Have I always loved pit bulls? Well, to be honest, I used to be afraid of them. I was a person who was swayed by the media and all their bad pibble rap, and had no personal experience to give me any other insight. Thankfully, my call to help in rescue actually “rescued” ME from my closed-minded views.
My first encounter with a pit bull was a code red dog at the Irving Animal Shelter named Batman. This poor dog was dumped by his family at the shelter because they were moving. Batman couldn’t understand how he ended up in this noisy place, and he was thoroughly confused. He went almost immediately to code red status not only because he was owner surrender, but also because his confusion and depression was turning into shelter aggression. Here’s where I came into the picture. I saw Batman’s scared face on Irving’s shelter page, with pleas of “call now, CALL NOW if you can foster…his time is running out! He’s growling at anyone who approaches, and he’s sitting in one place shaking, growling, and emotionally shutting down. He is immediately code red and MUST be out by close of business TODAY.” The next update was “He is too unstable and is rescue only” I had only fostered litters of puppies before, but things were about to change. I have no explanation for why I felt the way I did, but I had to help Batman.
Batman was brought to my house that night by one of my favorite rescue people in the world (to remain unnamed in case she wishes to not be revealed) I was so nervous…what had I gotten myself into? Someone was bringing a scared, unsettled, growling pit bull to my HOUSE. Would I be bitten or maimed? I had the guest room all ready – I was told he needed quiet time to settle from his shelter stress, and I was prepared to leave him totally alone if he needed it. We went straight into the room when he arrived, where Batman looked at me a little cautiously. Then he plopped into my lap and licked my face. THIS was the vicious pit bull who almost lost his life to shelter stress? His life was about to change forever, as was mine.
Batman was adopted out to an amazing couple just a week later, and he is loved and cherished beyond measure. I’ve had two foster pit bulls since then, and I almost foster failed (as in ADOPTED and KEPT as my very own) with number 2, Leslie. Leslie was a snuggler like you would never have believed. She would cuddle up as close as possible, and fall asleep in my arms.
Leslie already had a home awaiting her, and was only in my home to recover from an upper respiratory infection. Otherwise, I guarantee that she would still be here with my pack!
My third and final pibble foster was Jesse. He was pulled from the Irving Shelter in his final hour, and he went to a foster home who decided that he was too high energy for their lifestyle. So, we took him in. I was told he didn’t like women, and that’s why he was coming here – I needed to show him that women were ok. My pit bull confidence was certainly higher than it had been, but a 55lb male pit bull who doesn’t like women? Well, in walks Jesse and I fell in love. A wrinkly forehead, beautiful red color, golden eyes…I couldn’t believe how handsome he was. Jesse was also unneutered, had a hernia, had terrible (I mean TERRIBLE) manners, and wasn’t housebroken. As a 3 year old dog! Our work was cut out for us, but Jesse is now adopted…by me! He is well-mannered, listens to commands, sits, shakes, and is a love bug.
What is my point? Well, my point is that pit bulls are dogs. Lovable, sensitive, sweet dogs. They aren’t monsters, and they certainly aren’t killers. Have there been incidents of pibbles being vicious? Yes. The percentage of bites that come from chihuahuas is much, much higher, though. The world used to stereotype against german shepherds, dobermans, boxers, etc. Now it’s the pit bull’s turn, and they are paying by the millions with their lives.
You are certainly entitled to your own feelings about these dogs, but you should at least go explore the reality for yourself…you may be very surprised by what you find!