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Hello, I joined this forum about a month ago, as I adopted a rescue, likely a APBT Boxer mix a few months ago, and wanted to continue learning about the breeds that she is. I thought I had a pretty basic understanding of pitbull, but from the forum, I've become concerned.
I've worked with dogs for three years now, at boarding facilities and a Dog Daycare. These jobs are what made me fall in love with Bully Breeds, especially APBTs and American Staffordshire Terriers. I met and got to know thousands of dogs over the years, and found these breeds to be the most friendly, loving, intelligent, and personable dogs, by far.
I've never been concerned by all the idiots who go around spouting nonsense about how 'you never know when a pitbull will snap!' Etc etc. This forum has been scaring me however, because it seems like many lovers of the Breed with a lot of experience seem to think pitbull are a dangerous unpredictable breed.

Am I way off here? Am I just misjudging comments meant to encourage caution? I'm just a bit confused and want to do right by my dog.
 

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They aren't unpredictable. You just need to predict and expect dog aggression, as it's a common trait and most bull breeds will display some level of it at some point.

It's not dangerous if you manage your dog appropriately. I have no problem keeping my DA dog away from other dogs and animals.

One thing to remember is that dog aggression and human aggression are completely different. DA is expected, it's in the breed standard. HA is not acceptable.
 

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They aren't unpredictable. You just need to predict and expect dog aggression, as it's a common trait and most bull breeds will display some level of it at some point.

It's not dangerous if you manage your dog appropriately. I have no problem keeping my DA dog away from other dogs and animals.

One thing to remember is that dog aggression and human aggression are completely different. DA is expected, it's in the breed standard. HA is not acceptable.
:goodpost:

It's simply a characteristic of the breed and while some APBTs don't show it, most do. It doesn't make them unpredictable or dangerous, it's just a common trait in most bulldog breeds and as a responsible owner, you should be prepared to deal with it.
 

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Hello, I joined this forum about a month ago, as I adopted a rescue, likely a APBT Boxer mix a few months ago, and wanted to continue learning about the breeds that she is. I thought I had a pretty basic understanding of pitbull, but from the forum, I've become concerned.
I've worked with dogs for three years now, at boarding facilities and a Dog Daycare. These jobs are what made me fall in love with Bully Breeds, especially APBTs and American Staffordshire Terriers. I met and got to know thousands of dogs over the years, and found these breeds to be the most friendly, loving, intelligent, and personable dogs, by far.
I've never been concerned by all the idiots who go around spouting nonsense about how 'you never know when a pitbull will snap!' Etc etc. This forum has been scaring me however, because it seems like many lovers of the Breed with a lot of experience seem to think pitbull are a dangerous unpredictable breed.

Am I way off here? Am I just misjudging comments meant to encourage caution? I'm just a bit confused and want to do right by my dog.
"You never know when a pitbull is going to snap."
This saying is very common, for those who have no knowledge of the American (pit) Bull Terrier.
They either heard it from the media, or from those who did learn it from the media.

First of all, the term "pitbull" is a generic term, often applied to dogs who are mutts.
Since you work in a doggy daycare, you have not had to deal with a traditional ApBT, the only real one.
The "pitbulls" you have worked with, or mixes, are not the same dogs experienced owners of real ApBT's have.
The ones you deal with that are friendly and good with other dogs are from watered down and scatterbred bloodlines. Unknown.

For example, my girl won first place last year in her class at the Old Family Red Nose Registry National Show.
Not a single dog there would be safe around another dog.
Here are pics posted last year, on this forum. http://www.gopitbull.com/pictures/166578-ofrnr-national-dog-show-2.html

These dogs do not bark and growl. They are either quiet or screaming, a high pitch crying sound, known as a game-cry. But they want to get at other dogs.
When they make the sound it means they are going crazy, wanting to get another dog....

However, when you read of the attacks on the news, they happen most in low-income areas, and the dogs are from back yard breeders.
True ApBT's are not pack dogs. While some of my own can be together, in my presence, it has to be out of sight of other dogs, or they will go at each other, from the excitement.

