"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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Preston: From the Fighting Pit to a Forever Home!

It's amazing how blessings are disguised, how a series of events can change your life and lead you down an unplanned path. This is how I describe meeting Preston, my American Pit Bull Terrier.

During the initial research for my documentary film about breed discrimination, "Guilty "˜Til Proven Innocent," I visited For the Love of Pits, a Cleveland, Ohio pit bull rescue, searching for answers to my questions about the "breed." I left that day having fallen completely in love with this little guy, who was saved from a dog fighting operation in a nearby city.

On July 6, 2006, animal cruelty officers found Preston with fresh, open wounds, and took him to a local humane society, where he waited for his judgment day. He escaped death once but, yet again, death was imminent. Minutes prior to his scheduled euthanasia, For the Love of Pits stepped in to save Preston, granting him another chance at life. Preston spent the next two years learning how to live in a home as a family pet in a pit-bull-fearing society. He achieved certificates in training and Canine Good Citizen. Although Preston had a rock-solid temperament, he received no interest from adopters, due to his past and the perceived challenges of owning a dog formerly used for fighting. I couldn't get him out of my mind, and made known my intention to adopt.

That was easier said than done. Lakewood, the city in which I resided in Ohio, proposed and eventually passed a ban on pit bull "type" dogs, delaying my ability to bring Preston to his forever home. I vowed I would move, and move I did, after a six-month search for a place that would allow me to have him. Since that day, we have gone everywhere together, educating people about the true characteristics of a pit bull, changing opinions with every encounter. With his contagious love of life and eagerness to interact with people and dogs alike, Preston teaches us not to judge a book by its cover.

When I leave, I can't help but stress over the idea that he needs me as much as I need him, finding comfort in knowing we have each other to get us through life's pitfalls. I've even received a speeding ticket for rushing back home to be with him! Words just can't describe the unconditional love I have for him, and I know it's the closest thing to being mutual that I'll ever experience in my lifetime. Every day Preston changes minds; he's a shining example of why dogs should be judged as individuals and not systematically killed based on past experiences or appearance. To think that Preston and I found each other by accident, and that something so special might never have been.

The only evidence of his former life are scars across his legs, face, and body. They remind us that his beginning didn't start the way it should have. I'm honored to have the chance to provide him a life as a family dog, the way it should've been all along.

For more information, or to adopt a pittie:

To contact Jeff about his upcoming documentary:
Jeff Theman
River Fire Films, LLC
email: riverfirefilms@gmail.com

By Jeff Theman
Photo by Matthew Eggert of Great Lakes Photo & Video


  1. My pit mix was not previously a fighting dog, he was lucky. However this is the first thing I've read about one loving their pit bull and felt as if my own love for my own dog was being described. For the past four years Duke was there to share all the good times with and has helped me survive thru all the bad times. I hate being away from him as much if not more then he hates being away from me. The first time I had to spend a week without him I cried like a baby. I've currently been sick and in the hospital for a few days and I wish he could be right here next to me to cheer me up, and now I'm crying again from missing him lol. This is a wonderful breed that deserves our love and compassion! I hope I live long enough to see all the unfair bans on them dropped and more laws created to help protect them from abusive homes.

  2. Thank you for shining a positive light on these dogs! Pop came to me due to the fact that our local shelter euths pits without ever trying to adopt them out. He was being surrendered by his owner the day I picked up a kitten for foster. He came home that day and has helped me foster many cats, loves everyone and except for a few pillows he couldnt resist, has been a modle citizen and joy to have in my home! I will never have any other breed!

  3. Thank you for posting Truth About Pit Bulls. This is Jeff, who is the proud parent of Preston featured in this article, and the inspiration to every minute I live. Along with the Facebook fan page (www.Facebook.com/GuiltyTilProvenInnocent) and the film's official website (www.GTPIfilm.com), there is also Preston's Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/Preston.aka.Pig). His story is a small parallel in the film, and the next trailer will feature him. Thank you for loving this breed as much as I do. This fight is worth every bead of sweat and drop of tears.