October is National Pit Bull Awareness month, a month that’s near and dear to my heart. I wanted to share a little bit of why that is.

Photo by Emilee Kerner Photography

Pit Bulls are one of the most controversial breeds out there, and to be completely honest,  I never intended to become an advocate for the breed, it just kind of happened. You see, I accidentally adopted my first Pit Bull in 2013 and my love for these "underdogs" just grew from there. Allow me to explain...

I was a senior in college, and had my own place. I wanted to adopt a puppy because I had grown up with dogs and my apartment felt empty. So once the decision was made to get a puppy, I started checking out different rescues around town.  I didn't have a specific breed or anything in mind, I just wanted to rescue a puppy and figured I'd know when I found "the one."  I saw Wrigley's litter on Another Chance for Animals Facebook page, and something about these pups stood out to me, they were so stinking cute! I had a meet and greet with the available puppies, and I fell in love with Wrigley's sweet face (and she came up to me and curled up in my lap... so who really chose who here?).  She was 8 weeks old when I took her home, but when I got home it hit me...I just adopted a Pit Bull.

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Now I've never been one to let media hype sway me, and I honestly didn't have a positive or negative image of the breed, I just knew they were dogs that had a really bad rap.  But I was still a little nervous and thinking "what the heck did I just do?" So that's when I started researching this breed. And the more I learned about them, the more I wanted to help them.

I learned a lot in my time researching the breed, but here's a few of the important points.  Pit Bulls are victims of cruel exploitation, media sensationalism, over-breeding, and mostly they're just extremely misunderstood. There's a really awesome article about the breed, here if you're interested in learning more about this.

Another problem these dogs face, is "Pit Bull" isn't a breed. It's a blanket term for dogs who have a certain set of physical characteristics (Ex: blocky head, muscular body, etc..) so there are over 20 different breeds and mixes that fall into the same category as "Pit Bull"  if a dog looks a certain way, they're labelled a Pit Bull.  Both of my dogs may be completely different breeds (since they're both rescues, I'm not sure what they are exactly), but they both have Pit Bull characteristics so they'd be labelled "Pit Bulls" or "Pit Mixes."    I could go into details but I'm trying to keep this less than novel length haha!

Most importantly what I learned was that at the end of the day Pit Bulls are just dogs. They're just like any other dog and I mean that in the best way possible.

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They're loving, loyal members of the family whose wagging tail is always a welcome greeting when you walk in the door. If you don't believe me, I encourage you to reach out to a local shelter and ask them to meet a Pit Bull.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

In December of 2016 my husband and I adopted our second Pit Bull. A sweet chunky potato we named George. We stopped by It Takes a Village just to see the dogs they had, and we were "just there to look" famous last words. George was 6 months old when we got him,  he had been recovering from mange, and the mange left scars all over his body, and looked like he had been through quite a bit in his short life.  I put my hand up to the kennel for him to sniff it and he wrapped his paw around it, and well that was that!  He was ours, we took him home that evening.  Almost 3 years later, I can't imagine my sweet Buddy not being a part of our home.

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With October being National Pit Bull Awareness month, I felt it was a good time to share a bit of the reason advocating for this breed has become so important to me. I mean these two dogs are a part of my family, and have been nothing but loyal loving members, and it's the least I can do to use this platform to spread some awareness for them.   I'm not asking that you  become an advocate for the breed or run out and adopt a Pit Bull of your own. I'm just asking for you to keep an open mind. Do some research, and don't close yourself off to a dog simply because of it's breed.  If  I had done that  I'd have missed out on having two of the best dogs I've ever owned.

If you've been thinking about adopting a furry family member (of the Pit Bull persuasion or otherwise) please consider rescuing. No matter the breed, pets of all kinds need help. Shelters and rescues are filled to the brim.

Here's a few great local rescues to help get your search for your new best friend started!