"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, May 29, 2013

Pit Bull Problems

I'm often asked about my love of the Pit Bull breed(s).

Why do I love them?
How did I come to love them?
Was I always drawn to these dogs?

Growing up, my family had many dogs of many different breeds. 
But I'd be lying if I said that we ever had a "Pit Bull." I'd also be lying if I said I'd ever wanted to have a "Pit Bull" ... or that my parents would've ever allowed us to have a "Pit Bull."

It's not that my parents were "bad" people... they just didn't know any better. Therefore, I didn't know any better. I was never "against" Pit Bulls, but I also wasn't "for" them, either. Mostly because... I just didn't know much about them. 

But what I *knew* about them... all that I *knew* about them... was based on what I'd *heard* about them.
And it wasn't good.

Back then, I'd never heard anything positive said about "Pit Bulls." 
No one I knew ever had a "Pit Bull." 
No one I knew ever wanted a "Pit Bull." 
No one I knew had ever even encountered a "Pit Bull."

Therefore, even though I never "judged" these dogs, I honestly never thought much about them. And I certainly never thought: "One day... I'll grow up and save them."

So... when did this change for me?
Well, it was in 2009, and his name was Rudy. 

By then, I was 24 years old, and I'd met many other "Pit Bulls." So... I knew a little more about these dogs, and I cared a lot more about them. But even still, at the time, I wasn't using my voice to help them, nor was I using my rescue efforts to save them.

Until... I met Rudy.
He was the one who changed everything.

Ask any "Pit Bull lover." 
Many of us weren't always "Pit Bull lovers."
Instead, it took one dog... one "Pit Bull" ... to change everything. And almost every "Pit Bull lover" can name who "that dog" was for them.

For me, "that dog" was Rudy. 

I'll be honest. I didn't fully trust him at first. 

Not because he was a "Pit Bull," but because he was a dog who had been chained, beaten, and starved for his whole life. I didn't know him... he didn't know me. I was unsure... he was unsure. I didn't know what to expect... he didn't know what to expect.

But I saved him, and he knew it.
So he loved me, and I knew it.

Rudy came to me as a "rescue dog." As with every other rescue dog I take in, I was simply planning to bring him back to health, and then find a family to love him forever. 
Of course, I soon realized... I could never let him go.  

Because he was the "Pit Bull" who would change my life.

At the time, I didn't fully realize just how much he would change my life, my mission, my future. I also didn't realize just how much unnecessary judgment I'd face, as a result of that decision... simply because, I loved a "Pit Bull" ...

Before Rudy, I'd saved many dogs, and I'd always been praised by others for my love of dogs, for my rescue efforts, for my commitment to my cause. But when I saved Rudy, and I began to rescue other "Pit Bulls" like him... that's when the public scrutiny entered my life:

"OMG Ashley!!! A Pit Bull?!"
"Why would you?!"
"How could you?!"
"What the hell are you thinking?!"

Initially, I was utterly shocked, and offended. I'd done nothing wrong. In fact, I was trying to do something "right."

I didn't rescue Rudy, simply because he was a "Pit Bull." I didn't trust Rudy, simply because (or in spite of the fact that) he was a "Pit Bull." I didn't love Rudy, simply because he was a "Pit Bull." 

Instead, I rescued Rudy, because he needed me. I trusted Rudy, because he trusted me. I loved Rudy, because he loved me. 

He was the most amazing, incredible, loving dog I've ever known. And... he just-so-happened to be... a Pit Bull. 

Soon, I realized that very few others were willing to rescue Pit Bulls. Therefore, I started saving more of them. Clearly, it was a choice I made, based on my experience with Rudy. I wanted to save others like my baby, the dogs who had no other hope. 

But it didn't take long for me to understand the weight of my decision. 
When I started rescuing Pit Bulls, I suddenly realized that I was now "different." 
In the minds of many, my rescue dogs were not "dogs" at all.
Instead, I was saving "monsters." 

This realization changed me, in so many ways. I was hurt; I was angry; I was disgusted. Suddenly... I was on a mission... to prove every critic wrong. Because they WERE wrong.

That being said, I don't save "Pit Bulls," simply because they're the only dogs worth saving. I save "Pit Bulls," because these dogs are equally deserving, equally amazing, and equally loving, when compared to any other dog (maybe moreso?). Plus, they're the most judged, most misunderstood, and most hated breed in existence. And very few other rescuers can/will save them. That's where I come in...
I mean... if you were hated, based on nothing more than how you look, wouldn't YOU want someone to stand-up for you?? I know I would...

I could go on for days about how incredible the Pit Bull breed(s) are, but please... don't just take my word for it. 

