When the time arrived, I never considered a single option other than rescue. This was influenced by a host of reasons, but it really is as simple as this: there are tens of thousands of dogs that absolutely deserve another chance (a first chance in many cases).
But that doesn’t mean that the rescue process was simple. Over the course of about six months, I was rejected by several rescue groups. While relatively non-specific, the feedback I continued to receive was that I “wouldn’t be a good fit.” From what I could gather, because I work a normal Monday through Friday, they simply did not believe I would be able to adequately provide for the dog. No matter how much I explained my intentions, I could not seem to break through with anyone.
Eventually, a rescue group did recognize just how genuine I was in my pursuit of a dog, and they agreed to meet up with me. When I was on the way, I suddenly realized that some of my fears were beginning to surface. I knew I wanted a very active dog. I knew that I wanted to be able to take my dog out on my adventures. I knew I wanted to involve my dog in volunteer activities. I began to doubt whether I would find all of that (plus a lot more) wrapped up in one personality. However, the moment I saw her, I realized all of that concern was a moot point! The rescue group had already given me her backstory (locked in the basement of a drug house and facing endless abuse throughout the first year of her life), so when she greeted me so warmly, I knew there was no way I would go on the journey with any other dog besides her!
When I got her home, I was quickly reminded of just how much work we had ahead of us. In every sense of the word, she was terrified of everything. While I knew she was a great dog, she was going to need a lot of help before she would comfortably be willing to reveal that. So help is what I gave her. Every day, we were working on something new. And every day, she was improving.
Fast forward two years later: what a recovery! Almost all indications of her previous self are gone. While she absolutely still has a few quirks, she has gained so much more trust in the world around her. And it is the outdoor adventures where you see the most evidence of this. Her love of hiking and camping is undeniable. She is always guaranteed to be boasting that oh-so-distinguishable pitbull smile!
What is important to note is that my success story is NOT unique. Every day, families all around the world take in rescues and immediately recognize the tremendous decision they have made. I understand that some may prefer the "predictability" associated with purchasing a dog from a proven breeder, but the depth of your relationship with your dog truly intensifies when you know that you have helped rescue him/her from previous struggles. And rest assured: the dog will be quick to reciprocate the thanks!