Over the years, the pit bull breed has gotten a pretty bad rap, becoming known for their aggression and inability to be trained. However, plenty of animal rescues and owners across the nation are working to fight this stigma by showing how loving and gentle the dogs can be.
Take the story of Kelly Benzel. In November 2016, Benzel found Rocco, a pit bull, for sale on Facebook.
Upon meeting the dog, she realized Rocco had been severely neglected and abused. The pit bull had been left outside without water and was wearing a harness that was cutting into his skin and causing an infection because it was many sizes too small for his body.
Benzel decided to adopt this pup to give him the warm and loving home he deserved.
For another family, when they came across a group of pit bulls labeled as “aggressive,” “high anxiety” and “adopted and returned twice,” they decided to take a chance on them anyways.
Briana O’Leary and John Flores went out on a limb and adopted six rescue dogs from a shelter, as well as “Snack Pak,” a pig that they found at the pound. Soon, the misunderstood and incredibly loving dogs found out that their mom was having a baby boy, and they could not have been more excited about it.
To prepare the dogs for the upcoming change in their territory — the invasion of a tiny baby — their parents would play random audio sounds of a baby crying around the house.
When baby Camden finally arrived, they slowly and individually introduced each dog to the little boy. The parents expressed that it wasn’t difficult to teach the dogs to be gentle because as long as they felt the gentle energy, they understood. The dogs and the baby put together were so innocent and loving toward one another.
And incredibly, the outcomes of their adoptions inspired them to foster over 100 dogs!
It all started a year-and-a-half earlier, when John hit his head. He was unable to work like he normally would and was put on antidepressants. That’s when his therapist recommended he get a dog, so he adopted Penny Lane — his first pit bull.
Now, because of the positive impact Penny had on his own life, John teaches prison inmates how to train dogs in a program called “Pawsitive Change.”
And thanks to the program, John finds that he feels much more fulfilled in life since he hit his head. In fact, he chose to take his experiences even further and start his own non-profit organization, cleverly titled “iPittytheBull,” to promote responsible pet ownership and to debunk pit bull stereotypes. They also sell merchandise to donate towards rescues.
Briana and John illustrate what it’s like to give a second chance to those deemed unworthy, dangerous, or incapable. Doing so evidently reaps many blessings!
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