Shirley Zindler
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What a Good Dog

On a recent dark, chilly fall evening, a three year old child wandered out of his home un-noticed by his parents. His departure was, however, observed by the family dog, a large neutered  male Pit Bull, who took it upon himself to follow the little boy and stay close by his side. They were a good distance from home before they were seen by some passers-by who stopped to help. The child was unable to tell them where he lived or give them any other information so deputies were summoned. The dog stayed by the child’s side the entire time, friendly but watchful.

The child was going to be taken into protective custody so one of my fellow animal control officers was dispatched to pick up the dog. The officer scanned the dog and found a microchip which had been implanted by our shelter during a free neuter clinic that we had offered a few years previously. Thanks to the chip, one phone call was all that was needed to get the pair home safely. The situation is still under investigation but could have been much worse had the dog not chosen to stay with the little boy.

I was so touched by the way the faithful dog stayed with the child the entire time and by the way, once again, a microchip led to a happy ending!

I would love to hear from readers about things your dogs have done to be there for someone in need. 


Shirley Zindler is an animal control officer in Northern California, and has personally fostered and rehomed more than 300 dogs. She has competed in obedience, agility, conformation and lure coursing, and has done pet therapy. Zindler just wrote a book The Secret Lives of Dog Catchers, about her experiences and contributes to Bark’s blog on a regular basis.

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Submitted by Samantha Iacoboni | November 29 2012 |

Pittie are very loyal dogs, even more so to children. My boy immediately attaches himself to any child in our home. My 2 year old niece and 7 month old nephew came over for the recent holidays and he clung to the baby. He let the baby grab onto his tail and use him as a walker, since he can't quite walk on his own yet and our pup made sure to move very slowly. My two year old niece had a bad experience getting knocked over by some poorly behaved great danes (how unusual they are normally so calm) and has become very scared of large dogs. When she walked into our home and saw our dog she started crying she was so scared, he immediately tarted crying and walked up to her and licked her face. By the end of the night she was telling the whole house how they were going to run away together! I think our pup loved the most when the baby was crawling around on the floor with him. He probably thought, "Heres a human that has it right, uses all four of his legs."

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2012 |

love this story!! I know dogs think, & this dog did a great job of helping the little girl get over her fear! How sweet with the baby! Too bad no photos, & also not posted where visible by all! Kids need dogs & dogs need kids!!!

Submitted by Anonymous | December 2 2012 |

I couldn't agree more with pits being extremely loyal to children. We have 3 grandchildren and he is wonderful with them all, but especially to the one he has grown up with. We had the baby on a blanket outside and he laid next to her the entire time, keeping guard I guess.

Submitted by Cyndi | November 29 2012 |

What a beautiful story, I always have felt that people who don't have a great love of animals are missing a part of their soul.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2012 |

Great way of putting it!

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2012 |

My dog is a pit mix nd ny me a baby is sleeping in a room by themselves she'll sit outside the door nd only let the mother in nd if she dnt kno u she won't let u in nd when we take her for walks ny time there's a little kid with us she'll stay rght by there side nd won't let ny strangers go near them or let them wonder off she always makes sure they stay by the adult thts with them nd always mkes sure they stay on the side walk too

Submitted by Pittie lover | November 30 2012 |

How amazing, what a great dog!!! Poor dogs are so misunderstood and judged! I can relate.....

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2012 |

It's about time there is a good story out there about a Pitbull. There's not too many and coming from a Pitbull owner I'm sure there are a lot more....Thank you

