Warning! That Pit Bull Will Change Your Life

October 6, 2011  

Adopting a pit bull did indeed change this family’s life – in so many amazing ways

By Thaddeus Stringer

I grew up with dogs; they were always present, a constant in our home – mostly spaniels. In other words, the “right kind of dog” for the Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia.

We were those fiscal conservative/social liberals you’ve heard about. We wore boat shoes, knew how to tie bow ties and seemed to be sent home from the hospital with blue blazers. We attended liberal arts colleges, pursued advance degrees and wore pastels.

We didn’t adopt pit bulls.

But after I graduated college and was about to finish law school, that’s exactly what my wife and I did. We adopted a pit bull. And we jumped in with both feet. We adopted a pit bull from a cruelty case.

We were told that adopting a pit bull would forever change our life.

For the worst:

“You have to have thick skin to adopt a pit bull!”

“People will cross the street when they see you coming!”

“Your family won’t understand!”

“Your life will never be the same!”

Turns out they were right. Adopting a pit bull did change our lives. Just not how they told us it would.

People did cross the street. They crossed the park, the sidewalk, the parking lot, too. They stopped their cars in the middle of the street. They came to see this dog, our pit bull Sarge. Our family started coming to events where he was making appearances. We met our neighbors. We met our neighbors’ family.

Our pit bull changed our lives.

We became part of a brotherhood that didn’t care if you were white or black, rich or poor, yuppie or hipster, fit or flabby. We were pit bull guardians and lovers – and we were in this together.

But we became more than just pit bull people: We became part of our community.

We walked with our dogs in Memorial Day, 4th of July and Halloween parades. We were a constant presence in schools across the city doing humane education with people we had no other reason to meet. With our therapy dog, we interacted with elders tucked away in nooks and crannies of the city that we didn’t know existed. We met amazing young men in a group home for abused teenagers. We had lunches at law firms, happy hours with bankers. We met them all.

We met friends. Friends who had pit bulls, friends who thought our dogs were cute, friends who we chatted up at the bar … we met so many new people – all because of our pit bulls.

We worked with vet students, college professors, corporate officers, scholars, advocates, social workers, teachers and politicians. We added more friends (both in real life and on Facebook … which led to more friends in real life) to our lives than we could have hoped.

So maybe we did need warning that adopting a pit bull would change our life. New pit bull families should be prepared for new friends and a wonderful community.

If someone had only warned us of all the good things that would happen to us when we adopted a pit bull … we might have adopted one sooner.

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Comments

31 Responses to “Warning! That Pit Bull Will Change Your Life”
  1. ValerieSherman says:

    Now that was by far the best story I’ve read on here..I’m not just crying a little. I’m choked up and everything. Good for you…aren’t you the lucky ones.

  2. loralothringer says:

    Awesome story! Thanks so much for the all the wonderful pibble stories! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pibbles! Pit bulls are not the only dogs but they are the only dogs for me!

  3. AnnVanderlaan says:

    Miss ya, Sarge.

  4. KarenPapesh says:

    Great story! Welcome to the Pit Bull community, we are very glad to have wonderful people like you!!

  5. tobeyk says:

    Love this story and agree 100%. We adopted our Nikki in 2009 and she was life-changing to say the least! We can’t imagine life without her and love to tell people she is a pit bull. Even living in the liberal city of Chicago, we encounter people that apparently judge a book by its cover and walk the other way when we come down the street (this doesn’t happen with our much bigger shepherd-husky). If anyone has a clever response to say to the people that pull their dogs away, leave the dog park, etc., when you are with your pit bull, let us know. Sometimes I am simply speechless that people are that closed-minded. Anyway thanks for the wonderful story!

    • LucyQuinlan says:

      @tobeyk What about this for a witty response: “Oh, he’s

      ok! We’ve got his whole licking thing under control!”

    • thegaphiker says:

      @tobeyk I always tell people who pull their dogs away it’s ok my stormy doesn’t like to play with “commoners” anyway as he is royalty in the dog world. I find most people are jealous that their dog is not as handsome, friendly, smart, brave, loyal beyond belief, and strong as an ox. We simply put our noses up, both of us, and tell them it is their loss not to meet the culmination of all the good traits of a dog- The American Pit Bull Terrier., and my Stormy. The best damn pit bull in the world!!!

