These days, the dog breed that has the most trouble getting adopted is the pit bull terrier. Due to their reputation as a vicious breed, they are often euthanized upon arrival at shelters, or remain in shelters for years, waiting for homes.
Even those who wish to adopt pit bulls may be unable to, due to breed legislation or landlord regulations. They may not be allowed to walk their dog in certain neighborhoods or bring them to public places.
In England, animal baiting was once a common spectator’s sport, where bulldogs were made to fight larger animals such as bulls or bears. After baiting was banned in the 1800s, handlers bred bulldogs with terriers to create the pit bull, and had the dogs fight each other instead. This breed was eventually brought to the States by English immigrants.
Even today, pit bulls are illegally trained to fight each other for profit and entertainment, which feeds the persistent stigma surrounding the breed. What many don’t realize is that pit bulls were bred not only for their strength and agility, but also for their intelligence and obedience, so they wouldn’t attack their handlers. At some point they became known for their gentleness with children and even earned the nickname “nursemaid’s dog.”
Years ago, several pit bulls were rescued from football player Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring, and many have since been rehabilitated and adopted. They have gone on to become family pets, therapy dogs, and mascots against animal cruelty.
According to the ASPCA, pit bulls can make wonderful pets, provided they are well-trained, socialized, and disciplined. The pit bulls of Homeward Animal Shelter fit that description, and clearly people have noticed, as Rocket, Gilligan, Diego, and Sunny are currently pending adoption.
Whoever has adopted Diego will likely fall asleep snuggling with him, only to be woken up by slobbery kisses. The energetic Gilligan will likely wake his owners up to play, while Sunny will greet the day with his bright smile and friendly disposition. Rocket, who loves curling up in a warm lap and getting his ears rubbed, will now get the individual attention he didn’t get in the shelter, where the crowded environment stressed him out.
The handsome Thor is currently in a trial home. He’s good with children but not with dogs, and is housetrained and up to date on vaccinations. Judging by his gentle eyes and inquisitive expression, Thor would make an eager playmate and loving companion.
What these dogs’ prospective owners have realized is that, despite certain personality traits being characteristic of certain breeds, dogs are unique individuals and all have the capacity to be good pets. They just need the right owners, the right environment, and the right training methods, and they will be your best friend for life.
– Särah Nour