How social media helped Pip find a home and hit her goofy stride
Hardcore cram sessions call for indulgent breaks. For Kristine Mendoza, a pre-veterinary student at UC San Diego studying neuroscience and physiology, that means watching feel-good Instagram videos of cuddly, adoptable dogs. That’s how she was first introduced to Pip, a 7-year-old pit bull mix, last winter.
“I watched it a couple times. It was really cute,” Mendoza says of the 90-second clip showing Pip sleeping, snoring, sleeping some more and going for a walk. Mendoza, who used to volunteer at an animal shelter in Los Angeles County, knows that shelter environments can often be too stressful for some dogs to show their charm. “I kind of empathized with Pip, because the shelter had a lot of pit bulls. The video was a view into who she was outside the rescue.”
At the time, Pip had been in foster care for a year. On the older side, and with some minor but persistent medical issues, she had not yet found a permanent home. Pip needs daily eye drops, has a nagging injury to one back leg and a mammary tumor that requires monitoring.
To the aspiring vet, though, the medical issues were intriguing rather than off-putting, and in February, Mendoza adopted Pip. SDHS cautioned her that Pip was still anxious around other dogs and many people—even that she might not be fit for walks in crowded places. “We were really careful about that, but she ended up being extremely sweet,” Mendoza says. Pip does just fine around people and other dogs now, she adds. “She’s really goofy.”
Because Pip’s on the older side, Mendoza isn’t too strict with her. “She has no patience waiting for dinner. She’s really sassy about her food and treats. We let her have the best time possible.”