Walter

October is “Pit Bull Awareness Month” so I have decided this is a good time to write a post about Walter.  Walter was our precious Pit Bull /Boxer mix that we were privileged to have as part of our family for a short 7 years.  We didn’t set out to get a pit bull.  We set out to get a companion for Teddy.

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And….. that’s what we got and so much more.

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Walter was about a year and a half old when we adopted him from our local SPCA.  He came from a family who loved him but couldn’t keep him for whatever reason.  They loved him so much that they wrote a letter to his future family telling us sweet things about him. I’ve always felt a bit sad for them and always felt exceptionally thankful that we ended up with him.  Even though he was under 2  years old which is technically still puppy time, he was calm and had the maturity of an older seasoned dog.

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We took him to obedience training 101 but he really already knew that stuff.  In fact, while we would be getting instruction from the teacher for the next exercise he would lay down and take a snooze.  The instructor used to say “Are you still with us Walter?”  Because he was so easy going we decided to take him to the next obedience training class which would prepare him to take the “Canine Good Citizen” test….which is the first step towards being a therapy dog.  He aced the class.  He aced the test.  His certificate still hangs on our wall. We never did go all the way with the therapy dog idea.  Since both of us work full time it would have been difficult to participate.  But Walter was a therapy dog none the less.  He just made you feel so good.

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Walter was a good-sized boy but he thought he was a lap dog and often found a way to sneak up onto peoples laps.

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When we got our kitten, Thelma (another rescue from the SPCA), he patiently put up with her climbing on him, looking for something to nurse on.  She looked inside his ear,  tried out the tip of his nose, searched his tummy and even his poor little weenie (yes, that’s what I said)!  All the while he laid there with big eyes, still as he could be. He knew she was a baby.  He knew she was a part of our pack.  He didn’t have to be told how to behave….he knew.

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He also came to us being that dog who could be completely trusted off leash at all times.  This does not mean we let him run around off leash at all times as there are leash laws and we certainly appreciate them when others obey them.  But, when we were in a situation where it was appropriate, we never had to give a second thought.  Even if he saw a squirrel (which was his weakness!) and would take off, at the sound of his name he would make an about face and come right back……EVERY TIME…. EVERY TIME. Have I mentioned how much we appreciated him?

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And for Teddy, he was the best friend of a life time.  They hit it off from the moment they met as if they were “brothers from a different mother”.

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Walter snored when he slept.  He even snored with his eyes open.  We found his snore very comforting.  It made you feel like taking a nap.

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Going to the beach made Walter feel like running.  I’m not sure what it was because he didn’t like water.  Maybe it was the long stretch of sand and the fresh smell of the ocean and the wind. But, I can remember walking him on his leash along the beach and just sensing that he wanted to take off. He definitely wanted to go faster, but he would never pull on the leash.  So, I decided to jog so he could go a little faster.  When he sensed me going faster he glimpsed back around at me and with joy, bolted and about took me off my feet.  So, this was one time we let him off leash.  He took off running with his goofy run that was part of the Boxer in him.  No worries…. he’s back as soon as you call.

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We thought we’d have Walter till he was at least 12 or 13.  So, when we lost him to cancer just a couple of weeks before his 9th birthday we were stunned.  On one hand we felt cheated and on the other hand, continued to marvel that we’d lucked out to have him as a part of our family at all.

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We miss his sweet nature.  We miss his snoring.  We miss his cuddles.  He was a very good cuddler.  We miss his calm, wise self.  Even though he had bad breath, it was a small price to pay to enjoy his company.

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People would meet Walter and say ” Wow, you’ve done a good job with this dog!”  and we were proud to say in response, “We haven’t done anything…..he just came this way.”

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So, in honor of Pit Bull Awareness Month, I wanted to share about the dog who made us fall in love with Pit Bulls.  He was an awesome ambassador for the breed.

We were so lucky.

 

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