The bull some Pits must tolerate…

Dispatch from the Espanola Valley Humane Society, August 8, 2011

Betty Ford, Pit Bull mix

I keep forgetting to ask shelter staff how Betty Ford got her name. Probably because when I’m with her, I’m too focused on rubbing her belly or kissing her nose as she licks my face. Despite her condition, she has the unmistakable Pit Bull smell. And despite her discomfort, she’s got the trademark Pittie disposition, welcoming any visitor into her kennel with soft eyes and a low wag.

On leash, she proves just as agreeable. Strong enough, certainly, to pull me anywhere she’d like — she’s built like a tank. But she chooses to leisurely sniff at patches of grass and dirt, or calmly gaze out at the rambunctious Hound mixes romping in the dog run.

Betty Ford was surrendered to the shelter last week, her medical situation too unmanageable for her owner to deal with. I hate to think about any suffering this dog endured before she was placed on pain meds, and before her skin was tended to by our staff veterinarian. My guess, though, is that aside from not properly addressing her health issue, the dog had been treated decently at home. She’s trusting of humans, and doesn’t seem to bear psychological scars of any kind. While that’s not always an indication of a sound environment, I want to believe that that was so for Betty (and I try not to think about her crudely cropped ears).

Uncomfortable circumstance, yet lovely disposition

Luckily the dog has plenty of fans around the shelter. I mention that she’s got almost a Bull Terrier look to her when seen straight on. “With none of the frenetic energy Bull Terriers sometimes have,” the kennel manager points out. One thing’s indisputable: From any angle, this dog is lovely.

Betty Ford is available for adoption at the Espanola Valley Humane Society in New Mexico.