A Pit Bull's Reality

Lucky Dog Rescue is not necessarily a "Pit Bull Rescue."

I'm more of a broken heart rescue. A desperate soul rescue. A no-other-hope rescue.

It just so happens... that many of the dogs with no other hope... are "Pit Bulls." (It also turns out... that I freaking love Pit Bulls.)

But you may wonder why the "bully breeds" need so much help. Why do these particular dogs have no other hope?

Let's start at the beginning... with the "ownership" aspect. Pit Bulls are arguably the most tortured "breed" in the world. (Remember: the term "Pit Bull" actually refers to at least 3 different breeds: the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.)

These dogs have been used and abused by humans for insanely cruel purposes... resulting in their bad reputation and perceived tough-guy image. This is not their fault.

Pit Bulls are often subjected to inhumane, painful, sadistic practices, such as dogfighting. They are exploited. They are tortured. They are hated.

Other Pit Bulls are chained and used for "protection." Many are used as "breeding machines." Some are used for "bait." In most cases, these guard dogs, breeder dogs, and bait dogs are severely mistreated, starved, and neglected all their lives.

But more than that... these tortured Pit Bulls live each and every day... without love.

Let's talk dogs for a second. Not breeds. Just dogs...

A dog --any dog-- exists for one reason: companionship. That's their entire purpose on this Earth. Dogs live for us. They'd die for us. Dogs love us more than they love themselves.

So... when you deny a dog --any dog-- of that companionship, you deny them of their very purpose in life. And when you strip a dog --any dog-- of their most basic needs: food, water, shelter, and exercise... you slowly kill their spirit.

But sadly... Pit Bulls are rarely desired for companionship. Yet...it's their only wish. Pit Bulls are rarely given food, walks, or warmth. These are their only needs.

Pit Bulls need and desire these things... just as much as every other dog. But far too often, their most basic needs and desires... are denied.

Despite all of this, these dogs live each day... with the hope that maybe today will be better. "Maybe I'll please them today." "Maybe they'll feed me today." "Maybe they'll walk me today." "Maybe they'll love me today."

Because every day --no matter what you do to a Pit Bull-- a Pit Bull will still love you.

However, in the eyes of their abusers, these dogs are completely disposable. They have no value, no worth, and no feelings. The owner determines the dog's "purpose," and the dog must fulfill that purpose... just to survive another day.

When these tortured Pit Bulls have fulfilled their "purpose" --or when they fail to fulfill that purpose-- they're often dumped to die... or killed.

And when a Pit Bull is dumped, where do they go?

That's the next heartbreaking reality for these dogs. Many rescued Pit Bulls end up in animal shelters. And many of those shelters have strict policies regarding bully breeds (Often, these policies are enforced in an attempt to protect these dogs from further abuse. I DO NOT wish to bash any shelter policies here, only to explain the reality for many Pit Bulls).

Some shelters require that all Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes be euthanized. Others may deem Pit Bulls as "rescue-only," meaning that only an animal rescue group can pull the dogs from the shelter.

So... that means they have hope, right? From rescue groups?

That's the third devastating reality for Pit Bulls. Many animal rescue organizations cannot or do not take Pit Bulls.

For starters, many rescue groups are located in areas with Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). So, it's actually illegal for those rescues to take any Pit Bulls.

Other rescue groups may choose not to take bully breeds for various reasons. This decision is often made because it's much more difficult to find good, quality homes for these dogs... and the process takes time.

With Pit Bulls, the pet adoption process takes much longer than with other breeds. Due to societal bias --and BSL-- the adopter pool for Pit Bulls is much smaller than for other dogs. So... when a rescue group has limited space and resources, they may not be able to accommodate a Pit Bull until adoption.

...Which ties into the next no-other-hope reality for Pit Bulls: adoption. As I said, the pool of adopters for Pit Bulls is vastly smaller than for any other breed of dog. This is true for many reasons: the misinformation, the societal misconception, the judgment without merit... these things threaten every Pit Bull's future.

