We caught up with the dog mama of the three sweet pit bull breed rescues of @minimoos_atx to find out what it’s like having a household of bully breed babies. (Spoiler alert: a lot of fun.)

By April Saylor
October 23, 2020
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Credit: Vanessa Olson

In honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Day, a date created to celebrate these smiling bully breeds and their owners, we’re highlighting our favorite square-headed goofballs and their families. 

Bessie, April, and Bandit Moo are three pittie rescue pups who make up the trio known as the Mini Moos on Instagram. Each member of the crew—aptly named for their distinctly Holstein-like markings—has a sweet disposition and an even sweeter rescue story. 

Vanessa Olson, dog mama to the Mini Moo crew, says that while each of her dogs’ stories may have begun with a rough start, all three are now living their best lives together at Mini Moo headquarters in Austin, Texas.  

An Extended Stay With a Goofy Boy

Our doggy tail begins in 2014, when Olson and her partner, Justin, had their first taste of life with a lovable pit bull. The pair had recently moved to Austin and were house-sitting for a friend. Their new roommate, a bully breed type named Murphy, was the perfect pal to help welcome them to their new city. 

“We walked him like, ten times a day,” Olson laughs. She said Murphy’s owners had a few simple requests for them to follow while they were away, such as not allowing the pup onto the bed. “We really tried to respect their rules, but it was tough,” Olson laughs. Over the next few months, she says the fun-loving pup wormed his way onto both the bed ... and into their hearts.

Once they’d moved into their own place, Olson says they missed their furry friend, who’d been a great introduction to bully breed dogs. She began searching adoption sites in hopes of adding another “total goofball” like Murphy to their family. 

A Bovine-Like Beauty Named Bessie

Through Olson’s connections at Austin Pets Alive!, a local no-kill shelter, she and Justin found a litter of bully breed puppies who’d been rescued and were now up for adoption. The timing was totally wrong, she says, but they couldn’t stop thinking about the little black-and-white puppy from the shelter. “We were living in a rental that did not allow pets, we had family coming into town, and we’d both just started new jobs,” she says. But after a series of frantic Uber rides during the middle of the workday and a last-minute run for puppy supplies, Bessie Moo officially joined the family.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows from the start, though. “She was a pretty sick puppy,” Olson says. “She’d been taken from her mother too early, and I think the litter had been found in a box—not an ideal situation.” But after a few months of near-constant care, including treatment for parasites like giardia, little Bessie made the transition from sickly to sassy. “It was a messy start,” Olson laughs, but since then, the the pooch has grown into an emboldened beauty. “Bessie was our first of the Mini Moos,” she says. “But they’re just like potato chips ... once you have one, you just keep going!”

A Playmate for Bessie

From there, Olson says it was just a matter of time before they added another pet sibling to the pack. The second pibble to join the Mini Moo clan was a sweet girl named April, who was found as a pregnant stray wandering the streets of Fresno. The grey-and-white bully breed had spent about 4 months with her foster mama after her puppies were born, raising her litter and “learning how to be in a home and a member of a family,” Olson says. 

Adding April to the crew was not a quick process like Bessie. Olson spent months following the pup’s story on social media (her foster dog mom is Noelani, who runs the @packofpibbles Instagram account). During that time, Olson says she “obsessively” checked Instagram for updates on the dog and her pups. Once the puppies were old enough to go to their forever families, it was April’s turn.

“I sent in my application to adopt her as soon as they posted it,” she says. There were thousands of people following April’s heartwarming rescue story, so Olson wasn’t expecting much of a response. But even though she was several states away and already had another dog at home, she got the call saying she’d been selected to adopt April. But this time, figuring out how to get her from California to Texas was more complicated than hopping in an Uber like they had done to retrieve their first four-legged family member. “It’s literally across mountain ranges and deserts to get there,” she says. So to get the pup home as quickly as possible, she rented a car and made the entire 48-hour drive there and back in four days.  

Olson says watching the “proud piggle” (one of many nicknames April goes by) has been incredible to witness. “She has really come out of her shell [since being rescued]. She was so timid, she would try to dig holes under bushes and sleep in them. She was a true street dog.” Now, with a nickname like “proud piggle,” you can imagine how spirited the pup is. “She is just so joyful and full of life,” Olson says. 

And Bandit Makes Three 

The third member of the Moo clan is a big, goofy boy named Bandit. He was an emergency rescue who came from Missouri. The shelter he was at had labeled him as aggressive with other dogs, and one of the volunteers reached out to Olson for help because she feared the sweetheart had been misjudged and would be put down because of his breed type.

Olson adopted the pooch immediately and enrolled him in a board-and-train facility near their home in Texas to ensure he’d be a good fit with their other dogs. After a few weeks of behavioral training, they slowly introduced the dogs to each other over the course of several meetings in neutral places. 

The baby of the trio, Olson says Bandit is a “big doofus, just precious.” He recently joined Vanessa and Justin on a road trip from Austin to Santa Fe. Since Bandit is nervous in the car, Olson says she worked to acclimate him to the backseat leading up to the trip with several quick daily drives that included a lot of treats. From the looks of it, this good boy is starting to enjoy the adventure ... and will hopefully have many more to come!

What’s Next for the Mini Moos

Olson, a certified yoga instructor, says her eventual dream is to have a place where she can combine her passion for human wellness with animal wellness. In addition to more land, more dogs, and a bigger fence, she says it’d take the approval of the queen of the house, Bessie Moo, before any more pups join the crew. “I don’t know how many more dogs she really wants in our house.” But for now, you can follow the dogs' adventures on Instagram, @minimoos_atx.