She is everywhere! It seems like each time I search for positive pit bull stories to share on my website or Facebook page her picture seems to pop up. Blueberry the Pit Bull Therapy Dog - the dog with her own Facebook page and over 21,000 adoring fans from all over the world. Beautiful Blueberry, with her shiny brindle coat, sporting her red Therapy Dog vest and bringing joy and smiles to those who need them the most.
While it was a distinction in itself to be able to share some of Blueberry’s many visits to nursing homes, rehab hospitals, schools, hospice patients and those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings in “Loyalty Unleashed,” the best part for me, each time I see a story about Blueberry, is that I can say I actually know her. I have met her and her and her mom, Maura Porter twice at events and, not only does she live up to all the hype, she exceeds it – by far.
It was not until a woman walked in the door that Blueberry became animated for the first time – running in circles, jumping up and down and straining to get close to this apparent celebrity who had just entered. What was going on? Well, Maura explained that this was the Animal Control Officer who had saved Blueberry’s life. It was amazing – a joy to behold. If there are still people who doubt that dogs can remember, this scene would have changed their minds instantly.
Today it is an honor and a privilege to tell you more about the remarkable Blueberry.
Blueberry’s life did not start out well. She was confined to a laundry room and used for breeding. The Animal Control Officer in Milton, MA became aware of her situation and tried valiantly to rescue her but the owners refused. The ACO never gave up though and after about a year, the owners agreed to surrender Blueberry to the Milton Animal League, only because they thought she had mange. As it turned out her skin condition was only the result of allergies and that was the beginning of Blueberry’s new life.
Given her history, it was not known how Blueberry would behave around people and other dogs so Maura began taking her to training classes. Blueberry was a star! First they trained for the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test and she was the first in the class to pass. About a year later Maura took her to classes with Dogs Building Opportunities for Nurturing and Emotional Support (B.O.N.E.S) of Massachusetts to become a Certified Therapy Dog. She passed!
Today, Blueberry and Maura do one to three therapy visits each week. They have a regular schedule of places they visit, but with hospice patients the visits are more frequent and shorter in duration – usually about an hour.
She will also do special requests or events where therapy dogs are needed. After the Boston bombing for example, Dog B.O.N.E.S. was asked to send several teams down to the area where the bombing occurred just to be there for the people affected by the tragedy. Blueberry loves doing visits and gets really excited when she sees Maura pull out her Therapy Dog vest.
She also strongly encourages people who are interested in having their dogs become therapy dogs to do it! “They will get more from the visits than they can possibly imagine.”
Maura we cannot thank you enough for taking the time to tell us about Blueberry and the phenomenal work both of you do to help others and also to educate people about the breed.
If you are not already one of Blueberry’s fans, please check out her Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blueberry-the-Pit-Bull-Therapy-Dog-Changing-Minds-One-Visit-at-a-Time/218206764888576?fref=ts
And please check out Maura at Clear Skies Dog Training and Evaluation too!