A pit bull who won a reprieve from doggy death row has become a shining example of why every dog deserves a second chance.
By, 28 Feb 2019
It all began in 2015. Along with twenty other pit bulls, "Cuddles" was rescued from an organised dog fighting ring in Ontario, Canada. The dogs were taken to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), where experts evaluated their behaviour and suitability for re-homing.
Unfortunately, the first assessor thought the dogs were beyond rehabilitation and recommended that they were all destroyed.
A second chance for these "dangerous dogs"
But a group of pet lovers began campaigning for the former fighting dogs, who became known as the Ontario 21. After a two year legal battle, campaigners won the approval to bring in a third party assessor to re-evaluate the dogs.
That evaluator was Jim Crosby, a retired police lieutenant from Jacksonville, USA. Crosby is a Certified Canine Behavior Consultant who specialises in re-training aggressive dogs.
Crosby always keeps an open mind about a dog's chances, working from the premise that no dog is beyond saving. He told the People, “I go in basically and start each dog at a 0 regardless of what I am told. I don’t go in looking for a pass-fail, I look for triggers and problems."
Crosby's re-evaluation led to the re-homing of almost all the Ontario 21. One of those rehabilitated was Cuddles, who is now living the perfect doggy life with her new owner, retired firefighter Bill Bauer.
A new life for "Cuddles"
After months of hard work from a team of animal behaviourists, Cuddles learned to respond to basic obedience commands and now shows no signs of aggressive or worrying behaviour. Speaking to the People, her new owner said, “She is a true companion. She smiles, and her tail is constantly wagging. She is always happy to see everyone and just wants love. She gives kisses and high fives.”
Well done, Cuddles! Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks!