Year of the Dog with my pit bull

Celebrating Year Of The Dog with my pit bull

betty ming liu Relationships 14 Comments

Back in November, I adopted a needy, three-year-old pittie from a rescue group. Poor thing had terrible skin allergies. He thought that going for a walk meant lunging and barking at everything that moved. But when I heard he was good with cats, I took him in — and, found out he was terrible with cats! Even so, I’m celebrating the Year of the Dog with my pit bull.

Year of the Dog with my pit bull

I call him Bobo, which was fine by him; he never answered to his original name anyway. In Chinese, “bo” means “treasure.” He is a precious gift of unconditional love. The fact that Bobo’s also smart, funny and fun is a bonus. 

Year of the Dog with my pit bull

In three months, he’s come such a long way. This sweet dog suffered from emotional and physical neglect. When the rescue folks found him, he was so allergic that he scratched himself into a bloody, raw mess. He had been left alone too much, making him anxious and clueless of basic “good dog” skills.

By the time we met, his coat had grown back in. That left me to deal with the dandruff-y dander and stinky, infected ears. Oh, how he smelled during that first car ride with me, a stranger. It’s actually amazing that we got home without an accident. He was scared and kept hopping between the front and back seats.

Finally, he calmed down as I pet him. “Everything is gonna be okay,” I said. And, I meant it — I could tell we would bond based on what I saw in the rearview mirror. You know the saying about dogs resembling their owners? We were a match, right down to our big heads.

Year of the Dog with my pit bull

But still, the first two months at Chez Bobo & Betty left us exhausted. When I went out, he howled and slammed himself against the door. As for the cats — well, plenty of pits love their feline family members. Not Bobo. He roared and charged at the kitties. I feared the worst.

Thankfully, the rescue people recommended an amazing dog trainer. We’ve turned the basement into a hiding place for little Isabelle and Minty. When Bobo sees them, he’s learning to ignore them or at least “sit” and “wait” while they pass.

In the kitchen, I emptied some high shelves for the cats. They jump up there to eat in peace, beyond Bobo’s reach. Speaking of food, my new holistic vet has us figuring out Bobo’s allergies by monitoring his diet. The rashes and infections seem to be under control.

Year of the Dog with my pit bull

What I love about Bobo

My young, adult male dog is 56 lbs. He’s nearly half my weight but 10 times as strong. I’m managing, though, and glad to report our walks are improving. Bobo (mostly) stays quietly by my side without barking. We stop often because people want to pet him. He loves meeting and greeting humans.

Most important of all, he loves me. This is why I’m celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Dog with my pit bull.

What a great companion. When I’m at my desk, he dozes in my daughter’s kiddie rocking chair. During breaks, we throw around his toys. Since he’s learned to sit in the car and wait, we run errands together and go for drives.

Year of the Dog with my pit bull

Another delight is Bobo’s fondness for snuggling. Like so many pit owners, I’ve discovered my doggie is a loving mush, a couch potato, a cuddly boy.

Why a pit bull?

A pit bull is not a breed. “Pit bull” refers to a bunch of options, from the American Staffordshire terrier and so-called “bully breeds” like the American bull dog, to any muscular mutt with a blocky head.

This blog post about pit bulls explains how they were once prized as family pets. They had a reputation for gentleness with children. The list of famous pit full owners includes Helen Keller and Mark Twain. A pittie even made it to the White House as Pres. Teddy Roosevelt’s dog, according to the bestselling book, “Pit Bull: The Battle Over An American Icon.”

Then, dog fighting profiled pitties, which is a pity. In the 1850s, poor Irish immigrants popularized these illegal contests, according to the book’s author, Bronwen Dickey. By 2007, the dogs were doomed by the horrifying case of football player Michael Vic: He was arrested for torturing pit bulls he had raised for dog fighting.

After the Vic stories, I vowed to rescue a pit bull someday. I feel proud to join a growing tribe of pit owners — including cops who use them as police dogs. 

The Year of the Dog with my pit bull

At the end of the day, me and Bobo look at each other with love, which worries some of my human friends. “I hope this doesn’t mean you’ve given up on men,” they say.

I laugh and tell them, “Bobo is my beau.” After all, we play nicely together. He enjoys my cooking. We adore each other. I like sleeping with him, too.

Year of the Dog with my pit bull

And what about you?

For these reasons and more, I’m thrilled to be celebrating the Year of the Dog with my pit bull.  But of course, the real message of this blog post goes beyond Bobo and rescuing pit bulls.

