"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, December 15, 2011

A Pit Bull's Reality

Lucky Dog Rescue is not necessarily a "Pit Bull Rescue."

I'm more of a broken heart rescue. A desperate soul rescue. A no-other-hope rescue.

It just so happens... that many of the dogs with no other hope... are "Pit Bulls." (It also turns out... that I freaking love Pit Bulls.)

But you may wonder why the "bully breeds" need so much help. Why do these particular dogs have no other hope?

Let's start at the beginning... with the "ownership" aspect. Pit Bulls are arguably the most tortured "breed" in the world. (Remember: the term "Pit Bull" actually refers to at least 3 different breeds: the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.)

These dogs have been used and abused by humans for insanely cruel purposes... resulting in their bad reputation and perceived tough-guy image. This is not their fault.

Pit Bulls are often subjected to inhumane, painful, sadistic practices, such as dogfighting. They are exploited. They are tortured. They are hated.

Other Pit Bulls are chained and used for "protection." Many are used as "breeding machines." Some are used for "bait." In most cases, these guard dogs, breeder dogs, and bait dogs are severely mistreated, starved, and neglected all their lives.

But more than that... these tortured Pit Bulls live each and every day... without love.

Let's talk dogs for a second. Not breeds. Just dogs...

A dog --any dog-- exists for one reason: companionship. That's their entire purpose on this Earth. Dogs live for us. They'd die for us. Dogs love us more than they love themselves.
So... when you deny a dog --any dog-- of that companionship, you deny them of their very purpose in life. And when you strip a dog --any dog-- of their most basic needs: food, water, shelter, and exercise... you slowly kill their spirit.

But sadly... Pit Bulls are rarely desired for companionship. Yet...it's their only wish. Pit Bulls are rarely given food, walks, or warmth. These are their only needs.

Pit Bulls need and desire these things... just as much as every other dog. But far too often, their most basic needs and desires... are denied.

Despite all of this, these dogs live each day... with the hope that maybe today will be better. "Maybe I'll please them today." "Maybe they'll feed me today." "Maybe they'll walk me today." "Maybe they'll love me today."

Because every day --no matter what you do to a Pit Bull-- a Pit Bull will still love you.

However, in the eyes of their abusers, these dogs are completely disposable. They have no value, no worth, and no feelings. The owner determines the dog's "purpose," and the dog must fulfill that purpose... just to survive another day.

When these tortured Pit Bulls have fulfilled their "purpose" --or when they fail to fulfill that purpose-- they're often dumped to die... or killed.

And when a Pit Bull is dumped, where do they go?

That's the next heartbreaking reality for these dogs. Many rescued Pit Bulls end up in animal shelters. And many of those shelters have strict policies regarding bully breeds (Often, these policies are enforced in an attempt to protect these dogs from further abuse. I DO NOT wish to bash any shelter policies here, only to explain the reality for many Pit Bulls).

Some shelters require that all Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes be euthanized. Others may deem Pit Bulls as "rescue-only," meaning that only an animal rescue group can pull the dogs from the shelter.

So... that means they have hope, right? From rescue groups?

That's the third devastating reality for Pit Bulls. Many animal rescue organizations cannot or do not take Pit Bulls.

For starters, many rescue groups are located in areas with Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). So, it's actually illegal for those rescues to take any Pit Bulls.

Other rescue groups may choose not to take bully breeds for various reasons. This decision is often made because it's much more difficult to find good, quality homes for these dogs... and the process takes time.

With Pit Bulls, the pet adoption process takes much longer than with other breeds. Due to societal bias --and BSL-- the adopter pool for Pit Bulls is much smaller than for other dogs. So... when a rescue group has limited space and resources, they may not be able to accommodate a Pit Bull until adoption.

...Which ties into the next no-other-hope reality for Pit Bulls: adoption. As I said, the pool of adopters for Pit Bulls is vastly smaller than for any other breed of dog. This is true for many reasons: the misinformation, the societal misconception, the judgment without merit... these things threaten every Pit Bull's future.

Then... for some potential Pit Bull adopters, BSL prevents any chance of adoption. For others, their landlords, their insurance companies, and the opinions of family and friends deter desires to adopt a Pit Bull.

And so... after a lifetime of abuse, many Pit Bulls are simply waiting... with shattered hopes, dreams, and love... to die.

Today... right now, at this very second... thousands upon thousands of Pit Bulls are suffering. Thousands and thousands more are waiting in shelters... for their chance at forever. For their first shot at love.

For many, the suffering will never end. For most, love will never arrive. For the majority, death will get here first.

Except... for a lucky few. The Lucky Dogs.

And that's why I save them.

I don't do it because it's easy. I do it because they're worth it.

By Ashley Owen Hill


  1. How awesome pit bulls are. I wish I could save them all!

  2. I totally agree with you! These dogs need more people like us! Drop the bias people, these dogs want nothing more than to please you just for a little love in return!
    I adopted my pit from a shelter one day before he was scheduled to be put down, and he has been nothing if not perfect since bringing him home. He had a rough start, but has had no problem meshing right into our pack...cats and all.

  3. Ashley, you're simply amazing................again, my hats off to a woman that gives it her everything to follow her convictions and beliefs, and works tirelessly to get the REAL truth out there. Love ya!

  4. best dog there is! i had my first one for thirteen years. after she died i had to have another, so i got a pup thats her twin. she is now thirteen.

  5. I absolutely love my pit, and would not trade him for any other breed on earth!

  6. They are beautiful dogs. A good many seem friendly and social enough. I have read horrible stories on the news. I knew a victim of 113 suture requiring wounds when their neighbors dogs got loose. To such a victim "the most misunderstood breed" means something totally different.

    I expect my concerns will fall on mostly deaf ears.

    I am uneasy when I am at a park full of 25-30 pound toddlers running clumsily as toddlers do, around swings and slides and someone deems it appropriate to bring one of these big powerful dogs into a child area. Leashed or not.

    I am all for the human treatment of these beautiful animals, however it does seem it would be appropriate for those infatuated with these always powerful and sometimes dangerous, even lethal pets respect the space of the rest of us.

  7. For the last poster, its people like you that don't know anything about Pit Bulls that give them the bad name. If you knew anything about them, you would know they scored higher on the temperament test last year then the gneneral dog population did (84% to 77%). So you being uneasy when these dogs are around toddlers makes no sense. I would be more worried about a "little" dog around kids then a Pit Bull. To Ashley - Thanks so much for doing what you do. I wish I had the land and house for this type thing, and I would do it. Found my Pit 9 years ago, and was like most people about them, uneducated, but I wouldn't want any other dog now! She's awesome.

  8. We have 2 pitbulls right now. Have had our blue pit for over 7 years and he has never been aggressive towards humans. Our female a red nose fawn is even more easy going than him. They are beautiful loving dogs. I understand a person being uneasy around a dog when all they know about them is bad. But dont make up your mind before you know the whole story.....

  9. my brother has a rescued fighting pit who is "so vicious" that when his gf's 2 year old daughter was climbing all over this dog and even grabbed his genitals, this dog all he did was lick her face

  10. I am w/Partners for Pets we do take in Pit Bulls. I'm known as the Pitty lady. That's all I foster is Bully Breeds. You could not have explained what these poor, loving, loyal dogs go threw and there chances are slim of being saved. I hope w/the efforts of people like us this will some day change. Thank you for all you do to help and save this breed.
    Yours Truly,
    Sarah Tomer