Looking on the internet for information on progesterone testing is a nightmare. It’s nearly impossible to find information on what the #’s mean, or what numbers that would be ideal for breeding. Several websites will offer different advice and many vets aren’t helpful at all.
So what numbers am I looking for when progesterone testing?
When do I start progesterone testing with my female?
What numbers are best for an AI (Artificial Insemination)?
Well that depends on the type of Artificial Insemination you will be doing, if the Stud is local or you’re receiving shipped fresh chilled or frozen semen.
We’ll break it down for you in a way that’s simplified and won’t make you go cross-eyed. For you slow readers, skip to “Cheat Codes”
The use of artificial insemination in the dogs has experienced a tremendous increase in popularity over the last several years due to bot its increased success rate and the flexibility it allows the dog breeder. A stud dog can be utilized successfully and easily from thousand of miles away, allowing the breeder to choose the best genetics for his or her bitch without the risks, expense, and other difficulties associated with transportation of the bitch.
A previous or current champion’s genetics can be preserved indefinitely through the use of frozen semen. There are several factors that determine the success or failure of artificial insemination. The most important of these factors is proper timing of the insemination.
Old rules of thumb such as breeding between days 10 to 14 will not work in every case because of the variable length of standing heat (receptivity) and because the optimum time to breed may occur any time during, before, or after standing heat. Vaginal smears have been used to help diagnose the proper time to breed. They are at most, helpful as a rough guide to know when to begin insemination when doing a natural breeding (Live AI) But they are not accurate enough to use alone when utilizing fresh chilled or frozen-thawed semen.
A more exact method to properly time insemination is to measure serum progesterone levels. During estrus, progesterone levels are as low as 0–2 ng/ml early on, rise to levels of 2.0–2.9 ng/ml during the LH surge (Lutenizing Hormone; initiates ovulation), continue to rise to 4–8 ng/ml on the day of ovulation (2 days after the LH surge), and may peak at levels as high as 25 ng/ml post ovulation.
After ovulation has occurred, the oocytes (eggs) must go through a maturation process before they are capable of being fertilized. This process takes approximately 2 days. When fully mature, eggs can then be fertilized for about 48 hours. Thus, the optimum time to breed when using fresh chilled semen is 2 days after ovulation and 3–4 days after ovulation when using frozen semen due to its shorter life span.
If previous breeding history is unknown, begin progesterone testing 4–6 days after the onset of heat. If the levels of progesterone are baseline, then the dog should be retested every 3–4 days until a level of progesterone is detected that is consistent with the onset of the LH peak.
Call the stud owner as soon as the bitch is showing signs of heat. Contact the Stud owner after the first progesterone test is performed to begin coordination and planning of the semen shipment.
It has often been said “Timing is everything” and this is certainly true when using artificial insemination in the bitch. By planning ahead and using these guidelines, one can maximize the probability of pregnancy.
Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries that rises as the heat cycle progresses. Early in the heat cycle the progesterone values will usually read less than 1.0 ng/ml. The first significant rise in progesterone usually coincides with the “LH Surge”. The LH stands for luteinizing hormone and is released by the pituitary gland in the brain.
Ovulation occurs about 48 hours after the LH surge. The progesterone level at the time of LH surge is usually about 2–3 ng/ml. The progesterone will rise to about 5–8 ng/ml at the time of ovulation. Canine eggs are not ready to be fertilized at the time of ovulation and take about 2 days to mature. Once mature the eggs remain fertile for 2 to 3 days and then begin to deteriorate.
Fresh chilled breeding’s are usually performed 48 hours after ovulation and frozen breedings about 72 hours after ovulation. Due dates can be determined by counting forward 65 days from the LH surge (LH surge is day 0) or 63 days from ovulation. This is accurate +/- one day.
When your female goes into heat the first drop of blood is counted as “day 1 of her heat.” Schedule a progesterone test with your vet for day 4 or 5. Based on her progesterone test results, your vet will instruct you on when to come back for a follow up test.
There is no single exact number for determining the time of ovulation; we are looking for a number between 4ng/ml to 8ng/ml as the start of ovulation. Most typical bitches ovulate around 5ng/ml.
