So many of you have sent your wonderful photos and stories that I decided to start printing some of them. If you have a photo of your dog (or a story to tell), please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each month we will choose one or two of them to run on Jasmine’s page and on our Web site, www.northsidesf.com. Here is the story of another lucky dog, named Diva.
By T. Wang
Diva the pit bull was rescued 14 years ago in the late spring of 1995. Brad, a paraglider pilot, was spending an afternoon flying at “the Dumps”– the coastal flying site at Mussel Rock in Pacifica. From the edge of the cliff, Brad surveyed the sea and sky that surrounded him, and took a deep breath of the fresh ocean breeze. His paragliding wing filled with air above him and he took off from the cliff in his signature “Superman” position, putting his arms out in front of him, and his legs out behind him. He glided through the air away from the cliff, and the wing lifted him into the sky.
As he flew, he heard the howling and barking of a dog on the ground, far below him, and it sounded like the dog was in trouble. From his bird’s eye view, Brad quickly located the source of the barking: several dump trucks were parked in one area, and inside one of them was a little black dog. Brad circled in the air above, observing the dog in the truck. He landed on the roof of the truck and talked to the dog, who jumped and cried out excitedly, clawing at the walls of the truck bed.
She was a pit bull puppy, about five months old, with a glossy black coat, a white splash on her chest, and amber-brown eyes. She was shivering and crying. The dump truck was mostly filled with rainwater, except in one spot, where the dog was.
Brad thought that she might belong to one of the workers. He continued to fly, every so often returning, landing on top of the truck, and talking to the dog. Hours went by, and there was no sign of any workers. Brad grew more concerned about the dog. He was afraid the puppy had been abandoned, so he decided to see if he could find out about the dog in the dump truck. Brad asked several people, but no one knew anything about her. Then some fishermen told him that they had heard a dog barking for the last three days. Now certain that the dog had been abandoned, Brad called the Peninsula Humane Society. The woman who answered the phone said they had a “zero rescue policy” for pit bulls and pit bull mixes, and that the dog would be euthanized.
Brad made up his mind – he had to help the puppy. He waited until the end of the day, and saw that no one was coming to get the dog. Returning to the dump truck, he unlatched and lifted the heavy gate, setting the dog free.
Splashing through the water in the truck bed, the dog leapt to her freedom, jumping for joy high in the air, playfully nipping Brad on the hand. She had stars in her eyes for her rescuer.
The puppy followed Brad to his truck, and jumped in with him. Brad drove to McDonald’s, and ordered cheeseburgers and fries for both of them at the drive-through window. That “happy meal” sealed the deal. The puppy decided she would follow this man anywhere he went. Brad brought her home and named her Diva, because she was so clearly that – a bossy, attention-loving, highly vocal, alpha female. At that time Brad had an elderly male dog, Dutch. Dutch fell in love with this attractive young female, who liked to tear his fur out in mouthfuls. According to Brad, Diva added another two years to Dutch’s life, and he lived to be 18 years old.
Since that day 14 years ago, when Brad flew down from the sky and rescued Diva from the dump truck, Diva has been his devoted companion, and she travels almost everywhere with him.
Recently Diva was given another death sentence. This time it came from the vet, who diagnosed her with a tumor in her spleen; he said that it had metastasized, and she likely wouldn’t live through the weekend.
Knowing her will to survive, it shouldn’t be a surprise that she bounced back to life. Eight weeks after receiving her death sentence, she continues to enjoy her life vigorously.
I’ve learned some lessons from this man and his dog: Live and love fearlessly and be devoted to others. Keep surviving and thriving, no matter what other people say. And most important, keep an open heart, because love may come your way from a place you would never expect.