When I read of attacks on humans by a "pack of pitbulls" I know already they are mutts.

Just be safe....if your dog is raised around another and is fine, just never leave them alone.
Learn to use a break stick. I have had a couple accidents where mine got a small dog, but I stopped the attack in seconds, so only had some punctures.
My vet was amazed at how I prevented so much damage, so I taught her how I did it.

HOWEVER, I also warned her of one thing.... If the dog is a "pit mix", the owner risks being bitten.
The true ApBT will not bite one separating it, unless it is human aggressive.
Most other breeds will lose their mind and bite anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all, these responses make a lot of sense. I love my girl, and I just want to do right by her, and it some comments on here scared me, but now it makes much more sense.
Goemon- You are absolutely right, I don't think I have ever met a pure-bred APBT, except for BYB pups who have questionable lineage. This makes a lot of sense, because I know many dogs listed as APBT that do great in daycare, but most of them are just Pit type rescues. I've only met a few dogs who were even listed as purebred Pit bulls, and not a single one had papers or came from what sounded like a decent breeder.
This information is very helpful, and I appreciate you all taking the time to answer.
I would like to still be a part of this forum, in order to help understand all the breeds that are part of my girl, if that's okay, but I'll keep in mind now that pure-bred APBTs are very different from the dogs I've been meeting. Thank you!
 

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If I could add something here....

In accordance with what Goemon said, the APBT has Terrier in it, and if you've ever been around any other type of Terrier breed (Jack Russells, Scotties, etc), they are also very DA, and small animal aggressive as well, i.e., they see small animals like cats, rabbits, squirrels, gophers, etc., as prey, and will go crazy over them as well.

Granted, there are members here who own APBTs and their dogs are okay with their small animals, but again, they aren't left unsupervised. My two girls in signature picture will attempt to kill anything small, if given the chance, and if they can't get to it, they scream as Goemon described in his post.

These dogs are not bad dogs, if the owner/handler has a good bit of knowledge and is prepared to jump into action if/when needed to prevent a situation. This is why we stress not going to dog parks, and heavily socializing with humans.

Now, this is not to say that someone's rescue or craigslist purchased dog didn't end up with bad genetics and has some wires crossed somewhere. I don't mean to frighten you, but the back yard breeders, or BYBs as we call them, don't worry about temperament or breed standard.

Temperament is a responsible breeder's first concern, then structure and ability to perform. Having worked with dogs in various settings, I'm sure you've seen some dogs that were not of sound mind, like afraid of everyone and everything, or respond with growling and bared teeth when they shouldn't. These are examples of when a responsible owner would take the necessary measures to ensure their dog is not a danger to the public.

I don't mean to scare you at all, just merely trying to educate, as it can and does happen in all breeds and mixes thereof. I've shared my personal experience here before, and I'll share a tidbit of it again.

I once was a foolish BYB! Yes, I said it. I got me a pretty red and white male with a red nose, as a pup. Before he was two years old, I bred him with a friend of mine's white piebald (white with brindle spots and ticking). Together, we had a litter of 9 pups. The agreement was I got first pick of the litter. We had a variety of colors, a couple of black brindles, some red brindles, some red with white markings, and a solid white (which I kept). Neither one of our dogs were registered nor had they been temperament tested, etc. We lost some of the litter due to Parvovirus, some others were sold very cheaply, and I had my pick, a female solid white with no deafness or blindness. She was great, very smart, learned quickly and excelled at obedience, but I knew early on there was something not right with her.

She would growl and snap at me when I would issue corrections, she would growl at my children for no known reason (my children were not doing anything to aggravate her). Finally, one day when she was about 18 months old, she went after my oldest daughter, who was mimicking the dogs barking at someone walking by the house. Luckily, I was standing there, and was able to catch her mid-leap. There was no growl, no bark, only a sideways look, and a lunge in my daughter's direction. I kept her separate from the other dogs, and my children, had my vet thoroughly examine her to rule out any medical problems that I may not have been aware of (no pinched nerves, broken bones, intestinal blockages, etc.). After a clean bill of health, and some confiding in my mentor at the time, I made the ultimate decision to have her euthanized. I took her to my vet, held her while he administered the shot that would send her to her final resting place, and carried her to the incinerator myself. After that, I vowed I never wanted to breed again. And, while I have two intact females in my house, I can promise you, there will not be a litter of puppies here!

