And a very sad goodbye to TatorTot, the pit bull who saved a little boy’s life

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On May 1, at 12:55 p.m. Christi Smith of Plymouth hugged TatorTot for the very last time. The brown and white pit bull had been on death row four years ago at the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control, but he was one lucky pooch – when he was rescued him from euthanasia.

And that’s when a Ruff Start Rescue volunteer Christi raised her hand and offered to foster the rather lively puppy and teach him some doggy manners to help him find a home. TatorTot had only spent a few nights with Christi and her family, when the dog alerted her to a medical emergency involving her then four-year-old son Peyton. The child had been sleeping, but had lapsed into a life threatening low glycemic state and had to be rushed to the hospital.

“I’m never going to let this dog go,” stated Christie after her son was revived with an adrenaline shot. “I owe him for the rest of his life.”

Christie had no trouble keeping her promise; tragically TaterTot was a victim of cancer. On the family’s Facebook page, devoted to her dog’s incredible life – but way too short, his distraught mom wrote:

“I lost my heart and soul today. Words can not explain the devastation I feel. I did the best that could for him; he had a great life, I owed him everything I had.”

Going back down memory lane, for anyone not remembering or having been familiar with this awesome’s dog story, here was the original post. This writer reported on it when I wrote for the and kept it – I was so moved:

“I put my son to bed at about 8:30 in the evening. He woke up between 12 and 1:30 to ask for something to drink. He was acting weird, really out of it. I chalked it up to being deliriously tired. I wasn’t too concerned. TatorTot was concerned, though. After putting Peyton back to bed, not even 20 minutes later, TatorTot began running back and forth from Peyton to me. He was barking and acting like something was wrong. I was like, ‘What, didn’t you get enough exercise today? Come lay down, it’s bedtime.’ He didn’t let up.”

“Finally, I went to check on my son. He was barely breathing. TatorTot was on his bed, barking and pawing at him, licking his face. Any normal child would have woken up. He wasn’t waking up.”

Rest in peace TaterTot – you are the ultimate ‘spokesdog’ for anyone questioning the bully dog breeds.

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41 replies
  1. Jennifer Burton says:

    This story although sad for the loss of your tatertot he was a brave hero, he saved the life of his little best friend. And when Peyton is old enough to understand a man’s best friend saved him, he will in return save a another from a shelter. God bless your family for fostering and becoming a failed foster for the most awesome fur baby.

  2. Barkley's Mom says:

    So very sorry for the loss of Tater Tot. Bless them for rescuing this precious boy and my heartfelt condolences to the Smith family. Rest in peace Tater Tot, you were a true hero.

  3. pennysdachshund says:

    YOU and YOUR SON were able to GIVE Tater Tot the LOVE HE deserved and in KIND Tater Tot saved you Child…. He had a Great Live before his was called home with you guys… That is the important thing…..

  4. G. St says:

    Rest peacefully in the big playground upstairs pal…the bully group thanks you for proving that heroes come in all shapes and sizes!???????????????????????? deepest condolences to your family ????????

  5. Tina Miller says:

    Sorry for your loss Tatertot was sent to you by God to watch over you and your family and you have given him the love and care he deserved. May God bless you again with a furbaby.

  6. Dawn Shackleford says:

    God bless Tatertot and may he play happily in heaven until you are all together again one fine, far off day.
    I’m crying as I write this… R.I.P. Tatertot…a true American hero…
    take care Smith family…please get your son another shelter pup…to take over the job of protective angel….God bless you all!

  7. Sue says:

    Not ALL PIT BULLS R VICOUS DOGS!!! TATER TOT…LIFE SAVER…FIRST PRIORITY.. 2- – to B a BUDDY of 4 yrs..TATERTOT received a VERY LOVING HOME for his short years… TATERTOT was return.. saved a LIFE of precious Young Boy.
    One SPECIAL CIRCLE LIFE and LOVE❤????????????????❤✅????????MAY U regain Peace for your ????to find JOY.. 4 ANOTHER SPECIALBUDDY????once again in your????

