Today we continue with our photo journey of beautiful Connecticut places that Mickey and I have visited over the past several months. We hope you will have the chance to check out some of these yourself or, if you do not live in the area, we hope this will inspire you and your dog(s) to get out and explore.
Harkness Memorial State Park - Waterford, CT
Jones Mountain Preserve - New Hartford, CT (with a friend)
Day Pond State Park - Colchester, CT
That's all for now. More to come.........
For those who have not followed Mickey’s story, while his history is unknown prior to early in 2011 when he found himself in a kill shelter, I think he might be termed a bit “socially inept.” He never learned to play, he was (and at times still is) afraid of anyone and anything unfamiliar and he tends to be a target for certain other, more confident dogs. All indications are that he was not treated particularly well and likely spent much of his time confined to a crate. It has be a process to teach him to trust and learn what is expected of him in public places.
Staying with the theme of a prior entry from Stubbydog encouraging people to take their pit bulls out in public to show the world that they are really just dogs, I have gradually introduced Mickey to new places and situations and he has made tremendous progress. These past few months have been both educational and a lot of fun for both of us – at least I know they have for me, and judging by his excitement when I have said “let’s go for a ride,” I would say it has been good for him too. We have visited beaches, state and town parks, college campuses, hiking trails and even a not-so-secret secret place.
Over the next several weeks I will be sharing some pictures from our various adventures. Usually it was just the two of us, but on occasion we were accompanied by friends. This week will be some highlights of the first three stops on the tour.
Rocky Neck State Park - Niantic,CT
Gillette Castle - East Haddam, CT
Hammonassett Beach - Madison, CT (We may have broken the rules here but no one seemed to mind)
Stopping to enjoy a dish of ice cream on the way home from the beach
Be sure to check back next week for more of Mickey's excellent adventures.
This past weekend we celebrated our freedom and commemorated our nation’s independence. As we all know freedom can take many forms and one way we become free is by overcoming our fears.
Fear can be a powerful thing and as any pit bull owner knows, oftentimes people fear our dogs even if the dogs have done nothing to warrant it. One of the great lessons I took out of last week’s interview with Mitzi Bolanos of StubbyDog was her comment about how we as pit bull parents can make a difference simply by taking our dogs out in public, “showing everyone that pit bulls are ordinary, loving family dogs.”
It sounds straightforward enough but sometimes it also helps to have an ice-breaker. Case in point - last Thursday, while picking up some dog food with Mickey, on a whim I bought him a stars and stripes bandana instead of his usual cookie. He wore it over the weekend and we received some pleasant surprises.
Normally when we are out walking, we get a whole spectrum of reactions and unfortunately they are not always positive. On this weekend though, things were different. Most of the people we passed on the street did not really acknowledge us but on two occasions they did. I don’t know whether it was solely because of the bandana but I do know that, at least for a little while Mickey’s breed did not matter. What these two people seemed to see was just a cute dog wearing a Fourth of July bandana!
Friday morning was a perfect day for a walk so we began the day with a three mile jaunt around the neighborhood. Not far from home we spotted a woman coming from the opposite direction. When she saw us, she approached very cautiously and appeared to be afraid. There were no sidewalks on the other side of the busy street so she really had little choice but to walk past us. A funny thing happened as we got closer though. She noticed Mickey was wearing his bandana. You could see her relax and a smile came over her face. “Happy Independence Day,“ she said, and continued on her way. We met her again on our way back home. There was no fear this time, just a smile and a “hi.”
Saturday morning’s walk was even better. As we were nearing the end of our walk, an older woman who I would estimate was in her late 70’s walked toward us. When she saw Mickey, her face broke out in a huge smile. “Aren’t you adorable,” she said. “So patriotic!” She gave Mickey a little pat on the head and he gave her a kiss on her arm. As she walked away, she repeated, “aren’t you the patriot……adorable.”
Two brief encounters and two positive reactions. It may not seem like much but it’s a start. Freedom from fear….one person at a time. Way to go Mickey, GOOD BOY!
About the Author
Sue Torres is an animal advocate, rescue volunteer and proud owner of a previously abused pit bull who was slated to be destroyed for being tense and fearful in the shelter environment.
Inspired by their resilience, devotion and ability to forgive, she now devotes herself to restoring the image of these once-esteemed and cherished family pets. She works tirelessly to promote the adoption of pit bulls in our nation's shelters and change perceptions about this extremely misunderstood and unjustly maligned breed.
She lives in Connecticut with her rescued pit bull, Mickey. Her first book, Loyalty Unleashed was published in May, 2014 and is avsailable in paperback and e-book formats. Loyalty Unleashed II (her second book) is now available, also in paperback and e-book formats.
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In addition to being National Pit Bull Awareness Month, October is also National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. What better way to celebrate than to visit your local shelter and adopt your new best friend. Here is a great article that will encourage you to "adopt don't shop."