Sugar sweetens lives of those around her


What’s sweeter than sugar?

Susan Parker has been working with pit bulls since 1997, and has been training dogs at Dynamic Dogs in Conimicut since 2005. She’s been working with pit bulls for a long time, and frowns when she hears that people are afraid of them, or stereotype them as mean and aggressive dogs.

“People think their jaws lock, but no mammals’ jaws lock,” she said. “People think they’re aggressive towards people and children but that’s not the case. You have to judge each dog as an individual, not as a breed.”

Parker has taken her own advice, and judged Sugar, a 10-year-old female pit bull, to be one of the sweetest dogs she knows.

“She’s like a clown,” she said.

This Sunday, Sugar joined seven other pit bulls on a trip to a local senior center where they visited the patients. The dogs’ handlers sung Christmas carols and read stories while the pooches lounged around and brought smiles to the seniors’ faces.

Sugar rolled over, shook “paws” with the seniors and let people pet her beige and ivory coat.

“She’ll charm you and warm your heart,” said Parker.

But Sugar is different from the other therapy dogs she accompanied last week, because Sugar is up for adoption at the Warwick Animal Shelter. Parker said Sugar is the only homeless pit bull in Rhode Island that works as a therapy dog.

“Because she’s what we call an ‘elder bull’ people often look her over,” said Parker.

The combination of her age and her breed has not boded well for Sugar, who has been waiting for months to be adopted.

Parker said Sugar is a well-trained, loving dog. She’s so well trained that Parker and two volunteers, Larry and Karen Carpenter, brought her to the New England Pet Expo this summer, where she demonstrated her tricks and best behavior.

“She won the hearts of people,” said Parker.

Parker hopes that Sugar will find a loving home for the holidays.

If you’re interested in adopting sugar, call the Warwick Animal Shelter at 468-4377.


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