Family adopts sweet, scared pit bull and teaches him to love and trust again
What’s one way you can tell a dog is loved? Perhaps it’s when he goes by several nicknames. For example, Boo answers to Booman, Booberry or Booberino. It’s a far cry from the day a white pit bull terrier — with no name at all — was found wandering around downtown and bought in to a Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) shelter.
That day, everything changed for the better for Boo, who soon moved over to the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Los Angeles, where the gentle guy got all the help he needed to put those days on the streets behind him. He did this with the help of both the team at the center and a foster family, at a critical time when wildfires blazed in the surrounding hills and L.A. shelters clearly needed help.
Helping a scared dog find confidence
When Boo arrived, you could tell that his journey had been a rough one. He was scared and had his guard up at all times. Most days, you could find him in the back of his kennel, as if he was trying to protect himself from harm.
The best medicine for Boo was patience. Staff and volunteers did everything they could to make him feel safe and comfortable, but what Boo really needed, they decided, was a foster home where he could feel comfortable enough to let his guard down, relax and get used to living with a family again.
“Fostering was so incredibly important for Boo, so he’d have an opportunity to shine outside of the kennel environment and show his true colors,” says Michelle Flitcraft, lifesaving manager at the center. “Kennel life is stressful and dogs like Boo, who have a harder time adjusting to it, also have a harder time connecting with adopters and finding a home.”
Boo arrived at a busy time. It was the summer of 2018 when wildfires burned in parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. That led to hundreds of displaced animals eventually landing in LAAS shelters. The need for fosters was greater than ever, and everyone worked together to make space for animals needing a place to go. A kind couple, new to volunteering with Best Friends, stepped forward to foster Boo and give him a quiet and calm home where he could continue to build confidence.
Notes from a dog foster family
After settling into his foster home, Boo really began to thrive. Every update received from the family was more positive than the previous one. “He loves playing with toys and is gentle with them,” said the first update, and then this from the second one: “He is the most affectionate dog.”
The family also shared some invaluable information on Boo for potential adopters: He’s a sound sleeper, doesn’t bark much, jumps high and gets anxious around strangers and when riding in a car. So, they recommended that Boo be adopted by someone with a secure yard.
“He loves to give kisses, cuddle and get lots of love,” said the final foster update. “It was very hard to give him back. Anyone who gets to adopt him will be very lucky to have him as a part of their family.”
A pit bull gets love and support, and returns it
Not long after Boo came out of his shell and returned to the center, Meg and Eric Sedrakyan came in to meet dogs and the rest is history. Boo went home for good.
When Boo first arrived at his new home, he was anxious, much like when he first came to Best Friends. Since Meg and Eric had in the past experienced their own anxiety and acquired the tools to manage it, they naturally empathized with Boo and helped him with his anxiety.
At first, Boo cried and acted afraid because he didn’t want to be left at home, says Eric. But as the days passed and the new family showed him how he should be treated and loved, Boo became comfortable and calm.
“He taught us to slow down and focus on the present moment, just like he does,” says Eric. “He finds the beauty in little things and taught us to appreciate the small things in life. Now, as a family, we get to learn from each other and support one another — however we can.”
If you ask Eric what percentage Boo has changed their lives, he puts it at a solid 100%. “Boo is the best friend we've never had,” says Eric. “He is always there for us — when we cry or when we're happy. Somehow he just knows. He’ll come right over and put his head on your lap and looks into our eyes, showing us that he's always there when we need him.”
These days, Boo is miles away from living alone on the streets. In fact, his family recently moved into a new home with a backyard and now Boo is always smiling from ear to ear. That smile is evidence that adversity is often followed by new beginnings, especially if you’ve got people in your corner to help you along the way.
Best Friends in Los Angeles works collaboratively with animal rescue groups, city shelters and passionate individuals all dedicated to the mission of making Los Angeles a no-kill city. As part of this mission, Best Friends hosts adoption and fundraising events, manages two pet adoption centers, and leads the No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) initiative. Together, we will Save Them All.
Photos by Lori Fusaro