This Stray Puppy Was So Small They Thought She Was a Rat

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You’d never know it to look at her, but when Pumpkin the pit bull first appeared in the backyard of a Washington, DC family, she was so small, the family thought she was a rat.

The little boy was so scared, in fact, that he jumped up on the fence!

Not a Rat at All

Source: Pumpkin The Petworth Pit Bull

Imagine their surprise when looking closer, they found that it wasn’t a rat at all, but a very malnourished puppy.

The family knew they couldn’t keep the puppy, so they immediately set about trying to find her a home. They sent out texts and tweets. One of the people who received the text was Alicia Mathis. One look and she knew the puppy would be hers.

Source: Pumpkin the Petworth Pit Bull

“When we got there, and we both saw her, we were shocked at how small she was,” Mathis told The Dodo. “I was expecting a normal-ish size puppy, but she was literally the size of a rat. She just buried herself into me with all her might, and I knew she was never going to the shelter and she would always be by my side as long as she lived.”

A Difficult Beginning

Pumpkin was very sick. She was malnourished, had parasites, and only weighed 3.9 pounds. The vet told Mathis and her husband that if Pumpkin hadn’t been found exactly when she had been, she probably wouldn’t have lasted another day. Mathis still wasn’t sure she would survive long, but she was determined to give the puppy a home for as long as she could.

“She was just this tiny helpless creature who had been abandoned and left to die in a freezing cold alley, and I didn’t want her to feel fear or loneliness ever again,” Mathis said.

A Speedy Recovery

Source: Pumpkin the Petworth Pit Bull

It took about six weeks for little Pumpkin to recover fully. But after that, she was once again a happy, healthy puppy.  And she was mischievous! Her big sister Laila was very patient with her, though, and the two became fast friends.

Source: Pumpkin the Petworth Pit Bull

Because she started out her life so malnourished, Pumpkin will always be small. But she still runs with the big dogs.

Source: Pumpkin the Petworth Pit Bull

A Social Media Star

As a result of knowing Pumpkin, Mathis has become an advocate for pit bulls.

Source: Pumpkin the Petworth Pit Bull

“I think having Pumpkin has inspired me to do more to advocate for animal welfare, especially the welfare of pit bulls who are widely misunderstood and disproportionately treated,” Mathis told The Dodo. “It’s always challenging having a puppy. They require a ton of patience and energy, and I wish more people were aware of that so that so many adolescent dogs didn’t end up abandoned, abused and in shelters.”

You can follow Pumpkin’s adventures on Instagram, at Pumpkin The Petworth Pitbull.

How You Can Help

Source: Pumpkin the Petworth Pit Bull

Want to help pit bulls like Pumpkin? Here’s how.

First, fight against breed specific legislation. Breed specific laws ban specific breeds of dogs that some people think are dangerous. As a result, a lot of dogs end up in shelters or being destroyed unnecessarily. If pit bulls or other breeds are banned in your area, write to your lawmakers to encourage them to replace anti-breed legislation with laws that deal with aggressive and dangerous dogs instead.

Also, you can volunteer with a pit bull rescue, either working with dogs or to educate the public.

With your help, more pit bulls can have a happy ending like Pumpkin — even if they get off to a rough start in life.


Featured Image is CC0 by FM Creative, via Pixabay.

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Jess Faraday

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