Today’s honoree (or honorees) is nominated by Fran Coughlin:
Every year the “pit bull co-op” in Ontario puts on a large event for Pit Bull Awareness Day, and I would like to nominate the co-op for the work they do. The main contact is Debbie Black. Debbie lost her beloved Rocky recently to cancer, and this was the first year Rocky wasn’t in attendance. Both Debbie and Rocky have worked tirelessly to bring awareness in Ontario, Canada.
Debbie has been a constant in our struggle with BSL here in Ontario. Spring, summer, winter, fall the walks have occurred year after year. Debbie has been on the front lines of fighting BSL since we first heard that Bryant wanted to ban dogs based on appearance, so I believe in her hearts of hearts, this will be her final tribute to her faithful companion of 12 years. One thing I know is that Debbie and the Pit Bull Co-Op will continue doing the NPBA walks, in spite of the fact that Rocky will not be there.
The Co-Op was developed so Debbie could continue to socialize Rocky after the ban. When the ban came in, she didn’t know anyone else who owned a “pit bull type” dog. Now her “little” group has over 1200 members and many initial acquaintances have since become her friends. So many dogs have been able to be properly socialized that might not have ever been if not for the Co-Op. This year it hits home that we are starting to lose our dogs and if we don’t change the law, we no longer will be able to have our personal four legged companions of choice.
As National Pit Bull Awareness Day is close to Halloween, it is usual for us to turn the day into a “costumed” kind of affair. Some the outfits wore over the years have been amazing. Ontario’s NPBAW is held at Coronation Park (across from the Princes gates at the Canadian National Exhibition). It is one of the most highly anticipated and attended walks of the year and though many of the dog are pittie types, the walk always includes dogs of all sizes, types and breeds.
We are fortunate in that we got Debbie to say a few words on the Co-Op and its mission, as well:
The “Pittie” Co-op is just that – a co-operative effort of many to firstly, keep our dogs socialized in the face of almost crippling restrictions and secondly to very actively get these dogs out into the public eye again . The dogs themselves are their own best PRl! As we all know, once you meet a “pittie” type your heart is changed forever! In Ontario, however, their beautiful faces are hidden by hideous muzzles – to over come this negative and aggressive appearance we do get a little “over the top” at times with their cute costumes!
We have seen the reaction on the street change over the years.. from people crossing the street to get away from us, to people actually stopping cars and joining us on the street to have their pictures taken! It’s working, but will it work quickly enough to end BSL in Ontario before the rest of our beloved family members disappear forever? Once this generation of bullies is gone, there will be no beautiful bullies to win hearts in Ontario.
YES, it is hitting home so hard..My own boy Rocky, Abbey, Higgens, Amber, all of them breed ambassadors, all of them members of the co-op and all recently lost to us. The walks will never be as joyful but in their honour and the honour of the countless others like them, they will continue. This “Pit Bull” Awareness Day was dedicated to them.
On behalf of Bless the Bullys and the National Pit Bull Awareness Campaign, hats off to Debbie and everyone involved in the Pittie Co-Op for your tireless efforts to change stereotypes in Ontario. Your work is appreciated more than you could ever know!
On a personal note, I send my deepest sympathy to Debbie in this time of loss. This was the first year I didn’t have Tiffin for NPBAD, but I have no doubt that just like Tiffin, Rocky was there with you this year, and your walks will be a legacy to Rocky and all the breed ambassadors that have passed on.