Originally published in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Pit Bulls.
I had been searching for months for the perfect Pit Bull puppy to add to our pack, first visiting Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, and then monitoring Petfinder.com. One day I found myself continuously returning to a photo of a dog with a sweet, black and white face. I went to bed that night thinking of her and awoke the next morning with the dog still on my mind. It seemed that the time had come to contact the rescue and fill out an application.
I learned from the rescue that Arial, now Emma, was born without one of her front legs. She was surrendered to a shelter in Baltimore, Maryland, due to this “medical condition” when she was only five weeks old. How sad and short-sighted of the people who dumped her—to us she was simply perfect; her missing leg only adding to her amazing character and wonderful personality. It took a month before we were able to bring her home, but about four months after beginning my search, I picked her up from the veterinarian’s office who had conducted her spay, and Emma finally joined our family. She was an absolute angel from that first day—sweet, gentle, and very calm—amazing for a seven-month-old puppy.
About three days after we brought Emma home, she began growling at us when we petted her on her right, rear leg. I noticed a black mark through her white fur and thought that maybe someone had kicked and bruised her. When it seemed to get worse, I took her to my veterinarian, who shaved the area to reveal a necrotic wound. The vet thought Emma had suffered tissue damage from her surgery that could have been caused by a variety of things. In the end we learned that it was a thermal burn caused by the previous vet placing a heating pad on Emma when it was too hot. Now she has a large pink scar with no fur on it, but I think it just adds to her enormous character.
When people first meet Emma they often feel sorry for her. I constantly hear, “Oh, God bless her, she’s missing a leg.” Dogs, unlike humans, do not dwell on their handicaps or let it slow them down. Emma runs faster than some of her pals, jumps up and down steps, and loves to fetch toys and play tuggie with her four-legged friends. One of her many nicknames is “Roo” because she hops like a kangaroo to get up the steps or onto the sofa.
Pit Bulls are one of my favorite breeds because of their intelligence, devotion, and sweet, loving dispositions, and Emma is the epitome of all these fantastic qualities. Just by being herself she teaches people how misunderstood Pit Bulls are. She’s the perfect companion and family pet—a delightful girl who brightens the day of everyone she encounters. The way people so easily fall in love with her, and how her presence in my life has made me a better person, make it difficult to decide whether she’s Cupid or an angel—either way, all she is missing are wings and a halo—this dog is truly divine!