Monday, February 4, 2013

Lessons I've learned from a four-legged friend and my sister

This week marks week 2 of my marathon training for my next race in Fargo, North Dakota.  Week 1 started last week.  So far I've logged zero miles due to battling a nasty cold and a busy work schedule.  But I'm motivated to make up for lost time this week, because I am dedicating this next race to my sister Kelly and her dog Lexus. 

This is because unfortunately my sister had to put Lexus down on January 25th.  Lexus' story is one that inspires me to keep running so that I can have an excuse to email all of you about an amazing charity, Don't Bully My Breed.  DBMB focuses its efforts on rescuing dogs of certain breeds, like pit bulls, that get a bad rap because of how they have been mistreated.  Lexus was used as a fighting dog in her early years and was saved by DMBD's founder Catherine Hedges.  My sister decided to adopt a dog back in 2004 and I went along with her to check out this adorable chocolate brown pit bull named Lexus.  She had been in the shelter for several months since other adopters were hesitant to take her because she had some scarring on her face from her abuse.  Neither my sister or I even noticed this.  I remember how well behaved she was walking on the leash, but how playful she also seemed.  My sister was in love and soon thereafter, Lexus was in her forever home.  She had such a sweet nature, that she immediately became a part of our entire family.  We affectionately gave her the nickname "Littles" although, I'm not really sure why.  She would have such a wiggle butt when I would arrive at my sister's house, being so excited to see me (or anyone for that matter), and immediately roll over for the required belly rub.  

Lexus was the epitome of unconditional love and forgiveness, because even though she was abused, she loved everyone. When my sister first brought her home, she was so nervous and scared around other dogs.  Kelly was told that Lexus would have to be the only dog in the house.   I later got my own dog, the fabulous Dean Martin,  and while it took some time, eventually Lexus began to trust enough that she was safe in her new home that the two of them were able to hang out in the same room together.  Soon thereafter, my sister became open to the idea of adopting another dog, feeling more confident that Lexus would be able to get along with another dog and not be so nervous.  So, to make a long story short, Bruce was soon a part of the family and became fast friends with Lexus. 

Lexus and my niece doing her Lexus imitation
When my niece was born, both Lexus and Bruce took to her right away.  Both were so patient with the annoying things a toddler can do.  My niece loved Lexus and when we talked on Facetime, she always wanted to take the iPad over to show me her dog, "Lexi."  I saw a lot of nostrils shots of that dog through the iPad. 

Lexus was an amazing representative for her breed and I believe she likely changed a lot of people's minds about how "scary" pit bulls can be.  I know she changed mine.  If you ever met her, you would know that the only thing scary about Lexus was the amount of licking she tried to do to your face. 

Lexus taught me that it's possible for souls to change, forgive, and love.  She taught me not to judge a book by its cover or believe stereotypes.  My sister has taught me that sometimes you have to be brave and take a chance to help those who can't help themselves.  Maybe Lexus and Kelly were drawn to each other because they both have enormous hearts!  I know she will continue to help dogs just like Lexus and Bruce, and she will continue to inspire me to do what I can to help organizations like Don't Bully My Breed achieve its mission. 

I don't know what I would do without either of my wonderful sisters.  I know we are all missing our "Littles" right now.  I hope that my blogs have at least changed some of your opinions about bully breed dogs.  Please visit the Don't Bully My Breed facebook page at to learn more about the misconceptions of this loving, loyal breed and to find out how you can help by adopting a dog or making a donation.