Mention Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes and many people cringe.
These dogs get the worst raps, yet 99 percent of them are sweet, loving, smart and so loyal.
“It’s the owner, not the dog” applies to this dog more than any other breed when they are maligned and feared. Their fierce loyalty and bright nature is a flaw when the wrong person teaches them to fight and hate.
Pity the Pit Bull for being the perfect target for many angry young men who fight them and use them as fear mongers. These dogs are lovers, not fighters!
In the past five years, a groundswell of support has swept over this country as pit bulls are being rescued, rehabbed and even turned into therapy dogs. The hit TV show, "The Dog Whisperer", features many pit bulls, including Daddy, the huge sweet Pittie who helps Caesar Milan train all sort of dogs.
Rachel Ray’s dog, Isaboo, is the inspiration for her line of dog food. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah (www.bestfriends.org) rescues dozens of pit bulls, including half of Michael Vick’s dogs. Pit rescues are springing up all across the country.
Watch the YouTube video from a rescue called Big Hearts for Big Dogs. If this doesn’t change your mind about the temperament of Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes, nothing will. What you will witness is the astonishing ability of this breed to forgive, trust and still love after horrendous abuse.
Interested in pit bulls a little now? Almost every shelter in the Chicago area has some, while there are also breed rescues that specialize in pits if you Google Pit Bull rescues in the Chicago area.
Around home, you can check out Orphans of the Storm in Riverwoods at www.orphansofthestorm.org. Animal Care and Control of Chicago, the main pound for the city, is also full of them and they are a kill shelter, and, sadly, you can always find this breed there.
Do not be afraid of Pit Bulls! You are denying yourself the true pleasure of knowing an incredible breed if you automatically walk away from them at a shelter or rescue group. I worked with many of them at Save-a-Pet as a volunteer animal massage therapist, and they are amazingly sweet!
- information compiled by Barbara Cooke