START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
5,671,821 people care about Animal Welfare

A Hero Named TatorTot: Rescued Pit Bull Saves Boy Days After Adoption

A Hero Named TatorTot: Rescued Pit Bull Saves Boy Days After Adoption

Call it karma. Christi Smith saved a pit bull pup from certain death at the hands of Animal Control. Four days later, the dog repaid her by saving her son’s life.

His name is TatorTot, though it used to be Gator. Smith, who fosters dogs for Ruff Start Rescue in Princeton, Minn., was at first reluctant to take in Gator. She was concerned, based on how his personality had been described, that he might be too energetic for her mellow home.

When it became clear a few weeks later that Ruff Start Rescue wouldn’t be able to rescue any more “bully breeds” until Gator had a foster home, Smith took him in right away.

“I have an understanding of the breed, so I figured I’d work with him and get him adopted fairly quickly,” Smith told

She brought 10-month-old Gator home on Sept. 28 and renamed him TatorTot. He was indeed rambunctious, but that was nothing a good run in the local dog park couldn’t cure. With some good old fashioned exercise, TatorTot became a rather mellow fellow himself, says Smith.

See a video compilation of TatorTot photos here:

After a day or so, Smith began warming up to TatorTot and starting thinking seriously of keeping him. On his fourth night in the Smith home, TatorTot sealed the deal.

Smith’s 4-year-old son, Peyton Anderson, went to bed around 8:30 p.m. His mother says he woke up sometime between midnight and 1:30 a.m. asking for a glass of water. Smith said, ”He was acting weird — really out of it. I chalked it up to being deliriously tired. I wasn’t too concerned.”

TatorTot knew differently, somehow.

“After putting Peyton back to bed, not even 20 minutes later, TatorTot began running back and forth from Peyton to me,” Smith said. “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, Smith decided to check on her son. “TatorTot was on his bed, barking and pawing at him, licking his face,” she said. “Any normal child would have woken up. He wasn’t waking up.”

Smith realized Peyton was barely breathing. She couldn’t get him to wake up. Terrified, she rushed her son to the hospital, where doctors had to give him an adrenaline shot to revive him. Later, tests revealed Peyton’s blood glucose levels had been dangerously low.

“Peyton’s levels were so low that he could have had a seizure, or fallen into a coma, or even died,” Smith said. ”Medical alert dogs are not uncommon, but they usually have to undergo training. With TatorTot, I just got extremely lucky and blessed that he knew something was wrong.”

It turns out Peyton is not diabetic, so further testing will be necessary to find out why he had this blood sugar incident. In the meantime, TatorTot and Peyton are fast friends. Christi Smith says TatorTot has become a cherished member of her family.

“I am never going to let this dog go,” she said. ”I owe him for the rest of his life. He saved me from the worst heartbreak a human can experience on this Earth; he saved me the heartbreak of losing Peyton.”

Hear that, purveyors of pit bull bans? There’s nothing to fear from this breed, or any breed. Show them love, train them well, and they will love and protect you with everything in their wonderful doggie hearts. Why is that so hard to understand?

October, by the way, is Pit Bull Awareness Month. TatorTot just turned into an excellent ambassador for this noble and loyal breed.

Have a happy life, TatorTot!

Related Stories:

Heres What Pit Bulls are Really Bred to Do

367 Starved and Shackled Pit Bulls Rescued in Massive Dogfighting Bust

Pit Bulls Have Better Temperament than Average Dog

Read more: , , , , , , , ,

Photo credit: Anderson-Smith Family

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
2:23PM PDT on May 15, 2015

If you want a Pitbull, please, don't buy one: the shelters and rescues are filled with handsome, lovable, lively Pits. Too many of them never have a family and are euthanized. Safe a life, give a Pit a home.

1:22PM PST on Feb 15, 2015

Got to love that name "Tator tot". Thanks for sharing this.

12:49PM PST on Feb 15, 2015

Good Job ! , thanks

8:07AM PDT on Jun 9, 2014

great article, thanks for sharing :)

12:35PM PDT on May 26, 2014

Way to go Tatertot!

5:35AM PDT on May 26, 2014

Hate the deed, love the breed! All pit bulls are not violent...people need to be more educated about this wonderful dog! Dog fighting must be stopped and ring leaders like VIC need to be punished. Dogs are a gift from God and a blessing to all those who love them!!!

8:53PM PDT on Oct 30, 2013

great story and it does wonders for the Pitt bull breed. I find a lot of the dogs that have rescued humans are pitties . its the way they are raised.

11:57AM PDT on Oct 17, 2013

А wonderful story! It teaches people to love and be compassionate! Tator Tot is an amazing dog thanks to his clever loving owner!

5:29AM PDT on Oct 17, 2013

Wow, tears in my eyes. Things does happen for a reason. I believe in karma, now I'm sure! Thank you Christi and thank you Gator!

8:24AM PDT on Oct 15, 2013

Way to go Tatertot!

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

It's true that the U.S. destabilized the Mid East during Dubya's war, Operation Iraqi Freedom. And now…

I don't need cosmetics, thanks very much!

Totally unbelievable that a supermarket chain should be selling - or even allowed to sell - lethal weapons…

meet our writers

Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!