I’m often asked the question, “why a pit bull?” I’m not exactly the type of person you’d usually peg for a pit bull lover… and that’s probably a good thing, given the fact that this breed has received a horrible reputation in past years solely due to the fact that the wrong types of people usually choose to own them, and exploit them for all the wrong reasons.
Anyway, here’s my story…
I have always been a dog lover, and as a longtime volunteer with the Humane Society, I have always had an especially soft spot in my heart for the “under dogs” – the ones no one seemed to want. The ones who sat patiently in their kennels day after day waiting for their forever homes, while everyone seemed to just pass them by, and all the cute fluffy puppies around them got adopted so quickly. These “under dogs” were usually the old ones, the ugly ones, the ones missing an eye here, a leg there, the big ones, particularly the big black ones (of which I also have!)… and of course, the pit bulls. As someone who worked with the dogs one-on-one in the behavior and socialization program at the humane society, I got to know these dogs as individuals, and I learned that many of the dogs who no one would typically even give a second look were actually some of the dogs with the best personalities. This was especially true of the pit bulls we had there, and I quickly fell in love with the breed.
My first true pittie love was a longtime resident at the shelter named Chevy. This massive 90 lb. Pit Bull/American Bulldog mix was the type of dog that would make most people cross the street when they saw him coming. He had a head the size of a bowling ball, close cropped ears that had probably been cut off with scissors judging by the mangled looks of them, and rippling muscles with not an ounce of fat to them. Not to mention a set of balls that would make a bull jealous (which were later taken care of, obviously!). I’ll admit, that my first time working with this burly boy, I was a tad nervous taking him out, despite all the experience I had with pit bulls. But he quickly proved my fears to be unfounded (as I knew deep down he would), and won me over with his incredible affection, intelligence, focus and charm. I could not imagine a more well-rounded good dog and could seriously not find a single flaw with him, despite the fact that his looks attracted only the wrong types of people to him. Chevy was at the shelter for a full year and a half before he was adopted. I would have adopted him in an instant, and I begged my husband numerous times to come look at him, but at the time he wasn’t really much of a dog person and was adamant that the one dog we already had was enough. I’m thankful the Humane Society gave Chevy the time he needed to find the right home, but it breaks my heart to know he had to spend all those months in the shelter.
Fast forward to a couple years later, and my husband finally agrees it’s time to add a second dog to our household. I knew it had to be a pit bull, and I immediately hopped onto Petfinder.com to see what pitties out there might be in need of a good home. I came across a local pit bull rescue, so I put in an application right away. Meanwhile, I was still going in for my weekly volunteer shifts at the Humane Society and was keeping an eye out for the next addition to our family. That’s when I met Stewie (who was then named Hunter). It was love at first sight. He had been abandoned by his previous owner and had just come to the Humane Society a few days earlier. He was terrified out of his mind and it took a good amount of coaxing to even get him out of his kennel. Once I did, he crawled into my lap (all 60+ lbs. of him!) and tucked his head under my chin, where he stayed for the next 15 minutes. After he realized I was not going to hurt him, he opened right up and had a blast playing fetch with a tennis ball and even already knew how to sit. After my shift, I raced home and told my husband about him and we went back to see him that day and signed the paperwork. We got to pick him up the next day and he’s been our pride and joy ever since! He even turned my not-really-a-dog-person husband into (almost) as much of a nut as I am. It seems like just a short while ago my husband was adamant about only having one dog, and now we have two (plus a foster) and we couldn’t be happier! Even though I didn’t end up adopting from the pit bull rescue, I knew this was an organization I wanted to belong to and to support. In my professional life I work in public relations, and I like to think of Stewie as my own little PR project. He truly changes the minds of everyone he meets.