One thing pit bulls are really good at is asking their people to shake off their brain-fuzz and engage whole heartedly in the present moment. Depressed? Get over it. Daydreamer? Get with it.
Frida's been all about getting us hu-mans up to speed. We've puzzled quite a bit over her, all the while she bats her big browns as if to say, "Okay. Silly people, just what are you going to do with me?"
Not the most likely adoption candidate, this owner surrendered shelter resident is a little too old, a little too weathered, a little too mischievious for most homes.
We brought her into our Ambassadog program after noting how goddam rock solid she was: crooked toothed grin, wagging widely from her kennel which just so happened to be located in a ward full of admittedly insane custody dogs at the time. Insane, as in, barking, spinning, slamming at the bars in the way really freaky dogs will do when they've been poisoned by the dark side of humanity. She wasn't part of that mess; didn't seem to notice the loud funk of the other dogs one bit. Her world was all about US: "Beloved humans, blessed two-legged soul mates. Let's go have us some fun together." That's exactly the kind of pit bull we covet. So we grabbed her up and declared her safe. For now.
Problem is, she's not the classic squishy seal faced darling that most homes flock to, and she can't romp happy in a household of well-matched dogs like so many of our crew. And no cats...No, no. This one's a grizzled old girl with an impressive seen-it-all sense of self and she can push a sparky dog's buttons from a hundred yards away - just for fun. She'll also size up a novice handler in a quick sniff and make like she doesn't know a stitch of manners. Heh. The master manipulator. BUT she's warm, wise, and wonderful and on top of all that, she's been remarkably good-natured about being kenneled all this time (Since September).
Rescuing salty dogs like Frida feels like an act defiance. "No, you are not easy-perfect. But letting you go without giving you a chance would go against everything we know and love about the rock solid soul of pit bulls." This one's so brave that I'm convinced she'd have no problem passing over to the next world in order to gift her kennel to an easier dog (believe me, we've thought about it). But to hell with that. She's here for now and we're too stubborn to let her go.
In order to help Frida become a better ambassador, her entire team of handlers has had to become better at what they do. This is the part where pit bulls excel at turning us all into better people. After discussions, we all agreed to handle Frida with the same seen-it-all attitude that she was shining on us. No freebie treats, no half-sits, no stink eye allowed at other dogs ... No, no, no. We'll only accept 100% compliance on commands, smooth, zen-like focus and relaxed body language in even the most difficult of situations. Spot a naughty dog barking wildly in Pit Ed class? - "Ignore it Frida. I mean it." And so she is, bless her heart (although methinks-that-shethinks it would be MUCH more fun to rear up and spit back a few choice obscenities.)
I heart Frida in a big way. She reminds me of my late grandma Alma - social and flirtatious but with a wicked sense of humor.
So here we are with a strong-willed sweetheart, wondering if we'll ever find her a home and trying our best to out-stubborn death. We might not, and Frida might end up telling us that kennel life is wearing her down, and if so, we hope and pray we'll be clear minded and selfless enough to hear her and let her go. But for now, we're moving forward as if she has a home out there, and she's happily teaching all of us to be so much better at what we do.
It seems that one of Frida's best lessons is reminding us all to Live. In. The. Present.
Thank you, Frida. You're absolutely right.