The magic number you’re looking for is 5ng/ml. Example: If you test on a Monday and she is at 3.9 and then you go back and test again on Wednesday and now she’s at a 6.5… You know that she passed 5ng/ml on Tuesday. Count Tuesday as when she ovulated (dropped her eggs)
DETERMINING BREEDING DAYS
Once you’ve determined the day of ovulation by using the method above, you now know (approximately) when she dropped her eggs.
The best day(s) to breed will next depend on which type of Artificial Insemination you will be doing.
Ask your vet if they perform Surgical AI and TCI beforehand so you know your options.
BREEDING DAY(S) CHEAT CODES
NATURAL BREEDING (LIVE AI)
This is where the Stud is collected next to the female and an AI is performed or the 2 dogs are allowed to mate. Most breeders will opt for a live AI instead of letting the dogs mate in order to avoid injury to the stud dog.
24–48 hours (1–2 days) after progesterone reaches 5ng/ml. Skip a day and do a 2nd AI if you have the option available to you.
FRESH CHILLED SEMEN
48 hours (2 days) after progesterone reaches 5ng/ml.
72 hours (3 days) after progesterone reaches 5ng/ml.
TYPES OF ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION
Artificial insemination (AI) can be performed by a number of different methods and utilizing sperm from fresh, extended or frozen sources.
There are 3 Common Methods used in Artificial Insemination:
AI, Surgical Insemination and TCI (Transcervical insemination)
All 3 methods will work, but when shipping in a Stud we recommend Surgical Insemination or TCI.
Both Surgical Insemination and TCI have higher %’s of success with shipped semen. Ask your vet about the methods that they perform and are most experienced with. If you’re shipping semen in and your vet offers surgical or TCI options.
As a general, rule stud dogs should produce 10 million sperm per pound of body weight and have more than 75 percent progressive forward motility with less than 20 percent miscellaneous morphologic defects. Since “normal” dog semen lives another 3-to-7 days in the bitch, the better the semen quality, the more leeway there is in ovulation timing.
Too few sperm, abnormal sperm, or poor motility may all result in poor fertility. Semen evaluation of the male prior to a breeding is always recommended, but if it wasn’t done before breeding and the bitch fails to conceive, it should be done after the bitch is determined to be not pregnant. Sometimes this can be overcome by intrauterine insemination or multiple inseminations, but in other cases, the infertility may be too severe.
EVERY FEMALE IS DIFFERENT
With most female dogs they enter their cycle every 6 months but may vary as much as 4 to 12 months between cycles. Variation can exists between the length of the “heat cycle”, with the range being as short as 4 days up to 3 weeks in length. The average time from the onset of heat to the actual mating period is 9 to 11 days.
Making matters more confusing, some dogs have “silent heats” meaning little or no obvious signs of heat such as swelling or bleeding. Some females could have whats called “split heats” where they go into a heat cycle but stop short without ovulating and then go into a fertile heat period weeks later. Heat cycles can vary meaning that just because she was ready to be bred on the 11th day the last heat doesn’t necessarily mean she will be ready on the 11th day of the next heat.
DECIDING ON A STUD
A Stud that is an actual Producer can out produce themselves on a consistent basis. They are the few with the ability to stamp their look with every litter.
“A dog can be a truly great show dog and a poor sire. A dog can hate the show ring and never win a point and be an outstanding sire. It is just as simple as that.”
The biggest mistake breeders, novice or veteran, can make is to confuse their show dogs with their breeding dogs. They can be the same. We hope they will be the same. Often they are not.
There are those who say show wins are the indicator of a dog’s value to the breed. In other words, if many judges agree a particular dog is the current ideal in its breed, the dog should be bred to. I agree — but only to a degree.
You can get every judge in the country to agree that the dog of the hour is the dog of the hour, but that same dog can be a complete disappointment in the breeding department.
If a dog’s quality is not realized in the whelping box, all we have is a box full of ribbons and nothing more.
This is not to say a winning dog cannot also be an outstanding producer. Records prove otherwise. But I cannot stress strongly enough that it is the producing ability that must be looked to and not the show record!
BEFORE DECIDING TO HAVE A LITTER
Ask yourself what you are looking to achieve by producing a litter of puppies. Do you have enough money saved for ultrasounds, X-rays and a c-section?
What about an emergency?
