"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Once Upon a Time

A neglected pit bull almost didn’t live but instead lived to change his family’s life.

Nine and a half years ago, I went to a shelter to adopt a dog looking for a slightly older, fluffy mixed breed. As I walked through the shelter, there was a small, pathetic looking pit mix that kept putting his little paw out of the bars.

I had no intention of getting a pit bull because I believed the hype from the media. But every other dog I checked out had no interest in my daughter or me, so – after much pleading from my cute 9-year-old – I took the pit out and waited for him to do something horrible.

He was about 6 months old, malnourished, sick and had a chain embedded in his neck – he obviously had suffered a bad start in life.

The shelter was not supposed to adopt out pits at that time, so they put “German Shepherd mix” on the card, and they were going to euthanize him within the week.

When I took him out of the cage, he buried his nose in my daughter’s armpit and stayed there.

Crap. I begrudgingly filled out the application figuring I’d take it home and think about it.

“Fill it out now and take him, or he may not be here in the morning,” the gentleman at the front counter said. So I looked down, yelled at the guy for not taking the chain out of his neck earlier and took this pathetic boy home. I named his Rosco and made a vet appointment for him.

I went home and read reliable sources about this breed, checked out websites like the Pit Bull Rescue Central site – which is wonderful – and realized that I had an extraordinary breed in my home that has received a horrible rap. Not that it mattered what breed he was at that point because I had already fallen in love with him.

Shortly thereafter, we went through training classes and the Canine Good Citizen course.

Since then I have become a huge advocate for the breed, and I started volunteering at a shelter. I specialize in pit bulls. On adoption days, I strut my favorite pits around and talk about what a wonderful addition they would be. I try to educate as many people as I can about their history and how their temperament is human friendly. In fact, I reference Petey from “The Little Rascals” and remind people that he was a pit bull, and he was great with little children.

Had I walked by and ignored Rosco at the shelter that day, I would possibly never know the amazing aspects of this loyal, loving breed. Rosco has such a gentle nature and soul. He is just a big, dopey love bug and truly brought new meaning to my life.

My daughter is now 18 and leaving for college soon. She will be bringing her “I love pitbulls” shirts and her “Are you educatabull?” coffee mug along with her. When Rosco passes (I dread the day), I will adopt an adult pit with a similar temperament, which, after volunteering at the shelter for a few years, will not be difficult to find. There are a ton of amazing pits in shelters.

By Lory Beston


  1. I love the picture. pit bulls are so affection, gentle and fun.

  2. What opened my eyes about pit bulls was my time spent working at a non-profit spay/neuter clinic. We serviced a lot of low-income neighborhoods, where pits are popular. Every single one that came through the door was just a big ol' mush. The one I remember best was a 60 lb girl who had a complicated surgery and ended up needing a transfusion. When she woke up, she tried to walk away with her I.V. still attached, so I had to stay on the floor, straddling her while she recovered to keep her still while I worked on other patients. She didn't mind at all; she just wanted someone there to cuddle with her!

  3. Beautiful story and thank you for taking a chance on him. I wish there were more people in the world who would take that chance. Like you, I rescued a pit mix a year ago. He was 1 1/2 years old at the time and spent most his life outside and no training. I was skeptical about pits but he was so dang adorable looking. He chose ME. I had to take him. Almost a year later, I absolutely love him and he is the best CHILD a person could have. I'm going to reblog your story. Awesome!