Voodoo Casts a Spell Part II

January 12, 2012  

In the second half of this pit bull’s story, his guardians share how he’s changing one mind at a time through the power of love and kindness

By Lisa Hopewell

Read part I Voodoo’s here.

Since we adopted Voodoo, we have introduced him to most of our friends and family, and the initial reaction to Voodoo from the majority has been the same each time. Most have said, “What were you thinking adopting a pit bull? Are you crazy? Do you know what those things can do?”

One by one, Kris and I have had to defend our “choice” (we still think we were chosen). In most cases, all it took was five minutes with Voodoo to change someone’s mind about him. He is such a sweet loving boy who absolutely blossoms under the attention he gets for his good behavior. He is eager to show off and share his toys with people and other dogs, and will even take a few steps back and wait if a child touches him or his bowl while he is eating. By the end or our visit with a skeptic, they would say something like, “He really is a good dog, and I totally get it now.”

I think that because of the negative reactions that we were getting, we were inspired to become better dog guardians. We have put more effort into his training and socialization because we thought, “If this is the reaction we are getting from people that know us and usually trust our judgment, what is going to happen with strangers that we meet?”

We were, and still are, bound and determined to ensure that Voodoo is never put in a situation that ends up harming him because of false negative perceptions. Even though Voodoo has won over our family and friends, I still notice that many still think other pit bulls except Voodoo are not good pets or are more dangerous than other dogs. One of my family members in particular is concerned about joining me for a hike with a pit bull group because she thinks that her small dogs might get bit, and she has been attacked by a pit bull before. Obviously, we are still working to convince our family that pit bulls are just dogs and doesn’t deserve the reputation that they have been given.

When we adopted Voodoo, the shelter told us he was a pit bull and probably not mixed with anything else. Through my involvement with Our Pack and Stubby Dog Trekkers, I learned that most shelters call all block-headed dogs pit bulls. So we had a DNA test done because we were curious, and it turns out he is not a pit bull. It doesn’t matter what his DNA test says though, a pit bull is all anyone ever sees when they look at him.

We struggle with the things that strangers say to us about our dog on a daily basis. I am by far the worst at reacting to it. My instinct is to tell people off. Kris wants to defend Voodoo or just ignore them, and Voodoo wants to win them over with kindness, love, toys and treats. I try every day to live by the example that Voodoo is setting because he is a much better ambassador than I am. One person at a time, he is winning the battle of a reputation that isn’t even his.

It’s a long road we’ve taken on to travel, but we’re ready. Voodoo supplies the love and we try logic. Maybe one day he will be able to walk down the street without people telling us he shouldn’t exist and instead people will just say, “Wow, look at the beautiful, well behaved dog!”

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16 Responses to “Voodoo Casts a Spell Part II”
  1. Like you I feel the same way, when someone says or looks at my dogs sideways that’s my first reaction as well is to say something negative however, Sasha & Krush show they’re wrong. Sasha believes humans are here to spoil and love her & Krush follows whatever Sasha does. Most peoples reaction will be the same once they meet “pit bull” oh wow how well behaved, you must’ve had them since birth, they’re so beautiful etc. These were some of the comments I’ve received when it comes to my dogs. Krush was ultimate ham in his obedience class, he was calm, confident and won the hearts of everyone in the class & the instructor. You would’ve thought he was a celebrity the way everyone adored him & showered him with love. Of course there are still family members that won’t come our home because of Krush & Sasha & that’s fine with us they’re the ones missing out 🙂 Keep up the good work

  2. knwick says:

    What a great story! We have similar issues with our possible pit bull/pit mix Walter, who also happens to be black with some white markings just to add to the stereotype even more. Living in a city where there are a large number of pit bulls and dog fighting rings makes it even harder. My boyfriend said when we first started talking about getting a dog, that we would absolutely not get anything with pit in it since he has seen the damage they do while working in the hospital. Then one day he brought home a picture of an older puppy that a friend of a friend had found and said he thought this was the one and lets get him. Looking at the picture, I had to say, you do realize that dog probably has pit in him? Really? but he’s so cute! Walter has changed my boyfriend’s view on pit like dogs to the point he is the one saying that we will never have any other type dog.It has also gotten us both involved in the pit bull education and rescue in our own city. Walter is the absolute ham! Loves EVERYONE! He has his own fan club at the vet, doggie day care, his training facility, the horse farm that I ride at, all of our friends and family, and from out neighborhood, even our homeless people on our walking routes tend to be happy to see him since he loves to say hi to them and give them kisses. But it is sad to see kids run away from him, or people cross the street to be on the other side when we are walking or running through town. They don’t know what they are missing. Our goal for Walter is to train him for therapy work since he seems natural at it, he is a completely different dog with children, older adults, and those with disabilities (even their hospital equipment doesn’t phase him). Keep up the good work! It only takes a couple of people to change their opinions for things to start to change.

