seemed to encompass every part of our journey together.
It’s now exactly two years later, our anniversary is October Third, and Teak is perfectly healthy, sweet, loving, energetic, and the best friend a girl could ask for. We’ve been through a lot together, including a cross-country road trip, during which I seriously wished she was Yorkie-Poo sized. But what can you do? She’s a full 65 pounds of love, personality, and Pitt and I wouldn’t trade her for anything.
My utmost gratitude goes to Dr. Erin Wilson, Debbie Fuentes, and the dedicated team of the Veterinary Care Center, in Los Angeles. They are absolute angels and Teak wouldn’t be here without them.
Veterinary Care Center
6666 Santa Monica Blvd.
Here are a few pictures that we were given to share with you of Teak
Teak Present Day