The point is, opening ourselves up to new experiences creates change. The best changes open us up to unconditional love — love that embraces us with open arms. This love comes free of  judgement or conditions for “good” or “excellent” performance.

We all need unconditional love, which wraps us up in its warm arms, no matter what. No questions asked. Get more of that for yourself today and every day!

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Comments 14

  1. So cute! He is adorable Betty! And yes, breed discrimination against pitties is such a shame. Enjoy the new love of your life! (And Isabelle looks like my late Pashmina!) Charlotte

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      Thanks, Charlotte. The pits are so intelligent, which makes me aware of just how smart animals are. Being with Bobo will hopefully make me a more self-aware human. And maybe Izzy is here to sent you a little love from your belated kitty. They are always with us!

  2. Happy New Year Betty, I’m so happy for you and Bobo! Rosie and I rescued a chihuahua mix last year and she has changed me into a crazy dog mom who wants nothing more than to hang with her. She gives me great comfort that we’ll be just fine when Rosie heads to college in a few years! Love your blog! Xoxoxoxoxo Cin Ps: for year of the dog i’m Putting all my friends dogs on my office door… may I include your great pic together?

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      Cindy, Bobo and I would be honored to be on your office door. What you do for dogs during your TV show is so wonderful. Thank you for being an advocate. And I’m so happy to hear about the chihuahua that’s changing your home life with Rosie! Having a sweet dog around definitely helps with the mommy transitions. When the kids go away, we still have our doggie best friends.

  3. yessss, animals allow us to touch the depths of our humanness & i they teach us so much about pure presence & unconditional love. now that my girl kitty is gone, her brother & i have worked hard to reinvent our love, which has really meant letting him know that he is truly, absolutely, totally loved, that i can be his sister & his human. he has always slept under the covers with me, spooning like a little man, which is what i sometimes call him! … bobo is sooooooo lucky to have you as his human! wishing you a most luscious year of the dog, betty! xoxo

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      Jaimie, I love hearing about all the people who let their animals sleep with them. Lol. This is true of couples with cats and/or dogs, too. I’m glad your little boy cat and you are enjoying your new bond. It’s different, even though you’ve known each other already for so long. We’re all very lucky and thank you for your good wishes. xo

  4. How true–you both have the exact same expressions in each of those top two photos! You were meant for each other. He has found his treasure and you have found yours. Bobo looks like the dog from the little rascals (his facial markings) and I bet you were a “little rascal” back then too! Gung Hee Fat Choy to you and Bobo!! He looks like a real ham, lol! I wish we could have another dog since we had a part pitbull for 14 years but I don’t think my husband’s heart could mend but might break into a thousand pieces with the next dog’s death. May you two have many years of happeness together!

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      Aw, thanks, Sandy. Happy New Year to you, too. And wow — 14 years with your pittie! I know it’s not the same for me to say this, but your pit is still with you in your hearts. Hopefully, Bobo and I can have at least a decade together, too. You’re also on the money about his impact on my life. He’s definitely teaching me to relax and play more. When I’m at the computer too long, he puts his paws on my lap and nudges me for a hug. That’s when I know it’s time to get up and play or go for a walk.

  5. I went back up to continue reading your blog about Bobo and realized that he might have a duck, fish, beef, and or corn allergy like our pitbull did as a puppy. I was at the feed store one day recently and discovered that both fish and duck can have been added to treats for dogs.

    Our puppy was one of three pig dog litters that were dropped off at the feedstore. Pig dogs are lucky if they get fed since they have to starve them to hunt and corner the pig. So, God only knows what the mothers must have been fed or the puppies.

    Don’t get him any of those chews. Especially the ones from China which are downright dangerous with the stuff they have added. Alan also ordered probiotics for Sanoe too from Amazon after getting it originally from the Vet.

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      Sandy, he’s got a million allergies. I definitely would never give him duck or corn since they’re bad for human allergies, too. He eats a little salmon and seems okay with beef. And I’m with you — the chews are disgusting. Thank you for the reminder to be careful!

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    Author

    How true–you both have the exact same expressions in each of those top two photos! You were meant for each other. He has found his treasure and you have found yours. Bobo looks like the dog from the little rascals (his facial markings) and I bet you were a “little rascal” back then too! Gung Hee Fat Choy to you and Bobo!! He looks like a real ham, lol! I wish we could have another dog since we had a part pitbull for 14 years but I don’t think my husband’s heart could mend but might break into a thousand pieces with the next dog’s death. May you two have many years of happeness together!

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