NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8 hopes you find this week’s animal celebrity in Connecticut is positively “enjoy-a-bull.”
Meet Jeffrey the positively peaceful pit bull!
Jeffrey was hours away from being euthanized at a high-kill shelter when Michele Houston came to his rescue. She knew there was just something special about Jeffrey.
“I would always post dogs in need of homes, and I came across Jeffrey at the Animal Care Center in Manhattan. I shared his post, and I got this jolt in my gut, in my stomach, so I went back a looked at it again. And I said, I need this dog.”
With his friendly demeanor and ability to learn, Jeffrey earned his AKC Good Citizen Certificate. Shortly after, he became a registered therapy dog for Pet Partners.
“His heart, his soul, he’s innately kind and good,” Houston said.
For the past 11 years, Jeffrey has been a bright light to those suffering through the darkest times.
“He has visited hospice, many boy scout and girl scout troops, group homes, we were deployed in Newtown, and we’ve done a lot of work with the Cove Center for Grieving Children, Camp Erin [and] Camp Compassion.
Jeffrey and Houston work hard to shatter the stigma about pit bulls. Of course, it helps when Jeffrey sports his colorful claws.
“To break the ice, we painted his toenails, and the kids loved it. It became his trademark. Every week the kids would wait at the top of the stairs to see what color his nails would be,” Houston said.
On Friday, Jeffrey’s trademark toenails were painted green for Mental Health Awareness Month.
And those are some talented paws! For years, Jeffrey regularly competed in the world Cynosport rally. He’s held many champion titles, but in 2020, he became the first pitbull in history to earn a rally master champion title! He wanted to show us some of his skills!
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When Jeffrey is not giving kisses, he’s giving back to his community.
“Every December we host a donation drive. We collect non-perishable food items, sometimes winter coats, necessities, toiletries, and pet food pantry stuff,” Houston said.
To date, he’s raised over $10,000 dollars for various local charities.
“I believe that he is here for a purpose. He was saved for a reason and he has spent every moment of his life, giving back and helping people, and teaching children about kindness, and acceptance,” Houston said.
Houston is currently writing a book about Jeffrey and his journey and the impact he’s made on people across the state. In the meantime, you can follow Jeffrey on Facebook and Instagram.