Then... for some potential Pit Bull adopters, BSL prevents any chance of adoption. For others, their landlords, their insurance companies, and the opinions of family and friends deter desires to adopt a Pit Bull.

And so... after a lifetime of abuse, many Pit Bulls are simply waiting... with shattered hopes, dreams, and love... to die.

Today... right now, at this very second... thousands upon thousands of Pit Bulls are suffering. Thousands and thousands more are waiting in shelters... for their chance at forever. For their first shot at love.

For many, the suffering will never end. For most, love will never arrive. For the majority, death will get here first.

Except... for a lucky few. The Lucky Dogs.

And that's why I save them.

I don't do it because it's easy. I do it because they're worth it.


  1. Wonderfully written

  2. I own a pitbull boxer mix. He certainly is a handful! He's about a year old and he nips and has a Ton of energy and he grew so fast. He's still with his brother and sister of the same litter and they are more boxer than pit, they're much more calm. Unfortunately he's not WITH me yet, he's with a friend of mine. But i know he'll be a terrific companion just as soon as i can start loving up on him and training him a bit. I just wanted to say thanks for taking in these amazing dogs :) and good luck, to all those lucky dogs!

  3. i ve gotten to grown on the tv show pit bulls and paroles how i would just love to walk up to my babaies my kids and hold them nd love them all day long ive had a few pits but that it i belive its how u raise any dog and some of the sweetest dogs are pit bulls ive seen it nd been there me and my hubby was out walking one day and we know all the neighbor hood dogs and we found a new dog it was a pit hes really not afraid of no dog but this dog was showing his or her teeth like i want to bite ur arm off and eat u well we sttarted walking away and he went back to the dog a few feet away again and then showed its teth gin well im a little leary sometimes but i got close to my husband and looked and said that dogs not growling or wanting to bite u it had a slime a mile long and it was smiling the whole time and so we made a new freind

  4. My wife Jaci and I adopted (or shall I say WE were adopted) a Black Lab/American Staffordhire Bull Terrier, January, 2011. She's black with a white "letter L on her chest. Knowing Bull Terriers and the like were often referred as "Nanny Dogs" because of their loving demeanor towards babies, toddlers and the like, as well as protectors of the little people. She has the huge ability to KILL us with big, loving, sloppy kisses. She LOVES EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE. Oh, when a stranger turns around in our drive or knocks on the door, the deep, throaty (and ferocious sounding) bark brings them to attention, and alerts us of the "preditors", BUT, when they are allowed in, she jumps right up on them, showering them with kisses with her tail wagging and her entire butt wagging in time with her tail. What a lovely and loving daughter we have. Yes....SHE is our daughter, and I couldn't be more proud of her. Thank you for creating this page, Ashley. America (and the rest of the world) needs to be educated on this species of animal. They are what they are taught, and in our home, it's all about love.

    John Balek,
    Oswego, New York

  5. I think yer cute :D

    I read your post too, by the way. Promise.

  6. Great dogs, unfortunately most often, bad owners. I foster pit bulls for local rescue, and I find them to be the most wonderful loving dogs, in spite of their past abuse. Their ability to forgive and move on is amazing. Ashley, keep up the good work, and check us out. www.strayrescue.org. Randy Grim, the founder, goes out and rescues (mostly pits) in the worst part of St. Louis. Stray rescue is a no-kill facility and adopts out hundreds of pit bulls a year.

  7. Beautifully written.. And a sad truth.
    We love our (adopted) pittie mixes and fosters!


  9. I love my pibble and I love my lab. It's sad I have to be "paranoid" about my dog's behavior, because of discrimination. If you broke into my house right now....My lab would be the one that might bite. My pit bull would just lick you to death! And again, my pit bull is much more "cuddle-y" than my lab (she wants close cuddles to be her idea!). It really is "racism" in the dog world. Pit bulls are terribly misunderstood.

