Happily-ever-after pit bull terrier adoption

Depressed and lethargic in the shelter, a black pit bull slowly learns what happiness is again when shown love and kindness. She's then adopted.
By Denise LeBeau

Roseanna the dog, with her beautiful ebony coat and large, longing eyes, waited patiently at West Valley City Animal Services in Utah. As the weeks and months went by with no adopters showing interest, the shy pit bull terrier must have wondered why she was sitting in a kennel instead of living in a home. Meanwhile, a resolute shelter staff person was determined to help the black dog find her forever home, so that she could leave the shelter behind — for good.

Luckily for Roseanna, West Valley City Animal Services is one of several Utah shelters that bring adoptable dogs and cats to the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Salt Lake City, where Best Friends staff and volunteers can dote on them and show them off to potential adopters.

Cheering up a homeless pit bull terrier

Roseanna the dog and GavinMandy Parry is a Best Friends volunteer who spends her Sunday mornings walking dogs at the center. And while she loves all dogs, she’s got an extra soft spot for older pit bull terriers, like Roseanna. “You could tell she had a hard past and I wanted to make her time at Best Friends special,” says Mandy. “I wanted to gain her trust and restore her happiness.”

Erin Olsen, Best Friends adoption specialist, says she noticed that, with Mandy’s help, Roseanna’s personality began to change. “This poor momma appeared to be very depressed, curling up and sleeping almost the whole day. It was difficult for volunteers to coax Roseanna off her bed just to go out for a walk,” says Erin. “Mandy always made sure to spend some extra time just sitting with Roseanna in her kennel, offering her pets and kisses, and trying to cheer her up.”

Bonding with an older dog

Mandy and Roseanna began to look forward to spending special time together. They went on long walks where Mandy would take time to sit in the grass with Roseanna and love on her. Over time, Roseanna started to feel more comfortable and even began chewing on the toys Mandy gave her, and sitting at the front of her kennel, looking to people for attention. “It was thrilling to see her personality emerge,” says Mandy.

It grew harder each week for Mandy to say goodbye to Roseanna at the end of her volunteer shift. The dog was rarely far from Mandy’s mind, and consequently her whole family learned a great deal about the sweet dog before ever seeing her. On Valentine’s Day, Mandy convinced her husband to go and meet Roseanna. It was love at first sight. Then it wasn’t long before the entire family, including the two Parry kids and the family's two terrier mixes, convened at the pet adoption center. After all the introductions, there really was only one more thing to do.  

Adopting a pit bull terrier into their family

Roseanna the dog and the Parry familyThe Parrys officially adopted Roseanna that day and things haven’t been the same since. “Roseanna is pretty fond of our dog, Sirius Black, and we catch her licking his face,” says Mandy. Roseanna’s no longer a shrinking violet; in fact, she’s actually become quite the opposite. She loves playing hide-and-seek with the children and lying in the sunshine with her canine siblings. Mandy is amused at how the big black dog follows her around the house and thinks she’s a lapdog. Her large frame spills over the kids’ legs as she perches on them.

When Roseanna isn’t snoring up a storm, she’s standing tall with the confidence of having a beloved family behind her. “The pet adoption center gives incredible dogs like Roseanna a second chance,” says Mandy. “We love her for who she is, and it feels amazing to know we are bringing her out of her shell. She is truly happy now.”

Get involved to help animals

To help more animals like Roseanna go from homeless to home, give a gift of support.

Learn more about how Best Friends is working to make the state of Utah no-kill.

Photos by Mandy Parry and Best Friends Animal Society-Utah