Can you ever love another dog as much as your first? My boyfriend James and I hadn’t considered the possibility of adopting another dog when the picture of a doe-eyed, brindle pitbull/boxer mix in need of adoption landed in our in boxes. We pushed it aside at first, but our curiosity was piqued. We kept going back to that picture, marveling at what appeared to be the female version of our beloved Guinness. We eventually convinced ourselves that Guinness needed a doggie companion and adopted Bryn in July of 2008.

When Bryn came into our household, she had a lot to live up to. Her new brother was the first dog either of us had ever owned. Guinness had been such a pleasure that both James and I vowed we would never have a home without a pit bull in it ever again. We had every expectation that our adoption of Bryn would go just as swimmingly. No two dogs are the same, though. Despite the fact that we had two dogs of the same age that looked very similar to one another and were even the same breed mixes, it quickly became apparent that they had strikingly different energies and personalities.

Rescue doesn’t stop when the adoption papers are signed. I’m sure any volunteer can attest to this better than I can. Bryn had an unfavorable start to life from which she still needed rescuing. Lucky for us, when we needed help, all we had to do was ask. Midwest Rescue provided us with a wonderful network of people that all wanted to help this one little dog succeed. The experience opened our eyes to just how special the rescue community truly is.

So, with some help, some patience and some time, we’ve all come a long way since 2008. Anxiety defined her personality in the beginning, but its grip on her has loosened, and shehas become a happier more balanced dog as a result. It’s been an amazing experience watching the true dog emerge. Though we didn’t at first think it possible, we are happy to say that we now love Bryn just as much as we do Guinness. We love her for all the ways in whichshe is different from her big brother. She is the perfect foil to Guinness’ oafish impetuousness, and the two have been the best of comedic companions from the start.

In play, Bryn is both lithe and fast. She prefers games of chase, but when goaded into a wrestling match by her brother, she’ll typically best him with agility and tenacity, despite giving up 15-lbs. to him. Bryn excels at Frisbee and fetch, while Guinness looks on with stubborn indifference. She is by far the superior athlete, with a body both lean and muscular. She is also the quicker study of the two and works for treats eagerly with rapt attention. She has a wide array of tricks; my favorite involves her balancing on her hind legs atop a milk crate.

We joke that her inauspicious beginnings in Waukegan have bestowed her with a street smart savvy and hearty constitution that her brother will never have. Her courageousness is remarkable. She doesn’t shy away from vacuums, hair dryers, vets, nail clippings or baths. And since her arrival in our home, she has been the picture of health, steady and strong, never anything less than her happy energetic self. She is certainly a survivor in every sense of the word.

Bryn loves spending time with the pack most of all. She is the quintessential cuddler, her petite size and flexibility enabling her to contort her body into whatever space has been allowed by her human counterpart. Her personality around people is soft, sweet and docile. While an extremely energetic and playful dog, she will contentedly laze around with you all day if you ask her to.

Bryn has shown us how to be the kind of dog owners we set out to be. She has taught us lessons in patience and perseverance. As a pack, we have achieved what some people think impossible; two pit bulls living harmoniously together in an apartment in the city with two parents that work full-time. They are adored by all the children in our building and are even friends with the UPS guy. Our situation is not unique. It is, however, a testament to the true nature of the American Pit Bull Terrier and the wonderful companions they make. If you’re thinking of adopting a pit bull for the first time, I encourage you to do so after careful consideration. If you have the time and energy to devote to one of these dogs, you’re in luck. In my opinion, you will never meet a more lovely creature in all your life.

Bryn managed to wiggle her way into our hearts, maturing into a beautiful, loving and important part of our family. She is a constant source of laughter and warmth. Although this “Happy Tail” is dedicated to her, her story is really a tale of two dogs and learning to love one for completely different reasons than you love the other. We are fully committed to keeping her healthy and happy forever. She’ll be with us no matter where life takes us. Thank you, Midwest Rescue, for saving our sweet little girl. Here’s to one less pit bull you have to worry about.