  10. I admit I was hesitant to adopt a pit mix but I do not regret the decision at all! She is the sweetest lovebug and LOVES to give puppy kisses. She gets along w/ the other two dogs and the 3 cats. Yes, she is high-strung and loves to chew but I wouldn't hesitate to adopt another one and I wouldn't trade her for anything.

  11. As usual wonderfully said!

  12. Two years ago I had just gotten out of the hospital ,after a 6 week stay..our son came home for Christmas and brought our Grand Dog,Capone !! Its the first time i had seen him and was alittle scared because I had never been around the breed !! He came in and layed at my feet..from then on he and Grammie are together all the time..he came to live with us !! He is the best and we love him to death !!

  13. A few years back our town started legislation to block Pit Bull ownership in our community. After talking with our local city counselor, we convinced him that there are many aggressive dogs out there and the majority are not pit bulls. That the issue should be if any dog is a repeat offender regardless of their breed. Our local Longmont Humane Society is full all of the time with beautiful pit bulls waiting for a forever home due to surrounding communities such as Denver forbidding the breed within their limits. Five years ago, my husband and son brought me home a sweetie named Sugar and we have yet to have any issue with her. She was obviously neglected and not house broken at all but we spent the time to change that and we are so glad that we did. She is our baby now and she knows it.
    Thanks for your article, we are always telling people that these dogs are great animals to own and that it is usually the humans who are the problem. Keep on doing what you do, YOU ROCK!

    Theresa O'Neill
    Longmont, CO

  14. I own a red nose pitt bull. He is the most enegetic, loving, fun filled dog I have ever had. He loves my son who is only 11 months. He plays with him but never even opens his mouth around my son. He is my sons best friend. He see's other dogs on our bike path and only wants to play. He will attack someone with loads od licks if they come through our front door. He is my son's best friend, and also mine.

  15. Beautiful artical! I Love pit bulls. I own a American Bull dog/pit mix. He is the sweetest animal in the world. He loves to snuggle, and I mean literally. He burrows under our blankets every night when we go to bed. He has the most beautiful personality!
    It is very sad how bully breeds get a bad rap because of misconceptions. And BSL is total what I like to call bull shit legislation. It's not fair that these beautiful creatures endure such awful things. I wish they could all find good, loving forever homes and never know the cruelties of this world!

  16. AMEN!! You Rock Ashley!! You are the angel so many Pits need!! Thank you for all you do for them!!

  17. I had a pitbull dumped on me, as I live in the country having two small dogs and a huskie and lab and cats, scared me to death, but I too have been misinformed, as I started to mess with this dog I realized what an amazing animal he is, he's wonderful! As we have grown together I realize how wrong I was. He has found his forever home and I will preach his grace, just give them a chance, they are like a gun, it's the people behind it that is scary!!! I will help others understand and will take another when the time comes. I love reading your blogs although sometimes I'm in tears when I'm through, but may God bless you and your work, and I pray for these little angels always.

  18. Jennifer Peters WattersDecember 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    I am in tears not because I did not already know about the issues addressed here, but because it breaks my heart. I lost my Sasha a little over a year ago, someone poisoned her in her pin. We were devistated. I miss her so much. I have owned several Pitt Bulls over the years and they are amazing dogs with a lot of love to give. Very sweet and compassionate. They have just been given a bad rep. Thanks to the idiots who think it is neat to fight them and mistreat them. Any animal that is treated the way that Pitts have been treated would be mean and aggresive and do what they feel they need to in order to protect themselves. It makes me sick that the local humane society is not so humane. I mean this because every Pitt or Pitt mix is automatically put to sleep. That is so wrong. All my kids have grown up around Pitts and in return have also become Pitt lovers. I would love to do what you are doing. I wish I had the money to donate however I can't at this current time. I have the upmost respect for you and what you are doing. I plan to share this on my facebook page to get the word out. I wish you the best and give each and everyone of those special angels hugs and kisses from me.

