I’ll never forget the day I met Yogi aka Dustie. He was at the Westside shelter in one of the large kennels in D building. His sweet face and big ears caught my attention. He would sit quietly by his kennel door and just stare at you with his beautiful brown eyes. He was my first project dog as a volunteer and the more time I spent with him the more I fell in love. He came into the shelter as a stray and over time developed some health issues and became fearful of the staff and vet techs. He would show up on the euthanasia list and Barbara Bruin would remove him. She was willing to give me more time to help him. Kennel space is always an issue and unfortunately his time was almost up. I took him home as a foster in spite of worrying about how he would interact with my other dogs. He fit into my pack perfectly.
I would take him to offsite adoption events and his personality won over a lot of hearts and changed a lot of minds about the pit bull breed. He could look so intimidating but as soon as you rubbed his ears or
patted his big head he melted. He had a deformity in his right rear leg and an old fracture in his front right leg that never healed properly. These issues caused him some discomfort and he would occasionally limp. Obviously these issues scared potential adopters away. It didn’t matter though because there was no way I was going to let him go. I adopted him and he was the greatest dog I have ever owned.
It’s tough owning a pit bull. We would go on walks and people would cross the street when they saw us coming. Parents would yell at their kids to stay away from the big scary dog. We walked the same route everyday and eventually people stopped crossing the street and kids were finally allowed to pet him. His goofy face and big ears were famous in my neighborhood. I could always count on his smiling face to brighten my day. He was beside me through all my ups and downs and his unconditional love got me through some rough times. I had to say goodbye to him last April but I’m so grateful for the time I had with him. Words cannot express my gratitude to Barbara Bruin for seeing the good dog inside and keeping him safe. She gave me one of the greatest gifts in Yogi and for that I will always be grateful.
Mork was my first foster failure and Yogi’s best friend. He came into the Westside shelter as a stray and after a few months starting getting a little kennel crazy. He had a lot of energy and just needed some space to run. There were some concerns regarding his behavior with other dogs but those concerns were unfounded. He came home with me and fit perfectly into my pack. He gets along great with other dogs, love cats and kids. His temperament was so good we used him to help socialize other shelter dogs. Ms. Bruin allowed us to take certain shelter dogs on “field trips” to help make them more adoptable.
We would take Mork on walks with these dogs and work on their issues. He helped us with the shy dogs, the fearful dogs, the dogs who needed to learn how to play nice; Mork was our dog whisperer. Ms. Bruin was always thinking outside the box in order to help dogs get out of the shelter and into loving homes. I’m so thankful that I got to be a part of some of the shelter’s success stories. Mork and Yogi are just two of the many success stories during her tenure as director. I’m forever grateful to Barbara for the gifts she gave me.
Stacey Van Pelt Albuquerque, NM