"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, October 6, 2011

Warning! That Pit Bull Will Change Your Life

Adopting a pit bull did indeed change this family’s life – in so many amazing ways.

By Thaddeus Stringer (Reprinted from StubbyDog.org)

I grew up with dogs; they were always present, a constant in our home – mostly spaniels. In other words, the “right kind of dog” for the Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia.

We were those fiscal conservative/social liberals you’ve heard about. We wore boat shoes, knew how to tie bow ties and seemed to be sent home from the hospital with blue blazers. We attended liberal arts colleges, pursued advance degrees and wore pastels.

We didn’t adopt pit bulls.

But after I graduated college and was about to finish law school, that’s exactly what my wife and I did. We adopted a pit bull. And we jumped in with both feet. We adopted a pit bull from a cruelty case.

We were told that adopting a pit bull would forever change our life.

For the worst:

“You have to have thick skin to adopt a pit bull!”

“People will cross the street when they see you coming!”

“Your family won’t understand!”

“Your life will never be the same!”

Turns out they were right. Adopting a pit bull did change our lives. Just not how they told us it would.

People did cross the street. They crossed the park, the sidewalk, the parking lot, too. They stopped their cars in the middle of the street. They came to see this dog, our pit bull Sarge. Our family started coming to events where he was making appearances. We met our neighbors. We met our neighbors’ family.

Our pit bull changed our lives.

We became part of a brotherhood that didn’t care if you were white or black, rich or poor, yuppie or hipster, fit or flabby. We were pit bull guardians and lovers – and we were in this together.

But we became more than just pit bull people: We became part of our community.

We walked with our dogs in Memorial Day, 4th of July and Halloween parades. We were a constant presence in schools across the city doing humane education with people we had no other reason to meet. With our therapy dog, we interacted with elders tucked away in nooks and crannies of the city that we didn’t know existed. We met amazing young men in a group home for abused teenagers. We had lunches at law firms, happy hours with bankers. We met them all.

We met friends. Friends who had pit bulls, friends who thought our dogs were cute, friends who we chatted up at the bar … we met so many new people – all because of our pit bulls.

We worked with vet students, college professors, corporate officers, scholars, advocates, social workers, teachers and politicians. We added more friends (both in real life and on Facebook … which led to more friends in real life) to our lives than we could have hoped.

So maybe we did need warning that adopting a pit bull would change our life. New pit bull families should be prepared for new friends and a wonderful community.

If someone had only warned us of all the good things that would happen to us when we adopted a pit bull … we might have adopted one sooner.

To see a previous post about Sarge, click here.


  1. A beautiful story. It touched my heart.

  2. I adopted Scruffy my pit/lab mix from a pit bull rescue foundation when I was 6 months pregnant. Scruffy was hands down the best dog I could have hoped for. I had no idea how loving & silly pitbulls were, he was my 82lb lap dog that loved to play hide & seek.. lol.
    Your story touched my heart, I laid Scruffy to rest this year & I miss him dearly. I adopted him 9 years ago & had no idea just how strong his presence in my life was until he was gone.
    I miss him everyday & still love to call out all the nicknames we had for him, he was a wonderful, loveable, silly, PERFECT dog.
    ♥♥♥ (crying) thank you.

  3. I never wanted a pit bull but my hubby is a pibble lover so off to the humane society we went. One meet & greet with a 6 month old blue nosed pit and it was all over. We've had Lulu a year & rescued her 'brother' Loks 8 months ago. I can't imagine our lives without these 2 silly, lovable dogs nor can I fathom ever owning another breed. They're changing the pit bull image one wet, sloppy kiss at a time.