I recently came across a New York photographer, Sophie Gamand, www.sophiegamand.com, who is doing incredible work to raise awareness about the true nature of pit bull dogs, and help get these shelter dogs rescued. Many people have a misunderstanding about this breed due to years of them being misrepresented in the media, and the myths of fear and terror that have been promulgated by evil people who want to use these animals in illegal fighting and as “watch” dogs. Yes, these dogs are strong and powerful, but they are also very sweet and gentle when they don’t feel threatened. It breaks my heart that so many of these dogs are bred, purchased, stolen, etc. to be trained as killers and attackers, and then many of them are abandoned or tossed aside when they are no longer “useful”. And unfortunately, more than almost any other breed, pit bulls are not adopted from shelters because people are afraid of what the dogs are capable of, so they end up being euthanized.
I too used to have a misconception about pit bulls, and would pull away when I saw one. But I have learned that nurture wins out over nature when it comes to their temperament. Many of these animals are tortured and abused, and it literally comes down to a “kill or be killed” mentality. I would challenge any human to come out of a similar experience and not be broken, terrified, angry and mistrusting. Dogs learn what you teach them.
When these dogs are loved, feel safe, and are properly cared for, they are amazing companions. My brother has two rescue pit bulls (and a toddler and a baby!), and rather than be worried about the safety of his children, these goofball dogs have become the kids’ playmates. Last winter we lived with a pit bull, Bonnie, and she was so sweet and docile that Jonas and I fell in love with her and babied her and cuddled with her every chance we could. All she wanted to do was snuggle and be part of the action. We miss living with that dog everyday.
Back to Sophie- in an effort to change the public’s perception of pit bulls, she did a series of photographs with shelter dogs depicting them as Flower Power pit bulls of the Revolution, i.e. hippies. By showing their true spirit of love and peace, hopefully they would have a chance of being adopted. Look at the pictures of some of these loves below! Check out her article about it here: http://www.sophiegamand.com/#/flowerpower/