Anxious Pit Bull Finds Passion and Confidence Hiking with New Dad

Penni’s early life was awful. She spent her first years in the basement of a drug house until she was abandoned. Rescue group Fur Friends in Need saved her from a kill shelter just before she was scheduled to be euthanized. That’s where she found her forever companion, Dog Dad Blaine DeLuca. Her life started down a brand new path filled with adventure, fresh air, and nature.

Penni Spent 6 Months Learning to Trust Her New Dad

Fur Friends in Need were very upfront with Blaine about Penni’s anxiety and lack of trust. They told him that it would take time for her to gain confidence and connect with Blaine. After all, she had been unloved and potentially abused for the first years of her life. Penni was nervous and distrustful as a result. But Blaine was very patient. For the first six months of their life together, Penni wouldn’t even make eye contact with Blaine. Things improved slowly but surely.

Penni and Blaine Started Taking Easy Trail Hikes

Blaine is an adventurous guy who loves being outdoors. He started taking Penni out on easy nature trails to help her calm down. The positive response was immediate. Penni became more at ease and relaxed out in the forest. Blaine told USA Today, “I started taking her on small nature trails during daylight hours in order to help her relax. She immediately responded. She was an entirely different dog when we were in the solitude of the forest.”

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A Move to Las Vegas Meant Harder, Longer Hikes

Blaine and Penni moved from New Jersey to Las Vegas. There were more adventurous hiking opportunities around Vegas and the pair took full advantage! They started taking longer, harder, hikes. Penni’s confidence grew by leaps and bounds. She and Blaine fearlessly attacked any terrain. Penni would jump, climb, and hike independently. Blaine outfitted her with protective footwear and strapped a doggie backpack on her to carry supplies. She loved every bit of it!

Over time, she became more and more daring. She repelled down a rock wall perfectly relaxed and calm. She rode on her dad’s back down a waterfall. Cliffs, cracks, and mountaintops became her stomping ground. Blaine told USA Today, “She is well-versed in long-distance hiking, high elevations, rappelling, cliff-side scrambles, and even has a little experience zip-lining. There is no terrain she cannot handle!”

Blaine and Penni are an inspiration! Do you hike with your dog? Follow other hiking dogs and their adventurous humans on our fresh Instagram page, Hiking With Dogs!