Heroic Pit Bulls

Pit bulls have a pretty crummy reputation these days. Between the myth of a pit bull’s “locking jaw” and the constant news stories depicting the dogs as ruthless-attackers of innocent children, it’s no wonder that many people have grown afraid of the breed. The fact is these dogs are no more evil than any other breed. Indeed, pit bulls usually score very high on dog temperament testing, they have a passing rate of 84% compared to the average dog score of 77%, and their sweet disposition around children has earned them the nickname of “nanny dog.” Sharky, shown below, is an internet sensation that shows the loving side of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

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Many famous people, alive and dead, have had the dogs as loving pets, including Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Humphrey Bogart, Jessica Alba, Michael J. Fox and more. One of the most adored dogs in film history, Pete the Pup of Our Gang, was a rescued pit bull terrier. Even most of the notorious Michael Vick dogs have forgotten their ugly pasts and become loving family members.

War Dogs:

There are a number of famous pit bulls that have served as members of the armed forces, and, despite the fact that the army and navy have outlawed pits on base, at least one marines squadron still has a pit bull serving as their mascot. This is nothing new, pit bulls have been serving in the armed forces for hundreds of years. A pup named Jack Brutus (shown at left, photo Via The Smithsonian Institute) served as official mascot of Company K, First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. While Jack was merely a mascot and never actually served in the action, other war dogs have.

The most notable of these dogs is Stubby, the most decorated dog in American military history. Stubby was a stray dog that wandered into the U.S. encampment of the WWI 102nd Infantry. He befriended the soldiers and was sent out to France. Stubby served to brighten the men’s spirits while they battled in the trenches. He warned the troop of gas bombs and German attacks in the middle of the night. Stubby once found a hiding German spy and bit him in his pants until U.S. soldiers came to capture him. At one point, Stubby got too close to a grenade and his front leg was injured, later he was gassed.

Photo Via The 102nd Infantry Regimental Museum

After he returned home, he became a celebrity and was made a lifetime member of the American Legion, where he took part in every parade and every convention until his death in 1926. Stubby met Presidents Wilson, Harding and Coolidge. He received a special golden hero dog medal created by the Humane Education Society (later the Humane Society) that was attached to his jacket, sewn by ladies of the rescued town, Chateau Thierry. Other medals he received include the Purple Heart, a New Haven WWI Veterans Medal, 3 Services Stripes and many more.

An interesting side note, some people credit Stubby with creating the halftime show at football games. When his master attended Georgetown University to study law, the pup became the football team’s mascot. Between the two halves, he would play with a football on the field to entertain the crowd.

There are other wars that pit bulls have been noble fighters during wartime, including the war on drugs. Popsicle was found in a freezer on a drug dealer’s porch in New York. He was starving and almost frozen to death. To make matters worse, officers assumed he was used in an illegal dog fighting ring. But Popsicle was destined to do more with his life and was soon enlisted in a drug-dog training school in Virginia. The class was notoriously hard and of 500 dogs admitted the year before, only 4 dogs passed. The Popsicle proved to be smarter than average though, and graduated first in his class.

Within only two months, Popsicle took part in the largest drug bust ever made at the Mexican border. He sniffed out over 3,075 pounds of cocaine from a pineapple truck. He was later featured on Oprah and received a Significant Seizure Award from the U.S. Customs Department. (Image Via James Tourtellotte, [U.S. Customs Website])

Source #1, #2

Rescue dogs:

Pit bulls are notoriously loyal family pets and there are many records of them risking their lives to save their owners. These dogs are great protectors from snakes, and rescuers in a variety of emergencies.

