Mr.T Rocks NYC
Right after her father passed away, Manhattanite Julia Whalen felt she was ready to adopt a dog. Knowing that animals somehow always found their way to her, she wasn’t surprised when a friend volunteering at NYC’s Animal Care and Control mentioned nine-month-old pit bull Tristan. “He had been picked up wandering the streets in the Bronx,” recalls Julia. “He was thin and had been sick in the shelter, and was a little tentative at first. But I had no hesitation—I said yes immediately.”
Julia and the pup—later nicknamed Mr. T and handsomely donning gold chains for his photo—were inseparable from the get-go. Still, there was some work to be done. Though his former owner had housetrained him, Mr. T was a little too pushy and excited when he wanted something. “He was a nudge,” Julia remembers, “but we got him a trainer and it took only three hours to have him totally excel in all basic commands.”
Now this little brainiac, who constantly craves learning and socialization, has plenty of friends at the dog run and, with his great temperament, knows naturally how to turn the other cheek. “If another dog provokes him, he just walks away,” says Julia.
He also gets into the silly stuff. “He loves hide and seek and playing ‘sock bunny’—I can tease him with one of my old socks for hours,” Julia describes.
But Mr. T has also turned out to be a serious structure hound. “You can set your watch by his unwavering internal clock,” says Julia. “Up at 8:00 A.M. and out for the first walk. Afternoon romp at two, dinner at six and dog run from seven to eight. At 10:30 P.M., he comes over and gives me his paw—that means it’s time to go out once more.”
“He just makes me laugh!” says Julia. “He’s so smart, but also so goofy. When he gets really excited, he does what I call the ‘Snoopy dance!’ He has these big floppy lips and runs ridiculously fast in circles with his mouth open and his tongue hanging out.”