  19. Ashley I don't know if you know about this but a long time ago there was a story about a lady on facebook. She lived in a town with bsl and a pitbull saved her life. The pitbull went to the pound and she was on facebook trying to save the pitbull that saved her life. I have not heard anything back about the pitbull. I hope the pitbull made it out alive. But sadly because of bsl only a rescue from out of town could rescue the brave hero. Just so sad.

  20. Sadly, you cannot convince the world that pit bulls aren't the devils spawn. Almost impossible since the media have driven it into their head. You are their angel.

  21. The best dog I ever had the pleasure of sharing my home with was an American Stratfordshire Terrier named Josie. She was my best friend and the best cuddeler in the whole world. She has been gone about 4 years now but to this day whenever I am asked out of all the dogs I've had which was the best I always say Josie without a shawdow of a doubt. I still lover her to death and cherish the time I had with her!

  22. Very well stated!! :'-( BSL is definitely BS L!!

  23. Thank you for this article! I am the only "pit bull person" volunteering with my rescue organization, and I get a lot of flack that it's taken me so long to get my first foster adopted. It's easy to get a bichon, a poodle or a yorkie adopted, whether that dog is nice or not. It's a lot harder to get a pit bull, no matter how awesome, adopted. My foster is often the only dog sitting nicely and quietly at adoption events, while all the other dogs are yapping away, peeing on the floor, or nipping at small children. But week after week, my foster is passed over for these other dogs. It breaks my heart. The only solace I can take is that while she is with me, she will be loved and cared for as long as it takes! Thanks for what you do and for writing so eloquently about the plight of pit bulls. Hopefully people will come around soon....I have to hope that.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. I have a little pit bull mix (http://maisieme.blogspot.com/) and just got a job in a new city. it was VERY hard to find a place for us to live, we even got turned down by a landlord who agreed to rent to me but changed her mind at the last minute because she didn't want "an aggressive breed of dog" in her property. it's been a difficult and frustrating experience, but I persevered for one reason...I love my dog. I realized it would be tough, but as long as it wasn't impossible, I knew I'd eventually find us a great new home. and I did! :)

  26. I rescued my first Pit bull (cross) in November and am totally in love with him! Jethro is not only beautiful and smart, he is the most loving, gentle dog I've ever known. The only thing dangerous about him is his tongue! Are all pitties such crazy kissers? He's like a FROG!

  27. They absolutely are worth it! Great post.

  28. Ashley, your post really spoke to my heart and soul. In fact, it echoed it. Up until I adopted my pit bull Skye, I didn't really think much about pit bulls at all. I always loved them, but I didn't know a fraction of what i know about them now. Having Skye really opened my heart my mind so wide that the tides of love and caring for pit bulls came crashing into my world. I've done so much extensive research on pit bulls -- all three breeds -- and the information and knowledge I've obtained from all that research forged a staunch advocate and defender of these dogs. I wish I had my own land. I live in New York City and I rent an apartment in Brooklyn, so even though my apartment is large for Skye to run and play, I wish so much that I owned at least an acre of land. Because if I did, I'd personally own as many pit bulls as possible -- but would be careful not to overcrowd them. I love pit bulls so much, too. I'm so completely enamored with these dogs and every thing about them. When I see people walking their pit bulls, I wish the dogs were mine instead. I do what I can, though. I donate to your rescue shelter, I donat to the Villalobos Rescue Center, and I created a page on Facebook called Pit Bulls: America's Original Dog (which is very new so it only has 48 likes so far). But I admire you and people like you, Ashley, so much -- and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little envious because I wish to God I could be doing something for pit bulls like what people like you do. I love how you really dig in and educate people about the real and true innate nature of these spectacular dogs. In the pet world there is such a plethora of ignorance and misinformation about these dogs and the only hope pit bulls have is if people like us get together and aggressively get the truth out. I don't want to think about how many pits are euthanized every day, because it makes me too angry that I'm helpless to stop it all at once. Keep up everything you're doing, Ashley. Every pit bull rescued and loved is one step closer in saving this breed. One dog at a time.

