I'm often asked about my love of the Pit Bull breed(s).
Why do I love
How did I come to love
Was I always drawn to these
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*
And it wasn't good.
then, I'd never heard anything positive said about "Pit Bulls."
No one I knew ever had a "Pit
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
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
Until... I met Rudy.
He was the
one who changed everything.
Ask any "Pit Bull
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
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
But I saved him, and he knew
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
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
"OMG Ashley!!! A Pit Bull?!"
"What the hell are you
Initially, I was utterly
shocked, and offended. I'd done nothing wrong. In fact, I was trying to do
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
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
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
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
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
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