The Pit Bull is really not a separate breed but one of several, or even a combination of two or more. Because they have been used and abused as fighting animals, some communities have banned them. But people who really know these dogs will tell you what wonderful pets they can be.
The headline said “Hero Pit Bull Helps Find Elderly Woman Lost in the Woods”. It surprised me because you don’t often see the word “hero” connected with a Pit Bull. According to the article, a woman suffering from dementia had wandered away from her home, covering a distance of about half a mile before she collapsed in a wooded area. A pet owner had taken her Pit Bull out for a potty break but instead, her dog began moving toward the woods and barking. His keen sense of smell detected the woman’s presence, and resulted in her rescue. She was hospitalized with hypothermia, but otherwise is okay, thanks to her canine hero who just happens to be a Pit Bull.
So, what’s the truth about Pit Bulls? They certainly suffer from negative publicity and stereotyping, but they are not by nature mean and vicious animals. They are strong and muscular dogs, which some people have exploited in inhumane and irresponsible ways.
Folks who love Pit Bulls know them as friendly, intelligent, affectionate, and energetic animals. They make good family pets and are great around children. They can run and play for an extended period which makes the breed a good choice for activities like agility training. It can also make them a little rambunctious when they get excited. One of the keys to keeping a Pit Bull as a pet is lots of exercise and socialization, all under the supervision of a responsible owner.
I admit I was delighted to see a positive news story about a Pit Bull for a change. But before you take a Pit Bull home as a pet, consider whether you are willing to devote the time necessary to help your dog be a good pet. Socializing your animal with other pets and with people is vital, along with proper training. Regular exercise is a must for these energetic dogs; in fact, they make great companions for runners, hikers, cyclists, in-line skaters. They also make good therapy dogs, or search-and-rescue animals, or devoted family pets.
And, it seems, they make pretty good heroes – just ask the family of the woman rescued from the woods by her very own four-legged hero, when you’re speaking of pets.