FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS, EVEN LEO THE (GASP!) PIT BULL
One of the charities that Jason and I support is Best Friends Animal Society, which maintains a no-kill sanctuary in Utah for abused and abandoned animals. Some no-kill shelters have awful living conditions which prolongs a poor quality of life for the helpless animals, so I understand the argument that no-kill shelters are not always good, that euthanization may in fact be better. However, if the animals can live and be loved in a good environment, I am all for a no-kill option. Best Friends is more than a no-kill shelter, it's like a miniature city. It's one of the biggest sanctuaries of its kind, and no animal is ever turned away. They helped lead the movement to save, and reunite with their owners, the animal victims of hurricane Katrina. Recently they rescued over 700 cats from a hording situation in 115 degree desert heat. And they agreed to take in and rehabilitate 22 of the tragically infamous Michael Vick pit bulls, unlike some other major animal rights organizations who felt that the only reasonable option for the Vick dogs was immediate across-the-board euthanization. I'm glad to say that several of those pits are now in permanent homes, while others remain in therapy and training at Best Friends with the hope that they will someday be adopted out. Regardless of the outcome, they will have permanent and comfortable lives at the Best Friends sanctuary, never to be abused again.
One of the biggest things that irks me about the stigma of pit bulls - in this case specifically the Vick dogs - is that people assume every dog is a fighter. Some of Vick's were bait dogs who had their teeth ground down so they couldn't bite or fight, and their whole purpose in life was to be attacked. These are some of the most amazing "comeback kid" stories from the rehabilitation effort at Best Friends. At first, these bait dogs were scared shitless of any human AND any dog they encountered. There was not an ounce of aggression in them, for their whole purpose in life was to be submissive. And they have slowly developed the ability to trust people. Even some of the fighter pits have grown into loving and docile animals. Aggression is not instinctive, it's taught. And if you want to argue with me on this, I've got a great article about the myths of pit bulls and other banned breeds that's eye-opening.
Now for the meat of my post:
I came across this story tonight and wanted to share it. I don't know the history of this particular dog, other than it is a rehabilitated Vick dog who is now helping to rehabilitate people. Overlook the clown collar and see the dog for who he really is - a survivor. Animals need us, and we need animals. Go help a dog or cat or bunny or mouse or moth. It'll make you feel good.