What I Didn’t Expect When Adopting a Pit Bull
27 April, 2018
Guest Blog by Marika Hamilton Meeks
When we can’t figure it out by ourselves, sometimes the universe has a way of nudging us in the right direction. I was just starting radiation for a stage 3 cancer diagnosis. I was away from home and my family, undergoing treatment by myself, and I was terrified.
I had a chance encounter with a little dog, named Sweetie Pie. For whatever reason, Sweetie Pie ran up to me, I knelt down, she put her little legs around my waist like she was hugging me and buried her face into my chest.
Something shifted inside me, I felt this woosh inside my chest like a vortex of energy had opened up. I needed this dog.
Sweetie Pie already had a home, but that feeling, that pull to bring a dog into my life didn’t go away.
I felt compelled to adopt a pit bull. I don’t know why, I had never owned one before and didn’t know much about them other than the headlines we all see.
For a few months, I searched sites like PetFinder, and checked all the local rescue groups and I agonized over the decision to bring a dog into my uncertain and unsettled life.
My family was getting a little annoyed with me because I was always showing them dogs that were available, but not taking the next step. One night, my husband said to me, “Would you just fill out an adoption application already?”, so I did.
Next thing I knew we were going to an adoption event. I was so excited we arrived 30 minutes before it even started. I was nervous too, I was afraid that I would just leave with a dog, any dog and I so wanted to make sure it was the dog that the universe had been directing me to.
Then a pit bull named Stella walked in, she was 7 months old and had been abandoned in a field with her sister. I approached her, and despite the chaos of the adoption event, this pup laid down and just wanted me to rub her belly. I was smitten.
A lot of people were concerned that we had adopted a pit bull. Why would we bring a potentially dangerous animal into our home? I didn’t see it that way and neither did my family. What we saw was an incredibly intelligent, sensitive, loyal and affectionate dog. That was it.
What we didn’t know was the impact that Stella would have on our family. For me, I was lost in anxiety and depression from all the trauma I had endured during my cancer treatment. It was as if I had fought so hard to survive, but in process I had forgotten how to live. I was trapped and couldn’t figure out how to move forward. At the same time, my youngest daughter, Caitie, was struggling with depression and anxiety too – and was so fearful that her mom was going to die that she left a suicide note. We were a mess.
The day we brought Stella home everything changed. Instead of being inwardly focused, Caitie and I instantly re-connected over our mutual love of Stella. We had a new focus, a happy, tail wagging, face kissing focus and we were loving every minute of it.
Marika excitedly celebrated her five year mark, Caitie is a happy and thriving freshman at Arizona State University and Stella is a breed ambassador for pit bulls and leverages her social media celebrity to raise awareness and funds to help as many people and animals as possible.
I never expected that from a pit bull.
Marika Hamilton Meeks and her family adopted Stella while Marika battled a Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis. The love and happiness Stella brought to Marika and her family have helped alleviate the anxiety and stress of the illness and treatment.
For more information you’ll find Stella at www.IncrediBullStella.com and on Instagram @IncrediBullStella
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