My newly adopted senior pit bull is Puma. My name is Jacqueline. I am 22 years old and from Pinckney, Michigan.
Before volunteering with Villalobos, I had worked at a couple different shelters with many dogs that needed homes. People always asked me how I could volunteer every day and not bring them all back with me. It did hurt to see so many animals dumped and left behind but I always felt that I was helping them every day, with the cleaning, walks, and one-on-one time, to get one step closer to the home they were meant to be in. I felt that I was doing the best I could because I didn’t have room for all 27 of them to come back with me. Many of my family members thought I would be good for the rescue field since I had such self control when it came to not adopting every homeless animal I met. Little did they know….I just hadn’t met the one who truly needed me above all of the rest.
I was told before my first morning of volunteering at Villalobos that Puma was easily stressed and that I had to be gentle when walking her. I’ve walked many dogs that were previously abused or unsure but this was different. Any kind of loud or sudden movement/noise would send her completely over the edge. I had also been informed that she would panic herself so much that she would sometimes pass out. A dog being so fearful that it would lose consciousness put ME over the edge with emotion. No dog deserves to live in a shelter their whole life let alone deal with losing brain and body function because their past has been so mentally damaging.When Puma’s leash was handed to me every morning I made it my priority to make sure she felt safe no matter what. If it meant running with her back to the warehouse so she could return to her crate because a leaf fell-I was going to do it. By doing this for Puma, she gained a huge trust with me and I knew that leaving her behind in New Orleans was not an option. She was my exception.
After gaining more experience in the rehabilitation field of rescue through my mentors, Bill and Missi, at Detroit Bully Corps I am happy to say Puma no longer has any “episodes”. She looks fear in the face and shows a great strength when it comes to things that used to send her to the point of no return. Puma has gained courage and I have gained confidence that I am meant to be a part of rescue. We both have been rewarded in this life with each other.
I ONLY use positive reward-based training with Puma. Pain is damaging, confusing, and down right wrong to use while training. Positive reinforcement is the only way to effectively train a canine.
Congratulations, Puma! You certainly hit the jackpot!