Just over 10 years ago, Malakai the pit bull found himself in a difficult situation. His former owners had left him tied to a tree, and breed-specific legislation had been enacted in the entire Canadian province in which Malakai lived. What was a dog to do?

Taken in by local animal control, Malakai faced euthanasia simply for being a pit bull-type dog. He was so scared that he frantically dug at his kennel and badly injured his paws. That injury sent him to a local vet clinic where he had the chance to meet Julie Lotton.

When Lotton met Malakai, she knew she might be his only hope, and adopted him on the spot.

dog hiking

Source: Julie Lotton

“I knew I had to have him as soon as he walked in the door,” Lotton told PupJournal. “He is my first pit bull and I wish more than anything breed-specific legislation goes away so he doesn’t have to be my last…I absolutely adore this breed.”

Related: A Tribute To Angel, The Pit Bull Who Inspired A Movement

Together Lotton and Malakai have fought through the daily battles of having a pit bull in a Canadian province with breed-specific legislation. Having to wear a muzzle in public places, people often treated Malakai like he was some menace to society — but they didn’t mind, because they had each other.

dog beach

Source: Julie Lotton

Lotton decided to give Malakai a vacation from the cruelty of breed-specific legislation and packed up her car and mapped out their adventure. For their first trip, Lotton decided to head West, to see the mountains, where Malakai could breathe easily without a muzzle.

dog hiking trip

Source: Julie Lotton

Lotten explained, “I always wanted to see the mountains out west. We had quite a big life change when the guy I adopted Malakai with left us, so this was a chance to go and get away from things for a bit.”

dog beach vacation

Source: Julie Lotton

Dogs really do make ideal traveling buddies, and Malakai is no exception. This year when they decided to go East, Malakai kept the trip goofy. Lotton says,

“With Malakai I get the extra bonus with endless laughter…I’ve never laughed so much with an animal. Whether it’s just his face or something he is doing, it’s always entertaining being with that guy.”

dog road trip

Source: Julie Lotton

Traveling solo with a dog can be difficult in the summer, as Lotton tries her best to keep Malakai safe:

“The most challenging would be because I’m alone with him is simply running into a store for something. We only do these trips in summer, so obviously I can’t leave him alone in the car without it running with the A/C on. I have a sign I put in my window stating the air is on etc. but it’s still stressful — someone might smash my window or even worse, someone sees a car with keys and steals it with him in there!”

dog backpacking

Source: Julie Lotton

Traveling outside of Ontario has had its perks for Malakai. Without the restraints of breed-specific legislation, Malakai gets to just be a dog, and Lotton is just seen as a regular dog owner.

Related: 6 Vacation Getaway Spots That Will Treat Your Pup (And You) Like Royalty

“Thankfully once you get out of bigger cities and go north people tend to see him more as a just a dog instead of his breed,” she told PupJournal.

dog waterfall

Source: Julie Lotton

While their vacations are special, Malakai has become a bit of an anomaly himself. He remains as one of the last legal pit bulls in the province of Ontario. Breed-specific legislation (BSL) has not been kind to him or thousands of other dogs in the province, but Lotton is hopeful:

“Malakai almost lost his life before I got him based on how he looks because of BSL and sadly he’s one of the last legal pit bulls in Ontario. He has been the greatest dog I could have ever asked for, and this breed doesn’t deserve the negative stereotype it has against them. BSL needs to go because it does nothing but hurt innocent dogs.”

You can follow all of Malakai’s and Julie’s adventures on Instagram.

Header image via Julie Lotton