Potato the Pitbull
In 2013, I tragically lost my soulmutt, Burt. He was a Great Pyrenees and Basset Hound and was my absolute heart. It was the hardest year of my life learning my new normal without him.
In 2014, someone shared a dog on Facebook. I could see his soul in his eyes, and it was love at first sight, but I had a house full of dogs. I was determined to help find him a home.
A small shelter in Ft. Hood had found this stray dog, but he had a microchip and an owner! They called and reached the wife, who told them they would come to pick him up after work, but never showed. I found a foster for him, and after that one didn’t work out, I found another temporary foster. They kept Potato for a few weeks, but I was forced to take him in myself when they couldn’t keep him any longer. There was no going back! I took him to an event and decided to try him out during a CPR demo, and he was perfect! We had no practice, and he didn’t know any of my cues, but he was a natural. It has been an adventure ever since!
There was a lot of debate about his name. He would be named Bear, but I love naming big scary dogs very unusual names, and fruits and vegetables make unique names for sure! He looks like a frightening pitbull that would be used for fighting. I wanted a name that helps nervous people relax when they see him. He’s brown, so Potato was an automatic fit. Who could possibly fear a pitbull named Potato?
He has been a perfect fit for all my Pet CPR & First Aid classes for laymen pet owners and hundreds of Pet Care Professionals. He has traveled the country and has demoed at tons of pet conferences. Potato has played the role of an unconscious dog, sat still for hundreds to demo muzzling and restraint for safety, allowed thousands to witness Canine CPR, and demoed a proper Snout-To-Tail Assessment. This last part helps everyone know what to look for on their pets when doing wellness and emergency assessments.
We do so many events every year, and he has visited with thousands of kids and people petrified of dogs and/or pitbulls. He has his own movement called Potato’s Pit Stop, complete with a banner and business cards at all our events! He has coloring book pages for kids to learn to love dogs and teach them about respecting them. His Facebook page has hundreds of followers!
As a Professional Trainer, I need well-socialized and well-behaved dogs for my exercises with client’s dogs. He is used in many of my sessions and helps me socialize puppies properly when they board with me. He is very well-balanced and calm around nervous dogs, so they naturally feel safe. He does all his cues and loves helping kids understand how to behave around dogs.
He is perfect in every way, but one! He is part Billy goat! He has eaten rope, leather, a baby monitor, and a Fitbit. He has had to have 2 surgeries exploring his insides and digging the rope and leather out. In 2016 he also had an enlarged prostate. Months of tests, medications, and lots of consults didn’t fix it, so we decided to open him up yet again! We suspected he still had a testicle and worried about the prostate being enlarged because of cancer. Luckily, we found not one testicle but TWO, and neither was enlarged or cancerous! He had never been neutered, but because his testicles never dropped, we assumed he had been before the shelter.
Four weeks ago, we began our biggest adventure yet! He was not feeling well, so I took him to the vet, suspecting that he had eaten something again. We did several tests but didn’t find obvious signs of an obstruction. We started a trial medication, but days later, he still wasn’t himself. I took him to another vet and insisted something was still off. By happenstance, the technician found a small hidden lump on his thyroid gland when she drew blood. The circus began! I immediately made an appointment with a specialist to have his thyroid removed within 3 days of that appointment and raised over $4,000 from his fans, friends, clients, and family.
He had his surgery on December 1st, and we have since seen the oncologist and a homeopathic doctor. The tumor’s biopsy showed signs of cancer cells on the blood vessels, leading the oncologist to believe his thyroid cancer might be more aggressive than other types. He has had two scans looking for other signs of cancer. It had not spread, but his left lymph node was also enlarged, so it’s suspicious. Thyroid cancer generally responds very well to radiation, so we are starting that this week. Chemo will follow every 3 weeks after 4 weeks of radiation.
The oncologist gave me 2 options. Do nothing, and we may have 7 months. With treatment, there is a possibility of 4-5 years! The choice became very clear! I am a single mom and own my own Pet Care Business. He is not just a part of my life, but he is my daughter’s best friend and an integral part of my business. Losing him isn’t an option.
This month alone, we have spent over $7,000 on his scans and surgery, and treatments. Radiation treatment for the next 4 weeks costs almost $9,000, and chemo that will follow will be $3,500. It is an insane amount of money, and for any other dog, I don’t think I could do it, but it’s Potato!
If you can find it in your heart to donate, please know that it means more than you will ever know. Potato will continue to live every day as an advocate for the breed and a fantastic example of a well-behaved and well-balanced dog. He has lived every day teaching other pet owners how to save their pets. I will do everything I can to save him!
With utmost gratitude,