The last thing you want to have happen is an emergency with your female and then not being able to provide the care she needs. This could cost you the entire litter and possibly worse, the loss of your female.
Are you able to provide proper care for the puppies? Can you afford to bring the pups in to the vet for the necessary shots and vaccinations or do you know how to administer vaccines and de-worm the puppies?
Do you have a market to sell the pups? Are the parents registered? If they don’t have papers, you can forget about selling the puppies. Hold off until you have a quality female with a good pedigree and registration papers.
You’ll save yourself a ton of work and a long exercise in breaking even if you’re lucky, but most likely it will be a loss.
Some who are new to breeding, think that they will have a litter and just sit back and count cash all day while playing PS4. It doesn’t work like that, this requires a ton of work, dedication and sleepless nights.
Hopefully this aids responsible breeders in the process of producing healthy pups.
• 2018–2019 Mascot Grand Champion Tone “The Clone” • Interview: Double D’s Adam Davis • Top Studs 2019: “The Producers” • Top Upcoming Studs: Future Stars Who’s Stock is Rising Fast • Breeder’s Corner: Progesterone Testing, Determining Breeding Days, Fresh Chilled VS Frozen, Regular AI’s, TCI’s & Surgical Insemination • Interview: Tone Roldan of Duval Bullies • Allergy Season: Solutions to One of the Worst Seasons in Years • Marketing Your Kennel or Stud: What Methods Work Best? • Beyond the Hype- Top Supplements That Actually Work • The 3rd Annual People’s Choice Awards: Coming June 2019 • BULLY KING Searching for 2019 Mascots: 3 Spots Remain • Plus Much More Inside Issue №15!
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Over the years countless “Kennels” have come and gone.
What seems to be the cause? What separates the ones that last from the ones that pop up only to disappear a few years later.
Why do Most Kennels Fail?
There are many reasons a business can fail, but when it comes to dog breeding the answer is often simple: Most kennels that fail have a few things in common: wrong intentions and a lack of real knowledge that is passed down through mentorship.
Most respected kennel clubs have mentorship programs, some even require a mentor prior to showing or breeding. Not so with The American Bully-anyone, anywhere that owns 2 dogs can decide to become a breeder.
Why is Having A Mentor Important?
What do Larry Page, Steve Jobs and every Shark Tank mogul have in common? They’ve all received guidance from mentors. Yes — even the famously individually-minded Apple Founder got by with a little help, advice and support from time to time. No matter who you are, where you’ve come from, or what you have achieved, a good mentor is an invaluable asset in business.
When it comes to dog breeding, having someone who’s seen it all- Issues with Co-Owns, Contracts, Health Issues, Birth complications etc.. will not only help, but can prevent some pretty avoidable legal and financial issues and might even save the life of one of your dogs.
Newly established kennels get caught up with the excitement and potential financial gain that they see on social media or hear about from other breeders. What they fail to understand is the time and work involved in having a successful setup.
What most need to understand is that the few who manage to turn a profit have years and years invested into their yards.
What you’re not seeing is the struggle, the loss of money it took to gain the knowledge to properly produce quality dogs: the time away from family traveling to different shows, the sleepless nights whelping litters, the heartbreak of losing puppies, the devastation of investing several thousand into a litter only to find out it didn’t take, or even worse the bitch didn’t make it.
Combine all of this with the frustration from customers who expected a puppy that wasn’t delivered. The arguments with a spouse over your love for these dogs the list could go on..
One thing is for certain, dog breeding isn’t for the faint of heart.
Being knowledgeable and having the ability to apply that knowledge in real world situations (through experience) are two completely different things.
Wisdom is being able to admit that regardless of how experienced you may be.. that you don’t know it all.
This is an ever changing and evolving industry, staying humble enough to be taught, and realizing there is always more to learn is key to any breeder or aspiring breeder’s success. The understanding of genetics, business, cost, care etc. comes from real life experience, mentorship and studying.
Knowledge that you gain through these sources not only save you financially but prevent unfavorable outcomes. As a breeder, you’re working with live, breathing animals and your actions can cause suffering. It’s important we regain some of these old fashion practices to secure our breed’s long term survivability. The system that’s currently established is causing great instability in our future growth and public image.
