Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Celebrating the life of Dizzy, a perfect ambassador

Many people live their entire lives without touching as many hearts as one humble dog did in just a couple of years. HugABull mourns the passing of Dizzy, an organizational mascot and extraordinary ambassador.

Brindled Dizzy came to us with a grey face and a spotty history. Ultimately landing at the Vancouver SPCA, he won the hearts of volunteers and staff with his doe eyes and cuddly nature. Dizzy would nestle into legs, laps, faces…whatever human contact was available.

Word circulated quickly in the rescue community about this cool little dog, and HugABull director Shelagh came to check him out. She saw a true pittie that couldn’t be gentler and more people-loving, and decided to foster him herself.

That’s how Dizzy added a couple more hearts to the collection: his canine sister Bailey, normally indifferent to other dogs but devoted to Dizzy, and Shelagh. Although as a professional trainer and rescuer Shelagh was used to seeing dogs come and go, Dizzy was special. The minute the first application came in for his adoption, Shelagh realized she couldn’t let him go.

Always the first out the door for a visitor, and the last to leave someone’s company, Dizzy greeted everyone with a smile and a helicopter tail. He quickly became HugABull’s “go to” dog whenever we needed a friendly, well-behaved pit bull to show off. He accompanied Shelagh on countless interviews, home visits, and rallies – and could always be counted on to nuzzle the camera and schmooze even the most hard-hearted breed foes. When we learned of his passing, people throughout the community shared how he had changed their perception. He made an impression on everyone he met, and convinced many to let a pit bull into their lives.

Last summer Dizzy and Shelagh participated in an SPCA program teaching children about appropriate interactions with dogs. Dizzy passed his temperament assessment with flying colours (of course) and thrived on the attention while doling out kisses and wags to little ones. He was such a star that Shelagh planned to certify him as a therapy dog for children’s hospitals.

Dizzy was the inspiration and the “Diz” behind Dizine Canine, Shelagh’s training business and daycare. He was a wonderful little daycare dog, playing happily with new doggie friends but always preferring to snuggle in against a visiting human.

Although not a young dog, we estimated his age to be between 8 and 10 and thought he had many years of ambassadorship left. We were shocked to hear he was diagnosed with canine lymphoma. Shelagh knew it was a fast-acting disease but had no idea that only three weeks later, he would be laid to rest.

Dizzy’s passing drew many tears and beautiful memories. For many of us, he was the little brindled face of HugABull and the dog that is everything we love about pit bulls.

Dizzy was laid to rest in the arms of his family on Wednesday, April 14. He will always be remembered, and his name will always be synonymous with the sweet, cuddly, and over-the-top loving temperament that exemplifies our love for this breed.

Dizzy with his "sister" Bailey

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