I loved those stories.
Today, I lost my pit bull of 10 years. Today, my pack is down to three. Today, a piece of my childhood died and left a hole in my heart.
I was six or seven years old the first time I set eyes on Star. She was one of a litter of three 4-month-old owner surrendered pit mix pups. This was back when the shelter was high-kill; with 63% of all dogs, regardless of age, not making it out of the shelter alive. We fell in love with Star, then named Pumpkin. She was picked on by her litter mates and hid in the back of the kennel. It was her doleful brown eyes that won us over, though, and after a long application process, a chubby Star was loaded up in the car with us. I remember her squirming between my sister’s lap and my own.
My mom was a little worried about having a pit bull and young children, but was brushed her concerns aside after an hour with a then-20 lb Star. Star was your typical wiggly, happy puppy.
I have 10 years worth of Star stories. Below are only a handful.
Star got beat up by our maine coon on her second day home.
Star befriended a piglet we owned and busted it out of its crate to play with it.
Star knew how to put a blanket over herself before going to bed. This was not trained.
Star won the “longest tail wag” contest when we were in 4H with her as little kids.
Star was the perfect “guard/watch” dog. The best we’d ever had.
Star lead us to our cat, which had just been hit by a car. The cat made it.
Star was always watching over Lily, our 12 lb badass schnauzer. Star was the quiet ack up; the body guard; the one that bailed Lily out.
Star never allowed strangers to talk to us as kids. She stood in front of us, and no one would come near us.
Star loved children her entire life. She worried if she ever heard a child cry and would try to console it.
Star killed a 24 lb raccoon in one bite. The raccoon was fighting Lily, and as always, Star ending up cleaning up the mess.
Star was a baby sitter. We brought in 12 different fosters, some puppies but mostly kittens, who had no one. They all nuzzled up and played with Star and as a result came out as healthy family pets. Pictured is Star with one of the many foster kittens.
Star brought balance to the pack and was an excellent leader.
Eventually, however, all the light Star had began to fade. Her muscles atrophied slowly. First in the back legs, eventually to the front. Star could not run. Star could no longer handle walks. Star was rendered immobile. Star would not and could not eat. Star had this constant look of misery and pain on her face, and that’s when we realized we couldn’t be selfish any more. We realized that she wanted to go, and we had to help her.
So, this morning, we picked Star up and drove her to the vet for the last time. Even then, when she could not move, she crawled to be as close to us as possible on the trip there. Star worried about us as we cried for her.
We laid down a blanket on the table and we all held her and stroked her as she was tranquilized, then euthanized. I held her head in my hands and felt it grow heavier and heavier. We all told her how much we loved her, we loved her very much. She was incredible and what inspired my pit bull advocacy. Her eyes drooped gradually more as mine blinded me with tears. At that point, I couldn’t see well, but I felt her leave us.
It is not the same without you, Star. It really isn’t. RIP Star August 2002-June 9th, 2012.