5.28.2013

Pit Bull Problems

I'm often asked about my love of the Pit Bull breed(s).

Why do I love them?
How did I come to love them?
Was I always drawn to these dogs?

Growing up, my family had many dogs of many different breeds. 
But I'd be lying if I said that we ever had a "Pit Bull." I'd also be lying if I said I'd ever wanted to have a "Pit Bull" ... or that my parents would've ever allowed us to have a "Pit Bull."

It's not that my parents were "bad" people... they just didn't know any better. Therefore, I didn't know any better. I was never "against" Pit Bulls, but I also wasn't "for" them, either. Mostly because... I just didn't know much about them. 

But what I *knew* about them... all that I *knew* about them... was based on what I'd *heard* about them.
And it wasn't good.

Back then, I'd never heard anything positive said about "Pit Bulls." 
No one I knew ever had a "Pit Bull." 
No one I knew ever wanted a "Pit Bull." 
No one I knew had ever even encountered a "Pit Bull."

Therefore, even though I never "judged" these dogs, I honestly never thought much about them. And I certainly never thought: "One day... I'll grow up and save them."

So... when did this change for me?
Well, it was in 2009, and his name was Rudy. 

By then, I was 24 years old, and I'd met many other Pit Bulls. So... I knew a little more about these dogs, and I cared a lot more about them. But even still, at the time, I wasn't using my voice to help them, nor was I using my rescue efforts to save them.

Until... I met Rudy.
He was the one who changed everything.

Ask any "Pit Bull lover." 
Many of us weren't always "Pit Bull lovers."
Instead, it took one dog... one "Pit Bull" ... to change everything. 
And almost every "Pit Bull lover" can name who "that dog" was for them.

For me, "that dog" was Rudy. 

I'll be honest. I didn't fully trust him at first. 
Not because he was a "Pit Bull," but because he was a dog who had been chained, beaten, and starved for his whole life. I didn't know him... he didn't know me. I was unsure... he was unsure. I didn't know what to expect... he didn't know what to expect.

But I saved him, and he knew it.
So he loved me, and I knew it.

Rudy came to me as a "rescue dog." As with every other rescue dog I take in, I was simply planning to bring him back to health, and then find a family to love him forever. 
Of course, I soon realized... I could never let him go.  

Because he was the Pit Bull who would change my life.

At the time, I didn't fully realize just how much he would change my life, my mission, my future. I also didn't realize just how much unnecessary judgment I'd face, as a result of that decision... simply because, I loved a "Pit Bull" ...

Before Rudy, I'd saved many dogs, and I'd always been praised by others for my love of dogs, for my rescue efforts, for my commitment to my cause. But when I saved Rudy, and I began to rescue other Pit Bulls like him... that's when the public scrutiny entered my life:

"OMG Ashley!!! A Pit Bull?!"
"Why would you?!"
"How could you?!"
"What the hell are you thinking?!"

Initially, I was utterly shocked, and offended. I'd done nothing wrong. In fact, I was trying to do something "right."

I didn't rescue Rudy, simply because he was a "Pit Bull." I didn't trust Rudy, simply because (or in spite of the fact that) he was a "Pit Bull." I didn't love Rudy, simply because he was a "Pit Bull." 

Instead, I rescued Rudy, because he needed me. I trusted Rudy, because he trusted me. I loved Rudy, because he loved me. 

He was the most amazing, incredible, loving dog I've ever known.
And... he just-so-happened to be... a Pit Bull. 

Soon, I realized that very few others were willing to rescue Pit Bulls. Therefore, I started saving more of them. Clearly, it was a choice I made, based on my experience with Rudy. I wanted to save others like my baby, the dogs who had no other hope. 

But it didn't take long for me to understand the weight of my decision. 
When I started rescuing Pit Bulls, I suddenly realized that I was now "different." 
In the minds of many, my rescue dogs were not "dogs" at all.
Instead, I was saving "monsters." 

This realization changed me, in so many ways. I was hurt; I was angry; I was disgusted. 
Suddenly... I was on a mission... to prove every critic wrong. Because they WERE wrong.

That being said, I don't save Pit Bulls, simply because they're the only dogs worth saving. I save Pit Bulls, because these dogs are equally deserving, equally amazing, and equally loving, when compared to any other dog (maybe moreso?). Plus, they're the most judged, most misunderstood, and most hated breed in existence. And very few other rescuers can/will save them. That's where I come in...

I mean... if you were hated, based on nothing more than how you look, wouldn't YOU want someone to stand-up for you?? I know I would...

