Renegade is a huge black and white pitbull who lives, or he did when I lived there, down the street and across the road from the house John and I took over in Detroit. When we moved in, our friends and neighbors all warned us about the dog that lived in that house, citing that he had attacked several people in the community. They explained he was prone to getting into dog fights and many expressed the neighborhood would be much better if he were dead. Their advice was that we carry a big stick, or something else with which to defend ourselves from the menace that was Renegade. We weren't necessarily worried at the time, as we knew how to deal with aggressive dogs from previous experiences.
A few days later, when walking down the street to our friends and neighbors, we spotted Renegade, a big behemoth of a dog. He was gorgeous. Both John and I have always sort of had an affinity for pitbulls, something only strengthened with our first dog together, a blue nosed pit bull named Smokey. We called out to him saying things like "Pretty boy" and continued on our way, receiving only a few confused barks out of him with a stare to match. When we arrived at our friends, they asked why we were talking to Renegade. We explained he was probably extremely misunderstood, like most of his breed, and they basically laughed at us.
After awhile we met Renegade formally by the woman who rescued him from a pit bull fighting club a few blocks over. She liked the fact that we liked him and asked if we would give him attention when we see him. We agreed, already having planned on it. It was then that our suspicions were confirmed, Renegade was just a big dog in need of some love. The people in our neighborhood had no personal experiences with pitbulls before him for the most part, and they in turn didn't know how to deal with him. I'll explain meeting Renegade in more detail another day, but all that needs to be conveyed here is that Renegade was in reality an extremely affectionate, somewhat clumsy dog who had no interest in fighting, but would if he had to.
After we returned to Detroit on the run, Renegade got very close to us very quickly. After an emotional reunion in which he ran down the road with a broken leg to come see us, our friendship was kickstarted again. At the time of today's story, he had been staying with us on and off, by his own accord. He was the type of dog to knock on the door when he was there to see you, and if you didn't answer he'd bark...then knock...then bark. He wasn't very well trained in most ways and he also didn't take no for an answer. He knew we were the only one's in the neighborhood who understood him, and the only ones who had any interest in helping him heal from his accident. His leg was broken because of a dog fight, one in where the other dog had Renegade in his mouth and Renegade is the one that got ran over because of how people feel about him. He was deliberately ran over by a US Postal Lady at the suggestion of one of my neighbors, someone who really hated Renegade.
When we lived in that neighborhood, we bought weed from a weed house nearby in the hood. It was the type of place where you walk up, knock on the door, tell them what you want. They'd return with the weed and you'd give them the money and leave. They received so many daily visitors, that taxis would stop there with different customers all day long. There was generally a line, with people of varying races clustered on the stoop. You'd have a skinny hippy kid next to a thug looking black guy with an indian guy next to him. This house provided awesome pot for pretty great prices and often had other things like hash, oil and edibles. The dispensaries were popular for certain people, but for the locals this house was the best. We preferred the fast, anonymous and cheap service they provided.
So one day when hanging out with Renegade, we ran out of weed, or dabs...maybe both. I volunteered to drive to get more, as we had a little cash from working to spend. Renegade was visibly upset I was leaving, so I decided to take him. Having already taken him on a few car adventures, I knew he'd really enjoy the short trip. He also provided excellent protection from predators as well, something useful to have as a woman in the hood. Now I had bought weed from this house dozens of times, but they still always looked at me funny when I came alone. Today was no exception.
So I pull up to the house in my little silver car, with my big black and white friend standing, not even sitting, in the passenger's seat. He licked my face aggressively in excitement, almost as a thanks for letting him come. I rolled down the windows so he could have air, and got out of the car leaving him to protect it. He had on a dopey happy-go-lucky face as he was stoked on being included in my errand. He generally only rode in cars to get taken home, someplace he was generally ignored, so it made it much better that he was with me.
I walked up to the house, to notice three guys on the porch, with their eyes bugged out staring behind me. They were people I recognized, regulars at that house both for buying and selling. They seemed really scared and confused by the sight of Renegade in my car.
"Is that Renegade?!" One asked, completely flabberghasted.
"Yeah, were here to buy some weed." I replied.
"Why is he smiling?" Another asked.
"He's really happy he's gonna get some weed...can I get a dimebag?"
"I've never seen him so happy....uh....sure." he said as he disappeared into the house, confused, coming back with the two tiny signature baggies we all knew and loved. At the time "cookie" was popular although I'm pretty sure that was their term for really fucking good weed. He handed me the bags, I handed him the money and turned to walk towards Renegade, who looked ecstatic to see me returning. I turned to look back at the house as I got in the car, to see like 7-10 really confused black guys. It was weird enough that the tiny white girl was coming alone to buy weed from them, it was even weirder that she had befriended the most feared dog in that block. Most of them knew him because of his reputation, which would scare anyone who doesn't understand how dogs work. They thought of him as some insane terrible monster when in reality he was a dog who was raised in a world he had no interest in. He was brought up a fighter pit, although all he really wanted from what I could tell was to be someone's loved and admired guard dog.
When I got in the car, he attacked me with kisses until I managed to push him back to the passengers seat. I drove down the street heading home to go smoke, laughing at their responses to him. At another point after this, when John and I walked to go get some weed, Renegade found us having escaped as he did on a nearly daily basis. We tried to send him home, then decided to take him. When we showed up to the weed house, Renegade ran straight up to the door, and scared the shit out of everyone clustered on that stoop as well as those in the doorway of the house. They were too stunned to do anything but stare. I went and grabbed him and pulled him to the sidewalk, I'm not sure either of us expected him to be so foreward, although the female pit in the house probably had something to do with it. John acquired the weed while I held the really rambunctiously excited dog. Even with the broken leg, he was a handful, and he wasn't exactly trained. He wasn't aggressive, but he was interested in saying hi to everyone, including that girl dog. So I had to hug him to my body as they all stared confused. I'm sure many had close calls with Renegade in the past, and they probably couldn't figure out how I could just move him around and make him do what I wanted, with absolutely no backlash.
Renegade is probably my favorite part in our already awesome Detroit experience. He was a pleasure to be around, and we had a blast showing the neighborhood who he really was. With the work we did there, we probably saved his life for at least a few years more, as many in the neighborhood were ready to kill him by the time we came around. We made huge steps in changing their perception of him, and by the time we left we had friends promising to give Renegade love when he was out and around. He had a love for trotting through the neighborhood, scaring the shit out of everyone while just looking for someone who understood him. He found that with us, and it's a shame he couldn't have come west with us when we left Detroit. He's a big part of why I got Rebel, who has similar markings as he's part pitbull. I think he would have loved Acapulco, although he definately would have made our story a lot more interesting as well as probably challenging. It's one thing to travel with a puppy that was easily confused by some as a Jack Russel Terrier(much to my dismay) it's another to travel with a huge black and white pit with a head bigger than mine.