Parents Can’t Make Baby With Bad Flu Feel Better, Then Rescued Pitbull Enters

April 24, 2019 Updated: April 29, 2019

Ever been achy and sick and at the same time felt like nothing in the world could cheer you up? When little Dawson, the son of Bryan Junior and Chelsea Bernstein, came down with the flu, the cure wasn’t in a warm soup or tea but instead his childhood companion, a rescued pit bull.

In 2015, Bryan Junior adopted a pit bull, which he named Riddick, from a non-profit animal welfare organization called Rescue Dogs Rock NYC, whose mission is “to save abused and at risk dogs from kill shelters and provide vetting and loving homes.”

Posted by Rescue Dogs Rock NYC on Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pit bulls are one of the most maligned and misunderstood breeds with a reputation for aggressiveness and attacking people and other dogs. As Sara K. Enos, founder and executive director of the American Pitbull Foundation has pointed out, the real problem is not the dogs themselves; rather, “human behavior is what leads to companion animal attacks,” especially chaining up and physically punishing puppies.

Thankfully, Junior already had a loving pit bull named Cambria at home, so adopting Riddick was a no-brainer. Before Riddick was adopted, he had been terribly abused and “thrown out of the window of a moving car,” leading to the loss of one of his eyes.

FAMILY SELFIE 😃😃😃😃😃Daijon now known as Riddick living it up in his forever home. Riddick was thrown out of a moving…

Posted by Rescue Dogs Rock NYC on Monday, September 21, 2015

Not long after the adoption of Riddick, Junior and Bernstein had yet another arrival, but this time it was a sweet baby, named Dawson. While pit bulls aren’t usually seen as child-friendly dogs, Cambria and Riddick have disproved the prejudice. From the beginning, the dogs embraced their little brother Dawson.

My beautiful family ✨ 📸 @custombynicole

Posted by Chelsea Bernstein on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The dogs have created an inseparable bond with Dawson. Junior told The Dodo, “If the baby cried, the two of them would come running inside to check on him. Every time he woke up from a nap we would say, ‘Baby Dawson is awake,’ and they would run in.”

It wasn’t just the dogs that loved Dawson; the feeling was entirely mutual. His dad says that “Dawson kisses them both good night” before he goes to bed. The boy also loves to climb on them and snuggle up whenever he gets a chance.

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Everything was great at the Junior-Bernstein house until Dawson came down with bad flu, the first time he had ever been so sick. Nothing seemed to help him and it was obvious to his parents that he was feeling completely miserable.

While they were at their wit’s end as to how to help him feel better, Dawson knew exactly what to do. He crawled up on the footrest next to the sofa where Riddick was sleeping. Soon, the two of them fell asleep together and stayed that way for a good half hour.

“You could tell Riddick knew he wasn’t feeling well and laid with him,” Junior shared.

It seems that Riddick was definitely the best remedy, as Dawson started to get better not long after.

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For Bryan Junior, the story is not just about his love for his son and his pets; it also shows how pit bulls are unfairly persecuted and not given a chance to have a good life. Contrary to the popular image of a scary and dangerous dog, “Riddick is the most well-tempered, chill dog you could ask for […] He’s just gentle, loving, and tolerant of everything.”

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As Junior rightly points out, “Hate is taught.” Here’s hoping that the story will inspire more people to open their homes to these dogs that so desperately need them.