Olin Stephens of Grindhouse Bullies states “Over the years I’ve personally mentored many upcoming breeders and to this day I still guide and support them in their breeding programs. The learning process is never ending- even for all those expert breeders out there, every day is an opportunity to improve and expand your knowledge.
It’s your duty to share what you’ve learned and help educate others. Align yourself with individuals that have the proper mindset to grow and develop your skill as much as their own. Not every outcome will be a success story when greed and ego takes hold- failure is not far behind. The beginner is just as easily victim to this as established kennels/breeders.”
It’s important to remain humble and always seek to improve yourself and others.
Lack of Quality Breeding Stock
They call them Foundation Males & Females for a reason. If you’re not building on a solid foundation it won’t last.
You NEED QUALITY BREEDING STOCK. Without it, you’ll be spending generation after generation correcting faults.
“Females in my opinion, separate the men from the boys. There is some debate as to the exact amount a female passes on to her offspring. Some say 60%, others say that with genetics it should be closer to 50%.
I’m not quite sure what the geneticists claim, but I know what I’ve seen with my own eyes (in more than one breed) and in my opinion females are as important, if not more important than the males.”
“I see so many breedings where mediocre bitches are paired with Top Studs and the breeder thinks it’s the hottest breeding ever. Very few kennels have the quality of bitches to pair with a Top Stud to produce consistent litters time after time.”
Improper Use of Finances
Improper use of finances is a large factor that contributes to kennel failure. When it comes to finances you must apply basic business practices, incorrect spending can put a strain on any kennel or business. You must take the time to not only research general breeding practices but also invest time in planning a proper business model, calculating risk and choose to act appropriately.
Never think you can buy a kennel and become an overnight success by reading a couple articles online and thinking that is all that’s required to be successful. With financial stress and inexperience you’ll see improper evaluations on breedings and stud fees. People need to understand you need to properly establish yourself before expecting a large return.
Lack of Advertising/Promotion
You NEED TO ADVERTISE.
Invest in your program, and don’t be cheap either.
Again this is probably the biggest key that so many breeders are missing so I will repeat it again:
You NEED TO ADVERTISE!
You need to advertise & promote your Stud & Breedings outside of just your Facebook friends if you want to get your Stud booked and top dollar for your breedings.
It doesn’t matter if you have the baddest dog on the planet if no one gets to see it. Every successful business markets their product. With the rise of social media you can reach several hundred thousand people overnight. Our average weekly reach is just over million people.
You can Advertise in a magazine, have a professional HD Video created, promote on Facebook, Google +, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest.. the possibilities are endless. You’ll need a following if you expect to sell your pups at a decent price. We can help with building your following, no one does it better thanBULLY KING Magazine.
How often do you see posts of blood from a female in heat followed by “Looking For Stud?” then deciding from a thread full of posts from thirsty Stud owners and then taking the cheapest offer. Nothing says “I have no Vision for my program” better than a last minute post while a female is in heat just starting the search for a Stud.
Thirsty posts from hundreds of Stud owners on the thread isn’t a good look for your Stud either. Without knowing anything about the female, it gives the appearance that the Stud owner would breed to anything for a dollar. Any legitimate breeder with a Top Stud won’t auction their Stud off cheap because they don’t want to devalue their line to make a couple bucks.
You need Contracts for EVERYTHING. Everyone is on the same page until money starts to come in, and money makes people act funny. If you don’t have Contracts in place for Stud Service, Co-Owns, Puppies For Sale etc.. You are setting yourself up for failure.
The bully world is full of drama. As your kennel progresses people will talk down about you and your program. You’ll hear several people bitch online that your stock isn’t good enough, and that anyone who is serious should spend more on foundation dogs for their program.
On the flip side of the coin- if you spend money and invest in quality dogs other breeders will say “anyone can buy a top dog” and boast online their dogs are “produced, not bought” If you’re on the right track others will get jealous, and jealousy breeds envy.
Avoid "drama dog groups on Facebook like the plague: you will get sucked in. If all the group does is hate on others dogs and post "user submitted posts" as a crutch to call out people.. you'll get nothing out of the group. Associate yourself with the winners. Anyone who's successful in this, doesn't have the time to gossip or talk about other people's dogs.
Remember this quote “people want to see you do well, but never better than them.” In the bully world, most won’t even want you to do well.
