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The Truth about Pit Bulls

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 4:00pm
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“Pit Bull.” There is no other breed of dog—or arguably, any other animal at all—whose mere mention can elicit such strong opinions. Try a word-associate game with your friends: Ask them what they think of when you say “Pit Bull.” Chances are that by the numbers, their responses will be more negative than positive. And it’s no wonder: No other type of dog is as widely banned from housing, legislated against, or incorrectly vilified by the media.

How did we get here?
Pit Bulls were once widely considered ideal family pets—affectionate, loyal and gentle with children. But in recent years, these dogs have suffered tremendously from a combination of overbreeding, bad publicity and irresponsible owners. In reality, the overwhelming majority of Pits and Pit mixes are sweet goofballs who have gotten a very bad rap.

Learn the truth.
National Pit Bull Awareness Day, on October 27, is a day of appreciation and education designed to change perceptions and stereotypes about Pit Bulls and their responsible owners. Please take a moment to learn the truth about these wonderful dogs and consider rescuing one of them from a shelter.

Are you a proud Pit Bull parent? Please participate in National Pit Bull Awareness Day, and help us dispel the myths about these dogs by leaving a comment below about your wonderful pooch.

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Cindy Opperman

My husband and I rescued our first pit in February of 2011. Her name is Sophia Marie (Sophie) and she is primarily a Staffordshire and was about 1 ½ years old. She had been at the local shelter for 2 1/2 months and luckily a grant through the local SPCA had kept her alive. My husband fell in love with her photo online and we headed in to meet her knowing full well she would be ours. At the shelter we learned she was a mouther and a jumper. It took a little while but she we got her to stop her bad habits but it was clear she had been played with using long sleeved shirts and so sweatshirts took some time. She had clearly lived in a home with a man and a woman and she was my shadow. She was scared of my husband at first and of any man that came to the house. She would hide from flashlights and ran from me when I pulled out a roll of wrapping paper. It took her a few months to realize that her new dad and grandpas were not going to hurt her and even more to calm her around anything that looked like a stick or pipe. What a horrible life she must have had prior to meeting us. The fact that the shelter was the nicest/safest place she had lived was heartbreaking. After nine months and clearly seeing her blossom into one of the sweetest dogs I've known we decided that she really needed a buddy to play with. Down to the shelter we headed and as an early Christmas present we got Sophie a new brother, Kobie (1 year old), a pit mix with probably some Springer in him is my guess. He had been surrendered to the shelter by his owner and put into a program where he lived in the prison with an inmate who taught him basic commands. He is a lover and a lap dog too. He was diagnosed prior to us getting him with OCD and that has taken some work to control but he is much more focused now and though we can't stop the shadow and reflection chasing completely he doesn't lick himself raw or have other abandonment issues anymore. Again you try not to think about the life they had before and how they turned out as good as they did under the circumstances but it is a hard thought to avoid. Most humans couldn’t even handle the life some of these dogs have before being rescued into loving homes.
Both of them are angels. They love laying next to you or sitting in your lap, and truly only want petting and love. I can't imagine our home without them and I already know anymore dogs will be pits because they are loyal and good, and because they have such a bad reputation I can't help but want to give them a good home. We are having a baby soon and I have no concerns about my dogs because they are so good around other children. In fact I'm looking forward to my son and Kobie walking in the house in the years to come and being covered in mud because I know the two of them will be close and getting each other into messes.
Dogs are loyal, loving, devoted to their families, and excellent judges of character, pits are no exception. I learned early on from my first dog, a golden retriever, that if my dog doesn't like you, I shouldn't like you and that has never steered me wrong. Sadly there are good and bad dogs in the world, just as there are people. You shouldn’t lump an entire breed of dog together just as you shouldn’t lump a race of people together. I’ve seen my share of mean dogs, from well known “good” breeds and from breeds that have bad reputations like pits and Rottweilers, and I’ll tell you the some dogs I’ve met are from breeds like Golden Retrievers and labs, not to mention some little dogs that try to bite anyone walking by them even children, and why are these dogs aggressive? They’re aggressive because their owners trained them to be or they allowed them to be. If you have a small child and they bite other children you don’t blame the other children, you tell yours to stop, but if you don’t and you allow them to bite they will continue to become more and more aggressive. I never blame a mean dog, I blame their adoptive parents.

Kaitlin

I love the comments about the pit bulls. I have a nephew that i live with whom is four years old. I knew someone who had a pit that did not take good care of her. The friend then asked me if I would take his dog. I thought about it for several days because of the stories to hear about pits. I spoke with my vet about it because I did not want to take a dog in that one may not get along with my corgi and two because of my four year old newphew. The vet reassured me that pits are excellent dogs and I then listened to her. I took Zoey in and she was a loveable dog. Five days after getting her she started to get really sick. I took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with parvo virus. The vet gave me three options which being where take her home and watch her die, have her put down to rest in heaven, or admitt her into intensive care. I then took her to the animal hospital, they cared for her 24/7. When i went to pick up Zoey they told me she still has a 50% chance of dying. I took her home and had to give her IV fluids in the back of her neck three times a day, spoon feed her, and hope to bring her back to life. Months went by and Zoey was getting a bit better each day. Zoey is now almost two years old who is the most loveable dog. It breaks my heart to know the bad rap pitbulls have and how much of a family dog they are. I could have not gotten a better dog that my Zoey. Only thing i experience with pits is that they need to be walked often because they get bored and will chew. I love Zoey and would always rescue other pitbulls.

