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Betsy and Coquí
PRIORITY Paws Team, Dog Safety/Humane Ed Team  c 

Dog's Approx. Birth Year: 2002

Registrations: CGC, TDI

Dog's Most Favorite Thing: Going to obedience classes

Dog's Least Favorite Thing: Waking up early

Coqui Coqui


Dogs have always been a passion of mine. I grew up with small terriers, and as a young adult I couldn't wait to have a dog of my own. I had to wait four years while I completed college, but I looked at adoptable dogs online almost every day. During those years of research I decided a pit bull would be a great match for me. My husband and I adopted Coquí the summer after I graduated from college, five days before our wedding!

Coquí and his brother were among several pit bulls available at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society in Burnsville one day when I decided to visit. While they were all wonderful dogs, Coquí impressed us with his calm demeanor and handsome good looks. He was three years old, so he was past the puppy stage, and already knew basic commands. He and his brother were given up because of a change in their previous family's situation, but they did not have to be adopted together and were not caged together at the humane society. Despite the pleas from my parents to adopt another breed, my husband and I were confident that this pit bull was the right choice for us.

In the six years since then, Coqui has been with us through new jobs, an out-of-state move, both of us returning to school, and the birth of our first child. Throughout it all he has been a faithful and adaptable companion. He has a common sense that doesn't seem so common in all dogs – he only barks at people when they step on our property, he knows not to bother our pet birds, and he understands that children require extra patience. When I decided to get a pit bull I braced myself for all the judgements I thought people would pass on my dog and me, but we have been pleasantly surprised by nothing but compliments and good comments, and lots of them! I know that his polite behavior and steady temperment have changed the minds of people in our neighborhood and in our families who used to believe the bad hype related to pit bulls.

Although Coqui knew basic commands when we adopted him, I wanted to pursue more advanced training with him. For the first year I trained him on my own and then I joined formal obedience training classes. Initially, he had some problems being a bit of a bully with other dogs, but with patience, practice, and some learning on my part, he overcame his issue and became one of the star dogs in the off leash advanced course. We started to train for competitive obedience, but his hip dysplasia flared up and the more intense drills became painful for him. Eventually we found A Rotta Love Plus and within a few months of me becoming a volunteer with that organization, they offered a CGC class and test. When Coquí passed that test, I was inspired to test his ability to be a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International (TDI). He also passed that test on the first try, and we have enjoyed volunteering with the PRIORITY Paws program ever since! 

Describe your dog in one paragraph:

If I had to describe Coquí in one word, it would be impressive. When he decides to do something, he puts his whole heart into it. He loves people, but can also distinguish between a friend and a stranger. He has a special ability to squish his meaty, 55 pound frame onto a lap and make it comfortable. Working on obedience training with him is a joy for me because he is so devoted and intelligent but also keeps me on my toes. As he has aged he has become more relaxed, and now we laugh about how he will grumble and head off to bed by 10:00, whether or not we are ready to join him. Although his body is a bit slower, his heart seems bigger than ever. When we are on a walk people have said to us, “Wow! I wish my dog was that good!” It did take a lot of work and training to get him to that stage, but Coquí has proven that he was willing to work just as hard at being the best dog he could be.

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