"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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

One Group Out To Prove Pit Bulls Are Man's Best Friend

As the sun started to set on Memorial Park Sunday afternoon, a group of muscle-bound pit bulls was ready for a walk.

A few whined. A couple slobbered. Max, age 5, with a massive jaw and muscles rippling under his short fur, tried to lick anyone who came within a 10-foot radius.

“We call him the kisser,” Vicki Gramm said with a laugh. She rescued Max after he was returned to the humane society three times.

The four pit bulls and two golden retrievers met at the park for the first organized “bully walk” by Southern Colorado Pit Bull Advocates. The group of owners keeps in touch online and decided to meet up Sunday to show the world that pit bulls can be good dogs.

“Once people see them, they see that they’re just like any other dog,” Gramm said. Unfortunately, she added, people only hear about pit bulls when a rare one acts up and bites someone.

Jackie Cotton said she understands some of the fear.

“Of course some people are afraid, wouldn’t you be?” she questioned, and then looked at her brown and white pit bull Luna. “I mean look at the muscle on that baby.”

While they waited to start, a few kids ran up to the dogs for a kiss, which Max was ready and willing to provide. A couple of people intentionally walked around the group.

“You stay away. You’ll be their snack,” one woman warned her tiny dog as they stepped off the sidewalk to walk around.

Holly O’Brien said she often sees people cross the street to avoid her 3-year-old pit bull Zurie.

“They will cross the street just so they don’t have to be close,” she said.

Don Middleton said he used to be one of those people. As a child he was attacked by dogs and, as a runner, he’s had several bad run-ins with dogs. He was uneasy when his wife, Christy, wanted to foster a pit bull.

“I was always worried that I’d get attacked,” he said. After fostering the dog though, he said he fell in love.

“She was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. We helped her and she helped us.”

Photos by Susannah Kay, The Gazette

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