I’m 16 years old, and I’ve always found comfort and a sense of peace working with rescue animals. This was especially true following the death of our beloved family dog Maggie, a Boxer–Pit Bull mix. For a while I was inconsolable. Maggie had been my best friend, and I missed her terribly.
Then I met Luce.
Luce was surrendered to our local humane society in an unwanted litter. The entire litter had been adopted, except for Luce and his brother Zeus. And while the brothers were undeniably the cutest puppies there, they were also the worst behaved, especially Luce. While the shelter staff was dedicated to the care of their animals, they simply didn’t have the time or resources to properly socialize them. That’s where we came in.
My older sister and I made it our mission to visit the shelter as often as possible, usually three to four times a week, to spend time with Luce and Zeus. Over the course of three months, we spent countless hours with the boys and did our very best with them. It paid off. Luce and Zeus both made huge improvements, but we were also faced with a difficult dilemma. We had fallen totally in love with them.
After much cajoling and sweet talking, we convinced my mother to adopt one of them. We picked Luce over Zeus – our reason being that he was phenomenal with my little sister who was terrified of dogs. He showed an incredible amount of understanding and self control around her. I had never seen a dog act the way Luce did.
Luce adjusted to life in a home really well, although we learned he had a taste for destroying remote controls and eating stuffed animals. As Luce grew up, we began to realize we had a really special dog. While we were immensely proud of our sweet, well-behaved dog, we began to be faced with increasing prejudice from the outside community because Luce was a Pit Bull. Fortunately we connected with Game Dog Guardian.
Game Dog Guardian is a non-profit organization that works to better the lives of pit bull type dogs and their guardians. Once we became involved with the wonderful folks at Game Dog Guardian, things completely changed for Luce. Game Dog Guardian taught us to understand and become aware of the issues Luce faced and helped us become good advocates for the breed. They also introduced us to our second Pit Bull and the wonderful world of fostering.
Since adopting Luce and becoming involved with Pit Bull rescue work, we have adopted two more Pit Bulls, Penelope and Wayne, and fostered both a deaf Pit Bull, Reggie, as well as a cruelty victim survivor, Susie Shortcake. Luce had been really important to the success of all these dogs. We learned after adopting Penelope that Luce had a natural paternal instinct to guide and help our other dogs.
While watching Luce’s interactions with both humans and canines it hit me: Luce would be a terrific therapy dog. So I made the decision to embark on an almost eight-month journey to get Luce registered as a Delta Society therapy dog. With lots and lots and lots of training and help from many people, Luce and I became registered with Delta Society in October of 2011. I have never been more proud of Luce than I was the day that he passed his certification test. We’re stoked to begin visiting our community.
Luce is more than just a dog to our family. Luce is a best friend and a treasured family member. If it were not for Luce, I may never have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people or to help so many deserving dogs. We gave Luce a safe and loving home; in return, he has given us his heart and soul. Adopting Luce was one of the best decisions we ever made.