Again, I don't mean to scare you, just elaborating on what Goemon said, and giving examples of how things can go wrong, especially when someone is uneducated in playing God.

I really do hope you stick around and learn as much as you can, and maybe even teach us something in return. I look forward to interacting with you more in the future.
 

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If I could add something here....

In accordance with what Goemon said, the APBT has Terrier in it, and if you've ever been around any other type of Terrier breed (Jack Russells, Scotties, etc), they are also very DA, and small animal aggressive as well, i.e., they see small animals like cats, rabbits, squirrels, gophers, etc., as prey, and will go crazy over them as well.

Granted, there are members here who own APBTs and their dogs are okay with their small animals, but again, they aren't left unsupervised. My two girls in signature picture will attempt to kill anything small, if given the chance, and if they can't get to it, they scream as Goemon described in his post.

These dogs are not bad dogs, if the owner/handler has a good bit of knowledge and is prepared to jump into action if/when needed to prevent a situation. This is why we stress not going to dog parks, and heavily socializing with humans.

Now, this is not to say that someone's rescue or craigslist purchased dog didn't end up with bad genetics and has some wires crossed somewhere. I don't mean to frighten you, but the back yard breeders, or BYBs as we call them, don't worry about temperament or breed standard.

Temperament is a responsible breeder's first concern, then structure and ability to perform. Having worked with dogs in various settings, I'm sure you've seen some dogs that were not of sound mind, like afraid of everyone and everything, or respond with growling and bared teeth when they shouldn't. These are examples of when a responsible owner would take the necessary measures to ensure their dog is not a danger to the public.

I don't mean to scare you at all, just merely trying to educate, as it can and does happen in all breeds and mixes thereof. I've shared my personal experience here before, and I'll share a tidbit of it again.

I once was a foolish BYB! Yes, I said it. I got me a pretty red and white male with a red nose, as a pup. Before he was two years old, I bred him with a friend of mine's white piebald (white with brindle spots and ticking). Together, we had a litter of 9 pups. The agreement was I got first pick of the litter. We had a variety of colors, a couple of black brindles, some red brindles, some red with white markings, and a solid white (which I kept). Neither one of our dogs were registered nor had they been temperament tested, etc. We lost some of the litter due to Parvovirus, some others were sold very cheaply, and I had my pick, a female solid white with no deafness or blindness. She was great, very smart, learned quickly and excelled at obedience, but I knew early on there was something not right with her.

She would growl and snap at me when I would issue corrections, she would growl at my children for no known reason (my children were not doing anything to aggravate her). Finally, one day when she was about 18 months old, she went after my oldest daughter, who was mimicking the dogs barking at someone walking by the house. Luckily, I was standing there, and was able to catch her mid-leap. There was no growl, no bark, only a sideways look, and a lunge in my daughter's direction. I kept her separate from the other dogs, and my children, had my vet thoroughly examine her to rule out any medical problems that I may not have been aware of (no pinched nerves, broken bones, intestinal blockages, etc.). After a clean bill of health, and some confiding in my mentor at the time, I made the ultimate decision to have her euthanized. I took her to my vet, held her while he administered the shot that would send her to her final resting place, and carried her to the incinerator myself. After that, I vowed I never wanted to breed again. And, while I have two intact females in my house, I can promise you, there will not be a litter of puppies here!

Again, I don't mean to scare you, just elaborating on what Goemon said, and giving examples of how things can go wrong, especially when someone is uneducated in playing God.

I really do hope you stick around and learn as much as you can, and maybe even teach us something in return. I look forward to interacting with you more in the future.
So do you feel that mixed "pitbulls" or shelter dogs as mine is, are more prone to be aggressive or unstable? Or to be more unreliable as compared to a purebred APBT?