  29. My parents had a Staffordshire for 15 years. The got Cheyanne when I was 19 as a puppy. Cheyanne was around my daughter for the first 11 years of her life. She was always around my neices and nephews. Cheyanne loved them all so much and they loved her. Never once was I ever scared that Chey would ever hurt my daughter. Never once was I afraid of Cheyanne. Cheyanne got a lot of love and the kids just adored her. Yes, she had the jaws that could clench onto someone if she wanted to and yes, if anyone tried to hurt those kids, she may have done just that but that dog had so much love in her and she showed it with more doggy kisses than anyone could stand. Some may require more supervision and training than other dogs, granted - but with some love, patience, and training these dogs can be the most devoted loyal pets. Ashley, Cheyanne is the reason I donate to you. I donate because her breed and those like her deserve so much better and you are doing that. On behalf of Cheyanne, Zeus (my brother's pitty who was stolen from him-possibly for fighting) and for my neices pit-baby - we thank you!

  30. You're right - we CAN change the perception, with the help of your blog & rescue, BAD RAP, Bet Friends and all the other organizations and people putting out the GOOD WORD about pibbles. Happy Holidays to you and all the fur kids with you!

  31. @ Maisie's Mom
    How I wish all pet parents who are moving with pets were like you. I cannot fathom how those owners who surrender their pets because the place they're moving to doesn't like/want pets for whatever reason could do such a thing. If they loved their pet, THEN HOW IN THE WORLD COULD THEY SURRENDER THEM?? But then again maybe they didn't love their pet THAT much that's why they were able to part ways with them. I admire you for not giving up your beloved dog and for persevering until you found a home for you and your furry angel.

    @ Ashley
    Thank you for this wonderful post. You're an angel and a saint to the animals you're rescuing and loving. They are so lucky and the world is lucky to have someone like you living in it.

  32. :) I'm getting my pit bull foster tomorrow!!YAY!! Shes being transported up right now!! CAN'T WAIT!!! Jus in time for a warm house for the HOWL-O DAYS!!

  33. Well, one good thing is there are a lot of people out there like you and I who absolutely adore pitbulls. Hopefully, as we keep spreading the word about how wonderful these dogs are, more and more people will grow to love them. Pitbulls are not any different than other dogs. Thanks for all you do, and keep educating people. Your cute pictures of the dogs go a long way, too.

  34. I happen to LOVE pitbulls...theyre so beautiful and they have the biggest hearts! I commend you for what you do...I already have a dog and when and if the time comes for another one...I know what Im gonna get regardless of what I hear from others...as far as BSL....Im not really sure that I would be willing to live somewhere (if I could move...) where the type of dog I want is dependant on others opinions....but thats just my opinion

  35. I have rescued 4 pit, pit-mixes and they are the best dogs I have ever known. My Sumera was a bait dog who survived because she came down with mange so the owners threw her out a car window while they kept driving, thankfully the people driving behind those jerks stopped and saved her... But took her to a high kill pound. I ran and got her as soon as I saw her on petfinder, she has been the most loving companion and I am so proud of her for being so strong to forget all that bad past and be so gentle and caring. I also rescued a miniature pincher who adjust skin and bone to the point of almost starving to death. My other child is a pomeranian who was left tied behind a house with no food, no water, and no shelter and had a broken pelvis, and very weak from the thousands of fleas that covered his 5lb body. He is a little guy with a heart as big as my pits. It is a lot of work for me to take care of these 6 children of mine hut I wouldn't trade them for the world. And I have more then enough love to share with them all.

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  51. We love you and what you do, Ashley. We are forever grateful to you for saving our Daisy and giving us the privilege of loving and being loved by her!


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