Seven-year-old Josh Barker, of Bradley, Illinois, was so excited when he knew he will be saving a dog named Martin, a pit bull, and have him as a friend at home. But when Martin was suddenly announced not available for adoption anymore, Josh was heartbroken.
“He had fallen in love with Martin and was worried that he had been killed,” tells Susan Guinn Barker, Josh’s mother. “How do you explain to a 7 year old that his dog is gone, and we have no idea what happened to him.”
Josh and Susan had come across Martin’s photo on Facebook along with a call for pulling him from a shelter in New York. The boy and his mom were ready to make arrangements for transporting Martin from New York to Illinois, but the final disappointment struck them hard. Yet, hope was just around the corner as a four-legged canine, named Bella. Susan was contacted by a friend who was in touch with a rescue in the area about the one-year-old female pit bull mix who had been in foster home but was being moved to a boarding facility.
“Josh and I talked about it and decided we couldn't let her go to boarding. I contacted Second Chance and told them we would take her,” says Susan about Bella. This was to prove a big joy for both of them – mom and son as well as the dog. Driving to Toledo, Ohio 5 hours from where they live in IL, Susan and Josh and got their girl.
“She got out of the foster mom's car and licked Josh in the face. That was our first meeting,” Susan says, describing Bella as a sweet girl. While everyone, including the family’s two canine members, was happy to have Bella home, Josh and Bella hit it off right away. As Susan describes it, “He hugged and kissed her all the way home. He kept telling her that she was safe and would never be alone or have to go to another home again.”
Bella too had marked her best buddy by the time they got home as she sat on the couch right by Josh and slept in his bed with him. They have become literally inseparable!
So what does Bella’s new mom think of all the horror stories about pit bulls hurting children and being a dangerous breed?
“'I’ve seen the horror stories but I don't think you can judge by what the media portrays. There are just as many stories of how loving and loyal the breed is. The horror is what humans have done to this breed!” remarks Susan.
Susan encourages everyone to adopt a shelter dog:
“Saving their life is rewarding and it is the right thing to do. You can tell by the look in their eyes that they know what you have done for them.”
Susan’s interview about adopting Bella is being published in the next issue of the journal Recovering the Self
, themed “animals and healing”, due out in November.