Meaty: The Smiling Pit Bull Mix Who Brought Joy and Love into a Family’s Life

In the heart of California, at the Fresno Bully Rescue, a pit bull mix named Meatball, affectionately called Meaty, found his forever home and became an internet sensation.

Before finding his family, Meaty faced a grim fate in a shelter, merely a number among many.

But his story changed when Lisa Reilly saw a photo of him on the shelter’s online page, reminding her painfully of her previously deceased dog, Kitty.

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Love at First Sight

Captivated by Meaty’s resemblance to her late bulldog, Lisa felt an immediate connection and knew she had to meet him.

After her initial visit, she was certain Meaty was meant to be part of her family. “Fresno Bully Rescue did an excellent job caring for Meaty from the moment I saw him until he came home with me,” Lisa shared in an interview with The Dodo.

Credit to Instagram @loveabulllisa

Meaty Finds His Place

Once home, Meaty’s charisma and zest for life quickly became evident, especially in front of the camera, where he naturally struck pose after pose, earning him the nickname “Zoolander.”

He joined Lisa’s other rescues, including two other pit bulls and a couple of dachshunds, filling a Meaty-shaped hole on her couch and in her life.

The Name That Stuck

Describing Meaty’s unique build, Lisa laughed, “He looks like a bowling ball—so low to the ground and wide, like a Mack Truck. He would just barrel into you like a bowling ball of dog fat when we first got him.”

Hence, the affectionate name “The Meatball,” shortened to Meaty, stuck.

A Catalyst for Love

Alongside his rise to fame on Instagram, where over 30,000 people follow his adventures, Meaty played a special role in Lisa’s personal life.

Around the time Meaty joined her family, Lisa went on her first date with Joe. Meaty was instantly a hit with Joe, and the couple included him in all aspects of their lives, from cooking to movie nights.

Meaty’s charm was even instrumental in an “un-bull-ievably” adorable marriage proposal, as Joe dressed Meaty in formal wear and trained him to balance a diamond ring on his nose for the big moment.

The Joy of Meaty’s Company

Now, as a part of a larger family with four rescued dogs, Meaty continues to stand out with his big personality and even bigger smile.

Whether he’s at home or accompanying Joe to the police department as “McMeat the Crime Fighting Dog,” Meaty’s presence is a constant source of joy and laughter.

Motivation through Play

“One benefit of having a fat dog is that he’s extremely treat motivated,” Lisa admits. “He’s also very playful and loves his toys, making him always ready to ‘work’ for a treat or toy, which makes taking pictures of him a breeze.”

An Unforgettable Impact

Despite his fame, Meaty remains grounded, embodying pure enthusiasm for life, whether he’s in a comatose relaxation or his energetic “batshit crazy” mode.

At the end of the day, he’s a mama’s boy, always sticking close to Lisa. “You really can’t have a bad day when he’s around,” she says. “I’d dare anyone not to smile being near him.”

Meaty’s story is a testament to the transformative power of love and the joy that adopting a rescue dog can bring to a family. He’s not just a pet; he’s a beloved family member who continues to smile his way into the hearts of all who meet him.

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Edda Reynolds

Edda's journey into pet ownership began with a rescue dog that was deeply fearful of humans. To better support her first dog, Edda immersed herself in Canine Behavior Psychology. When her cherished companion passed away at 16, she chose to adopt a Pit Bull mix from a shelter. This new dog, Toffee, was not only affectionate towards people but also showed a keen aptitude for dog agility. Toffee introduced Edda to the strength and gentleness of Pit Bull-type breeds, sparking a deep love for them. This led Edda to welcome Runa, a Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, into her family, providing Toffee with an ideal companion for play and companionship.

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KONG - Jumbler Ball - Interactive Fetch Dog Toy with Tennis Ball (Assorted Colours) - For Medium/Large Dogs
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Light Up Dog Collar for Small Medium Large Dogs, Rechargeable Flashing LED Dog Collar Light Adjustable Waterproof Lighted Dog Collar for Night Safety, Green-M
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Healthy toy for big chewers
Nylabone Extreme Tough Dog Chew Toy Monster Beef Thigh, Cleans Teeth, Beef Flavour, XXL, for Dogs Over 23 kg,package may vary
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