Guest writer Nomi Berger is interviewing and writing about some of the “pit bull heroes” in our community. Kane is companion to Steffie, an active force in the Okanagan rescue community. Steffie volunteered and fostered for HugABull for several years and now runs Sit Pretty Pit, a rescue focused on the needs of bully breeds in the Okanagan. Kane has been an ambassadog at countless HugABull, Sit Pretty Pit, and SPCA events over the years, and has shared his home with many, many foster dogs along the way. Here is the story of how Steffie and Kane found each other, and what they have accomplished together.
Some say that people – or pets – come into our lives for a reason, a season, or for always.
For Steffie, a broken bully named Kane came into her life for a reason, stayed steadfastly through the shifting seasons, and still remains, loyally and lovingly, by her side.
Three years ago, Steffie, who was devastated by the tragic loss of one of her best friends, went in search of solace. She found it at the SPCA in the shape of an underweight and ailing 2-year-old pit bull whose tail was – in typical bully fashion – still wagging.
“The staff and I still joke about the day I picked him up and, bawling my eyes out, brought him in for a medical assessment,” Steffie recounts with a wry smile. “While I was inside getting a leash, he stayed in my truck, anxiously ripping up the seats. We were both such messes. I poured everything into Kane, and he more than poured it all back into me. So, from then on, he was stuck with me.”
Steffie’s sweet mate of the soul has luminous, golden eyes and a calm, gentle face, which easily transforms into a wide, laughing smile. He is also the proud wearer of many different hats: resident snuggler of his adoring mom; tender protector of kittens and cats from the SPCA; eager host to numerous foster dogs; best dressed doggy on all human holidays, and more importantly, trusted therapy dog and ambassador extraordinaire for the bully breed.
Noting Kane’s brightness, happy energy, and eagerness to learn, Steffie took advantage of all three, and decided to have him certified as a therapy dog. Although his “dog” skills were poor, with practice and determination, they ultimately succeeded. Kane first earned his Canadian Canine Good Neighbour certification and then his Canine Good Citizen certification. The final step: being certified as a St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog.
Sadly, Steffie and Kane were “kicked out” of their first placement due to breed discrimination. But St. John’s promptly found them a more “pit bull friendly” environment — a group home they continue to visit on a weekly basis, while they spend weekends volunteering at the Vernon SPCA.
Steffi readily admits that although she came from a family of animal lovers, they were wary of pit bulls and initially nervous about her adopting one. Luckily, natural charmer that he is, Kane quickly allayed their fears, captured their hearts, and won pride of place as the official family “grand dog.”
It’s not all work and no play, however, for this dynamic duo. On the contrary. Steffi and Kane love and participate in every kind of dog sport, including rally, weight pull, agility, and disc throwing. They also love clicker training, and knowledgeable Kane has a number of tricks he’s always pleased to perform, including “nod”, “look left”, “look right”, “dig on a mat”, “mark on an object”, “touch”, “lights on”, “in a bucket”, “under”, “over”, “find my keys.”
Could a role in films be far behind for this fine, precocious pit?
Written by Nomi Berger