  6. AdrienneClegg says:

    You and Kim are an inspiration to many and a National treasure to those in “Our Community” and the larger rescue world. You share you heart, quick wit and beautiful family ( yes Cappy too) with the world and gave us all Sarge who may be the greatest boon to Pit Bulls since Petey. Your fresh view on APBT’s and those presumed to be, have shattered the presumptions of many of us. Thank you! And I am forever thankful that you guys decided to bring an old dog home and learn some new tricks.

    • ThaddeusStringer says:

      @AdrienneClegg Cappy too? Thank you so much for these incredibly kind words. Sarge was a great member our family. Probably the best part, he was probably just an average dog at the shelter.

  7. shashoe54 says:

    Pits are extraordinary dogs. Love your story. You haven’t lived until you’ve lived with a pit bull!

  8. DeniseMarantoWiedmeyer says:

    <3 this is what I say to ALL pittie lovers and people who actually open their Heart, Mind and Home for the greatest gift they will ever know…I tell everyone – Once you own a pitbull..you will never own another dog !!!

  9. AnnColeman says:

    My pit bull @stellathedog changed my life. I am thankful for her every day. THANK YOU for all you do to help my favorite type of dog!!!

  10. KathleenReidy says:

    The beautiful pittie in my pic is Daisy. Daisy was rescued by my daughter Maggie. One day when she was driving home from law school she noticed a car slow down in front of her and dump a dog onto the side of the road. The poor little thing just laid there and whimpered. Maggie scooped her up and took her home. She took her to the vets and had her treated for anemia, parasites, worms, malnutrion and pressure sores from laying on concrete. She was also spayed and microchipped. Daisy is now spoiled rotten and loved beyond measure. She is the most loving, gentle sweet dog I have ever met. I am so thankful that Maggie saved Daisy from a life of misery or worse an injection.

  11. ilovemana says:

    This is so very, very true. Once you bring a Pit Bull into your life, you will never be the same. They change every aspect of your life, for sure! I wouldn’t trade mine for the world.

  12. heavygear151 says:

    We have a pitty, Riley Christine Alexandria Balles De San Antonio. She is our daughter and we love her so much, she is a light, a breeze, and my salvation after my mom passed. We are both professional people, my wife is a buyer, I am in real estate. We have adopted a new pitty, Charly Brown, he is a rescue, he was found wandering the streets, thin, beaten, abused. Later we on the day after we got him home and to the vet we were told he had heartworms, and that his pevis and hind leg show damage from a possible car injury. Charlie was my Christmas gift and the best one, he may not be perfect but he has a forever home that will shower him with love and the work needed to get him healthy and happy…If you can help, we could sure use some, even your prayers count, here is a link that I hope you will give a look at. Thank yhttp://savecharliebrown.chipin.com/charlie-browns-surgury-and-treatmentou and have a Safe and Happy New Year…..BTW this was a great story and it is ours to;)

  13. heavygear151 says:

    We have a pitty, Riley Christine Alexandria Balles De San Antonio. She is our daughter and we love her so much, she is a light, a breeze, and my salvation after my mom passed. We are both professional people, my wife is a buyer, I am in real estate. We have adopted a new pitty, Charly Brown, he is a rescue, he was found wandering the streets, thin, beaten, abused. Later we on the day after we got him home and to the vet we were told he had heartworms, and that his pevis and hind leg show damage from a possible car injury. Charlie was my Christmas gift and the best one, he may not be perfect but he has a forever home that will shower him with love and the work needed to get him healthy and happy…If you can help, we could sure use some, even your prayers count, here is a link that I hope you will give a look at. Thank you http://savecharliebrown.chipin.com/charlie-browns-surgury-and-treatmentou and have a Safe and Happy New Year…..BTW this was a great story and it is ours to;)