Submitted by GrievingDixieMomma | November 30 2012 |

I have a FUll BLooded Red nose large bone pitbull. Her Name is the princessa Dela Roja Rosa. We call her lala For short. I have had her for going on 3 years now. When my son died in august of 2010 I was a Shattered human being. I refused to eat Couldnt sleep and barely spoke. I had walked to clear my head and wound up at a friend of mines house a few blocks away. He was always a Beloved rescuer of the pitty breeed. He had just rescued my girl from some extremely abusive owners. Dispite her being rescued she was depressed and refusing to eat. As i entered the exercise yard she lowered her head and crawled towards me wagging her tail. My friend seeing that she was showing a responce to me went and got a calzone out of the house and braught it out and asked me to see if i could get her to eat it and she did. We then began a daily routine of me walking to his hous and feeding her by hand and eating lunch with her at a park a few blocks away . She gave me a reason to eat and live and feel alive again.Three weeks after i started that routine i found out i was pregnant with my son maeson who is 18 months old now. So as i got bigger she stayed with me and when he was born she slept between my bed and his bassinet And if i fell asleep with him in my arms and he started to wiggle she would nose my cheeck until i woke and placed him back in his crib.Now thqat he is a walking terror she is his constant companioon she sleeps beside him in his toddler bed and lets him ride her like a pony around the living room. She Kept me alive and him alive at the same time she braught me nwe hope and life when i thought there was none and she saved me as much as i saved her.


Submitted by shirley zindler | December 1 2012 |

Such a touching and heartbreaking story. I'm so glad you were there for each other...

Submitted by Bex McClutchie-... | December 2 2012 |

It's just beautiful to hear the heroic acts that this lovely breed does. I own a Purebreed Rednosed Male just recently neutered.He's got such a strong character as with all Pitbulls & just totally loves being amoungst us all. Such a Loyal, Devoted & Protective Breed.

Submitted by shirley zindler | November 30 2012 |

I'm really enjoying all the wonderful examples of the devotion of our beloved companions. Thank you!

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2012 |

i have Cystic Fibrosis and i am allways doing treatments it seems like, if i get out and extercise its better, my girl, saddie marie, a rescued pitbull mix, chills with me while i do my treatments and cuddles with me at night she sleeps in my bed right between me and my sister, she wont let anyone come in that she dosent know, but is the biggest baby, she keeps me active, witch is good for my lung function, shes always been there, shes my baby girl, spoiled rotten, when im sitting down or at the computer she trots right over and crawls into my lap to be held shes about 30lbs, but shes my baby i take her everywhere, people love her, i paint her nails and have all kinds of dress up stuff for her, and she keeps us entertained, she has her own bed, witch she dosent use, its a baby matress, she has a ton of toys and a pillow and blanet but she would rather be snuggled up, under my covers, she gets cold, and close as she can get to me, and sleep there, shes my baby, fallows me everywhere, dosent take house playing well, she dosent like that.. shes my girl, i wouldnt have her any other way!i rescued her last august she was a 4week old 3.5lbs thin baby girl, now shes a year old and 30lbs! and boy let me tell you she gets away with everything! she loves gatoraide, soda, candy, shes just like a kid, she loves sharing a slushie when i get one, as long as its doggie safe we share it ^.^ told you shes my baby!

Submitted by shirley zindler | December 1 2012 |

Arent dogs just the best!

Submitted by Wouter | December 1 2012 |

Every kid should have 2 things:
a dog and a parent willing to let it have one ;-)

great story and greetz from the Netherlands

Submitted by shirley zindler | December 1 2012 |

I love it!

Submitted by Peg | December 5 2012 |

Got that right!

Submitted by Trish | December 5 2012 |

What a beautiful statement! Your kids(if you have any) are very lucky..as is your dog!!!

Submitted by LaurenBee185 | December 1 2012 |

I rescued Brody from a county shelter the day he was going to be put to sleep. He was a skinny, fearful, timid puppy whose face was peppered by cigarette burns. He showed little interest in me when I met him. He just sat by the door of the meeting room whining for the staff member who brought him in there to come back and be with him. That dedication and loyalty to his favorite volunteers and staff members urged me to give him a chance. I knew if I could win his heart, he would protect mine with everything he has. I was right in assuming that. Two and a half years later, Brody and I share a connection and have a friendship unlike any I have ever had before. He has blossomed from a timid, fearful, and at times aggressive dog into a dog who is known for his unique way of greeting people he knows with "Brody Hugs" which is when he gently jumps up on you (only when you ask for a hug by the way), leans into you and wraps his front legs around your waist. Strangers comment on the street about him being the happiest dog they've ever seen. He is truly a fully recovered dog.

