The dog that was once at risk of being euthanized, Stitch, is breaking records at flyball competitions.
Stitch was about to be euthanized at a dog shelter in December 2017. Thankfully, Mille Sawyer took Stitch in as a foster mother. And two days before Christmas, Stitch was adopted by his current owner, Kaitlyn Johnson. Johnson saw the potential in Stitch, an American Staffordshire Terrier mix, and started teaching her how to compete in flyball. Stitch was obviously a natural, completing courses in record times and placing at competitions, reported Kiro 7 News. Johnson remembers when Stitch set a record for the Staffordshire class, clocking in at a record-breaking 4.117 seconds.
“I turn around and my whole team at that point is screaming… Every time I set a goal for [Stitch] she just leaps over it.”
For Stitch, finding a home with Johnson was a huge blessing. Stitch had been turned down by three families before finding Johnson. And if it weren’t for Habitat for Paws and her foster mom Sawyer, Stitch would have been euthanized, detailed WFAA. It appears that families turned Stitch down because of her breed, but this story shows that dogs shouldn’t be judged harshly based on their breed only.
The official organization that oversees the flyball competition is called the North American Flyball Association, also known as NAFA. The sport originated in the late 1960s, but the first competition didn’t take place until 1983.
The sport requires dogs to run through a 51-foot-long course in teams. There are two teams, with four dogs per team. The dogs have to work together and with perfect timing to complete the course, which includes triggering a flyball box and retrieving the ball. Today, there are around 300 competitions that take place annually all across the United States.
Although Stitch found her happy ending, if not for organizations like Habitat for Paws, dogs like Stitch are sometimes euthanized even though they are deserving of a happy life. In particular, Habitat for Paws based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area works to keep animals out of city shelters and finding forever homes for dogs and cats. All of the animals are microchipped, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered before they go to their new homes.
In recent years, many shelters have been working to change their euthanization policies. In nearby Houston, for example, the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care have dramatically lowered the euthanization rate. At one point, about half of the animals that went to the shelter were euthanized. In 2017, the number had been reduced to about ten percent, detailed the Houston Chronicle.
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