My Friend Tonya

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It’s Sunday morning. A cold Sunday morning. Tonya, the pitbull, loves cold mornings because I bring in wood for the fire, and she likes to decorate the house with it. While I am sitting at my laptop doing my morning writing, I keep hearing drops onto the old wood floor of the living room. I shrug it off for awhile, thinking she is playing with some of her heavier toys, like her tire, her five-foot stuffed snake with the plastic head, or her big kong. But nope, when I catch sight of her running past me with a 4 pound log of wood in her mouth, the Pomeranian jumping joyously at her heels, I decide I better investigate, and find she has moved each piece of firewood to a new location.

Two big chuncks are on my bed, one piece is on the bedroom floor, and the rest of them are scattered around the living room. I ask her what in the world she is doing, and she looks proud of herself, then when I give her my displeased look, she sulks off for a moment,  until she thinks I’ve forgotten about her mess, which is usually about 10 seconds, then comes back again ready to play.

When I let them outside, Tonya jumps onto the milk-stand turned dog sofa sitting beside the front door. It used to have two dogs beds on it but Tonya chewed them up so badly they had to be thrown away. Tonya ran out the door, immediately grabbed the board off the milk stand she had un-nailed yesterday and threw it on the ground…happy to have found a chunk of wood to play with once again. I couldn’t help but laugh.

I don’t know if anything could set a day right better than the antics of happy dogs at play. Even digging in the yard, there is something contagious about their enthusiasm and love of life, and of us, even when we are not at our best. Even when we’re grumpy, or mean, or look a mess first thing in the morning, our dogs look at us like we are the most wonderful human in the world. And to that dog, in that moment, we are.

Tonya is in training to be a therapy dog. That was my intention when I got her as a 6 week old puppy. A dog whose breed is often stigmatized unfairly. A dog that is often guilty, unless proven innocent. A dog that I could relate to.

I didn’t set out to change the world’s perception of pitbull dogs, but rather, to prove to myself that the lies others tell about us, that we tell about ourselves, are just that, lies. And to be happy, we just have to…be happy. And no matter what someone has said about us, what lies they’ve told: “you’re not good enough”, “you’re a cheater”, “you are ugly”, “you are worthless”, “you are a dumb-ass whore”, “you make me sick”, “you are one of those horrible people”, etc.  We are reminded that a statement does not equal truth, even if it is directed at us, or our dog, even if our dog is a pitbull. Untruths have no bearing on who we really are.

And then we can breath again.

ps. Tonya has her own instagram page @myantoniathepitbull

Sacred