OCTOBER 9, 2012

By Lori Weise

Formerly abused and neglected, this elderbull now helps other dogs work through their issues

Clancy, at 15 years old, is a Canine Good Citizen, therapy dog, Kings Hockey fan and mascot of Downtown Dog Rescue. A survivor of animal cruelty for many years, he came into my life at 10 years of age. Together, he and I have worked to end dog fighting and promote spay/neuter in some of the most underserved communities in the greater Los Angeles area. He has helped me prepare countless rescued dogs who needed a little tune up from Papa Clancy before they were ready for their forever home. He goes to work with me every day, loves every person, every dog and basically loves life now that he is the most cherished part of my life. I honestly can’t remember what my life was like before this old man came to live with me and my dogs.

Even though Clancy was forced to fight and made to be a dog that he clearly is not, the amazing thing about him is that he is so intelligent and is such a great “worker” that he will do literally anything to please his person. In the case of his former life, it was criminal activity, dog fighting and yet he still gave that “job” 110 percent effort because that’s what his person wanted him to do. When I rescued him and offered him the “job” that he has now, he finally was allowed to blossom into the dog he always should have been.

He has an amazing way of reading dogs. An aggressive dog, whether male or female, will get a pass, he won’t make eye contact and will want to keep it moving. A dog that appears fearful and aggressive will often get an investigation and a push to see if the dog really means it. Shy dogs, playful dogs, wild hyper out-of-control puppies who have never been disciplined properly by their mama or daddy dog is Clancy’s specialty. I’ve watched an almost feral dog open like a flower to Clancy and breathe a sigh of relief that finally someone understands her.

He lives with me and all of my dogs, which include dogs that were labeled fear biter, human aggressive and dog aggressive, dogs that I would not adopt out but nonetheless have a wonderful life with me in their retirement years. Like Clancy, the dogs who have come into our program and are not easily adopted out have jobs in helping the younger rescued dogs, the ones that people submit several applications on, get a tune up and into their forever homes. Clancy is a truly dominant alpha who is confident and careful about how he disciplines dogs. He is social with a 4-pound Yorkie and 120-pound Cane Corso because he is a wonderfully balanced dog.

People who think he looks “tough and cool” want to take his photo and will go out of their way to catch up to him in traffic so they can drive up next to us as he hangs his head out the window. Many do a double take when they see the “dog fighting dog” walking with the lady who looks like she doesn’t even know what a pit bull terrier is let alone own such a big dog. When people take the time to meet him and talk to us, they understand that a dog is dog and Clancy is in most ways, just like any other dog. In many other ways, he is so special and has touched the hearts of so many. I think his face tells a story of a survivor, years of getting torn up, attacked probably chained up, locked up then dumped like a piece of garbage on the street, living under a house, running the streets to survive to a home as an ambassador of the breed. In closing, I can’t tell you how many people have adopted a pit bull because they met Clancy, and he changed their minds especially about older dogs.

LINK TO STUBBYDOG’S FEATURE:  http://stubbydog.org/2012/10/clancy-the-teacher

About StubbyDog:

StubbyDog is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) transmedia organization that’s focused on changing public perceptions of pit bulls and dismantling the associated stereotypical thinking.

We develop and disseminate emotionally resonant and entertaining content, showing pit bulls as the loyal and loving dogs they are. Our Vision is a world where every pit bull enjoys the right to a good life. Our Mission is to help people rediscover pit bulls as lifelong friends. We recognize the good work already being done by humane organizations to rescue abused pit bulls, lobby against discriminatory legislation, and shut down dog-fighting operations.

We also recognize that people are still afraid of pit bulls, and that this fear is based largely on rumors and sensationalized reports, which lead to the same kind of irrational stereotyping and prejudice that’s found in any other form of discrimination.

That’s why a new approach is needed – one that recognizes and celebrates the amazing qualities of these dogs as heroes, therapy dogs, fun-loving companions and devoted family pets.