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Remembering Lola

When the government of Ontario announced that it was going to ban the Staffordshire Bull Terrier - the nanny dog - I only had to look down into the eyes of Lola to know that this was something I had to fight, no matter how much of me would be consumed in the process.

Lola stayed with me by accident. One day I came home to find my young horse had a severed artery. In a state of panic I was trying to assess the damage when I noticed that Lola, who had come out to the paddock with me, was under the hoof of a not so friendly pony.

I immediately scooped up Lola and popped her over the fence. At the time I thought luck was against me, but now I think the opposite. You see Lola landed on the only large rock hidden in the tall grass along the fenceline. She came up yelping, and now I had two animals in distress; Ginseng with a severed leg artery and Lola with a minor fracture in her leg.

Both recovered 100%, but the injured leg meant that Lola was no longer heading off to a home in another province the following week. As it turned out she would stay with me for life.

Over the years Lola proved over and over just what it means to be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

She earned her name "nVision's Lolapolooza" from my husband because her tongue just went 'lo-la-lo-lo-la" ... when she met any new person! She was good with other dogs, but outside of people her preference was to spend time with her mother (my first Stafford) "Pinga".

Lola also had all the cute staffy habits. She snored - a lot. She wiggled. When she lay on her side her top leg jutted straight out rather than touching the ground. And she would often sit frog-legged, preferrably in a sunny spot in the house.

When you stop and ask yourself - 'if I could have the perfect dog - regardless of breed - what would he or she be like?' - I am sure that Lola would have fit the bill. She didn't really need a leash because why would she ever want to go more than 20 feet from her beloved people? And friendliness just isn't a strong enough word for her enjoyment of all the people that came into her life.

Lola with her grandson "Dr. Dre"

To be honest Lola was friendly to the point of great aggrevation. There was no such thing as too much attention in this dog's vocabulary! If you were to starve this dog and then present her the option of eating or being petted by a child I have no doubt that the child would win every time. I have often thought that she was too good for us humans, because it was virtually impossible to satisfy Lola's need for human love and companionship.

Lola gave me the strength to mount a battle against the Ontario government's stupid breed specific legislation. But half way through our fight against breed specific legislation Lola gave up her own battle with cancer.

Lola at the Sportsman Show in March 2005. In hindsight this was our first indication Lola was sick, because after four hours of absorbing attention from visitors to our booth Lola got tired ... something that had never happened before.

Typical for a Stafford there were almost no signs of illness. In late April 2005 friends came to our house to visit and Lola spent the whole time jumping from lap to lap, wagging her tail and kissing each person in turn. This was her nirvana.

Within two weeks her health took a radical change. It turns out Lola had been quite ill for some time.  She had advanced kidney cancer.

We did what we could and our vet could not have been more supportive. Lola was put on an IV flush to try to restart her failing kidneys, but after 4 days the blood work showed that things had gotten much worse instead of better. We had passed the point of recovery and Lola was sent home to spend her last few days with us.

Even then, with barely the strength to eat or move around the house, she would gently wag her tail as we held her. When she hid in her kennel and refused to come out - even to me - she was telling me that her time had come. It was time for me to let her go.

We have shared our lives with many wonderful Staffords over the last 12 years. Some have stayed on with us while others have gone to share their lives with wonderful families in Ontario, other provinces and the US. But no matter what happens there will only ever be one Lola.

She was a dog worth fighting for. She is a dog I will never forget. And if I ever get the chance to share my life with another dog like her I would consider myself blessed.

- Julie King, nVision Staffords Reg'd.

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