Snake Attacks:
Weela was a rescue dog abandoned in an alleyway at only four weeks old. She was saved by the Watkins family of California. One day when the family’s son was playing in the garden, Wella ran across the yard and knocked him to the ground. Within seconds, Weela was bit in the face by a rattlesnake that was hidden in the garden, saving the boy. The dog made a full recovery and later received the Ken-L Ration’s Dog Hero of the Year Award in 1993 after she helped save 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses and 1 cat in a heavy flood. Reader’s Digest included a story about Weela’s heroism, but as is all too common when pit bulls do good deeds, they neglected to include the fact that she was an American Pit Bull Terrier. (Image Via Pitbull Advocate 101)

Dixie Butler had a similar story. On November 11, 1999, Dixie jumped between the her family’s children and a deadly cottonmouth snake. The snake bit Dixie many times in the face and eyes. She, fortunately, survived and went on to receive the Hero Animal of the Year Award and was inducted into the Georgia Animal Hall of Fame.

More recently, Chief, a pit bull pet in the Philippines saved his family from a cobra. On February 12, 2007, Liberata la Victoria and her granddaughter, Maria Victoria Fronteras, were watching tv on the sofa when Chief bolted up and alerted the pair to a cobra 10 feet away. Maria pulled her grandmother into another room, where they waited, hoping the snake would leave the way it came in. After a while, Maria decided to peek out and see if the cobra was gone –unfortunately, it had edged within two feet of her and her grandmother, and opening the door had upset the snake. The cobra exposed its hood and was poised to strike when Maria screamed.

Image Via Marc Sabelita [Dogs In The News]

That’s when Chief ran between the women and the snake, grabbed the cobra by its neck and killed it. Unfortunately, the snake delivered a fatal bite to Chief’s jaw and the dog soon collapsed. As the pup breathed the last time, he continued to wag his tail.

Source #1, #2, #3

Lassies Incarnate:
Marley is a three-year-old pit bull terrier who belongs to a family with the same name. When a fire started up, the babysitter focused on opening a stuck fire exit that was rarely used. When she turned around, she saw Marley pulling the youngest girl in the family from the burning trailer.

Foxy helped saved her 82 year-old master from death. When Joan Maguire slipped on the ice on her doorstep and shattered her hip, she lied there in six degree weather, hoping that her flashlight signals might get her neighbor’s attention. The flashlight didn’t help, but her pit bull, Foxy, did. The pup laid with her to help warm her up, while barking for an hour and a half until help arrived. Officers at the scene agreed that without the dog’s warmth, Joan probably would have frozen to death. (Image Via Long Island Press)

In fair weather, these dogs have served as Lassie, going to get help when someone is in need. That’s just what little Gabby did when she saw her neighbor, Jim Roach, fall from a twelve-foot-high ladder. While Jim lay on the ground unconscious, Gabby licked his face and barked. Soon, she sprang into action and got the attention of her owner, Jeanne Davis, who adopted Gabby after she was pulled from an abusive home.

"She's barking and then she looks at me and runs back," Davis said. "It's kind of like something Lassie would do." Jeanne got the hint and started to follow Gabby, who led her to Jim. As soon as Jeanne approached her neighbor, the dog immediately stopped barking. Upon entry to the hospital, doctors discovered that Jim had multiple injuries, including four broken ribs, a fractured clavicle and bleeding on his brain.

Jim works as a psychology instructor and now tells his students about the kindhearted side of pit bulls that never gets media attention. "They're just a terrier," he said.

As for Jeanne, who was warned by many people not to adopt an abused pit bull, she says, "A lot of people said to put her down, that she's going to do something bad. I'm so proud of my dog."

Source #1, #2, #3,

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I grew up in a house where we had every kind of dog under the sun labs, shepards, rotties, even a wolf, but I was never allowed a pitbull. I ended up with a pitbull by chance when I was 19 and had my own place. I fell in love hard and I have never had any other kind of breed since. My first pitbull Chopper got alot of dirty looks & negative comments. One day while at the river a two year old got swept out into the current & out of every dog there labs, goldens, sheps ect, my pitbull was the only one that swam out after him. He pulled him back to shore by his diaper & licked his face franticly.(Some vicious killer). I have had 3 more pits since, one of which was rescued from terrible abusive conditions & have never had an aggression issue with any. In fact I have a big 85 pound pit & he was scared of my mouse & wont go near the ferrets at the pet store. All my pits have been great with kids & all other animals. In fact my first pit changed my families minds now all my siblings own one & my mom wants one. Please dont judge pits by the bull the media feeds you. Go out of your way to meet one & fall in love for yourself.
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I came across this today and cried with the story of Chief.. and I love the comments from other Pittie owners who will gladly stand up for their pit kids and tell the truth about what wonderful dogs they are!