No one ever became a breeder without starting with a dog or dogs that they didn’t produce, and anyone that views you as a threat will bitch and complain.. especially if you’re selling pups at higher prices than them. You can’t please everyone, block it out.. it’s just noise. Follow your vision.
If you argue and use foul language and go back and forth with other breeders slinging insults it reflects poorly on you and your kennel.
Be a Good Sport
If you’re competing in Confirmation Shows-eventually you will lose. Congratulate the winner and don’t bitch and whine or complain about Judges, the Registry etc.. It makes you look childish, and it will turn away customers. Whether the outcome was in your favor or not, thank the registry, the judges and your competitors.
Lastly I will discuss claims and drama that will poison and destroy even the most established kennel.
Never speak or repeat the words of another with out fully understanding the facts. If other breeders are talking about you, unless you’re doing something unethical or wrong.. it’s usually a good thing. Avoid getting sucked into online drama at all costs.
Getting caught up in drama online will put a strain on your time and the energy you should be putting into your program. Not only that, but even if you win the keyboard war, it usually gets heated and you’ll look like an asshole to your buyers and customers will avoid you like the plague.
Many of us have backgrounds, lives that weren’t as pristine or pampered as some of the owners of Show dogs in other breeds. The American Bully & Exotic have given many of us a new direction, an outlet for positivity, or a fresh start.
Now that you’re a business owner, act with professionalism.
Hopefully we’ve highlighted the leading causes of kennel failure and shed some light on some of the growing problems within our community.
• Everything You Need To Know About The American Bully • History Of The American Pit Bull Terrier & The Evolution Of The American Bully • History Of The Razors Edge Bloodline • Notorious Juan Gotty & Gottiline • The Legend Of Lowjack Remy Martin & Remyline • History Of Daxline • History Of The Tri Colored Pit Bull & American Bully • Caring For Your American Bully • The Importance Of Socialization • 5 Star Rated Dog Foods • Best Muscle Building Exercises • Preventing Heat Stroke • How much Does An American Bully Cost • Finding A Reputable Dog Breeder • So.. You Want To Become A Breeder? • How Stud Service Works • Ovulation & Progesterone Testing • Artificial Insemination (AI’s) • Dog Pregnancy: By The Week • Why Do Most Kennels Fail? • What’s Your Bully Worth? Determining The Value Of Your Stock • Linebreeding, Inbreeding, Outcrossing, Backbreeding & More • Parvo: What You Need To Know • Daxline & Exotics: Why Are Dogs Dying Young? • The Exotic Bully
Bonus Chapters: • 1st Annual BULLY KING Magazine People’s Choice Award Winners • How The American Bully Saved My Life • The Story Of Champion SMP’s Lucky Luciano • Muscletone Bullys’ Bashar Daoud On Creating The Muscletone Bloodline • Important Terms & More!
The Most Common Argument Online: “The American Bully is Not a real Pit Bull”
No kidding! One look, and you should be able to tell the difference between an American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the much bulkier American Bully. If not, we’ll help you there.
The American Bully is the fastest growing breed in terms of popularity. Everyone seems to want to have their own bully these days. But, there is a ton of confusion as to what an American bully is..
Is it a pit bull? Is it a bulldog? Are they athletic? Are they aggressive? You’ve heard the term “exotic”, “micro”, shorty bull, “XL”, “XXL” and you’re thinking to yourself what does that even mean!?
American Bullies are thick, beautiful, impressive muscular dogs with a great disposition towards other dogs, people and children. When bred correctly, they are athletic and can really move. Obviously not in the same way a 45lb American Pit Bull Terrier can.. They carry a lot more muscle, and some of the gameness has been bred out. Which makes them perfect family companions.
So.. The American Bullies that you’ve seen on line have caught your eye, but there’s so many different types and names being thrown around, you have no clue where to start and you’re afraid to ask. That’s ok, we’re here to help.
Understand the History
The American Bully breed was created around 1990 and gained recognition and establishment in 2004 with the inception of the ABKC Registry. The United Kennel Club or UKC recognized the American Bully breed in 2013. There are other registries, but for the purposes of this article we will mention the main two- which are the ABKC and UKC.
