In October of 2021, I took a trip to the Fulton County Animal shelter in search for just one dog to adopt. I carefully examined and softly tested every dog there. There were a lot of dogs to choose from, but “Roxanne” caught my eye. She was a 1 year old blue, brindle pit bull. After looking into her eyes, she had won my heart. After expressing interest in her, I was told that she had been returned to the animal shelter 3 times by 3 different families without any explanation as to why she was returned. She was also diagnosed with heartworm disease—a heartbreaking revelation for me.
It is well known that any dog that doesn’t get adopted will eventually be put down. In light of these difficult facts, I was faced with a hard decision: If I walk away from “Roxanne” her days might come to a premature end. If I adopt her and take her home, I would be walking blind with a potentially dangerous dog ... since I wasn’t informed as to why she was returned by 3 different families. But I decided to accept the burden she carried and to bring her home with me permanently. The first thing I did was change “Roxanne’s” name to “Sugar.”
Shortly after I brought her home, I started testing her in an effort to to expose her true temperament. Over the course of a week, I learned why she kept being returned. Sugar started showing signs of fear, anxiety, and aggression toward people. She even tried to bite a couple of my friends and growled at a child who came too close to her empty food bowl. She tried to attack every new dog I introduce to her. She tried to kill both my cats. She eliminated in my house several times. She tried to chew up all my stuff. On top of all that, she was very difficult to walk on the leash. Especially if she saw a squirrel, another person, dog, or something she wanted to check out. She was indeed a challenge, but not beyond the scope of my skill set. She was finally home and in good hands.
Sugar was in desperate needed of treatment, leadership and structure. I worked intensely with her everyday for about 2 months. She transformed into a sweet, fun loving, safe, trustworthy dog. She also no longer has heartworm disease, thanks to Leland Veterinary Clinic. Sugar is not only family to us, but she now has a job helping us socialize and train other dogs. She has now become an important member of our family and dog training team. She is a good dog worthy of trust.