I could go on for days about how incredible the Pit Bull breed(s) are, but please... don't just take my word for it. 

Instead, go to a shelter, and meet a Pit Bull. Contact an animal rescue group... and ask to walk a Pit Bull. Seriously, go freaking love-on a Pit Bull. 

Trust me... it just takes one... to change your perspective.
And that one "Pit Bull" ... just may change your life. 

*Written in loving memory of "the one" who changed me, Rudy


102 comments:

  1. You have shared your experience beautifully and I hope this will awaken and inspire others as well. Thanks for all you do!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I completely agree that the pit bull is a misunderstood animal and bless you for your unselfish help with these misunderstood animal

    ReplyDelete
  3. "the one" for me is named Girlie. She was dumped and unwanted and I only intended to save her life not fall in love. I got the same "what are you thinking" from friends and family. With a little training to work on the bad behaviors left from abuse, she is an awesome dog, my baby girl, and the friends and family all now love her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes until she out of the blue attacks someone and mauls and mutates . Then u will have a different attitude . Oh but your.pit bull is different and would never attack someone . Same words out of my neighbors mouth . He may be paying the hospital bills but he should be going to jail

      Delete
    2. Anonymous 12/30/13: You are part of the problem. I was bitten by a Chihuahua once, and I would never dream of stereotyping the entire breed. My Pit Bull goes to doggy daycare every week, and they say she is one of the best dogs (of ANY BREED) they have ever had. Do some actual research. Stop being a dog racist. And for the sake of everyone around you, please consider taking your head out of your ass.

      Delete
  4. Until I read your blog post about Heidi,
    http://luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/ill-miss-you-forever.html

    and a great article about Pit Bulls' history as once being "America's dog" to now being despised from Garden and Gun: "Licked to Death by a Pitt Bull"
    http://gardenandgun.com/article/licked-death-pit-bull

    I held the same ignorant prejudices about Pitt Bulls. Thank you for all that you do to help people see the dogs and not the bad and incorrect press about the breed!

    (BTW, as you might remember, I read that blog post about Heidi as a result of a friend re-posting on FB, when we stilled lived in Massachusetts, never realizing that I would soon move to Meridian and know you personally. That post had me sobbing at my computer and it opened my eyes in so many ways.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you girl! This made my day! I LOVE YOU, and I can't wait to see you (and Miss Chloe) tomorrow!!!

      Delete
  5. JUST A GREAT BIG HUG AND THANK YOU. I LOVE PIT BULLS THEY ARE VERY GENTLE. AND VERY MISUNDERSTOOD DOG'S YOU ARE AND ANGEL TO SAVE THIS BREED, AND THE SO MANY THAT NEED A LOVING HOME.I SURE LOVED READING ABOUT RUDY'S STORY. YOU INSPIRE ME VERY MUCH.

    ReplyDelete
  6. never had a pit bull but a lot of blame is on the ones that owns them how they rised

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for everything you do!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ash, I could have written the whole first part of this blog, because that was my experience too...I didn't know anything about pit bulls except what I'd heard, and it hadn't been good. I used to wonder about the type of people who would want a dog like a pit bull. Do you know what changed my perspective on pit bulls?

    YOU did.

    Thank you for that. It was because of you that I became aware of how badly they are demonized and vilified, and how wrong BSL is. Thank you for helping me understand. ( http://thewoof.wordpress.com/?s=just+a+dog )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oops, sorry. That link is: http://thewoof.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/just-a-dog/

      Delete
  9. LOVED it. I am "owned" by 2 beautiful pit bulls, and I happen to own a doggy day care in downtown Atlanta. While most dog facilities breed discriminate, we do not. Pit bulls are welcome, just as any other dog, and temperament tested (just like any other dog). Sure, pit bulls have failed on occasion, but so have Golden Retrievers, Puggles, Boston Terriers, Border Collies and the list goes on.... Judge the deed, not the breed!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I loved this. My husband and I are stronger advocates for "pit bulls" because of our "Buddy".
    Buddy came up to our house in Memphis as stray, after some bad storms a few years ago as a 6 month old black and white ball of happiness. He stayed after no owner came forward.
    We now have 4 rescues of various breeds, but Buddy holds a special place in my heart. He is 1/2 american bulldog and 1/2 Labrador. This dog has never met a stranger, his desire to please and work never ceases to amaze me. He is in agility training, and has competed successfully. Buddy has truly proven to us what a wonderful ambassador a "pitbull type" can be given a chance.