One summer evening, I stopped at a 7-11 store to pick up a few ingredients to make dinner. Brody was waiting in the car with the windows down like he always does since we were on the way home from the dog park. When I got back to the car less than 5 minutes later, he was no where to be seen! I heard barking from behind the store, so I ran over and Brody was sitting there while a 10-12 year old boy hugged him and sobbed into his fur. I called the police. Apparently, the boy lived in a nearby neighborhood and he "ran away." His parents had just reported him missing. This child was autistic and had the emotional maturity of a 5 year old, so it is good that we found him when we did.

Every dog has a purpose.

Submitted by Anonymous | December 2 2012 |

What a wonderful story- it actually made me cry!! :)
It was meant to be that you two found each other...

Submitted by shirley zindler | December 3 2012 |

How wonderful that your dog sensed the childs need. What a blessing. Thank you for sharing your story.

Submitted by Johann | December 2 2012 |

Great story. I had my Amstaff, for over 12 years. I grew up with him and he had a great influence in forming my personality. Later a rescued Jerry who was used as a bait for other pits. He already was 4.5 years old and kept on a chain all his life. It took a year and a lot of hard work but now he has trust in people and can sleep all night long without jumping up 5-8 times a night without any reason. It's such a great breed, it's a shame that so many people hate them without any knowledge of the breed beside what they read in the biased media where every attack by a medium sized dog is done by "pitbulls".


Submitted by Anonymous | December 2 2012 |

Pit Bulls are known to be very protective of family members, especially the children. This is living proof of how wonderful they are when they are in a family that loves them. What a good dog!

Submitted by Anonymous | December 5 2012 |

Wonderful, heartwarming story. There is nothing like a dog!

Submitted by Barb | December 5 2012 |

I have a staffie myself. She kind of chose me and my pack of dogs of different breeds about 7 years ago. She is the most social of my dogs. I call her my Social Butterfly. She is such a good dog. My 2 males I have a GS/mix and BC/mix sometimes have issues and tangle, she never gets involved when they do. My BC/mix is the one who starts it. He have even had issues with my staffie, like trying to dominate barking when they see something and stiil she backs off and goes about her business. She is a great dog.

Submitted by Vicki Tittle | December 5 2012 |

This just shows THEY"RE NOT BAD DOGS!!! Pit Bulls can be loyal, funny, appreciative dogs. There are no bad dogs just bad dog owners. This dog is a jewel!

Submitted by Anonymous | December 6 2012 |

I could not agree more!

Submitted by Sarahwho | December 5 2012 |

AWESOME! This is the kind of story that people NEED to hear about our sweet dogs! NOT all the negative ones!

Submitted by Sassee | December 5 2012 |


Submitted by Anonymous | December 5 2012 |

My sister owns a female pit bull. She is seriously and terminally ill. That dog doesn't leave her side other than to eat and go out side to do her business. She is loyal, friendly, social and the only thing she would even consider doing in an aggressive manner is to lick your face. Loved the story...thank you for sharing....

Submitted by Anonymous | December 5 2012 |

Great story. I Luv Pitties

Submitted by Luann | December 5 2012 |

Great story, great dog

Submitted by Rene | December 6 2012 |

I have had 3 dobermans now, and have found them wonderfully intelligent dogs. During my mother's final illness and death, my sister came home from Denmark with her two young sons. Dayzi, the doberman, immediately took to 2-year-old Darnell, following him around, playing ball with him, sitting beside him on the couch, sharing food, etc. We live on a farm, and one day during the post funeral chaos, he disappeared out the door -- it can happen in a flash! My father tore out toward the pond, my sister toward the barn and I toward the road, all yelling Darnell's name. Within 30 seconds, Dayzi came tearing down the road, barking, turning to run the other way as soon as she had my attention with the "Timmy's down the well" look on her face. There was my nephew, charging down the road at top speed, with the distressed dog right at his heels.
With all three of my dogs, it has been amazing to me how quickly they have been able to identify who is "pack" among my far-flung family and how devoted they (the dogs) have instantly been.

Submitted by shirley zindler | December 6 2012 |

I've had three Dobermans too, all rescues, and they are also wonderfully devoted. Dogs are such a gift!

