Posey: The Little Pibble That Can
NORTH VALLEY – Good things come in small packages. Posey the “pibble” (affectionate term for a pit bull) is a pit bull that has congenital dwarfism. But Posey’s physical limitations don’t stop her. A certified therapy dog, Posey shares her happy outlook with those who need her comforting puppy love the most.
Posey’s owner, veterinarian Christina Grant, noted that Posey loves everyone. Her affectionate disposition makes her an ideal therapy dog. Posey’s disability helps kids with special needs relate to her and empathize with her.
“She doesn’t let it stop her,” Grant said, referring to Posey’s dwarfism. In many ways, one-year-old Posey is just an average “pibble.” She loves treats, hugs, car rides, and all kinds of adventures. She even has her own Facebook page, Posey The Poseinator, The Pibble That CAN, so her fans can keep up with her: www.facebook.com/PoseythePoseinator.
Since Posey can’t walk long distances, she sometimes rides in a cart; other times, Grant carries her. Posey has developed her own ways of communicating what she wants since she can’t run to the door or jump up.
Posey and Grant are one of the Gabriel’s Angels pet therapy teams. Gabriel’s Angels’ teams visit Phoenix-area facilities that aid abused and at-risk kids. As a therapy dog, Posey “reads” with the kids, cuddles with them, and helps them learn empathy, respect, and trust. Grant noted that the kids who Posey visits are not able to be in a regular classroom setting.
“She goes and she hangs out with them twice a month,” Grant said. She noted that it helps the kids learn to share, as they have to share Posey’s attention and take turns sitting next to her. As a veterinarian, Grant provides the kids with unique learning opportunities.
“Last week, we taught them about the heart,” Grant said. “I took a stethoscope, and we all listened to Posey.”
Posey has been through extensive training and testing to work as a certified therapy dog. In addition to her work through Gabriel’s Angels, Posey has worked at assisted living facilities. Grant plans to start doing hospice work with Posey, as well. Posey will even be going to the Arizona Special Olympics on Oct. 17.
Posey will be featured in the 2016 For The Love of Pit Bulls Dog Park Publishing calendar. Proceeds from the calendar will go to animal rescues. See www.dogparkpublishing.com for more details.
Posey’s story started sadly. At two months old, she was a small, sickly puppy sitting in a county shelter waiting to be rescued.
“She was found as a stray,” Grant said. “Someone must have dumped her since there was no way she could have run away.”
Posey was in very poor physical condition and was severely malnourished when she was found. She was on the euthanasia list at the county shelter when she taken in by Mayday Pit Bull Rescue & Advocacy. Mayday immediately brought her into VetMed, the emergency and specialty veterinary hospital where Grant works. After testing and treatment, it was determined that Posey had dwarfism, likely caused by excessive inbreeding. After spending time with Posey, Grant decided to foster her.
“Something drew me to her, and I just fell in love with her,” Grant said.
Grant ended up adopting Posey, who fit so well into her new family that it made sense to keep her there. As a veterinarian, Grant can provide the extensive care Posey needs. Grant has Posey in physical therapy with a canine rehab specialist vet, and she provides supplements and medications to keep Posey as healthy and comfortable as possible. Sadly, Posey isn’t likely to have a long life. As she gets older, the dwarfism will become painful, and her quality of life will lessen. Until that time, Posey will continue to be treasured by her family and friends.
It’s clear that Posey greatly enjoys her therapy work. Everywhere she goes, she makes friends. Grant noted that Posey helps change the stereotype that all pit bulls are mean or scary. Gentle, small, and non-threatening, Posey works as an “ambassador of the breed,” easing the fears of those who are afraid of pit bulls.
Grant noted that she always wanted to do this kind of volunteer work.
“I always wanted to have a therapy dog,” Grant said. She kept waiting for the right time and the right dog. Posey turned out to be that right dog.
“She’s very well-behaved – she loves people, she loves kids,” Grant added.
Posey loves everyone – and everyone who meets her loves her in return.