  8. Lisa says:

    Pitbulls are the best.. r.i.p tater tot.. my beloved Ruger crossed the rainbow bridge 15 yrs ago.. he also saved a life.. he would not settle down until i called the police.. turns out he heard someone calling for help who had been stabbed thanks to Ruger help arrived in time to get him to a hospital for treatment.. the best breed EVER

  9. Raysaturn777@HOTMAIL.COM says:

    Great story dogs are my life i would like to spend the rest of my life rescuing animals

  10. Sophie says:

    I learn to love this breed thru my daughter. Like everyone else I was afraid of this breed I witness with my own eyes when to pitbull enter in my property and attack my little spike, my son is fighting with both dogs trying to get it from the mouth and teeths of the pit bulls So…I never want to be close or own this breed. But all that change when kaiya came into my life. I have fibromyalgia and my daughter dog kaiya a pitbull console me one night the I was in a deep bad pain in my whole body . I was crying and Kaiya was liking my joints and put her head on my shoulders. As you explain here about you kid . My daughter pitbull was going back and forward to my daughter and myself let my daughter know the something was wrong with me. The next thing happened to me was a mild symptoms of stroke and dystonia. Because kaiya the pit bull , am able to tell you all of this. I love kaiya and I love pitbulls dogs . ALL depend how you teach and treat this breed, who whatever own this type of breed or any dog breed as a owner have a BIG responsibilities to raise ,teach and educate the dog. I feel sorry the you loose him to cancer. But he have the most wonderful years of his life with you and your family the love and care deeply about him. You do a marvelous and courage job to rescue him ftom euthanasia. So sorry for you lost but thank you for share with others this beautiful story the teach us compassion, understanding to this Misunderstood breed. I Hope the your son is doing well. Be bless

  11. april a Deyarmond says:

    I as a privileged mom of best friend”bull mastiff “can not imagine the hurt you feel but will pray God gives you and your entire family strength and peace in knowing he’s running free in the greenest of pastures with fields pig treats and toys. Rip memories made yesterday will be remembered always

  12. Mickie Corpening says:

    My heart is breaking as I read your story. There is no love greater than what you feel for your pet. I thank God for people like you that loved and gave the best to that amazing animal. It is so refreshing to hear of your kindness in relation to all the horror toward animals I read about. I feel god blessed you by allowing you to foster that angel dog and to love him as you did.

  13. Donna Devito says:

    Goodbye for now, but some day you will meet again at the Rainbow Bridge. Rest In Peace Tater Tot.

  14. Frances Wammack says:

    Your a true Hero and so sorry you’ve passed away but never to be forgotten Pitbull Bravery is Forever my prayers are with you RIP Angel ????????❤️????????

  15. J.R. says:

    Rest in peace “Tater tot. I’m so very sorry for your loss Christi & Payton and your whole family. If you don’t already know about this, look up the rainbow bridge poem. It will bring you much comfort knowing that someday you and your hero will meet again.

  16. Pat Miller says:

    RIP Tator. I remember this story. And this was a Pitt that the breed so many times gets such a bad rap. Just goes to say it is how any dog is raised. So sorry for your loss Christie.

  17. Nancy Raymond says:

    Tater Tot is a HERO – you know that and he returned your kindness by saving your son – Pit bulls are wonderful dogs who get a bad rap because of human cruelty – Thank you for saving Tater Tot – you gave him a wonderful life.

  18. Maria Concepcion says:

    God bless you Tater Tot. He is a true Spokes Dog for the Bully Breed and to your family. May he wear his sunglasses when it’s too bright in heaven and may he have many balls to play with. ????????????

  19. Sara-Patricia Ann Mason says:

    So very sorry for your loss of Tatertol, but so very thankful for what he allowed you to keep–your precious son. He blessed your life and you blessed his. You gave him a home, love and that’s all they want. If only more people could be like you. I pray others will read your story and follow your example. God bless your family.

  20. Brenda says:

    oh my he was so handsome, RIP Tator Tot, you rest now sweet baby run free at the bridge and watch over us all xoxoxoxo

  21. Julie Jo says:

    I am glad he got to be wit you and “his” little boy until his time. I hope you and yours feel the good spirit of Tater Tot and celebrate his life. I hope you get peace knowing he has now pain free and playing in heaven. RIP PUPPY.

  22. Pam says:

    Oh dear God! My heart aches for your loss. What a wonderful fur child he turned out to be. So heartbreaking to know such a special boy was in the shelter for that long and you were the one that gave that boy a chance at being a part of a family. He wanted to spend his life thanking you. I am so so very sorry ????


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