Instead, go to a shelter, and meet a Pit Bull. Contact an animal rescue group... and ask to walk a Pit Bull. Seriously, go freaking love-on a Pit Bull. 

Trust me... it just takes one... to change your perspective.And that one "Pit Bull" ... just may change your life. 

*Written in loving memory of "the one" who changed me, Rudy

By Ashley Owen Hill, founder of Lucky Dog Rescue


  1. Love this story!!!! For me it was a friends dog named Charley. once i got to know him i was hooked. have had mini throu the years. they r the best dogs . now i got a mix rat terrier cause they don't alow big dogs here. but i still do what i can to help the breed and always will!!!!!

    1. I had a rat terrier, awesome dogs!! There super smart.. well the one I had was.. I was about 13yrs old ,now man I miss my dog bo. I'm 30 now, I just picked up a blue tri, color pitbull very very smart dog .. I only purchase pitbulls at 4 months of age.. easy to train

  2. That one Pitbull is "Chip." I found him tied on a short rope with no food or water. His ears are lopsided and bleeding. Someone cropped them in their backyard...he looked up at me with his big hazel eyes and huge smile and I immediately knew he was mine. I found out at the Vet that he had Distemper and would most likely die, since he was a puppy. I was determined to keep my new furry friend alive. Needless to say, he is 12 years old and has been pampered his whole life :) He is my jogging partner. My best buddy. Always there for me. He senses when I'm sad and licks away my tears to help me from crying. He has never destroyed anything from separation anxiety. He does give me the silent treatment if I leave him alone at home for a while! lol I love him more than words can say :)

  3. Max was my first. He was 9 year old male pitbull, who was at the local animal control shelter for almost a year, but the volunteers loved him and kept him safe until I came along. He was listed as dog aggressive and had to go to a only dog home, which was fine with me since I had no dogs at the time. When I met him he was just so friendly and happy to meet someone new :)

    Since I first adopted him two years ago I have adopted 2 more from the shelter and am fostering a fourth. Outside of the shelter he is definitely not dog aggressive, he is the calmest dog in my pack and the foster loves using him as his pillow and safety blanky lol :)

    At the shelter I volunteer at there are a lot of pitbulls and pit mixes, and the majority of them are great dogs. Happy to meet new people, always happy to get attention and generally good with most new people they meet :)

    If you are looking to get a dog, skip the puppy mills at the mall and stop by your local shelter and open your hearts to the dogs there. Just because they aren't puppies doesn't mean they won't be the best dogs you ever had :)

    That old saying that you can't teach an old dog a new treat is completely false. The great thing about adopting a dog that isn't a puppy was that for the most part they all were already house trained or picked it up really quickly. they are generally past the puppy chewing phase and will be lest destructive and won't be not stop balls of energy :)

  4. Love this story...for me it was not just one...I worked at a clinic that also was a stray facility and all of the pitbulls that came in were so sweet and loving...and hard to place in homes...one in particular was a little black and white boy who came in with a rope tied to his collar and at the other end of the 5-6 foot rope was...a cat...or what was left of a cat-after that encounter is when I fell in love and now I have 3 pitbulls and an old pitbull mix (my first one), a cat and 4 little girls-everyone (especially my mother) was so skeptical and said the same things to me "How could you", "why"...they didn't understand until they met the actual dog. Sunday I'm going to see my mom with my two youngest girls (she lives two states away from us) and my CGC certified pitbull, whom my mom...and even my stepdad (GASPS) love, trust and cuddle with.

  5. Elizabeth BiblerMay 29, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and real story. I love and admire them too. I volunteer at the Seattle Humane Society and work with a lot of different types of dogs. So far my favorites have almost all been pitbulls. Cuddly, smart and eager to please doggies :)

  6. I love this story. Thanks Ashley!

  7. for this grandmother it was "Lady". Like most, I was uneducated until her! My daughter sent me a picture of my new granddaughter in her crib with a "Pit Bull". I was totally freaked out, wanted to come get that baby and bring her home with me where she would be "safe". Well, time went on and Lady taught Marie to walk by nosing under her tummy and helping her to stand, would let that baby girl hang on to her with two fists full of her and never even flinched!!!! Sadly, my daughters' house burned down while her family was in town shopping. When Kimberly got home, she found Lady's body OVER a kittens' body, trying to protect that kitten from the fire! Lady changed my mind completely. Since that time there have been several Pitties in our lives and I have loved all of them. They now have a blue named Wyatt! He is great! Grandma loves him very much! So, thanks to you Lady, for without you I would have missed some pretty wonderful dogs in my granddaughters lives!

    1. Such a touching story about your "Lady". It brought tears to my eyes. They are such a caring, loving breed really.

    2. she was great!

