As we usher in the new year full of possibilities, it is also a time for reflection. Its hard for me to believe, but in 2014, Bless the Bullys celebrates its 10-year anniversary of rescue and advocacy for bully breed dogs.
As anyone involved in animal rescue will tell you, rescue is not a hobby…it is a way of life. But pit bull rescue? Pit bull rescue transforms your life…and you. It is a lifestyle that entails not only finding responsible, loving families for deserving dogs, but for advocating and educating every single day, every opportunity you get. Its so entwined in your daily life, in many cases we don’t even realize we’re advocating until a friend or co-worker (or even a boss) casually mentions to you that they defended pit bulls based what they’ve learned about the breed through you.
My dogs, both personal and adopt-a-bulls, have impacted my life and taught me important lessons, and in return, I feel compelled to share those lessons and let people know all the positive ways my dogs have touched my life. They’ve made me a stronger person…a person who is willing to take a stand, sometimes all by myself, for a cause I believe so strongly in. They’ve taught me unconditional love is still possible even after horrible neglect and abuse at the hands of a “human.” Funny as it sounds, I consider it a compliment when the first question I’m asked when I run into someone is not “How are you,” but rather, “How are the dogs?” That one little question reaffirms to me that I’m not just talking the talk…I am practicing what I preach.
Bless the Bullys was founded in 2004 out of a love for the breed sparked by one remarkably special dog memorialized at the top of this blog. With the support and encouragement of incredible rescue and legislative mentors, Bless the Bullys has grown in ways that I could have only imagined a simple one-person “organization” could have become.
The last ten years have been quite a journey as I’ve discovered a world that only other “pit bull people” are familiar with. A world with two very different sides – one that has allowed me to experience first-hand through the many dogs that I’ve cared for in my home, the most loving, loyal and intelligent breed of dog I have ever encountered – and their equally loyal and dedicated owners working to change perceptions about their dogs. The other is a world of animosity, ignorance, and blatant discrimination and stereotyping of not just my dogs, but of me, because of the type of dog I own and advocate for. That being said, one thing the last ten years have shown me is that slowly (but very surely), attitudes about pit bulls are changing, and that’s because of you and I, and our determination to bring about positive change.
During the last decade, Bless the Bullys has been at the forefront of fighting (and helping others to fight) breed specific legislation across the United States. In addition, Bless the Bullys founded National Pit Bull Awareness Day in 2007, and National Pit Bull Awareness Month in 2011, both of which have become October traditions for pit bull advocates, organizations and animal shelters across the country.
It’s been a personal honor to have been spotlighted in publications such as American Dog Magazine for my dedication to bully breeds, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to take part in the documentary, Beyond the Myth, a film that is making a huge impact on how the general public views pit bulls and the destructive impact of breed specific laws.
Finally, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and learning from some amazing advocates, and from the very beginning, I’ve always felt it is my duty to share the things that I’ve learned with others. After all, we are all fighting for the same thing, and we all must carry the torch forward for a better day for pit bulls.
After ten years, I can honestly say that I continue to look forward to a future that is extremely bright for pit bulls. A day where there will be no more homeless pets, personal accountability for irresponsible dog owners, and the end of discriminatory laws that threaten the precious bond between any family and their beloved companions.
Sure, there is still work to do, and in the coming years, I plan on standing right alongside you, working toward a better tomorrow for pit bulls.