Guest writer Nomi Berger is interviewing and writing about some of the “pit bull heroes” in our community. While Muay Thai is no longer with us, she was a titled champion as well as a confident and poised presence at many HugABull events, carrying a rainbow flag at the Pride Parade and a maple leaf version on Canada Day. We miss you Muay, and you will never be forgotten.
Muay Thai. It’s a form of kick boxing, and the American Staffordshire Terrier given that name would lie on her back with her legs kicking the air.
Muay Thai. If every ribbon she won were draped over her body, only her head would be visible.
Muay Thai. The onetime stray turned one-of-a-kind trophy winner, becoming the only dog of her breed to earn the title Agility Trial Champion of Canada (ATChC).
Muay showed up at the Burnaby SPCA in 2003, overly bred and ailing. After languishing for months, she was adopted and trained in agility, earning the Canadian Kennel Club’s Canine Good Neighbour title. Surrendered two years later by her owner, Muay Thai was placed as a foster with Lisa and John who already owned a pitbull/American bulldog mix named Tucker. To their surprise, the two dogs bonded instantly. The whole family knew four-year-old Muay Thai was a keeper.
Building on Muay Thai’s agility experience, Lisa trained to handle her properly and the pair began competing together. The more competitions they entered, the more titles Muay Thai won, including the Silver Award of Merit and the Expert Silver Standard. Although she qualified three times to compete at the AAC Nationals, two of the events were unfortunately held in Ontario, and because of the province’s breed specific legislation, she was unable to attend either of them.
And therein lies the irony. If ever a dog did NOT fit the stereotypical profile of a “dangerous breed”, it was Muay. Sweet and mellow by nature, she was the kindest and gentlest of dogs. While she was competing, she changed the minds of many of the other dogs’ owners about the breed and they told Lisa how much they enjoyed watching Muay.
Away from competition, Muay was an active, happy and spirited dog. Seldom seen without a toy in her mouth, she loved swimming and walking with the family to and from the river every day during the summer. She loved people and always stopped obligingly when they wanted to pet her.
“Everyone was drawn to her sweetness and gentleness,” Lisa says wistfully. “She was calm and confident, never reactive. She also had especially soft eyes, and the way she looked at you made your heart melt. She even remembered the officers and volunteers from the SPCA, who often watched her doing agility or saw her at the park. Muay would pull on her leash to go to them and give them kisses.”
Even when she was ill — which she was quite often throughout her life – Lisa was told repeatedly by those who treated Muay how great a dog she was. That she was a marvelous testament to her breed. Stoic until the end, Muay was 11 when she died at home in the arms of the woman who had so adored her.
“To put it simply,” says Lisa, “Muay was a hero to me because she changed my entire life.”