Mia's family

Our journey through the manageable dog program

Amanda and I decided around 5 years ago that when the day came to get a dog, we would get a pit bull. We knew pit bulls to be a very smart, energetic, loyal and loving dog. Despite the fact that pit bulls are represented as dangerous dogs by the media, we knew that we wanted to own one for all of the good qualities and to be ambassadors for the breed.

It was in 2011 when we were browsing the internet for pit bull selections in the Edmonton area and came across the Pit Bulls for Life website. We kept them in the back of our minds until last March (2015) when PBFL was hosting a meet and greet at a Pet Valu close to where I was living. Amanda and I decided to make the trip to Pet Valu to learn more about PBFL and how we can get involved. During our visit we met with 2 friendly and informative representatives for PBFL. We mentioned our attraction to some of the dogs that were available for adoption and from there we were informed that we could start volunteering to walk some of their dogs who were being homed by 780 Kennels.

We then signed up as volunteers for PBFL and 780 Kennels and we began walking dogs at least twice a week. It was during this time that Amanda and I fell in love with Mia’s personality and the type of dog she is. This led to a serious conversation for Amanda and I. At the time we were not looking for a dog, and since Mia was part of the Manage-A-Bull program, we weren’t sure what that entailed or whether we were ready and capable of going through with it. Luckily for us, Tia (the president of PBFL) was out volunteering at 780 during a day that we were as well. We asked Tia for some of her time and asked her about the manageable program. Tia was excited and more than happy to answer all of our questions. Before she answered any of our questions she informed us of Mia’s past and some of the obstacles we would face by agreeing to adopt her. She then told us that the Manage-A-Bull program consisted of mandatory reading material, a period of 3 months training with a certified 780 Trainer, and lifetime support should we ever need help managing our adopted dog in the future. Much to our surprise, all of this was included in the cost of the adoption.

At this point in time Amanda and I had purchased a house through a builder and we knew we’d have to wait about 4 or 5 months until we had a home suitable for owning a dog. We asked if it would be ok to agree to adopt Mia and train with her during this period of time even though it was longer than the 3 months that PBFL sets out. Our main concern was that PBFL wanted to find a home for her and we could miss out on her if they had a chance to adopt her out sooner. Thankfully Tia was very open to this and said that wouldn’t be a problem. This came as a surprise and a relief to us. Upon further consideration and weighing of the pros and cons, we decided that Mia was definitely the dog for us and we wanted to go through with adopting her.

From here we set up a training schedule with 780 Trainer Derrick St Pierre. Before we began training we were privileged to see a working session between Derrick and Mia. The connection between them was unbelievable, and seeing Mia work and follow each and every command was a real treat. It further excited us to learn that the dog we fell in love with was so intelligent. It quickly became evident that just because she is smart doesn’t mean she’s going to follow her commands from just anyone. Derrick told us that Mia was the first dog he started to train and that it was a time consuming endeavour  to build such a strong relationship with her. Derrick was very good to work with, he gave clear instructions, he gauged our progress and always gave us tasks and training exercises he knew we would be successful with. During the training sessions that Derrick couldn’t attend we worked with Adam Kidd (Owner/Operator of 780 Kennels and Derrick’s Mentor). Adam was also great to work with, he gave clear instructions and was quick to correct inconsistencies he saw in our training relationship with Mia. Derrick and Adam worked well together to ensure we stayed on a steady path with Mia and we were always moving forward with our training relationship. Derrick and Adam gave us all the tools we need to be successful  and we were able to see our relationship grow stronger every week. During our time training, we were still volunteering at 780 Kennels every week. During our time volunteering we would take Mia out to work on the things we learned in our most recent training session. This further strengthened our bond with Mia and our training was something we were always looking forward to.

FINALLY the day came to take Mia home. Mia settled in to our home incredibly quickly. We followed the advice from 780 Kennels and integrated Mia into our home slowly and systematically. She is very respectful of our rules and she is incredibly well behaved. Because of all of the time 780 has invested in this dog , and the time we spent training with her, our friends and family have a hard time believing she was a manageable dog. We are first time dog owners, and looking back on it now, we cannot imagine adopting a dog in any other way. The knowledge you gain from the Manageable Dog program is rewarding and everlasting. The amount of training we received was to ensure the human-dog fit is right and that Mia’s forever home is absolute. It helped us build a bond with Mia that is hard to describe. PBFL wants what is best for their dogs and they’re grateful for having adopters willing to put the same effort and devotion into the dogs as they are. We cannot be grateful enough for the working relationship between 780 Kennels and Pit Bulls for Life. They helped us find a part of our family and they’ve changed our lives forever. PBFL is continually great to us by being there for us now or for any issues we may come across in the future.

This is our story about our experience with 780 Kennels and Pit Bulls For Life. The people we’ve had the pleasure to work with from these two organizations have treated us like family. We will forever be grateful for their love and devotion to the dogs they help. We look forward to always being a part of Pit Bulls for Life and possibly even adding another furry addition to our family. Mia has been given a second chance at life, and if it weren’t for PBFL and 780 Kennels, she would likely not be alive today. Mia is an important member of our family and one we couldn’t imagine living without. She brings us so much joy and we fall in love her more with every day. Thank you Tia, Derrick, Adam and everyone else behind the scenes helping to take care of and find the right homes for these incredible dogs. For anyone on the fence about adopting a Manageable Dog, you will not regret this decision. It’s been an amazing experience, one that we would definitely do again. Having had the opportunity to work with many of the manageable dogs available for adoption, I can say that there are some very friendly and sweet dogs waiting to be taken home, and volunteering at 780 Kennels is a great way to meet them. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Travis, Amanda, Mya (Previously Mia)

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