i rescued my first pit bull doggie circa 1988. she was a beautiful white and black spotted with one black ear and the other dappled. she had a big black spot near her rump, hence her name, Shimi which means "spot" in japanese.
http://www.digiflux.biz/ShimiBig.jpg

My family has two pit mixes, a shepherd/chow mix, a German Shepherd, and a pit bull, all rescues in one way or another. The most recent was the pit bull, who I found on the way to work one morning wandering down a busy street in a rough part of Baltimore. He was skin and bone, with sores on his face. We don't know how he was treated, but he does exhibit behavior that leads us to believe he was abused. He was fearful, especially of men, but has gotten over it. Nonetheless, he has exhibited NO signs of aggression, including food aggression, which surprised our vet due to his condition. He gets along great with the other dogs (he and the German Shepherd are closest in age and love to play together) and the family's 8 cats. He does try to play with them, but we have found him napping with them, too. He sleeps with my parents in bed every night, and always has to be close to someone. He doesn't like to be alone. The media really has done a huge disservice to these amazing dogs. They are so easily trained to fight because they are loyal, and will do anything for their owners. As others have said, look at the Vick dogs for undisputable proof that the owner is to blame, not the dog itself. Those dogs went from the fighting ring to loving homes, with many becoming certified canine good citizens and therapy dogs!

Don

I found a very young dog about seventeen years ago, and took it to the vet to have her checked out. I asked the Vet what kind of dog she was, and when he told me she was a Pit Bull I was ready to leave her there. However the doc told me about what great dogs they were so took her home to live with me and my family.
We named her Lucy, she was almost all black with white markings and was the best, most loyal and freindly dog I had ever had the pleasure of living with, I grew up with collies..
After 15 years with her I had to have her relieved of her pain from arthrites and was the hardist day of my life, she is buried here on my property with a concrete bench as a marker, on that bench it the date of her death and some puppy paws and a saying " If love could have saved you you would have lived forever" ingraved in to the cement.
A couple of years later I rescued a Pit from a rescue center, she was 6 weeks old and 9 pounds, white with black spots all over her, one brown eye and one blue.
When we saw her my wife said oh how precious, we took her straight to our vet and the girl in the front office said " how precious" then we went back to the exam room and the tech said h"how precious", and the doc entered the room and said" how precious" and wanted to know her name and I said...Precious.
she is a lap dog a lover and loves her frisbee. Pits are great dogs, and it upsets me that there are folks that pass judgement on them when they have never even been around one.

Don

I found a very young dog about seventeen years ago, and took it to the vet to have her checked out. I asked the Vet what kind of dog she was, and when he told me she was a Pit Bull I was ready to leave her there. However the doc told me about what great dogs they were so took her home to live with me and my family.
We named her Lucy, she was almost all black with white markings and was the best, most loyal and freindly dog I had ever had the pleasure of living with, I grew up with collies..
After 15 years with her I had to have her relieved of her pain from arthrites and was the hardist day of my life, she is buried here on my property with a concrete bench as a marker, on that bench it the date of her death and some puppy paws and a saying " If love could have saved you you would have lived forever" ingraved in to the cement.
A couple of years later I rescued a Pit from a rescue center, she was 6 weeks old and 9 pounds, white with black spots all over her, one brown eye and one blue.
When we saw her my wife said oh how precious, we took her straight to our vet and the girl in the front office said " how precious" then we went back to the exam room and the tech said h"how precious", and the doc entered the room and said" how precious" and wanted to know her name and I said...Precious.
she is a lap dog a lover and loves her frisbee. Pits are great dogs, and it upsets me that there are folks that pass judgement on them when they have never even been around one.

Joann Polzin

I own two female pit mixes and I would not trade them for the world. Both came into my life unexpectedly and change me forever. They are the most loving and affectionate dogs and are the goofiest breed I have ever seen. Everyone should spend a day with a pit so they can see what a fantastic breed they really are.

diane

i live in downtown los angeles and every time i see a pit bull on the street they try to get to the other dogs growling the owner has a hard time to get the dog away from the other dogs. yeah they maybe sweet and loving at home but when outside around other dogs the r different. every time i see a pit coming down the street i pick up my little terrier mix dog and go the other way. i just dont trust those dogs. im sorry if anyone gets mad at me but that is just how i feel about them dogs.

Brett Baker

A town near where I live wants to ban owning pit bulls. I was kind of shocked because I thought the bad rap was knocked down. There was the t.v. show where ppl. were rescuing pit bulls and I figured that would clear things up for ppl. My little boy is Boxer and pit mix. I take the bad rap kind of personal.

Emily

We are proud parents of a beautiful 1yr old blue nose pitty name princess. When she was only 2 months old she got really sick we were so scared she was going to die. But out of no where she started to act normal as if she fought what ever she had crazy! That's are little soldier. My baby has been raised around babies and she does super great she is the sweetest pup I e ever had. I was always those type of people who would say "they are to dangerous, they have a bad rep,oh to aggressive dogs" but I gave her a chance and she changed my whole thinking about the breer. She sits next to the baby when u leave the baby side and waits for you to make sure baby is okay. She knows when it's play time and when it's time to calm down and just relax time. Baby is the best I would not trade her for any other breer I'm glad we found our other half that was missing! I love my princess best dog breer ever "it's all depends on how u raise the dog to be!"!!!

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