I am owned by a 6 year old pittie named Boss, he is the most awesome dog I've ever had, other than a pit/chow mix I had before that was stolen from me. I got Boss from an abusive idiot who kept him in a small crate for the first 9 months of his life in a closet. The moron got the dog but didn't want his landlord to find out, so he would beat Boss if he barked and one of those beatings broke Boss' leg. When I got Boss he weighed only 30 pounds and his leg joint is permanently misaligned and there are spots on his belly and chest that won't grow hair. The vet said the hair follicles died from being forced to lay in that small crate with no padding at all and laying in his own urine and feces.

Boss is a very happy, loving dog! Even after I got him when he would see his previous owner (an old neighbor) he would run to him wagging his tail and jumping on him happy. A very good example of their loyalty even when the care they get is horrible.

Boss and my 2 1/2 year old son are best friends. If you see one, you see the other. They even sleep together in my son's small toddler bed. I have the cutest pictures of them in that bed. One night they started out curled up together butt to butt. My son is a wild sleeper and always ends up with his legs hanging off the side of the bed, well that night he was hanging his legs off and don't ya know the dog had his butt and tail hanging off the bed too laying side by side with him! Cutest thing ever!

My son is ADHD and had Oppositional Defiance Disorder and I hate to admit but he has done some mean things to Boss, including cutting the dogs ear with scissors he had snuck away from me when I was working on the toilet and had used them to open the package of replacement parts. I was working on the toilet, heard Boss howl in pain and he came running to me dripping blood. He never tried to harm my son in return and even licked his face when he was crying from getting punished for hurting the dog! I'm not proud of what my son has done to my dog, please don't take it like that..what I am proud of is my dog's reaction to it. He is such a good dog!

And whoever posted they will go after things smaller than them or something along those lines..not true. My dog lives in the house with 3 cats..at one time I had 8 cats. One of the cats and him share breakfast in the same dish every morning and they sleep together and play together constantly.

I love my dog and will never be without a pittie again. The day I got him was in my eyes equal to the joy of my sons being born!

Thank God for each and every one of you who are owned by these fantabulous dogs and give them the respect and love they deserve!
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I use to take care of 3 pits for someone & had no problem w/ them... the way I see if people want to ban Pit Bulls then I hope they know if they are going to heaven then they still have to deal w/ them to... God made these wonderful dogs... They have every right to be on this earth and living w/ Wonderful loving people as much as any other dog or animal. They were here longer then we could imagine. They are innocent...
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My sons first word wasn't mom or dad it was kanga, our staffordshire terrier. He learned to get over baby gates by using hand signals to tell her to si & stand as he stood on her. She knocked him down once by jumping over the baby gate (at his beckoning) and I swear she felt horrible because she wouldn't leave his side even went & slept on his floor while he took a nap that day. She was a very passive dog, got beat up by ferrets even. I personally never saw her so much as growl. My sister was watching her while I was on vacation and kanga went ballistic on her broth-in-law growling, showing her teeth etc. & backed him into the corner where he literately pissed himself in fear (sister called her & she came running tail wagging and all) about a month later my sister found out he was a pervert who had abused his own children & had embezzled alot of money from her husbands company as well. I love apt & amstaffs (most don't know the difference) & it's a shame people are so ignorant about them.
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This is awesome...!! I had a Pit which was like my son. I lost him about three years ago and every time I see a Pit I miss him so much!

What I would really like to know is at the top of the article is a video with a pit...what do you call his/her colour? I have never seen it!!!


South Africa
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