Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover--- Pit bull Awareness Month

October 24, 2016

Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover--- Pit bull Awareness Month

Zuzu's Petals Tees is currently raising money for Project Safe Pet, the Humane Society of York County, Halfway There Rescue, Richardson Rescue, Animal Adoption League, and Friends of York County Animal Shelter.

October is Pit Bull Awareness Month because too often in rescue it is a struggle to save pit bulls. Why is it so hard? They are overlooked for adoption, which means that they will be in a shelter or foster home for a very long time, only because of their breed, not their personality.

 My first dog rescue, 20 years ago, was a dog named Chance. While walking behind my new townhouse through a large conservation park in Florida, I spotted a desperate dog limping and foaming at the mouth from the heat, thirst and exhaustion. He was on his last leg. I didn't know much about dogs other than my childhood beagle. I lured him to my townhouse and opened the back porch for him. My husband came out and said, "What are you doing? " Of course I had no idea, but needed to get the dog food and water immediately.  I didn't  know breeds of dogs then, but my husband said, "That's a pit bull.  What if he bites the neighbor or dog next door, or what if he has rabies?"  It was 10 pm, but he thought I should call Animal Control. I spoke to an officer to ask about signs of rabies. The officer said," What's he doing right now?"  I said, "sleeping, snoring." He replied, "He doesn't have rabies if he's sleeping.  Call the shelter in the morning to have him picked up." I called a few emergency vets that night. As soon as I said his breed, pit bull terrier, they all responded the same, "Oh no, he will be euthanized if taken to the shelter." I couldn't believe that a dog would be euthanized just because of his breed. They knew nothing about him.

Don't worry there was a happy ending for Chance! I was fortunate enough to have a great group of neighbors, including the town house sales women. We worked as a team to pay for his heart worm treatment and neuter. He lived with me for several months and was then adopted by one of the townhouse sales women who had helped with his rescue.  He was an amazing dog, that always seemed so grateful. 

 All rescuers come across TOO MANY Chances. Often rescues have to turn them away because they don't have fosters or shelter space for the long time required. Bullies, bully mixes and other dogs get overlooked for adoption by nice families because they are judged by their breed, age or appearance rather than their individual personalities. As rescuers we have learned that you really can't "Judge a book by it's cover."  Some of the most remarkable dogs are the ones that look the roughest, the scraggliest, are bully breeds or are older. When great families are ready for a dog they often have a vision of the" ALL AMERICAN DOG." Usually,  it's a lab or a pure breed of some sort. However, many families have a hectic life with school, work and kid's activities. They would actually benefit from a mellow sweet older dog that can handle being alone longer and is pleased to greet you when you come home, rather than the one that needs several walks a day to keep his/her energy level manageable.  

Recently, I heard of two unexpected adoptions at the Humane Society of York County. Bruce, a bully mix, had been at the shelter for almost a year, overlooked by all because of his breed mix. By accident one day Bruce came charging in from the Humane Society play yard completely covered in mud. As a volunteer tried to herd him back outside he instead flopped down, belly up, and waited for the two folks in the lobby to scratch his belly. He was adopted on the spot. Bruce now has a human sister named Sophie. Sophie loves Bruce and Bruce loves Sophie.   
Another happy tail from HSYC was a dog with 2 strikes, a pit bull and 10 years old! A couple came in looking for a playmate for their one year old Havanese. They said they didn't want an older dog and didn't want a pit bull, but as soon as they met Avalon the 10 year old pit bull they couldn't resist her sweet nature. Avalon was adopted! She and the Havanese are best buds! Please help remind friends and family to look beyond a dog's breed, age, over all appearance, so they don't miss out on the right fit that will bring happiness and laughter to their home. 



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