Lost, mud-covered pup leads family to love Bully mix breeds

By Bob Gordon, FOTAS Director of Communications

Five years ago, Lauren Kilbreth was heading home after a job interview when she passed some little kids running from a mud-covered puppy. Lauren wasn’t in the best part of town, it was cold and pouring rain, and she was dressed in one of her best business suits – but she felt compelled to turn the car around and head back to investigate.

“He looked lost and I was worried he might get hit by a passing vehicle, so I decided I would get out of my car and call him to me, and if he ignored me or became aggressive, I’d just continue on my way,” Lauren says.

But when she clapped her hands once, knelt down and called out to the pup, he came running into her arms. Lauren took him home, gave him a bath and she and her husband, Ryan, became smitten with the brown Pit Bull mix pup with a white chest. Not only was he a loyal love bug to the couple but he also got along well with their two older Greyhounds, Grace and Baxter, and Stella, their Westie. The Kilbreths named their new, furry family member, Rock.

Rock grew to weigh 60 pounds and became the alpha dog. When Lauren and Ryan had their first baby, Easton James, Rock showed extraordinary interest, always watching over the child and needing to look over Lauren’s shoulder when she changed the baby’s diaper. Rock nurtured their second baby, Deacon Reid, the same way.

Friends who visited the Kilbreths were initially a bit wary of Rock. They weren’t sure how they felt about Bully mix dogs because of the negative way they are portrayed in the media. But most came to love Rock. Some even got Bully mix dogs of their own.

All was great at the Kilbreth home until last year, when their two oldest dogs, Grace and Stella, were diagnosed with cancer and rapidly succumbed to the disease. Baxter handled their deaths well but Rock became depressed and withdrawn. Lauren, now a volunteer at the Aiken County Animal Shelter (ACAS), decided it was time to find a new playmate for Rock. She took him to the Shelter to meet her favorite prospects and he picked a lovely, one-year-old Bully mix named Evie May, who quickly made Rock a happy dog again. Then, just three months ago, the Kilbreths adopted another young Bully mix beauty from the shelter. At 75 pounds, Ava Rae became the biggest dog in the Kilbreth home and has fit in beautifully with the other canine family members. She is heartworm positive but the slow-kill treatment for her condition, paid for by FOTAS, is nearly complete.

The ACAS currently has a number of Bully mix canines available, including seven dogs and four puppies. Carson, Cy, Conor, Chip, Delta, Connor and Tavis are the adults and the two-month-old pups are Claressa, Jeremy, Klay and Shadrack.

“Take a chance on these dogs,” Lauren says. “They are extremely loyal and have a lot of love to give. Never judge a book by its cover. Go to the shelter and see for yourself how sweet they can be.”

Their lives are in our hands…