In the late 1980s the american pitbull terrier was portreyed as a killer, biter, an absolute monster by the media. But Weela, a courageous pitbull from Imperial Beach, has shook the world with her courage and determination. In a 3 month period, this pitbull saved 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses and one cat from the flooding in Southern California.
It all started in January 1993, when heavy rains caused a dam to break miles upstream on the Tijuana River. Weela and two friends of her owners, Lori and Daniel Watkins, worked for six hours, battling strong currents, floating debris and heavy rains to reach a rach and rescue 12 dogs.
„She was constantly willing to put herself in dangerous situations,” says Lori Watkins, referring to Weela’s ability to cope with challenges such as quicksand, drop-offs and mud bogs. “She always took the lead except to circle back if someone needed help.”
Over 30 days, the 65-poud Weela crossed the flooded river to bring food to 17 dogs with puppies and one cat all stranded on an island. In the mid February the animals were eventually evacuated.
In the same period, Weela also led a rescue team and saved 13 horses stranded on a large manure pile completely surrounded by flood waters. After that she managed to save 30 people. They were attempting to cross the fast moving waters, but Weela refused to allow them to cross at that point where the waters ran deep and fast. Barking and running back and forth, she led them to a shallower crossing upstream where they safely crossed.
The American pitbull terrier is one of the original 15 breeds recognized by the United Kennel Club of Kalamazoo, Mich., founded in 1898. The organization’s founder, C.Z. Bennett, registered his pitbull, Bennett’s Ring, and assigned it UKC No. 1.
“This is one of the most people-oriented breeds I have ever seen,” says Fred Miller, UKC president. “It’s very intelligent, wonderful around children and is used for rescue and therapy work.”
Credit: 1994 Seattle Times Company