We flew our 7-year-old American Bulldog, Drufa, who had become a part of our family when she was only a couple of months old, from British Columbia to Ontario.

Back in December, 2016, we made the most difficult decision we’ve ever had to make: we flew our 7-year-old American Bulldog, Drufa, who had become a part of our family when she was only a couple of months old, from British Columbia to Ontario. It was a one-way ticket, and Justine and Josh were waiting for her in Toronto.

We were in a desperate situation. Drufa had always had fear-based aggression issues, ever since she was a puppy. We dealt with it as best we could: we had multiple trainers help us out and we provided Drufa with basically anything that we could to help her cope with her severe anxiety.  However, with the arrival of our daughter and, with that, a series of changes in our environment and dynamics, Drufa’s insecurities and fear began to intensify, posing a real threat to our daughter and to our senior 14-pound Shih Tzu. Despite trying our very best to keep everyone safe and happy under one roof, Drufa redirected her aggression towards her furry brother who she’d known her entire life, violently attacking him one evening. Our Shih Tzu recovered from the ordeal, but it was clear to us that something had to be done. We sought advice from previous trainers, dog walkers, veterinarians, family and friends, and to our surprise, many of them suggested euthanasia.

But we wouldn’t take death as an answer. We simply couldn’t do that to someone we loved, someone who had been nothing but loyal and loving to us for seven years, but who had issues greater than we could manage. After weeks of worries and hopelessness, we finally heard back from someone who was willing to help: Justine. Right from the start, Justine was sympathetic to our situation and was willing to provide us with very much needed guidance. Several phone calls and email exchanges later, we sent Drufa to her new home in the Blue Mountains.

Drufa has been with Justine and Josh for over a year now. Despite the distance, they have always kept us in the loop with everything concerning Drufa. Although we have witnessed her amazing transformation mainly through our computer screens, we’ve also been incredibly lucky to see it first-hand. A few months ago, we visited Drufa for the first time since we said good-bye to her on that cold December morning. We were delighted to see a more playful, relaxed and confident version of Drufa. We took her out for a long walk that day, and that was perhaps the most peaceful and enjoyable walk we’ve ever had with Drufa. The world is not a scary place anymore. Bittersweet? Very much so. We simply didn’t want that walk to end. But seeing Drufa truly enjoy life filled our hearts with happiness.

Drufa is finally home. As much as it hurts knowing that we couldn’t provide Drufa with the life that she needs and deserves, we’ve found peace in knowing that she’s in the best of hands. We will be forever grateful to Justine and Josh and everything they have done for us and our family.

Andrea and Ben, Pittsburgh

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