Dogs didn’t earn the title of man’s best friend for nothing. Through their unwavering loyalty and happy-go-lucky approach to life, pooches have a way of endearing themselves to humans everywhere. But that title can pigeonhole dogs a bit—they just want to love everyone, man or beast!
Take a look at two pit bulls named Billie Jean and Ozzy, for instance. Both drew short straws early on in life and ended up in respective rescue shelters. Yet, somehow, these canines each managed to forge loving relationships… with the unlikeliest of friends!
When the owners of a pit bull named Billie Jean surrendered her to DeKalb County Animal Services in Georgia, she looked ghastly. Wounds and scars speckled her flesh and hardly any teeth remained in her mouth. Still, that wasn’t the worst of it.
Service workers quickly discovered that Billie Jean—who also suffered from kennel cough and heartworms—was pregnant. Soon, she had a litter of eight sickly puppies, and the shelter couldn’t support the entire family. Workers needed to find a new home for them, and fast!
Rescue Dogs Rock NYC offered to help the dogs, but then Billy Jean contracted pneumonia. Her rescue, consequently, had to be pushed back to a time when she was better. Tragically, during the wait without their mother, five of her puppies passed away.
Nevertheless, Billie Jean and her three remaining pups eventually made it through the Rescue Dogs Rock NYC system and into foster care. There, according to foster mother Kristin Murphy Dubnoff, the mama pit bull “took beautiful and loving care” of her pups.
Billie Jean suffered another blow, however, when one more of her puppies died in foster care. It seemed like there was no end to this poor dog’s suffering! Then, Kristin received a very interesting phone call…
Someone had left a two-week-0ld beagle at the rescue center. The pup needed a foster mother, and a canine mother, too; there were certain things even the most loving human couldn’t give to a newborn dog. But was Billie Jean prepared for the task?
Not only was Billie Jean prepared, she flourished in the role of adopted mom for the beagle! “Mama Billie Jean took him right in as her own,” Kristin said. But would he get along with his two pit bull brothers?
Thankfully, Phelps and Simone—Billie Jean’s two surviving puppies—showed as much affection for the beagle as their mother did! Cuddled up together on soft blankets, the trio and their mom made one happy family.
As the puppies grew up under the foster care of Kristin and the maternal care of Billie Jean, they attracted the attention of nearby dog lovers. The waiting list to adopt just one of the pups was practically a mile long!
As for Billie Jean, she had to wait a little longer to find her forever home. But with a loving heart like hers, Kristin had no doubt she’d be adopted. “She is an absolute angel,” Kristin said. Still, she wasn’t the only pittie willing to show love to another breed…
Like Billie Jean, the story of Ozzy the pit bull started at an adoption agency. On the other side of the county, independent rescuers brought this goofy dog to Angel City Pit Bulls in Los Angeles, California.
Angel City Pits
Luckily, it didn’t take long for Jennifer Lajeniss, along with her husband and three kids, to offer the five-year-old pooch a place in the family. But life wasn’t all sunshine and daisies for this pit bull. Like Billie Jean, he had problems, too.
See, there was another resident in the Lajeniss home: Norm the cat. Ozzy tried tirelessly to make the cat his friend. But Norm? “The grumpy old man just tells him to fluff off,” Jennifer said. He wasn’t having it.
Like Billie Jean with her adopted beagle, Ozzy just wanted to share the love with his fellow animal—he was determined to win Norm over. But no matter what he did, Norm still didn’t seem interested in friendship. The family wasn’t sure they’d ever warm up to each other…
Angel City Pits
Then, in June 2017, Jennifer rescued another cat from the streets. That cat, named Winnie, was pregnant, and by August, she’d given birth to five tiny kittens. Ozzy couldn’t contain his enthusiasm!
Ozzy no longer needed the unwinnable love of the disinterested Norm. And even with Winnie’s five kittens to attend to, he had plenty of love to go around. “Ever since we’ve allowed Oz to interact with the kittens, he’s been so happy,” Jennifer said.
Ozzy didn’t neglect the duties that came with being a caring cat dad, either. He took some serious care of Winnie’s little kittens. He was so in-tune to their needs, in fact, that he’d get nervous whenever he heard them crying!
Ozzy cleaned the cats and rolled around on the floor with them as they played together. And how did Winnie feel about all of this? Was she, like Norm, cold to the lovable pit bull who seemingly adopted her litter as his own?
Not at all! “She’ll rub up on Ozzy,” Jennifer said of Winnie, “almost to thank him for kitten sitting while she’s out getting a break.” Indeed, Ozzy flourished in his role as adoptive pop.
Though four of the kittens were later adopted, Jennifer kept Winnie and one kitten—named Troublemaker—in her full house. No doubt, those two cats were in for a lifetime of happiness. As Jennifer put it, “Ozzy never gives up on love.”
Pit bulls like Billie Jean and Ozzy prove that dogs are so much more than man’s best friend—they make for the best parents and caretakers to other animals, too!
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