As October comes to a close, so too, comes the close of National Pit Bull Awareness Month (officially, that is). Really and truly, though, we should strive every day of the year to put forth our greatest efforts for the breed, and I know so many of you take your role as pit bull advocates to heart. You already know that each of us can and should play a part in changing perceptions about pit bulls. After all, we are the only voice they have, and they are depending on us to educate the public, to dispel the false information out there, be role models for responsible ownership, and to restore their reputation as the great American icons they truly are.
On Saturday, October 26, 2013, pit bull advocates across the United States, Canada and Germany celebrated National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) and participated in an array of events, including rallies, parades and “pittie” parties, that put the spotlight on the grouping of dogs commonly known as “pit bulls” as the loving, loyal, comedic and endearing family companions, athletes, service and therapy dogs they are! These fun and educational events triggered an enormous amount of positive news stories about pit bulls, as well as those changing perceptions and stereotypes, all across the country. A key goal of the National Pit Bull Awareness Campaign is to educate, and once again, like every year before, you met that goal and then some!
Have no doubt, NPBAD is one was the most successful nationwide celebrations of its kind because of YOU. I believe NPBAD has become a tradition for so many people because, as pit bull owners and advocates, we are so thirsty for our voice and our side of the story to be heard. I hope that thirst remains unquenchable until breed bias and discrimination are a thing of the past. You can be an effective and forceful voice for the breed. You can ensure that good dogs and good owners are not victims of fear and discrimination. You CAN make a difference, and leading by example in your very own community is the perfect place to start!
So, what does it mean to keep National Pit Bull Awareness Day close to your heart everyday? Its understanding the difference between being just another dog owner and being a breed advocate. Its understanding the impact the actions of you and your dog have in your community and beyond. Its the difference between sitting on the bench and watching from the sidelines and being a star player of the game. Responsible ownership, daily advocacy, standing up for those faced with breed discriminatory laws, unconditional love…they all play a part in keeping the meaning of NPBAD close to your heart, everyday, and you understand that perfectly.
NPBAD has become something wonderful to look forward to every October! A day we can all share in knowing thousands of people are united on one day, at the same time, for one very important common goal – to changes minds and perceptions about the dogs – our family companions – we cherish so very much.
I want to sincerely thank all those who have supported and participated in National Pit Bull Awareness Day over the last seven years. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you for taking my vision and making it OUR reality.
And finally… several people, especially those in the northern states, have asked about the possibility of moving NPBAD to earlier in the month of October, and I’m interested in getting your opinions on this…after all, this is OUR day. Please take a moment to let me know what day you’d like to celebrate NPBAD in 2014.