“It was Spring in West Texas and hot as hell.. and I was sweating like a whore in Church. I was leaving the Sonic drive thru as part of my daily routine. Order Coca Cola Route 44, drive to the infamous Doc’s Liquor at the “Strip” in Lubbock for drive through whiskey service. Order bottle of Canadian Whiskey- Rich & Rare (R&R). Although there wasn’t anything “rich” or “rare” about it. But then again, it was only $7.99 and will work as advertised.
While driving, pour out half of the Route 44, fill up the other half with whiskey. I now look like your average Texas Tech student enjoying a soft drink after school. Except I didn’t go to school, and would be fully loaded in an hour. I drive back to the dorms, ironically Murdough Hall room 420. Finishing the bottle, my girlfriend at the time mentions her friend has puppies. I hadn’t showed up for a class in nearly 2 weeks, had warrants out for my arrest after running over a Camaro monster truck style and literally crushing it in my jacked up Dodge Ram. (After running up onto the windshield, I threw the stick shift into reverse, got out and tried and put the bumper back on. I was told I set it on the hood, then parked next to it.) Not the brightest idea. Yes, I thought, “I should get a puppy.”
So I get a puppy and name him Tyson. Although Holyfield would have been more fitting (he was missing a piece of his ear where one of his litter mates bit it off.) Tyson was one of a kind. This dog was a trip. The smartest damn dog I’ve ever had.. after a few months he would wait at the door and we’d open it for him when he had to use the restroom. He would walk to the Men’s restroom down the hall, hike his leg and pee by the urinal or poop in one of the stalls and come back to our room. I would sneak him down in a backpack to use the restroom twice a day, but if he had to go in between that’s what he did. I loved this dog. I brought him everywhere with me. Including class.. Well the one I showed up to (public speaking) Tyson became my best friend. Like any good friend hiding someone from the police, he didn’t make a sound as we hid together under the bed when the cops came looking for me.
We took road trips together, and he tagged along for Spring Break. I was stopping in to see my parents before we headed to South Padre Island for the break. Now I don’t condone giving animals anything unhealthy, but this dog loved alcohol. I blame his father. At parties Tyson would tip over girl’s drinks at parties and lap it up, or knock over beer cups/cans and drink that up too. The Texas Tech students loved him, he was way more popular than me.. and he loved the attention. You can’t make this stuff up. He would even sit upright in a chair while we played cards and drank. We even dealt him cards, and he would wait until someone wasn’t looking and knock over their drink and drink it all, then return to his seat for the game. He would even turn his head to focus on whoever was talking.
Tyson would escape through my window when he had to use the restroom or wanted to get out. He would go to a neighbor’s party while I was passed out, and then return home through the window. The only reason I found out is because people would tell me the next day. I caught him at a party more than once drinking from a keg while people counted. He loved beer and vodka. You can’t make this stuff up, you can ask my roommates. Whenever we couldn’t find him he’d have let himself out and we would have to drive up and down the street and look for a party. Of course’d be there, and he’d obviously be drinking. You could always hear the cheering. Everyone knew him.
Tyson and I fished together and he went with me everywhere. On top of his drinking, he once attacked a wild boar, later a horse (he was kicked in the head and never tried that again.) He got us out of multiple DUI’s by lunging at a police officer. He pulled me out of a lake when I could have drowned.. He was always by my side, and it was was the loyalty that I fell in love with. I was 20 years old and unfit to own a dog, but I loved this dog to death. I kept an eye on his drinking and was careful not to leave cups or anything he could tip over to drink out in the open. I may have been drinking a bottle of whiskey a day, but this dog had a problem. He has a serious issue with alcohol.
Years later, I had to find a home for him, and he retired out on a beautiful lake with a great family. He lived a wild life with me, and we had a blast together. I didn’t have a place to keep him anymore and was forced to find him a more responsible owner. I was heartbroken, I’ll never forget it. I was in the Harris County Jail, getting evicted and all I cared about was Tyson. He was my best friend, one of my only real friends left after alcohol and the party favors kept me isolated to pretty much just us two. The fact that I failed him broke my heart. I’ll never forget that. Never had I loved anything outside of my family as much as I loved that dog. It hit me hard, as I sat in that jail cell staring at the ceiling. I was stuck in jail for another DWI (my most recent accomplishment was 2 in 10 days) So I wasn’t getting out for a few months.
