We are beyond humbled and honored to have Stephanie Doris, Nana the Earless Pibble‘s mom, write a guest blog post for us! She takes us through a very raw and emotional journey. Nana has changed so many lives as a result of being given a second chance. She continues to inspire everyone who meets her.
We ask that you take the time to read this very special and empowering blog post. You will be so glad you did.
Stephanie has been asked to speak at the One Million Pibble March on Washington DC on behalf of her journey with Nana.
By: Stephanie Doris
Looking at pictures of her big smile now, you would never be able to tell that the first nine years of Nana’s life were spent in misery. A mature girl, Nana was bred repeatedly (15+ litters) and then surrendered to the shelter in deplorable condition when she could no longer reproduce. Her teeth were pulled out, her ears horrendously cut off and her reproductive organs were destroyed by her former owners. Nana, awaiting certain euthanasia in the back isolation area of an LA city shelter, came into my life in February ’13 when I saw her picture posted on the shelter’s social media site. I was immediately compelled to take action and offered to foster her, something I had never done or even thought of doing before. To this day, I cannot explain what sparked me to impulsively apply to foster her. What I do know, though, is that it was one of the best decisions I have made. Ever.
A few days after I filled out the foster application, I had Nana in my car and on her way to safety. She immediately bonded herself to me, looked at me with eyes full of hope, and laid her big head on my lap the entire way home. Sadly, her life full of abuse became immediately evident and manifested in so many ways, both physically and emotionally. During her nine years of life, she had never quite learned how to be a dog and was undoubtedly given every reason possible to fear humans. She would cower at just the sight or movement of any human that wasn’t me, especially men. She had no concept of potty training and would relieve herself at any given moment, anywhere in the house. She had no idea what to do with toys or bones, and would freeze in her tracks if someone tried to pet her, even in the gentlest manner. I have to admit that during that first week of having Nana home, I found myself wondering if I had gotten myself in too deep, and if I was actually ready to give Nana what she needed. I would be lying if I said I never second-guessed that impulsive decision of mine.
Despite all of the years that she suffered from abuse and neglect, however, her hope and optimism became palpable within days. She was brave. Her endearing soul, which had survived through nine horrible years, had an exorbitant amount of love to give and was ready to flourish in the right home, with the right family. It was this engaging, brave spirit of hers that reassured me that I made the right decision in fostering her; I knew she belonged with me, and that we were about to embark on the most spiritual, inexplicably rewarding journey together.
To look at everything we’ve experienced together over the past year is rather overwhelming. Nana has overcome more health burdens than any human I know. She has beat hemangiosarcoma and completed chemotherapy. She battled tirelessly against MRSA and Pseudomonas infections. And she has successfully recovered from a bilateral ear canal ablation, during which about two pounds of scar tissue and inflammation were removed. She is finally pain-free, and it is such a blessing to be able to watch her continue to blossom and break out of her shell.
She is now relentless at experiencing new things, even if those attempts are somewhat short-lived. No longer does she cower or run away when a stranger approaches her; sometimes she even lets them scratch her ear nubs and she has even visibly begun to allow herself to enjoy such attention. She loves leashes now and loves to go for short walks; she even runs around a little at the dog park. And then, momentarily, she remembers that she is supposed to be fearful and suddenly reverts. But she is so much stronger, she is thriving…she is finally enjoying her life as all dogs should.
Nana has proven to be such a special angel to me and my family, and she continues to inspire me and those who meet her. While her road to recovery has been riddled with all of the aforementioned hurdles and more, she wears her scars with pride and has refused to let her sad past limit her bright, beautiful future. For Nana, life started at the age of nine. Incredibly, however, this once beaten and abused dog retained her fighting spirit and has learned how to trust, love, and have fun again.
I think what has surprised me the most about this journey with Nana is how she has truly impacted my life, in ways I never thought possible. Nana opened my eyes to the current plight of the pit bull breeds and the heartbreakingly high prevalence of abuse and discrimination. She has helped dispel the “all pit bulls are vicious” myth to every human that she has met. She introduced me to the world of animal rescue and advocacy. She has connected me with thousands of people from all over the world and has brought new, lifelong friends into my life. Most importantly, she inspired me to take real action and proactively do what I can to save the lives of homeless animals. As you can see, Nana has not only changed my life, but she has changed the lives of many other people and animals; more than I will likely ever know.
While Nana’s exact story is unique, there are thousands of other animals who have been rescued from comparable conditions. Like Nana, they are just as capable of recovering and living out peaceful, fulfilled lives. Rescue animals are not broken; they’ve simply experienced more “life” than other animals. Despite the circumstances that many of these sweet creatures are forced to overcome, they respond with courage; with resilience. Don’t pity them. Be proud to have them by your side.
These beautiful rescue animals have stories that deserve to be told; stories that are capable of inspiring other humans to take action, no matter how small. Project Blue Collar has taken the first step in allowing for the exchange of such stories. Nana’s Blue Collar has sparked conversation from strangers at the park, and has given me the opportunity to not only spread the PBC message, but to also promote adoption and share the true softness of the pit bull breeds. Can you imagine if all of our rescue dogs wore a Blue Collar? Imagine how many stories could be shared; how many lives could be changed like mine has. I am so thankful that Nana and I are PBC Ambassadors, and I look forward to a bright future with my rescued angel. Support the underdog!