  14. Betsyjoy says:

    The day I adopted Annie I wasn’t even looking for a new family member (dog) Something took me to the pound and there she was. She was a neglect and abuse case. All she needed was the same ammout of love to match what she has to give. She hogs the bed and snores too loud, she will chase my three cats down just to lick them from head to toe ( they don’t run now just lay there and take it) My little 5lb Rat Terrier loves her to death. My grandson Dakota (2) wants to go see Annie, Nana is ok but Annie is the best. I trust Annie anywhere, anytime with anything. I don’t worry about Dakota beause with Annie around nobody would dare mess with him. My heart hurts when I read or see where people have harmed these wonderful souls. Towns cities sttes and even countries have banned them. They sould really ban the people who have forced them to do things that have given them bad names. All I know is if you try to harm my girl Annie she won’t fight you but…. I WILL !!! I love my Annie I just wish I could have gotten her before the aweful people that had her first. I can’t erase what happened to her I can only make sure it never happens again.

    • StubbyDog says:

      @Betsyjoy You are giving Annie a beautiful life now, and dogs live in the moment, so be comforted by the fact now she only knows love.

  15. PucciDaddy says:

    The pitbull’s reputation for being mean and vicious is completely incorrect! It is the PEOPLE who abuse them, mistreat them, and train them to behave in such a manner. As a breed, they are AMAZING animals, with unbelievable resiliance. Even the most abused and unloved pitties can turn around to become the loving, protective, and wonderful animals they are. It just takes a little time, and a lot of love.

    I had my first pittie (Lulu) for 12 years till last November (lost her to cancer). And she was just the sweetest, most loving dog you’d ever meet! And on Christmas, I adopted a new love: Pucci! She’s a two-year old, beautiful, bouncy and happy, chocolate-brown lovebubble! She will lick your face off, if you let her!

    I ask everyone here: ignore the lies you’ve heard about these dogs. Visit one (or more) at a shelter, and rescue one of these beautiful creatures. It only takes a little love, and you’ll get HEAPS of love in return!

    • PucciDaddy says:

      And as an aside: in that Xmas video posted here? My Lulu was the EXACT same coloring as that sweet pooch! Brought a tear to my eye for a minute…

  16. PucciDaddy says:

    PS – Check out this video from KarmaRescue here in LA. http://youtu.be/ZkSJNXhnKNI

    It’s about a mom and dad pitbull and their puppies that were running wild at a golf-course here in LA. The daddy (Casper) was in really bad shape. But watch the transformation. Grab some Kleenex, too

  17. mjbray says:

    Too late! I’ve already fallen in love with an 88 lb. mound of love. I rescued him from a family who didn’t have time for him–their loss. Similar to you, I’m a middle aged, college educated, pretty conservative guy, the last person you’d expect to see with a Pit Bull. What I got from the deal is as much love and devotion as I can handle. This is my second experience with a Pit Bull, and both have been incredible. Both dogs have been obedient and well behaved with people and dogs–in fact, both have been generally submissive to aggressive dogs of all sizes. If you raise a Pit Bull to simply be the family dog, that’s exactly what you’ll get, a regular family dog, and they’ll be the best companions you could imagine. They have a need to be close, a tremendous desire to please and a bottomless well of affection.

    I love what you’re doing, and this article has made me think about how I could (and probably should) do the same sorts of things with my guy.

    • StubbyDog says:

      @mjbray That’s wonderful. Yes, and take your guy every where you can and show everyone you can that pit bulls are fantastic dogs.

  18. MartaKingsbury says:

    I love this story! My feelings exactly! I too wish I had known sooner and have met great people through my Pit Bull. I feel like I have always been compassionate towards all people but I soon learned what it feels like to have people not like you because of the way you look holding a pit bull at the end of your leash. Let’s keep fighting the fight. There are so many great dogs that need to be saved and in turn save us humans. I know I will never be the same.

  19. JanetteHamilton says:

    Run my own media company here in Ontario, a BSL province. I wish I were as fortunate to say that everyone loves my dog. They DO cross the street when they see her coming. But she has changed my life in all the ways you mentioned, and surrounded me with good people who have become good friends. She has made me more involved in life around me for sure!