According to the ABKC-The American Bully breed has been selectively bred to give America’s breed, the American Pit Bull Terrier, a new direction and outlet. Like with the American Staffordshire Terrier (which is also an offshoot of the American Pit Bull Terrier) all of the positive characteristics of the breed’s ancestry were kept.
These Include loyalty, stability with humans and children, along with their physical attributes. Traits of dog and human aggression have been bred out, as they have no future purpose for that trait (outside of hunting & sport)
According to the UKC- The American Bully breed was subtly influenced by the infusion of several other breeds, which include the American Bulldog, English Bulldog and Olde English Bulldogge.
What differentiates this breed from the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier, is it’s physical appearance. The American Bully carries much heavier bone structure and a “bullier” build. A reinvented breed was formed with the purpose of being the ultimate companion breed, and this breed is the “American Bully.”
The American Bully is a companion breed exhibiting confidence, a zest for life, along with an exuberant will to please and companionship with their family. This making the American Bully an excellent family companion.
Despite the American Bully’s fierce and powerful appearance their demeanor is gentle and great with kids. They are friendly with strangers, other dogs, and other animals. Human or dog aggression, extreme shyness or viciousness is very uncharacteristic of the American Bully and is highly undesirable.
It is important to note the ABKC got rid of the extreme class. So there are currently 4 Classes
This is an amendment to the basic standard which a Pocket Bully is determined by its adult height. Males under 17″ and no less than 14″ at the withers. Females under 16″ and no less than 13″ at the withers.
The American Bully should give the impression of great strength for it’s size. It is a compact and medium/large size dog with a muscular body and blocky head. The American Bully should have the appearance of heavy bone structure with a bulky build and look.
Males 17 inches – 20 inches (43 cm – 51 cm) at the withers. Females 16 inches – 19 inches (40 cm – 48 cm) at the withers. Important to note that the Standard American Bully dogs are not to be penalized for exhibiting heavily muscled, massive, bulky body type.
This is an amendment to the basic standard. A Classic Bully variety is simply an American Bully dog having lighter body frames (lighter bone) and less overall body mass (less substance) than the Standard American Bully. Aside from this difference, the Classic Bully variety follows the same standard as the Standard American Bully.
Males 17 inches – 20 inches (43 cm – 51 cm) at the withers. Females 16 inches – 19 inches (40 cm – 48 cm) at the withers.
This is an amendment to the basic standard, determined by it’s adult height. Males over 20"-23" at the withers. Females over 19"-22" at the withers. It is important to note that the XL Bully variety is simply taller than the Standard American Bully. XL dogs share the same build, body type and breed type as the Standard American Bully.
This isn’t a real classification of American Bully. If a dog reaches the height and size of an XL, that’s it’s class. Please stop using this term.
The American Bully in itself is a faily new breed — barely 25 years in the making and steming off from the bullier type American Pitbull Terriers, American Staffordshires and various types of bulldogs. The American Bully has a bullier, shorter, more compact, dense body than your average pit bull.
The exotic bully however, is a relatively new term for the somewhat “overdone” type of American Bullies. These American Bullies tend to favor more of the “Bull” side of the Pit Bull, often being mixed with smaller bulldogs. They often have exaggerated features and a plethora of issues.
It is our hope that this article helps to give some insight into this incredible breed. For More News, Articles & Features & Photos on the Best American Bullies visit ourblogor stop by ourwebsite!
Issue No.12 On Sale Now! Release Date: July 25th 2018 Official BULLY KING Mascot Double L’s MYE-STRO One of the Baddest Bulls on the Planet DOUBLE L’S MYE-STRO RISE OF THE AMERICAN BULLY | AUSTRALIA Inside Issue #12: • Double L’s MYE-STRO is Creating a Legacy • American Bully Down Under: Interest in the […]
“It was Spring in West Texas and hot as hell.. and I was sweating like a whore in Church. I was leaving the Sonic drive thru as part of my daily routine. Order Coca Cola Route 44, drive to the infamous Doc’s Liquor at the “Strip” in Lubbock for drive through whiskey service. Order bottle of Canadian Whiskey- Rich & Rare (R&R). Although there wasn’t anything “rich” or “rare” about it. But then again, it was only $7.99 and will work as advertised.