    ReplyDelete
  11. ASK THOSE WHO WERE EITHER KILLED OR MAULED BY ONE OF YOUR PIT BULLS HOW THEY FEEL .........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one was, and that's the point, you ignorant twat.

      Delete
    2. YOU ARE SHOWING THAT LIKE THOSE DOGS, YOU HAVE NOOOOO CLASS....

      Delete
    3. Should I judge every person of such-and-such race? Should I judge every person with such-and-such problem... or disability? Should I lump every such-and-such breed of dog into the category you specify?? Sounds like that's what you're doing. It's really sad, and unnecessary.

      Delete
    4. Get a clue you ignorant fool!

      Delete
    5. Animal control has stated that Yorkshire terriers are a more aggressive breed of animal than my lab/terrier/bulldog mix. As well as retrievers, dalmations and chows but honestly I think it is the owner NOT the breed that is the danger. I love all my babies but I do know that if they ever met someone they felt was out to harm my son or myself...that someone would have several holes in them...:)

      Delete
    6. Obviously a drinker of the media cool aid!!

      Delete
    7. he should probably never own a pet. BTW would it be great if people had to get a license to have kids or pets?
      P.S. My Buddy (boxer/pit) would probably lick the robber to death and show him where the jewels are at for a bone.

      Delete
    8. What an ignorant remark! Pitbulls were known as the nanny dog and it's only because of idiots who raise them wrong, fight them, chain them up that they sadly have this bad reputation. I am one of those people you said to ask how they feel and I'll tell you my thoughts. I was attacked by a pitbull and not once did I ever hold it against the dog. I knew the owner and knew the dog was used to fight. Despite that, she was so loyal to him that if she felt he was threatened in any way she defended him. I had playfully hit her owner and she jumped to defend him. Same thing even my little dog might do if he saw someone hit me. Difference is that this dog was raised to fight, she was taught to be aggressive. I actually look back now(I was a teenager then) and feel horrible for her, I blame just the owner. And just like people, I don't blame the entire breed based on the actions of a few. So as a person who has been attacked, I love pitbulls and hate the discrimination they face.

      Delete
    9. What an ignorant fool. So sad you to hide behind your anonymous status. Show your face and man up.

      Delete
    10. You know calling people fools, and ignorant, and all the other stuff isn't helping the cause. Teach them, show them, there are many people who have a legitimate fear. Our job is not to harass them about it, but to introduce them to as many bullies as possible. Let them see for themselves that none of them are the same dog that hurt someone. Show them the real stories of how the "animal" was treated, tied to a chain by himself, mistreated and tormented before he\she lost their mind and hurt someone. The truth is people a bitten and attacked every day by every breed out there. You hear about the bullies because when they do it, there is and will generally be more damage. That's the equivalent to being hit by a Ford Pinto or a Mack truck. The majority of dog bites are from the animal being scared or thinking they are defending their family. If you get into detail with dog bite victims, 8 out of 10 of them done something to cause the attack or bite. It wasn't intentional I'm sure, maybe they don't know the dog well and walked in it's house when the owner was in the other room. Point is it's not the animals fault it can almost always be traced back to an inattentive, irresponsible owner, or a victim that was somewhere they shouldn't have been in the first place.

      Delete
  12. Beautifully written. Like you I was uneducated about the breed and only new what I heard until one day I leaped and saved a pitbull even though i was terrified. My Rox has changed all my views and I KNOW, she is the most loving dog I have EVER met and the most gentle giant. Rock on with what you do and God Bless.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you so much for sharing this. It was as if you wrote a story about my feelings towards Pit Bulls. I never didnt like them, i just didnt know about them, and never would of thought of owning one. Pit bulls werent on my list of "dogs i would want to own." It wasnt until i met Daize that i knew we were meant for each other. Yes, i may of saved her from going to the pound, but she has saved me in a million more ways.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great post Ash....The ignorance of those who choose to stay uneducated to the world of dogs and instead listen to the lies never ceases to amaze me.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ashley there are no words to what wonderful work you are doing with all dogs and pit bulls. If all these uneducated people would not be after pit bulls it would be another breed that would be acting like this about. I rescued a pit and he is the best dog I have ever owned. Let me say this the day i went to get him I thought I was rescuing him well 2 months latter I found out He was the one who rescued me. People posting negetive comments you have no ideal the work she puts in and the heart ache she faces on a daily basics. Thank god there is still some good people left in this world that tries to help the animals who are defenseless against such cruel and ignorant people in this world.