I read shitty books, played Domino’s to pass the time, and entertained fake conversations about what we were going to do when we got out. But I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that I failed him. I had to accept the fact that I was an irresponsible owner and it was selfish for me to continue to to keep him when I couldn’t properly care for him. Now, I’d love to tell you that I had an epiphany and came to the conclusion on my own to do the right thing, but my mom found him a home for him. Christmas morning in Harris County Jail sucks. I was heartbroken, but realized years later it was the right thing to do. I decided then and there that I’d never be an irresponsible owner again. He deserved more than that. As far as my drinking went, everyone just needed to mind their own damned business.
Fast forward to 2011, I was now living in Florida, and finally ready for another dog. I have always loved dogs, and I missed the connection that I had with them. Especially the American Pit Bull Terrier breed. Years later falling in love with the American Bully. So I got a dog and named him Tank. Tank was an awesome dog and quickly became my best bud. Little did I know that I was about to get hit with the most devastating news of my life. They say bad things come in threes. There was a fire at my place, and again I lost everything. Including Tank who had passed from carbon monoxide poisoning. I didn’t care about the stuff, I was devastated to lose my dog. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
In that same year I would lose my grandfather who was a hero of mine, and then received the worst news of my life. I’ll never forget the call. My brother, who was my best friend in the entire world had passed. He was only 25 years old when he died. I was crushed with grief, and guilt about what I could have done differently and I returned to my old trust worthy friend. The bottle. Whiskey, and his asshole brother Xanax who always seemed to invite himself along.
But then again.. they were the only ones who was there for me in the good times, and the bad. The only ones who knew how to take my pain away, to make me feel normal. They made it possible to breathe, to shut off the noise in my head. They told me they wouldn’t get me in trouble this time, that I needed them. And of course I bought it. And they obviously they lied, again. I was arrested for assaulting a police officer. I was familiar with the routine. Give up the only things that worked for me, the only solution I had that took my pain away.. and report to piss in a cup, or take the jail time.
I am sharing this experience because during this time, with the alcohol and Xanax and the depression that sat in after losing my brother, after constantly screwing up.. There was a time that I didn’t know if I wanted to stick around any longer. What was the point? Before this, I always thought that depression was for the weak. Those that didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to man up.. to get over it. I understood then that it was real, and more powerful than I ever could have imagined. I’ve seen depression, mental illness, and drugs take out some of the strongest men and women alive. Marines, Firefighters, UFC fighters, even some of the toughest in Prison. It is real, and when you’re in it, and can’t see out of it, it is absolutely hopeless. I knew my mom couldn’t bear to lose another son.
I write this not as a melodramatic story on what I went through, I am writing this for anyone going through the same. I was hopeless. 12 different times, in 2 different states, and once in Mexico.. I traded my freedom for a jumpsuit and some shitty slippers. A blanket that wasn’t washed and a wrestling mat for a bed. Just know this.. there is a way out. You may not be able to see it now, but you will in time. When you come out of it, it’s like seeing in color for the first time. This breed, the American Bully has been a life saver for me. When I got my next dog Tyson II (Named in honor of the 1st Tyson) I started to have purpose again. This breed has this incredible ability to absorb negative emotions. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll remind you that life is beautiful.
No matter what you’ve gone through, what you’ve done, or where you’re at.. Everyone deserves a second chance. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a reminder of that, the American Bully shares the same oppressed history. They have been mistreated, abused, starved, banned, labeled an outcast, a misfit. They been banned from cities and even countries. They are deemed “unfit” for some societies. I think that’s why so many of us can relate to them. They’re misunderstood, judged and stereotyped based on what a few of them, have done or look like.. This breed is incredible. Despite everything that has been done to them, they remain loyal, loving and eager to please. Despite their tough appearance they are loving, have great personalities and can be great with children.
My days now are very different than they were 10 years ago. The highs are not as high, but the lows are nowhere near as low. I put down the bottle and everything that goes with it over 3 years ago. I have a beautiful fiancee and family that I love. I am content. I am not rich, I don’t own a fancy house or have a collection of cars. But I am happy. That may not impress most people, but with my history.. it impresses the hell out of me.
This breed has given me the opportunity to travel and go to places and meet people that I never would have imagined. It has given me a platform to reach others who are struggling, and don’t show it. It has helped kids with special needs, helped rehabilitate veterans with PTSD, helped those with depression, mental illness and addiction on the path to recovery.. and even brought families back together. The American Bully & the American Pit Bull Terrier have given so many a second chance that was never given to them. Stories like these show why both of these breeds are incredible, and these are the stories you won’t see on the news.”