Michael and Alicia Stiteler of La Verne, Calif., wanted to adopt a
puppy and they found just the one, an Australian Shepherd mix, on
Petfinder, listed by Chihuahua Haven Rescue. It was their dream come true, but it ended abruptly when they got him home.
Brian, as they named him, cried and cried and cried. “The first few
nights with a crying puppy … were pure chaos,” Alicia says. “We started
regretting our decision and wondering if we had done the right thing.
They decided to return him and called the rescue.
“We held each other and sobbed,” Alicia says. “We felt guilty for taking on a responsibility we couldn’t handle.”
And then fate stepped in. It snowed where they were to meet the rescue person, and she asked if they could wait a week. Soon, Alicia says, “we realized that Brian … was just trying to get
used to his new ‘digs’ … by the end of the week, we knew Brian wasn’t
The first few months were tough, but training and time helped.
Meanwhile, Brian became a beloved member of the family. “As if this
weren’t already enough of a learning experience, we had one
more ‘chestnut’ thrown our way,” Alicia says. “A DNA test showed that
he was mainly Staffordshire Bull Terrier.”
Alicia had many unfounded fears about the “pit bull” breed. “I subscribed to the ‘all
pit bulls are evil’ school of thought. I feared he would grow up to
become a locking-jawed, child biting, mailman eating, homeowner’s
insurance rate-raising killer… Brian’s gentle temperament, sweet
demeanor and fear of his own shadow have completely changed my view of
the bully breeds.
“In the end, we ask each other every day, ‘Can you believe we wanted to take him back?”
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