Adopted Pit Bull Tackles Her Fears and Challenges Stereotypes

With the love of her family, Frankie has learned to soar!

Samantha + Frankie

Rescued from the country’s largest dog fighting bust, Frankie now inspires her family to overcome their fears and challenge stereotypes!

"Frankie opened my eyes to what love really was, and what I needed in a companion."

Pitt bull

Meet Frankie the Flying Staffy! She flies on a private plane named after her, goes tubing at the lake, has a swimming pool she calls her own, and vacations at the beach at least four times a year. But that wasn’t always the case.

Frankie’s mom was rescued from the Missouri 500, the largest dog fighting bust in the country’s history. She was pregnant at the time, and Frankie was the runt of the litter. If Frankie’s mom hadn’t been rescued, Frankie’s fate would have been sealed. While I rescued her nine years ago, she’s saved me as much (or more) than I saved her. Little did I know when I adopted her she would become my hero. I was stuck in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. When an argument would commence, Frankie would stick by my side, my best friend and protector. After, she would shower me in kisses and love. It’s like she knew what I needed the most and gave me the courage to leave (and take her with me).

Pitt bull with family

Frankie opened my eyes to what love really was, and what I needed in a companion. Fast forward to 2013, when I met my now-husband: Frankie had become timid with men due to our past. But when she first met my husband, she fell head over heels for him just as I did. She instantly trusted him, something she hadn’t been accustomed to. From there, I knew he was the one!

Pitt bull with family

Frankie has inspired and taught my 6-year-old stepdaughters not be afraid of the unknown. See, Frankie the Flying Staffy gets her name because she fearlessly travels across the country each week in a propeller plane, staring out the window, eagerly awaiting the next destination. Her name is a testament to more than just flying; it’s a metaphor for tackling fears and challenging stereotypes. Because what kind of dog flies in propeller planes without fear? This one! And that’s the lesson Frankie shares with her two human sisters: if she can fly without fear, surely you humans can learn to press through things that scare you, do the extraordinary, and challenge stereotypes at every turn.

Pitt bull with family

Embracing Frankie’s lessons, my stepdaughters have learned to ignore stereotypes—whether the gross overgeneralization of bully breeds or the divisions that plague this country today. Who better to challenge stereotypes than a bully breed, the most stereotyped dog breed there is?

Dogs don’t fly. Wrong, this one does! Bully breeds are dangerous. Wrong, this one cuddles like a baby! From the ever-certain destiny of a bait dog to a regular jetsetter in a private plane, Frankie has defied everything a bully breed is thought to be. She is a lesson in fighting stereotypes because if a Staffy can fly, anything is possible!

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Samantha won Mutts-n-Stuff St. Louis in Missouri a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

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