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  17. I fought my wife tooth and nail when she brought home a bedraggled pit bull she had found on the side of the road. I didn't want any dog that I couldn't wrestle to the ground if need be. And yet, when Joe died of cancer one year ago, our hearts were torn asunder. No dog, and I've had many, has ever meant more to me. Our Kelpie, Maggie was forlorn and alone, so after a while, we went the rounds of the pounds seeking a boon companion for her and for us. Of course, this time, we went unhesitatingly for a pit bull.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a great article. My husband too was unsure of the breed. He didn't dislike them, just unsure of them. I work in the animal health field and had met some and fell in love with them. When the chance to adopt one from our local shelter o presented itself I jumped at the chance. I called him and asked him to come to the clinic where I work to just "meet" her. We can just foster her I told him. When I brought her to the front of the clinic so they could "meet" she immediately jumped up on the bench and just sat and waited for him to acknowledge her. She never went back to the shelter and now lives in our house and has a shih-tzu and boxer as her two best friends.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow..this is beautifully written.My wish is that every single peopson who has never owned or has encountered a "Pit Bull" can read this and open their hearts just like you have done.I too had all breeds of dogs as a child but as a child I knew nothing about and really cant even remember hearing the word "pitBull".
    Just before Christmas 3 years ago a "pit Mix" was running in the raod in front of my home..dodging cars..drivers blowing their horns at him..he was scared to death.I whistled and was scared SH**LESS when I saw this "Pit looking" dog come running at me until when he got to me, tail wagging and flopped on his back for a belly rub.I tried to find,with no sucess,(lucky for me!) his owners..I put up signs asking people to tell me the breed so he wouldnt go to the wrong people..He had no manners and was food agressive he has since become a wonderful dog who LOVES me to death.I cant even begin to tell you how many sloppy kisses I've gotten. He is with me now forever and he "HOBO is the one who changed my incredibly wrong idea's of a "PIT BULL"

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  21. Thank you for spreading the word on how beautiful these dogs are. My pup now had a best friend pit bull and one day I hope to get another for her, they played so well together until that owner moved away. I've never known sweeter dogs and as a dog groomer I can tell you I looked forward to every pit that came into the salon as opposed to any other breed. They were, hands down, the best dogs!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ashley, I hope you know that i share every single one of your blogs with everyone i can. I work for Petsafe, a company based in Knoxville, TN, and everyone who i have showed your blog to LOVES you! When i first came across your page, i couldn't stop reading all of the posts. I literally went so far back, i basically stayed up all night reading, crying, laughing, reading, crying, laughing...You get the picture! You are such an inspiration to animal lovers everywhere. What you do takes so much heart and tireless effort, and i know that goes unnoticed a lot. I get it though, your babies are worth every bit of it. I totally get why you do what you do, and how every bit of your struggle is worth letting a dog that's never felt love, feel it. So anytime you feel the world's against all of your effort, there are SO many of us who are right there with you! Keep doin' your thang girl...you ROCK! :)

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  30. Your story is so touching - I'm sorry that Rudy was part of your life for such a short time. But made such a huge difference in your heart and the wonderful rescue work that you do:)

    Like you, and others that responded, my story is pretty much the same. My hubby brought home our first pit bull and I was actually scared of him. What a fool I was, he was a puppy. Then when I wanted to get my own first dog, I specifically picked a pit-mix from the animal shelter. When I walk them down the street and people make their mean comments, I just say don't talk like that about my best friends. Cause they are.

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  59. So very true! The dog that change my family was Tinkerbell, and we will always wish she wasn't taken from us so soon. At only 3 years old, she passed away suddenly & without any warning from pneumonia. That's almost unheard of in such a young dog, so it's difficult to accept that it ended so soon & that there just wasn't anything we could have done differently to change that. After finally realizing that we simply will never be able to find a dog quite like her, we still mustered up the strength to adopt another rescued pit bull that needed a home. Because of Tinkerbell, our house will never be a home without an adopted/rescued pit bull (actually, at least 2 of them because nobody can have just 1!) Because of Tinkerbell, I am no longer a cat person...I'm a pit bull person w/ a cat on the side =)

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  60. The dog that forever changed me was my Fabby. An eleventh hour senior pit bull who came to my family by way of NYC, he was sitting in a high kill shelter, bipassed for adoption from what I was told because the deck was stacked against him he was a male pit bull, 9 years old.
    A life long dog lover/rescuer I was still a little intimidated by him when we first met as it was clear this sweet dog had been mistreated and it would take him awhile to trust. With patience, love and consistancy with training our bond grew stronger as he taught me so much about these beautiful misunderstood dogs.
    Unfortunatley cancer took my sweet boy from us this April. My heart still aches to this day but I know for certain I will be welcoming more of these sweet dogs into my family.
    Because of Fabby I am a pit bull person :)

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  61. I liked your write up and do agree they are misunderstood. however, I'd never own one. But good article, none the less...