While driving, pour out half of the Route 44, fill up the other half with whiskey. I now look like your average Texas Tech student enjoying a soft drink after school. Except I didn’t go to school, and would be fully loaded in an hour. I drive back to the dorms, ironically Murdough Hall room 420. Finishing the bottle, my girlfriend at the time mentions her friend has puppies. I hadn’t showed up for a class in nearly 2 weeks, had warrants out for my arrest after running over a Camaro monster truck style and literally crushing it in my jacked up Dodge Ram. (After running up onto the windshield, I threw the stick shift into reverse, got out and tried and put the bumper back on. I was told I set it on the hood, then parked next to it.) Not the brightest idea. Yes, I thought, “I should get a puppy.”
So I get a puppy and name him Tyson. Although Holyfield would have been more fitting (he was missing a piece of his ear where one of his litter mates bit it off.) Tyson was one of a kind. This dog was a trip. The smartest damn dog I’ve ever had.. after a few months he would wait at the door and we’d open it for him when he had to use the restroom. He would walk to the Men’s restroom down the hall, hike his leg and pee by the urinal or poop in one of the stalls and come back to our room. I would sneak him down in a backpack to use the restroom twice a day, but if he had to go in between that’s what he did. I loved this dog. I brought him everywhere with me. Including class.. Well the one I showed up to (public speaking) Tyson became my best friend. Like any good friend hiding someone from the police, he didn’t make a sound as we hid together under the bed when the cops came looking for me.
We took road trips together, and he tagged along for Spring Break. I was stopping in to see my parents before we headed to South Padre Island for the break. Now I don’t condone giving animals anything unhealthy, but this dog loved alcohol. I blame his father. At parties Tyson would tip over girl’s drinks at parties and lap it up, or knock over beer cups/cans and drink that up too. The Texas Tech students loved him, he was way more popular than me.. and he loved the attention. You can’t make this stuff up. He would even sit upright in a chair while we played cards and drank. We even dealt him cards, and he would wait until someone wasn’t looking and knock over their drink and drink it all, then return to his seat for the game. He would even turn his head to focus on whoever was talking.
Tyson would escape through my window when he had to use the restroom or wanted to get out. He would go to a neighbor’s party while I was passed out, and then return home through the window. The only reason I found out is because people would tell me the next day. I caught him at a party more than once drinking from a keg while people counted. He loved beer and vodka. You can’t make this stuff up, you can ask my roommates. Whenever we couldn’t find him he’d have let himself out and we would have to drive up and down the street and look for a party. Of course’d be there, and he’d obviously be drinking. You could always hear the cheering. Everyone knew him.
Tyson and I fished together and he went with me everywhere. On top of his drinking, he once attacked a wild boar, later a horse (he was kicked in the head and never tried that again.) He got us out of multiple DUI’s by lunging at a police officer. He pulled me out of a lake when I could have drowned.. He was always by my side, and it was was the loyalty that I fell in love with. I was 20 years old and unfit to own a dog, but I loved this dog to death. I kept an eye on his drinking and was careful not to leave cups or anything he could tip over to drink out in the open. I may have been drinking a bottle of whiskey a day, but this dog had a problem. He has a serious issue with alcohol.
Years later, I had to find a home for him, and he retired out on a beautiful lake with a great family. He lived a wild life with me, and we had a blast together. I didn’t have a place to keep him anymore and was forced to find him a more responsible owner. I was heartbroken, I’ll never forget it. I was in the Harris County Jail, getting evicted and all I cared about was Tyson. He was my best friend, one of my only real friends left after alcohol and the party favors kept me isolated to pretty much just us two. The fact that I failed him broke my heart. I’ll never forget that. Never had I loved anything outside of my family as much as I loved that dog. It hit me hard, as I sat in that jail cell staring at the ceiling. I was stuck in jail for another DWI (my most recent accomplishment was 2 in 10 days) So I wasn’t getting out for a few months.
I read shitty books, played Domino’s to pass the time, and entertained fake conversations about what we were going to do when we got out. But I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that I failed him. I had to accept the fact that I was an irresponsible owner and it was selfish for me to continue to to keep him when I couldn’t properly care for him. Now, I’d love to tell you that I had an epiphany and came to the conclusion on my own to do the right thing, but my mom found him a home for him. Christmas morning in Harris County Jail sucks. I was heartbroken, but realized years later it was the right thing to do. I decided then and there that I’d never be an irresponsible owner again. He deserved more than that. As far as my drinking went, everyone just needed to mind their own damned business.
