Happy St. Pitty's Day!
Ah, the pit bull…where do we begin? I guess a good starting point is, where does Friends of the Animal Village stand on the subject? Well, we love them. We look at them the same way as any other type of dog…capable of love, humor, intelligence, and loyalty. Hundreds of pit bulls end up at the Little Rock Animal Village every year, so we see a lot of them.
I especially love pit bulls on a personal level. I had a pit bull of my own named Vegas until two weeks ago, when my best friend crossed the rainbow bridge at the age of twelve. Before I got Vegas, I was already firmly on the side that believes pit bulls deserve as much of a chance to be wonderful family dogs as do dogs of any other breed. But Vegas turned a respect for the breed into love and admiration, and proved to me that, without a doubt, pit bulls are just regular ole’ dogs like any other (if not better). Ask any pit bull owner or, better yet, any pit bull foster or rescuer and they’ll tell you—just like other breeds, they’re loving, loyal, and live to make their human happy. Pit bulls in particular are a naturally goofy, cuddly breed, and they’re incredibly intelligent. Vegas was a 70 lb. lap dog who outsmarted me on far more occasions than I care to admit here. They’re also gentle. When Vegas and I went on walks, we’d often encounter children playing in their front yards. What followed were shouts of glee and pleas to pet the “doggy.” Every time we entered someone’s yard to oblige, Vegas would get down on the ground and crawl the last few feet to the kids, being careful not to overwhelm the little creatures who were usually smaller than him. He loved to lie in the grass and let them love on them. I’d like to think that, after getting to know Vegas, a few of my neighbors who may not have been before, are now fans of the pit bull breed. Their kids definitely are.
We think the tides are turning, but there are still a lot of people out there in your community who believe the myths about pit bulls, and yet have never actually had any experience with one. There’s a lot of misinformation and myth wrongly circulating about the pit bull breed. We could list a dozen myths here (and bust all of them for you), but there are hundreds of those lists on the internet, so instead we’ll just provide a link to one of those: [https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/myths-and-facts-about-pit-bulls/]
Rather than telling you how awesome pit bulls are, we’ll let them show you. Pit bulls are doing so much good in communities across the country every single day, but you rarely hear about it. Millions of well-behaved dogs aren’t news, after all. Here are five of our favorite pit bulls who are ambassadors for the breed just by being their awesome selves every day:
Still not convinced that pit bulls rule? Then allow me to introduce you to the Vicktory Dogs. The “Vicktory Dogs” as they’ve come to be called are the dogs from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels. They were bred and raised with the sole intention of turning them into dangerous, violent, killing machines, by a man with a lot of money to invest in the effort. Did you ever wonder what happened to them? Maybe you assumed that they would all be euthanized…a reasonable assumption, especially considering that is usually standard procedure in cases like these. But that’s not what happened. With Michael Vick’s dogs, they tried something different, something that had never been done before….they gave them a chance. The result? Of the forty-nine dogs that survived Bad Newz Kennels, one was euthanized because it was deemed dangerous…ONE. Out of forty-nine dogs who were bred, raised, abused, and trained to be violent killers, ONE was irredeemable. Most are family pets now, and many are even therapy dogs.
Jim Gorant was a writer for ESPN at the time of Michael Vick’s arrest and trial, and covered every aspect of it as part of his job. Afterwards, he wrote The Lost Dogs, a thoroughly researched and fair recounting that follows the case and the Vick dogs from the day they were taken from Vick’s backyard to what was present day at the time of publishing. What have the dogs been up to since then? Catch up on the latest news here, here, here, and here.
Do you believe me now? Good. Help us spread the word. You don’t have to stand on a street corner screaming “Pit bulls are awesome!” while waving around a poster showing Chango the Handsome Pittie looking cool in sunglasses. Please DON’T do that…you’ll scare people.
Instead, just share this blog post with your friends and family, and correct people when you hear them blindly repeat a myth or misconception about pit bulls. That’s all it takes. Winning hearts and minds, one at a time.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. - Not tired of pit bulls yet? Here’s some more fun stuff from around the web:
Funny piece from Buzzfeed - “24 Reasons Why No One Should Ever Have a Pit Bull as a Pet”