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  62. I'm more of a shih tzu kind of person, but thank you for your point of view on pitbulls. They do get a tough rap with all the dog fighting going on, especially with professional athletes. Good to see that they aren't all bad! good job!

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  63. in my eyes its certain pitbull owners that give this breed the bad reputation..

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  64. I know exactly where you're coming from, Ashley! I didn't know much about the breed either but my wife had a Staffie run up to her(freaking her out!) about 9 years ago. She named her Nikki and has been the love of our life ever since. We have become huge advocates of the pit bull breeds and have adopted 2 special needs pitties. Our youngest, Auggie, actually just had surgery today to remove cysts from his spinal cord. We are doing our small part to educate the uninformed about how special this breed truly is! Thanks for all you do- keep it up!

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  65. There is no breed with the name "Pit Bull." When that term is used, it's usually referring to either American Stafford shire Terriers or American Pit Bull Terriers, and sometimes to the Stafford shire Bull Terrier, a British breed.

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  66. Oh, I too love pit bulls! I had one several years ago that just appeared at our house. She was beautiful. My daughter was just a toddler then. Since she was the new dog, my daughter named her NewDog! She was the best baby sitter ever.
    Sadly, she fell victim to one of our neighbors who had the fear of the breed. He poisoned her. As she was dying, I laid down with her and held her and cried like a baby.
    Right now, I am not in a position to have a dog but when I am again I will surely contact you and adopt one of your babies!

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  67. Hi Ashley,my name is Ana,I'm not from USA,I read your blogs..and it touches my heart so deeply...I come from Indonesia..apologize if my english is not to good.Anyway I hope you will keep on doing what you allready done with your babies...God Bless u.

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  68. Good day Ashley!i was so touched with your blog about Rudy..I'm from the Philippines and like you i love dogs i have 4 adopted dogs and 9 adopted cats...here in our country they also had fear on pibull,,i dont know why?but when i met my niece's boyfriend pitbull dog named KOBE,i realized his the same dog as my other dogs,he behave so well and he loves to play with his friend Maggie the shitzu..May God bless you and keep it up!Take care

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  69. I’m happy you enjoy that series! I have been this means to get started that, and so ideally I’ll reach that this summer at the least!

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  70. Hi. I've read a few posts and this one in particular touched my heart. I live in the UK where 'pitbull' type dogs are banned and other bull breeds are often looked upon as trouble or picked up by the wrong people as 'status symbol' dogs. Perhaps this is the reason why Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dogs account for nearly 40% of the dogs in UK kennels. I am guilty of having my views tainted by the media and by rumours of attacks and aggressive behaviour. It wasn't until 18 months ago when I found my Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross, Caesar at the local kennels, that I realised how wrong I had been. I think you are a wonderful person for doing what you do and realising, as it took me so long to realise, that people can be so biased against certain breeds of dog. You have stepped up and given them the chance they deserve and I hope your blog inspires others to do the same.

    I write a small blog following Caesar's progress after I rescued him. He's been more than a challenge to live with but he has taught me how fun life can be and how loving an animal with such a bad reputation can be.
    I'd be honored if you would take a little look. Thank you again for your wonderful blog. I shall keep reading and following your progress.
    http://savingcaesar.blogspot.co.uk

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  71. Codification wonderful accept traffic

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  72. Thank you so much that you`ve shared with your experience of Pitbull handling! As many people consider that Pitbull is suitable only for dog fighting. It`s high time to challenge stereotypes! Your Rudy is amazing! And other Pitbulls are also kind and cheerful dogs with wonderful chacacter, all that we need is to change our wrong opinion!

    ReplyDelete
  73. I've seen of which clothes dryer filtration around my household way too. In fact, I want to scrub your doggy your bed addresses.

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  77. I've never known a breed that has been so consistently friendly and loving as a pit bull

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  78. Nice post and so touching story. Really pets are loveable like human they are such a good friends..

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  80. ........live in your city.........unaware of yor work with the breed.........have owned these dog most of my adult life....I'm 71.........never had a bad one either.........take care and be well.......

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  81. Pit bull is a very obedient and well-mannered dogs and they are loyal to their owners and active dogs.

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