- 2,800 pit bulls per day are euthanized in the U.S.
- 75% of municipal shelters euthanize on intake of Pit bulls
- 88% Pit bulls scored on the American Temperment Test and came in 4th, right below the Collie, Labador Retriever and Beagle.
A few years later I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and my babies were my cuddle buddies while I cried it out. It became harder and harder to move around unassisted, and though I was told I could start on medications that would help my pain I’ve always been the person that didn’t take an ibuprofen unless it was forced on me. I started to think about a service dog, and how one could help me, but was soon discouraged. There are a few ways to get a service dog; I could buy one to the tune of $30,000…. Nope, I could go to a non-profit and be put on a waiting list and wait for 2-3 years, nope, or I could train my own. I looked at my two dogs, Kahlua was getting old and she was always a petite thing, I didn’t think she’d be a good fit but Spock, who was young and muscular and just adored me, I chose to start training to help me. Spock has travelled the world with me, lending support and being my constant companion. I cannot imagine having had to cope with such a difficult condition without my big boy.
Spock loves little kids and he get’s so excited when he meets a new friend. The smiles of children playing with this “dangerous” breed, along with the smile it brings me to oppose the stigma and give people positive experiences with these wonderful animals is the inspiration that drives my company’s mission. Some people see me with my big service bully in a public place and assume I just want to hang out with my pet. They couldn’t even begin to guess how he helped me regain my independence, how he is my partner and, while some days are better than others, how I depend on him being next to me. I started my business Don’t Be A Bully in honor of my bog boy because I see the way people look at his big powerful jaws and muscular body and I know that they see him as a killer. It pains me to consider how many helpless animals are disregarded in this way. I, however, know the truth. I wanted use this misunderstood group of dogs for the better, I wanted to help them and help people who, like me, suffer limited mobility disabilities and I decided I want to enable these groups to help one another.
Don't Be A Bully
I have always loved dogs, those big innocent eyes, floppy ears, wet noses. Growing up my dad raised labs for duck hunting and we always had a litter following my brother and me around. I remember my first dog, an old yellow lab, Brittany, who used to bark at me when I went down the slide in my back yard because she thought I would get hurt. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have the loyal companionship of a dog. Brittany was with me when I was small and carefree and, like other children, felt invisible. Bo, the next one, was there for my first crush and when I broke my wrist falling out of the tree in my front yard. Daisy May was the dog my parents got my brother and me when they told us they were getting a divorce.
I can mark all my life experiences by noting which dog I hugged and when. I finally got my own dog the day I turned 18, a sweet chocolate lab from lab rescue, my first baby, Kahlua. In 12 years she has been the quintessential lab: always excited to see me, following me from room to room, retaining her puppy-like urges, aging hips and all, to leap into any body of water or chase down any squirrel she sees. Years later, and after swearing I’d never have a puppy again I acquired my first bully, a wall eyed American Bulldog, Spock. I had no experience with the breed but quickly learned how funny, gentle and charismatic they could be. Spock is a grade A snuggler, a master of laziness, and a connoisseur of butt scratches.
I do it for the smiles, the big goofy, lopsided smile and kiss I get when I say “good dog” to a dog that’s been unfairly maligned, and the smiles I get when I hand over the leash and watch the beginning of a new companionship. This year Don’t Be A Bully is putting on its first ever Big Bully Expo to raise awareness for these breeds to which I owe so much. I save bully breeds so they can save others.
My business rescues bully breeds from urgent lists across the east coast and trains them to be service dogs, giving them a purpose and chance to prove that they aren’t vicious. The goal is to make service dogs more accessible for those in need, give them the support they need to transition into life with a service animal, give these loyal partners the loving, long-term homes they need, and foster relationships between businesses and community organizations to create a culture of caring for a highly stigmatized group of dogs.