Lucky Number 17

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 11:30am
Tan and white pit bull running on grass

In June 2012, the ASPCA rescued dozens of dogs from a Bronx dog fighting ring. Andrea K. adopted one of these special dogs, named 17, and shared the following story with us:

In May 2012, I lost my Pit Bull of 11 years, Mojo Jojo, to osteosarcoma. My heart was broken. I knew I would adopt another Pit Bull but wasn't quite ready yet. I decided to foster a puppy named 17.  He fit in really well, and loves his housemates—we have three Staffordshire Bull Terriers named Charlie, Rumble and Page, and two adopted cats named Mush and Viggo. After about three weeks, we decided to officially adopt him.  

As a dog trainer, I felt it was important to socialize 17, taking him to new places, introducing him to people and dogs during his foster period. Walking in town was a challenge. If a bus or truck passed by, or if 17 heard a loud noise, he would try to get back to the house. Walking him with our confident, adult dogs Rumble and Charlie, as well as bringing food along, helped 17 learn to walk in town without fear. At first, 17 was also hesitant to use the stairs leading up to our home. After a few weeks of eating breakfast on the steps, he overcame his fear.

17 is an avid swimmer, which we discovered when we took him to the beach—I could hardly hold onto his leash when he saw the water. Wearing a life jacket, 17 will fetch a ball over and over in the ocean. He's also enjoying agility classes.  We also do a sport called lure coursing, which he took to right away. He has competed in Coursing Ability Tests and earned his first title in May.

A lot of people ask us why his name is 17.  When we first took him home, his paperwork said #17/Arthur, meaning 17 of the 47 dogs in the case. “17” stuck and it is perfect because people always ask about it, which gives us an opportunity to educate people that great dogs really can come from cases of cruelty and neglect.  No one forgets his name, either.  

We’d like to thank the ASPCA for the great work they do and the opportunity they give animals like 17 every day in their work.

Pit bull napping with cat

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Andrea, you are a great, heroic ambassador for abused and abandoned animals. I am so happy for 17. You have given him a new and beautiful life. I love the tender photo of 17 and sweet pussycat.
Thank you for sharing with us. This is a very important "happy tail" to recount. 17 is blessed to have you in his life.


Emma .. You spoke my mind .... Thanks for your heartfelt comment.


How absolutely wonderful!!


I have a golden retriever from a horrible home that was once a puppy mill in Missouri - she reacted alot like 17 when I got her - thanks for giving 17 a good home there needs to be more of these wonderful stories

Naila M Sanchez

Right on!! What a hero you are!! Thank you so much!! Bless you!

linda reis

I loved your story, and 17's. what a tribute to pitties.
i was hoping you could help us. we adopted a small dog last october, after losing our lifelong furbabies to old age. we lasted about a month and went to the local pound and brought home Ollie. he is a shid tsu mix as far as we can tell, and estimate him to be about 6 years old. His papers only told us of being 'confiscated' from a former home and they gave us no details. we have yet to make a breakthru with him. he has come a little ways to trusting us, ie: he will now follow me into a small room, closet or bathroom. he will at times lay next to me one the sofa...but he seems so far away most of the time. he is happy when i get home and greets me with some excitement, but i don't really feel bonded with him.
I crave a doggie kiss! do you have any suggestions or incite?


Hey, Linda! Great that you adopted a little shelter Tzu. I adopted a rescue Bichon, who had been a puppy mill survivor. Every night, I would pick him up and say, "Cuddle time!" I'd be sitting on the couch and just hold and pet and praise him for five minutes, then let him go. I made time for cuddle time every single night. The day that my Bichon came to me first, and put a paw into my lap to start Cuddle Time was the happiest day ever. Be patient, give him cuddles with lots of praise, so he begins to understand that being petted, touched and loved is a good thing. Start out with just a few minutes each night. Right now, he doesn't yet know how joyful it is to have a loving family who will pet him and snuggle. And you will get that doggie kiss! Best of Luck!!!

Naila M Sanchez

Please keep holding your little one... be loving and DON'T GIVE UP!! You sound like a wonderful person and thank you for adopting this dog. Pet him, love on him, stroke him, talk gently to him... give him good treats often.... just keep working on this. Thank you for adopting him.... please just give him the time he needs to trust you 100%. He WANTS to love you that is why he greets you enthusiastically!! You are his Hero!


Ditto to what Emma said, and yes, what a sweeeeeet pic with the kitty!!!!


I get so angry when someone says all pit bulls are mean. 17 was lucky to get a great family that loves him and cares for him. Dogs are one of Gods true blessings, they love us no matter what. I had lost my chocolate lab to kidney failure when she was 10yrs old, I had her from a pup and was just totally broken hearted and thought I'd never have another dog. About a week after that (I still couldn't stop crying) I got an email with the cutest little black lab mix she was 14 weeks old and along with her brother were scheduled to be euthanized in another week???? I was so horrified I made the trip and soon saw this timid little pup and that was it, she was coming home with me. Her brother was adopted too. We named her Avalon, and call her Avie. I'm not sure what she went through but she is afraid of fire, loud sounds and has separation anxiety. Avie is now 6 yrs old and everyone in town knows her. She loves to speak her mind and always has something to say. I wont ever understand why these "kill shelters" would put a baby down just because?