By Jarissa Aquinde, Positively Woof Rescue and Adoption Story Editor
About two and a half years ago, Joanna and Adam decided that they wanted to adopt a dog. It didn’t start off so easily, as the only thing they both agreed on is that they wanted their first rescue to be a puppy. Joanna wanted a small/medium sized mutt and Adam wanted an American Staffordshire Terrier, because that is the breed he grew up with. Joanna knew nothing about the breed – she wasn’t even aware of the media’s negative portrayal of them. All she did know is that they looked strong and kind of mean.
Joanna kept an open mind and they started to go from shelter to shelter looking for their puppy pit bull. Needless to say, they saw a lot of pit bull type dogs. It started to make Joanna so sad. They seemed friendly, sweet and just as deserving as any of the other dogs at the shelter. They met Chaplin (fka Marcos) at Best Friend’s NKLA Pet Adoption Center
the day after Joanna’s birthday. He was three months old at the time, and shared a kennel with his brother. They brought his brother out first and he was a rambunctious little thing! They told Joanna and Adam that he was the “alpha” of the two. Joanna knew that she wanted a more mellow puppy, so they asked to meet ‘Marcos’ who, even when they stopped in front of his kennel, took some coaxing to get off his bed and come say hello.
Chaplin was very sweet and sat gently in Joanna’s lap through the whole meet and greet. She saw Adam falling in love and she couldn’t bear to turn one more dog away, so she finally said yes! Chaplin went to his forever home that day. Joanna doesn’t consider him a ‘rescue’, since he was a puppy and safe at a no kill shelter. But he sort of rescued HER. She never knew what having a passion felt like until she became a pit bull mom.
Their little guy, who grew up to be a BIG
(and not surprisingly, very lazy) fella, inspired Joanna to become an advocate for pit bulls. She immediately absorbed as much information as she could about their history and media’s portrayal of our once beloved breed. She faced first hand what it was like for people to be afraid of her dog, solely because of the way he looked, and it made her sad that those folks would never know how sweet and loving Chaplin was because of this notion that a breed of dog could be inherently dangerous.
Joanna wanted to do more than just educate herself and anyone else who was willing to listen, so she went back to where they found Chaplin and started volunteering at Best Friend’s NKLA Pet Adoption Center. For the past year and a half, she has been volunteering on her lunch breaks; walking, playing and cuddling with as many pit bulls as she can. They also started fostering for a local rescue in Los Angeles called Wags and Walks
. Chaplin has been an amazing foster brother to nine dogs in the past year.
Chaplin is his forever parents’ pride and joy, and the reason Joanna finally found her passion. She hopes to one day be able to fully dedicate her life to helping save and rehabilitate dogs. It’s crazy to think that the type of dog she once thought looked mean now brings a smile to her face every day.