22 Oct 10

Pit Bull Awareness Day ...

By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace

Did you know that tomorrow, Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 is the 4th Annual National Pit Bull Awareness Day? Started four years ago by an organization called Bless the Bullys  – they wanted to shed a brighter light on the positive side of this amazing breed of dog and their responsible owners. This breed, as most of us know, has been so brutalized by the media and in many instances by the human hand. But, and it’s a big but, the positive side of an American Pit Bull Terrier is that they are now used more and more as police dogs, drug detection dogs, rescue dogs and therapy dogs. Nothing proves this breed’s resilience more than the fact that a pit bull can be brought from the pits of hell like the Vick dogs, and have been completely rehabilitated. Many of these dogs are now working therapy dogs, yes that’s right living with families and working as a therapy dog. One of those dogs, Hector, is living with an amazing family in up-state NY that also has another world famous rescue Wallace the Pit Bull – a national Champion Frisbee dog – who they also rescued from an animal shelter.

On Long Island we do have so many responsible Pit Bull owners, but there is still a stigma with owning the breed. Really the stigma is ignorance – because many people just believe what the media has portrayed the breed as over the last 10- 20-years. But most likely the people judging this breed have never even met, played with, walked or been in the presence of a pit bull. Often times while out walking my own dog, people will stop me and say, “Oh he is so cute,” while they pet the dog and receive kisses, “what kind of dog is it?” Some people will back away when they hear pit bull – but more often people say, wow, what a great dog, or the media has ruined this breed, or something else positive. Which is a wonderful shift – but the importance of the national awareness day is still needed – because there is still much ignorance nationwide about this misunderstood breed. The fact that most people couldn’t even truly identify the breed should tell you something. Can you Find the Pit Bull?  There is a reason this breed is so popular – anyone who meets and plays with a pit bull, usually falls in love – can’t believe how fun, super smart, goofy, loyal, athletic and just plain sweet the dog is.

There are not any events planned on Long Island that I am aware of to celebrate this day tomorrow – but maybe next year all our rescue groups who work with this breed can come together and organize a celebration. If you have your own pit bull, walk your dog with pride tomorrow or light a candle for all those that have been killed. Always wanted a pit bull – first do some research, talk with other responsible owners about the breed and then you check out our local shelters – you may just find their big smiles and wiggle butts will capture your heart.

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