It makes some sense if that's the case. You would know the bloodline of your dog and the other dogs in his family. Of course I don't look at my dog as a timebomb waiting to snap. His temperament seems very calm, friendly yet sometimes stubborn. He's 18 months old and I've had him for 4 months now. He hasn't changed any in the 4 months he's been with us. Still figuring out his feelings on other dogs, but with people he loves everyone he meets.
 

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So do you feel that mixed "pitbulls" or shelter dogs as mine is, are more prone to be aggressive or unstable? Or to be more unreliable as compared to a purebred APBT?

It makes some sense if that's the case. You would know the bloodline of your dog and the other dogs in his family. Of course I don't look at my dog as a timebomb waiting to snap. His temperament seems very calm, friendly yet sometimes stubborn. He's 18 months old and I've had him for 4 months now. He hasn't changed any in the 4 months he's been with us. Still figuring out his feelings on other dogs, but with people he loves everyone he meets.
Not "unstable", but yes there is a chance that he might show DA at some point. If he doesn't, that's great. But like I said, there is a chance.

DA also has nothing to do with HA. In fact, most APBTs love people.
 

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Not "unstable", but yes there is a chance that he might show DA at some point. If he doesn't, that's great. But like I said, there is a chance.

DA also has nothing to do with HA. In fact, most APBTs love people.
I do understand that DA and HA are two different things. I do think the shelter where I adopted from should probably educate people on that subject. They said nothing to me about it. I knew ahead of time this breed can be DA but not to the extent I do now after joining this forum. The shelter says they do temperament testing, food, people and dog aggression. Just not sure the extent.

It was ladypits comment on how her dog lunged at her daughter that made me think of these pitbills or mixes can have the possibility of being unstable. Would you know this from the get go as she did, or is it something likely to come up later?
 

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I definitely think mixed breed Bulldogs are more prone to HA. Look at all of the attacks that happen. How many are actual APBTs? Slim to none. Bull breed mutts are usually poorly bred and temperament is not considered beyond "Oh but they're such a good pet, I want a puppy from them!"

These people don't take into consideration that temperament is genetic, and just because their dog is a good dog, that doesn't mean it doesn't have dogs in its lineage that were not so nice. It can skip generations, or pop up out of nowhere, but the fact is, with dogs of unknown lineage, you can just never be sure.
 

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And always keep in mind that it takes 4 months for a rescued or rehomed dog to come back around to how his true temp will be. Don't even try to evaluate his true temp until after that adjustment period. I NEVER place a dog until after a 4 month "lock down". During that time I make sure they are solid, make them earn everything. Most dogs make it but even a dog at 99% I'll either keep or PTS. It's not fair to the dog or the family I place it with to take that chance. It's not fair nor is it easy but I owe it to all the pit bull dogs I take responsibility for.
 

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So do you feel that mixed "pitbulls" or shelter dogs as mine is, are more prone to be aggressive or unstable? Or to be more unreliable as compared to a purebred APBT?

It makes some sense if that's the case. You would know the bloodline of your dog and the other dogs in his family. Of course I don't look at my dog as a timebomb waiting to snap. His temperament seems very calm, friendly yet sometimes stubborn. He's 18 months old and I've had him for 4 months now. He hasn't changed any in the 4 months he's been with us. Still figuring out his feelings on other dogs, but with people he loves everyone he meets.
Not to put a negative stigma out there, as you can definitely adopt a mix from the shelter and they be the sweetest dog ever, but there's always the chance, mainly because there was no care taken in the matching up of parents, no definitive purpose for breeding, no guarantee on health or temperament of the offspring. But, there is always also the chance for a bad apple in a purebred litter where the breeder took the time, planned for years, thought carefully about who the mate would be, etc.

I do understand that DA and HA are two different things. I do think the shelter where I adopted from should probably educate people on that subject. They said nothing to me about it. I knew ahead of time this breed can be DA but not to the extent I do now after joining this forum. The shelter says they do temperament testing, food, people and dog aggression. Just not sure the extent.

