Abandoning an animal is irresponsible and illegal which we explained to the girl who admitted to the act. She explained that she was being evicted from her house, and she did not know any other option. Her other 5 pit bulls were going to her parents’ home, but she couldn’t care for this girl who had appeared in her back yard 3 months prior. She kept repeating, “please don’t kill her … she is a good girl”.
Kelly named our new resident, Faith. It would certainly take a lot of faith for this girl to trust humans again! Initially, Faith cowered at the far side of the room when new volunteers entered. When no one was looking, Faith would slink over to smell the new person but quickly move away if she received attention. We kept Faith in our main welcome area so she had plenty of room to roam, relax and re-build her self-confidence. Initially, Faith found comfort hiding in a box of new O.P.P. sweatshirts that had recently arrived and were sitting out waiting for volunteers to claim. (We decided to increase the price of the sweatshirt if it had Faith’s paw print signature on it!)
With the patience, love and understanding of our volunteers, Faith began to settle and trust her new friends. Eventually, Faith found comfort on the big, fluffy dog bed and began playing with her new pile of toys. She learned the job of “greeter” and welcomed all who entered our door. While our volunteers’ hearts melted as Faith’s confidence grew and she greeted us at the door with exuberance, the public did not feel the same way. When people entered our facility on the weekend, they hugged the door and walls upon seeing a “pit bull” approaching them. And though we used the experience as an opportunity to educate, few were willing to allow Faith to come any closer. So, we came up with a plan to dress-up Faith so obnoxiously cute that people would look past the “pit bull” and see the funny dress-up clothes. One of our volunteers, Christine, borrowed a ballet tutu from her girls and a fluffy collar with bells from her dog for Faith’s new attire. Faith wore her new clothes with pride and the public was no longer fearful of meeting our “pit bull” greeter!
Finding homes for pit bulls tends to take time, so we expected Faith to be a resident of O.P.P. for the foreseeable future. We were shocked upon receiving an inquiry on Faith just 3 weeks after her arrival. How could this be? … Surely there was something wrong with the application … it was out-of-state after all! Come to find out, one of our volunteers, Jennifer, posted Faith and a co-worker read Faith’s story. Her son is a truck-driver and, after having been on the road for two years alone, he was looking for a companion. Faith as a truck dog …. no way! She was too scared of new situations and people. What if she felt abandoned each time he left her in the truck? What about the dangers of truck-stops? What if she got out of the truck and got lost?
Our adoption manager team reviewed the application thoroughly … it looked good. Amanda, one of our adoption managers, made contact with Philip to better understand the situation and afterwards stated …. “I really like him!” A fellow-rescuer in Tennessee offered to do the home visit on our behalf and reported back ... "They are a great family!" Philip drove down to Atlanta in his truck to meet Faith, for us to meet him, and for all of us to see how Faith would respond to the situation. The five of us who greeted Philip at O.P.P. immediately felt comfortable with him …. especially and most importantly, Faith.
Philip was very patient with us! He did everything we asked. He walked Faith around the rig, helped her up into the truck, turned the truck on/off, showed her the sleeping area, showed us her food and water bowls, leash, toys, seat belt harness and everything else he had bought for her. He even had mats to cover the harsh surface of the steps she has to climb up into the cab. Faith checked out her new surroundings and ultimately seemed content.
The final time Philip put Faith in the truck, she went to the back, jumped up on the bed, laid down and looked at us like “let’s go already”! We tried to convince Philip to take her tutu, but he assured us it would not be appropriate attire in her new role as co-pilot of an 18-wheeler.
We waived good-bye to Philip and Faith as the big red truck exited our driveway. Tears filled our eyes in gratitude for crossing paths with Philip and his desire to provide the constant companionship and security that Faith needed.
The next day … Valentine’s Day …. the pictures of Faith and updates from Faith's Grandma began flowing in....
Philip said she slept with her head on him until she got hot then moved over a little then came back when she cooled off. He keeps sayng she's a sweetheart. Faith snoozing on the road ...
.... We're going shipping at PetCo and PetSmart when she gets home and she gets to pick out anything she wants!!! ... Philip is very happy!!! They are like peas and carrots!
Faith enjoying a break from the road and the luxury of her new home
Back on the road: Faith helping drive ...
Philip says he's gonna quit making his bed because she always moves covers and pillows and makes her own little palette ....
Philip said that Faith has gotten to where now when they stop and he opens her door, she leans her whole front side into his chest for him to lift her out of the truck.
And, finally, from Grandma Becky... I can't thank you enough ... You have no idea what having Faith in our lives means not only to Philip, her primary person, but to a forever grateful Grandma as well ....
Thank you, Grandma Becky for noticing Faith! Thank you, Philip, for letting Faith touch your heart just like she stole our hearts. And, thank you for being her Valentine!