Hugo was adopted from the CSRA Humane Society in June of 2018.
Hugo is the best dog. My wife and I constantly say how happy we are that we went into the shelter and found the sweetest, smartest, most adorable dog there. Hugo had a rough start, though. He came to the shelter when he was about two years old. He was found in a ditch on the side of the road with severe wounds on his head and neck. Hugo was also very aggressive toward other dogs, leading the shelter staff to conclude he was used as a fighting dog.
For the next two years, Hugo lived in the shelter in a cage by himself and I happened to meet Hugo on the first day I volunteered at the shelter. Christine saw me and saw a great opportunity to take the big, energetic, and seemingly dangerous Hugo out on a walk. As my friends and I waited in the entrance, Christine brought Hugo out and it was a sight to be seen. Hugo was pulling Christine along behind him, him pulling along the floor and she leaning back trying to keep him under control. I admit, a lean, muscular, black-and-white pit-bull was an intimidating sight. However, the first thing he did was come up and lean up against my leg, wagging his tail. He just wanted some attention and he was so excited to finally get it.
The three of us took Hugo on a walk around the trail near the shelter and it was obvious how much he loved being outside. I also saw how Hugo reacted to other dogs. We passed a family with a golden lab and as we approached, Hugo started to whine, back up, and then as the dog came closer, he began pulling at the leash and taking an aggressive stance. We were told that Hugo was dog-aggressive, but it didn't seem to me like Hugo wanted to attack the other dog. Rather that he was scared to death and wanted to defend himself. When we returned to the shelter, we sat in the entryway for a while waiting for Christine to take Hugo back, and the entire time, Hugo was pushing up against us, crawling under our knees, anything he could do to get some love. After that, I was smitten.
For the next two months, I visited Hugo every chance I got. We went on walks and rides in the car and I event took him home one weekend. I couldn't adopt him yet due to my apartment, but I would be moving soon and decided to adopt him the day I moved out. Every time I came to the shelter, Hugo was more excited than the last time. Once we burned off some energy with a run or walk, his loved to sit in my lap and just relax (still his favorite thing in the world). When the day finally came to take him home for good, my wife and I arrived at the shelter with all our worldly possessions in tow and signed the final paperwork. Christine and the other volunteers had taken care of Hugo for over two years and gave him a home when other shelters may have put him down without giving him a chance (I'm tearing up a bit writing this). The shelter gave Hugo a chance and gave us a new family member.
Three months later, and Hugo is the model dog-citizen. We've been working with a trainer and Hugo isn't scared of other dogs anymore. Walks are great, too. The trainer helped us establish Hugo's place in our pack-family and he walks calmly by my side without pulling at all. The only issue is children... Hugo LOVES children. It's the only time he will pull at the leash. I think his favorite part of going to the park is the opportunity to get pets from all the kids there. The biggest problem is getting him to leave his new friends and keep walking.
At home, Hugo follows us around as we go about our day, looking at us with his big puppy eyes any time we go five minutes without lovin' on him a bit. He still loves sitting with us on the couch or in our bed while we're relaxing and sleeps next to me in his doggy bed every night. He's also taken quickly to training and obeys sit, down, and up every time.
One of the best things about having Hugo in our family is getting to know him and the quirks that make him unique, like his goofy under-byte that shows up when he's on his back and ends up tucking his upper lip under his bottom teeth, or the way he will "swim" sideways along the floor in his ever present quest for belly rubs. Hugo is also an indoor dog. He likes going on walks, but he doesn't like to be outside in general. He especially hates water or rain... So we got him a rain coat and booties for when it's raining, but he needs to go outside anyways (yes, it's adorable).
Of course, there have been the occasional accident inside and torn-up shoe, but I wouldn't change a thing. Still, none of the great memories we have made with our wonder-dog would have been possible without the time and dedication of the people at the CSRA Humane Society. The more I think about it, the more thankful I am that they gave Hugo a home till we were able to find him. I just wish I had found him sooner. Hugo has been an amazing addition to our family. He is the best dog.