Fast forward to 2011, I was now living in Florida, and finally ready for another dog. I have always loved dogs, and I missed the connection that I had with them. Especially the American Pit Bull Terrier breed. Years later falling in love with the American Bully. So I got a dog and named him Tank. Tank was an awesome dog and quickly became my best bud. Little did I know that I was about to get hit with the most devastating news of my life. They say bad things come in threes. There was a fire at my place, and again I lost everything. Including Tank who had passed from carbon monoxide poisoning. I didn’t care about the stuff, I was devastated to lose my dog. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
In that same year I would lose my grandfather who was a hero of mine, and then received the worst news of my life. I’ll never forget the call. My brother, who was my best friend in the entire world had passed. He was only 25 years old when he died. I was crushed with grief, and guilt about what I could have done differently and I returned to my old trust worthy friend. The bottle. Whiskey, and his asshole brother Xanax who always seemed to invite himself along.
But then again.. they were the only ones who was there for me in the good times, and the bad. The only ones who knew how to take my pain away, to make me feel normal. They made it possible to breathe, to shut off the noise in my head. They told me they wouldn’t get me in trouble this time, that I needed them. And of course I bought it. And they obviously they lied, again. I was arrested for assaulting a police officer. I was familiar with the routine. Give up the only things that worked for me, the only solution I had that took my pain away.. and report to piss in a cup, or take the jail time.
I am sharing this experience because during this time, with the alcohol and Xanax and the depression that sat in after losing my brother, after constantly screwing up.. There was a time that I didn’t know if I wanted to stick around any longer. What was the point? Before this, I always thought that depression was for the weak.
Those that didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to man up.. to get over it. I understood then that it was real, and more powerful than I ever could have imagined. I’ve seen depression, mental illness, and drugs take out some of the strongest men and women alive. Marines, Firefighters, UFC fighters, even some of the toughest in Prison.
It is real, and when you’re in it, and can’t see out of it, it is absolutely hopeless. I knew my mom couldn’t bear to lose another son.I write this not as a melodramatic story on what I went through, I am writing this for anyone going through the same. I was hopeless. 12 different times, in 2 different states, and once in Mexico.. I traded my freedom for a jumpsuit and some shitty slippers.
A blanket that wasn’t washed and a wrestling mat for a bed. Just know this.. there is a way out. You may not be able to see it now, but you will in time. When you come out of it, it’s like seeing in color for the first time. This breed, the American Bully has been a life saver for me. When I got my next dog Tyson II (Named in honor of the 1st Tyson) I started to have purpose again. This breed has this incredible ability to absorb negative emotions.
They’ll make you laugh, they’ll remind you that life is beautiful.
No matter what you’ve gone through, what you’ve done, or where you’re at.. Everyone deserves a second chance.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a reminder of that, the American Bully shares the same oppressed history. They have been mistreated, abused, starved, banned, labeled an outcast, a misfit. They been banned from cities and even countries.
They are deemed “unfit” for some societies. I think that’s why so many of us can relate to them. They’re misunderstood, judged and stereotyped based on what a few of them, have done or look like..
This breed is incredible. Despite everything that has been done to them, they remain loyal, loving and eager to please. Despite their tough appearance they are loving, have great personalities and can be great with children.
My days now are very different than they were 10 years ago. The highs are not as high, but the lows are nowhere near as low. I put down the bottle and everything that goes with it over 3 years ago. I have a beautiful fiancee and family that I love. I am content. I am not rich, I don’t own a fancy house or have a collection of cars. But I am happy. That may not impress most people, but with my history.. it impresses the hell out of me.
This breed has given me the opportunity to travel and go to places and meet people that I never would have imagined. It has given me a platform to reach others who are struggling, and don’t show it. It has helped kids with special needs, helped rehabilitate veterans with PTSD, helped those with depression, mental illness and addiction on the path to recovery.. and even brought families back together.
‘The American Bully, the American Pit Bull Terrier & all of the bully breeds have given so many a second chance that was never given to them. Stories like these show why both of these breeds are incredible, and these are the stories you won’t see on the news.”
“We’re trying to change that, to show all of bully breeds in their true light, not what the media would have you believe.”