Submitted by Anonymous | December 6 2012 |

I had an Australian Shepherd who loved children. My obedience instructor home-boarded students' dogs and he had a baby who was just learning to walk. For those of you who know Aussies, they will sometimes curl up like a 'C' and walk sideways (very strange until you get used to it). Well, Lacey stayed with them for a week and when we returned we were told that she had been the baby's "walker" for the week. She would walk around sideways with the little guy in the middle holding on to her fur. My instructor said he wouldn't trust his own dogs alone with the baby, but that he would trust Lacey. She was that way with all children and had more kid friends than dog friends! My neighbor's son even wrote a paper about her for school - he had been afraid of dogs when they moved in, but ended up being best friends with Lacey.

Submitted by Beagles Mom | December 6 2012 |

So many wonderful stories about the misunderstood pit !!

When some one starts down the anti-pit road, I usually point out that Petey, the dog staring in the original Little Rascals, was a Staffordshire Terrier --- you know, "a pit bull." Initially they seem suprised -- even in misbelief......then they get this smile on their face, thinking "oh yeah I remember him." I think it is hard to argue with the fact that one of the gentlest canine role models we baby- boomers grew up with was a pit.

Thank you Petey !

Submitted by R Gonzalez | December 28 2012 |

A similar thing happened to our grandson when he was around three. A utility company left a hole in the back yard fence and he decided to go adventuring. Our Pit/lab Shadow followed him and stayed with him. They walked for about a mile until they came to a busy intersection. My grandson didn't speak well(what 3 year old does) and became frightened. He started to cry and began walking onto the road into oncoming traffic. Shadow got infront of him and pushed him back on to the sidewalk. He did this several times and stayed close to my grandson. A woman and her son who were cleaning the local church witnessed this and went out to see what was happening. Our dog stood patiently next to our grandson while she tried to get some info from the little boy.The police were called and were able to trace the dog by his micro chip and license. The police called our daughter and asked if she had a "little blond boy and a big black dog" She replied that they were in the back yard playing. The officer told her what had happened and returned the boy and dog to her. The police were amazed that Shadow did what he did and called him a hero. To this day, 5 years later, Shadow and our grandson share a beautiful special love for each other. Most dogs would have taken off and enjoyed their freedom, but Shadow did what he does best, he took care of his loved one.

Submitted by shirley zindler | December 28 2012 |

I love to hear all the ways dog enrich our lives. What a similar story. Thanks for sharing!

Submitted by Anonymous | January 6 2013 |

This is such a dear sweet story, one that given the opportunity would be repeated by thousands of dogs and yet........if a officer of the law were to come on scene for whatever reason and encounter these wonderful dogs, he'd shoot them dead and ask questions later....please do all you can to help change laws that have allowed cops to adopt this awful attitude against our pets......

Submitted by margie reynolds | January 6 2013 |

This is a dear sweet story and given the opportunuity one that could be repeated by countless doggies and yet......if a cop were to pay a visit at their home for whatever reason (mistaken address, etc) and encountered this dog he'd shoot him dead and not care how dear this dog was to anyone......please do all you can in joining the fight to change laws that have allowed cops to adopt this kind of attitude against our beloved pets......

Submitted by Shirley Zindler | January 9 2013 |

I've worked many calls with other law enforcement agencies and sadly, I have seen dogs shot and killed in police raids. In every case I have attended, the owners broke the law and and were potentially dangerous and the dogs suffered for their failings. There are the exceptions, innocent people and animals harmed, but those are truly the exceptions.

Most law enforcement officers are decent hard working people doing their best to keep everyone safe in a very dangerous job. Of course, as in any area, there are those who shouldnt be there, but its critically important that we as dog owners stay out of trouble and keep our pets confined and out of trouble.

I've spoken to groups of law enforcement about ways to protect themselves from aggresive dogs (or dogs who are just doing their job of defending their homes from entruders)so its an area thats important to me.

Submitted by Westlondondogs | January 12 2013 |

My dog, when I was a small child, may have saved my life, she chased away a man that tried to snatch me. She was a great dog. Sadly I'm older and she is in K9 heaven. Dogs and children do go together, in some family situations. But a careful eye must always be open to make sure the relationship is safe for children and dogs.
Great story, thank you.

Submitted by Penelope Low | April 9 2014 |

Pitbulls (Pibbles) are so maligned. They can be wonderful, affectionate, loyal, entertaining companions. It is too bad the media have decided to pick on this beautiful, breed. So undeserved.


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