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Shelter Pets Bring Love, Joy And Happiness
Dave Terrill and his fur baby Roxie enjoy spending time together which may include an occasional road trip. Photo Contributed
kia and annabelle
Annabelle and her pup Kia were enjoying a relaxing moment together on their bed. Photo Contributed

The tale of two families that adopted pit bulls Roxie and Annabelle from the Oakdale Animal Shelter has a very happy ending. Both families report that the four-legged family members have been a great addition to their families and they have brought so much happiness and joy that fills their homes with love on a daily basis.

On a cold December day in 2018 a gray skinny pit bull arrived at the Oakdale Animal Shelter with many issues including an injured hind leg, old bite marks on her head and face with a severe case of starvation that made her ribs and backbone visible. While the 18-month-old pit bull was at the shelter, volunteers named her Annabelle and showered her with affection and care. She did not show any signs of aggression and got along with other pets as well as the humans she encountered. After being seen by the veterinarian, it was learned that Annabelle had two dislocated hips and a badly injured leg. With all her medical issues and the breed that is very hard to find homes for, the situation seemed bleak for Annabelle.

Shelter volunteer Mary Carpenter of Oakdale stepped in and decided to foster Annabelle until a permanent home was found. There seemed to be some interest from a woman out of state, however, that fell through with bad weather, transportation issues and a surprise revelation that Annabelle was pregnant. So, she stayed with Carpenter and ultimately gave birth to nine puppies.

Carpenter and her family took care of the puppies for six weeks and then the pups went to the Humane Society of Stanislaus County which fostered and prepared them for adoption. Once the puppies turned eight weeks Carpenter and several of her family members, along with Annabelle, attended a Stanislaus County adoption event to see the puppies one final time. Carpenter’s son decided to adopt one of Annabelle’s puppies which he named Kia.

While Carpenter was fostering Annabelle for several months she became attached to her. She added that the dog’s personality and affectionate nature was a welcome addition in both their lives. With this strong bond, Carpenter decided to keep Annabelle and give her the forever home she was seeking. Carpenter explained that she never imagined having a pit bull for a best friend due to their reputation, but the two of them really connected and it became Carpenter. “I am amazed at how friendly she is with everyone, that she socializes well with other dogs and is truly a delight to have around.”

Now at a healthy weight, Annabelle is truly enjoying her new life according to Carpenter and she is even able to go on daily walks with her new friend and no longer appears to have a disability. The veterinarian that originally saw her is extremely pleased with her progress and is surprised at how far she has come under Carpenter’s care.

Annabelle and her puppy Kia spend quite a bit of time together. They are both happy and healthy and such a pleasure to watch play, she said.

Another successful tale: In 2017 a couple from Montana, Dave and Dawn Terrill, fell in love with a precious fur baby that they saw on This pretty grey and white girl is a pit bull that was at the Oakdale Animal Shelter looking for a forever home. The only challenge at the time was the way in which they were going to transport her all the way from Oakdale to Montana. After three weeks of failed transport services, Dave decided to pack his bags and take a trip to California to pick up their new family member which they named Roxie. She was about a year old when she was picked up from the shelter and it was love at first sight for the dog and her new family.

“On this two-year adoption anniversary, we want to give our thanks for working so hard in helping us to adopt Roxie,” stated Dawn to Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance which helped facilitate the adoption. “Roxie is an absolute dream and we couldn’t love her more. She is the most loving, expressive and demonstrative dog we’ve ever been blessed with. She’s a typical pit bull in her clownish behavior, bringing us laughter every day.”

Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance Vice President Debi Scoles advised that they receive many inquiries from people all over the country but most of the time they do not follow through, possibly due to the transport issues.

“She’s typical in her happy pit bull zoomies,” added Dawn. “She likes to zoom-spin and we often call her spinner. She’s been a very easy girl to train, though we have to be careful not to hurt her feelings as she is humanly sensitive. There is no way around recognizing this girl as a real doll.”

Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance is a volunteer non-profit organization that helps homeless pets from Oakdale and Riverbank at the Oakdale Animal Shelter.

Petfinder is an online database of animals that need homes. With a directory of nearly 14,000 animal shelters and adoption organizations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico they have operated online for 20 years and have helped millions of pets get adopted.