  8. OK mom ( Rebecca Daigle) to hear the story of how Lady had changed your view on the pit bull breed makes me cry. And to know that out beloved Lady was a stray that I took in and showed her that not all humans are mean. ( for those who don't know I later found out that Lady had been used as a bait dog and to breed for.pups). After 2 hours and 5 bags of beef jerky Lady came.to me on a road side outside city limits. And within those 2 hours I vowed that if this scared pourly looking dog would trust me I.would give her the.life she well deserved. And I must say that was the best Valentine's Day gift ever ( that's the day we found each other). Just as I saved Lady she saved me. And until that dreadful daym( when the house burnt) my life seemed to make since. And yes after Lady I knew that this was the.breed for me and my family. We have had many pitties in our life but for the past 4 years we have had.out sweet man Wyatt. And he brings smiles to our face in times of tears.

  9. Eve that's the pitty mix that changed me. She was dumped in my neighborhood manged, starved, and with a slight deformity at about 6 weeks. My friend and I agreed that she needed love, care and someone to nurse her back to health. That was in 2009. Eve is now a spoiled healthy bundle of happiness. She is always by my side and is one of several rescues...she weighs in at 50 lbs and is a great big gentle sister to a 10 lb maltese mix. Pitts are smart, loving, and very much misunderstood. I hope to keep Eve for many more years, but she has forever changed my thoughts about this breed. Because of Eve I will always voice to defend them. Thanks Eve. :-)

  10. This is my story, too. My Pit Bull is named Vinnie. He was chained, starved and abused like yours. I fostered him planning on giving him back, but of course never did. I also found him to be the most loving dog I have ever met. I have started a blog to share his story and other animal stories, as well. The blog is named after him, ForVinnie.blogspot.com. He has changed everything in my life and everything I do, I do for him

  11. great stories i could just read on and on my sister has a pit bull and he is the most loving pit he gives you a bath everytime you see him he just licks you all over and just wants to be loved thats my fitz

  12. Thankyou, another "doubter" turned lol. I have 3 and i couldn't imagine my life without Pits. Growing up we had many dogs of various breeds, like you, but no pits. My friends and family thought the same as others.. that i was crazy to have pits, but after being around mine their perceptions changed. I hope your story helps change more people's attitude toward these wonderful dogs.

  13. Wow. Perfectly put. I run a pit rescue and truer words have never been spoken. My volunteers and I can relate 1 million percent. The shadow cast on us because of the breed we rescue (and need us the most) is very sad and makes our mission that much harder. Thank you for making me feel not so alone.

  14. My name is Ashley Owen Hill of Lucky Dog Rescue Blog. I wrote this particular post, and I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU to The Truth About Pit Bulls for sharing my blog! I'm beyond touched and honored... I just can't even tell you! And a special thank you to everyone who read and related to my words, and in turn, shared your own PB experiences. My heart is so touched reading these amazing comments. Thank you all!!!
    Ashley Owen Hill

    1. Thank you Ashley for sharing your story. I can relate to much of your story. As I'm typing this my beautiful Vinnie is resting his head on my leg taking a nap. He is definitely the most loving dog I have ever had.

  15. Is anyone old enough to remember "The Little Rascals" series from the 1930s and 1940s??? Petey, the dog, in those series was a PIT BULL. He was always with those kids. This breed is supposed to be really good with kids, if they are treated and raised right!!!

  16. Thanks. Just got in a discussion with someone via.Facebook about pits...Very frustrating. Love this story. I have 2 rescues myself!

  17. This always seems to be the biggest debate around dogs, whether pit bulls are violent or not. I've been around quite a few different pit bull breeds and have never had a bad experience. It all depends on how you raise your dogs. I've seen some dogs the same breed as mine that tend to be much more aggressive and violent than mine. It's not the breed, it's the upbringing. http://ironkingkennels.com/forsale.html

  18. My family has only owned and raised Rottweilers. When our second Rot Hank was laid to rest at age 12 our two year old Rottie Margie began displaying anxiety issues. We for the first time considered rescuing a dog as a companion and friend for her. My daughter saw a picture of a pit bull named Chuck on a rescue website. Chuck was two years old. he had been starved and abandoned. Knowing how Rottweilers are judged and misunderstood we agreed to meet Chuck and his foster mom. It was love at first sight! Despite the neglect Chuck had experienced he welcomed us with kisses and love. He connected immediately with Margie and the two are inseparable. My heart nearly swells out of my chest with love for Chuck. He is smart, obedient, protective and lets me invade his personal space with hundreds of kisses daily. My husband who does not claim to be a "dog lover" adores Chuck. He gets down on the floor with him and cuddles and talks to him and allows Chuck to kiss his bald head. He calls him his "Little Man". What an AMAZING dog Chuck is and serves as a constant reminder that love overpowers all.