It was ladypits comment on how her dog lunged at her daughter that made me think of these pitbills or mixes can have the possibility of being unstable. Would you know this from the get go as she did, or is it something likely to come up later?
To be honest, I didn't know right away. Like I said, she was a great pup from the start, but as she got older, she started showing signs, and I tried to brush it off, tried to make adjustments, talked with my mentor about different ways to handle things, etc. When she went after my daughter, I knew for sure.

Again, I don't want to scare you, or anybody for that matter. Just wanted to give a perfect example of how things happen by chance. Any dog, of any breed or mix thereof can always have the chance of being unstable.

I joined this forum long ago, just like so many others have, to learn, to share my mistakes, get feedback, and essentially become a better owner and handler. Now, I own two purebred females, one who can't stand anything that's not human, but is the sweetest thing on four legs when it comes to her humans. The other, came with a "Firehazard" warning, and has been nothing but wonderful in the almost two years she's been a part of our pack. She loves our mutt boy, she adores the kids, and is willing to go anywhere with me (we're still working on the "load up" part of getting in the vehicle). We've mastered the crate and rotate, and we have a solid "leave it" and "aahhhhh" with all three of them. Redirection works wonders with our dogs, but we have had some minor accidents in the past. DA is the norm in our world, and it's common territory with most owners of breeds like these.

HA, however, takes a bit more experience, and a lot more management on the owner/handler's part if they wish to keep the dog. A lot of us here feel that if a dog is HA, it doesn't deserve to continue on. Some people who are new to the breed or the forum often feel this is a harsh way to think, but we do what we have to do to protect the public, our families and the breed as a whole. As someone else mentioned, the majority of dogs that are publicized in attacks on humans, are most often poorly bred, poorly managed mixes that are mislabeled or misidentified by the media and shelter/animal control staff. It's been proven that even veterinarians cannot positively identify a dog based off looks alone.

In short, it just really takes experience to recognize the difference between HA, DA, food aggression, and other various characteristics that could be confused for those types of aggression. Dogs you adopt from the shelter or off craigslist or from your cousin's best friend that bred their pit bulls, we won't say they're a ticking time bomb, but without being able to research the lineage, leaves a lot of wondering about the stability of temperament, let alone health.

Redog's idea of the 4 month lock down is an excellent idea and rule of thumb to follow, although most people can't wait to show off their new dog as soon as they get them. New comers often call this "socializing", and don't pay attention to the signs the dog gives off, warning you ahead of time of trouble that may come later. There are tell-tale signs we can explain, signs that all dogs give off, but you as the owner have to tailor those signs to ones that your personal dog may show. I've already written a novel, so I'll stop here for now.
 

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Also, I forgot to mention... unfortunately, the shelter workers/staff don't really know much about the breed, and it's beyond them to educate new owners. If this is your first dog of this type of mix, and the shelter knowingly adopted him to you, shame on them. I know of several shelters/humane societies that require these types of breeds only be adopted to owners whom have experience with the breed in question, and have a veterinarian that can verify that fact for them.
 

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So do you feel that mixed "pitbulls" or shelter dogs as mine is, are more prone to be aggressive or unstable? Or to be more unreliable as compared to a purebred APBT?
Shelter dogs are far less likely to have dog aggression than the traditional ApBT.
It is their being mixed that can bring in the "?" mark in regards to temperament.

As redog stated, it takes a dog time to adjust to its new home before their true nature can come out.

The problem is any aggressive dogs is when people are fooled into believing the dogs were "taught" to be that way.
The ApBT is not taught to be aggressive. I have seen pups try and kill each other under 8 weeks old and have to be separated at six weeks old.

The tricky thing is this: there is not a single stamp or one size fits all show you can place on a dog, just due to breed type/mix.

However, the greatest problems withe the ApBT breed come from unknown and back yard breeding.

Personally, IMO rescue "pits" are watered down greatly in comparison to traditionally bred ones.
However, with the "outside" blood in them, when they do fight, they will most likely bite at anything near them. This is what makes them more dangerous.

