The Velveteen Pit Bull


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In the past few years we have been let in on a little secret that not many people know about: Elderbulls are amazing, nearly move-in ready dogs.

When I was first looking to adopt a dog, I thought adopting a 2-year-old pup was an older dog. Little did I realize my 2-year-old needed countless walks, at least four or more miles each day, to expend energy. She had a chewing habit she needed to quit, and she had routine “zoomie” runs several times a day around my already small apartment. I kept waiting for that magical age when she would suddenly mellow out.

Even when we were looking to adopt a second dog, we thought we were doomed to a repeat of those crazy years. I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to go through that again.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, but what if we just chose a dog who had already reached that magical, mellow age?

The summer we were looking to adopt we couldn’t find any older male dogs in the entire Chicago area. Our search finally led us all the way to Kalamazoo, Mich., where we found 5-year-old Mr. B.

Mr. B was a practically move-in ready dog. He was beyond the chewing phase, didn’t have too much energy to burn and was just as happy hanging out at home as he was going on walks. He fit right in.

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Miss M is now 8 years old, and Mr. B is 9 years old. And while some people might consider them “old,” we just enjoy this quality time knowing they fit in perfectly to our current lifestyle.

This isn’t to say just because our dogs are older we can’t do anything. We take our pups everywhere in the city: street festivals, dog-friendly bars, farmers markets, outdoor dining areas, parades and wine stores where they charm everyone they meet.

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We still go on those four mile walks … but only when we choose to go. And Mr. B’s favorite hobby? Skateboarding. We share our experiences on our blog, Two Pitties in the City, to educate people about the realities of living with pit bull type dogs who also happen to be elderbulls.

We really value the quality of the time with our pups now, and to us having such a perfect fit is more important than the quantity of time we have. It was so difficult for us to even find an older dog to adopt, we hope that by sharing our experiences more people will give these pooches a second chance. We know when we are looking to adopt again, we will definitely go for the elderbull.

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And while we used to lament some of the physical changes we noticed in our pups, we prefer to think of it as more a type of nobility. Much like the book “The Velveteen Rabbit,” maybe the fur on Mr. B’s elbows is becoming worn, his ears are a bit tattered and frayed, and the fur on his nose has rubbed away from being petted so much. But we think that just makes him the velveteen pit bull.

And just like the Skin Horse so wisely explains in the book: “This is what happens when you are loved for a long, long time.”

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