All in all, though, if owners cannot deal with dog aggression and contain and control their dogs, anything that happens is the owners fault.
If one cannot properly separate dogs fighting, they need to learn, or get another breed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Firstly, I met my girl at my work, the Doggy daycare, she was a foster with a great family with 4 other dogs, and I adopted her a few months after she started coming (just her, she has separation anxiety.) She's a little over two now.
They did turn other family's away from adopting her for various reasons, but I've worked with dogs for about three years, and BF has dabbled in dog work himself, and we know a bit, and would do anything to do things right, and we could work slowly with the separation anxiety. I think we will be good parents no matter what, I just want to take every precaution.
Don't worry, I've bitten before stopping dog fights with dogs at work, and I would have no problem getting in there without hesitation if my girl got in a fight. Obviously ideally no harm comes to anyone, but it was me or a young Bulldog, and I'm not afraid to get involved.
I certainly understand the difference between DA and HA, and the other types of aggression. But reading certain things does make me believe that occasionally there is some cross over, is this so ?
I don't totally understand either, because most of the dogs at Daycare are mixed breed mutts period, and we haven't really gotten any that went after us of any Breed. Ladypit, do you think your dog was a very rare misbreed, or had something to do with the dog-fighting associated with pits, and that lineage?

My girl, Wren, has leash reactivity and probably some leash aggression, but she has always been phenomenal with the dogs at Daycare. I definitely don't trust her with cats, and I wouldn't bet on any outcome with other small animals, but she's been great with every size of dog.
She seems great with all humans and kids so far, especially kids, but I want to make sure I never set her up and to fail.

So many of our best dogs are very APBT looking, comparatively, and just wonderful at daycare. Which is why this is so surprising for me. Basically all of oBasically are rescue mixes from a nearby really crappy city (I live in a very dog-friendly place, so we import a lot of rescues from Detroit.) She is a stray from there.

Ladypit, is it possible your dog had Springer-Rage? It's very difficult to diagnose... so sorry you had to go through that.
 

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Sandy, with a bad temperament in any dog, it is definitely possible for the cross over from DA to HA. That is why traditional breeders/owners keep with the rule of culling a dog that shows any HA at all.

Considering my female in question, and the fact that I was young and dumb, and knew absolutely nothing about responsible breeding, I wouldn't say it had anything to do with the history of the APBT, as I don't even know for sure that her, nor her parents were purebreds, since there was no pedigree nor registration to prove such on either parent. I would say it was my reckless and haphazardly rushed decision to breed my "pit bull" with my friend's "pit bull", not knowing anything about temperament, or lineage or possible other breeds mixed in that ultimately led to a bad apple out of the litter. I do not believe it had anything to do with the DA part of the breed, simply because she never showed any aggression towards the other dogs in the pack, and we had several. She was even fine with fosters and the dogs I worked with at the boarding kennel at the time. I will say, I was starting up the scale of a massive learning curve, and am thankful that I was the one to keep her, and not allow her to go to another home with anyone else where there might have been actual damage done. Do I regret it? Nope, not one bit. I learned a lot, and that was the beginning of the dog woman I have become.

We can't really tell you what to do with your dog, as ultimately it's your decision. We can, however, make suggestions. After knowing what I've learned through the years, in order to prevent setting any of my dogs up for failure, I would never put them in a situation like a dog park, doggy daycare (even though I worked for one for a while), or any other type situation that puts any of my dogs in a group of strange dogs. Heck, one of mine that I currently own can't be with any other dog, and that is definitely her lineage. I know her parents, and grandparents, litter mates and her mother's litter mates as well.

Honestly, back then (we're talking 14 years ago now) I hadn't heard of Springer-Rage, and no, I don't believe that was it. I firmly believe it was just due to my inexperience, and lack of knowledge, and she was meant to be that way so that I could learn from my mistakes. I think a bit differently about things, and I don't really sit and try to figure out the what-ifs and maybes. I believe everything that happens in life has a reason and a purpose. At the time, I didn't understand, but now I do. That experience was my teacher, and I learned so much in those 18 months, that would prepare me for the years to come.
 
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