    • StubbyDog says:

      @knwick Walter sounds like a complete dreamboat! When he does start to be a therapy dog, please email us his story and his experiences. or if you want, you can email us your story about Walter anytime. He sounds like the perfect pup ambassador. If you’re interested, email laurap@stubbydog.org.


  3. In_repair says:

    Just out of curiosity, what did the DNA test tell you?

  4. ToniPetraccoKapudija says:

    Thank you for your story. First I have to say – I am one of “those” people who are afraid of Pit Bulls – I know in my mind that it is not the dog breed, its the bad owners. I (like a dog) have been “trained” by the media to believe that pits are scary. I am trying to overcome this fear. I know, as a dog owner, that ANY dog can bite. – As I have admitted I am frightened of them, I would NEVER say anything to a pit owner. I am appalled that people make comments to you. My fear is my problem. I am glad there are people like you and others who have posted that have taken a chance on those gorgeous dogs with the square heads! Maybe someday I will be lucky enough to meet a dog like your Voodoo and over come my fear.

    • LisaHopewell says:


      Toni knowing your fear is not fact based and working to overcome it is all anyone can ask. I wish you the best of luck at overcoming your fear. I know that fear in of it self is irrational but it dosen’t stop me from being afraid of spiders for example. Just try to view each dog as an individual, because that is what they are.

    • AnnColeman says:

      @ToniPetraccoKapudija For the longest time I was afraid of boxers because of childhood incidents with a neighbor’s dog. It honestly took being a pit bull owner to finally rid me of that fear. Fear is not rational. But it can be overcome.

    • @ToniPetraccoKapudija I agree with what every one else has said here Toni. And kudos for you to trying to deal with your fear head on. Please search around our site, read our stories, go to the resource page especially, and read through there. And feel free to contact me personally laurap@stubbydog.org if there are any other resources I can help provide you with. Hopefully one day, we will be asking you to write a story for StubbyDog about how you overcame this fear and negative perception of pit bulls 🙂 And thank you for being open to doing so!

    • sillyfox4lyfe says:

      @ToniPetraccoKapudija Adopt one, it will erase your fears entirely. That’s what my friend did. She adopted a pit bull puppy from a local shelter, she said the pit bull is the best dog she’s had, but then again, she says that about every dog she’s ever owned. It’s definitely worth a try! Good luck!

      • sillyfox4lyfe says:

        @ToniPetraccoKapudija Plus, when you raise a pit bull puppy on your own, it’s the most rewarding experience ever, think of all the training, and fun times you’ll have, but beware they ARE chewers!! My friends pit bull ate her couch after 3 days of being there, so crate training is essential!

      • sillyfox4lyfe says:

        Also, if you do adopt one, make sure it’s spayed/neutered, microchipped, and whatnot. They even have mini pits (miniature American PIt Bull Terriers, I just call em mini pitties), ones that don’t get very big, 35 lbs at best, dogs with big paws are usually huge as adults, dogs with small paws usually stay pretty tiny so just go by how big their paws are and how old the dog is. My friends pibble is a mini pit, she only weighs 30lbs.

  5. pitbullsrock says:

    Thank you, Toni, for taking the time to read this blog and post. I, too, have had terrible experiences with prejudice, including a lady in her mid-60s threatening that she had a gun while I was with my 80-yr-old mom and my Delta Society therapy dog. The woman approached us at the car while I was getting an umbrella for my mom and my dog was on leash, asked if she had pit bull in her, and when I said yes and explained she did therapy dog work and would she like to meet her, the lady responded by saying if my dog got near her she’d shoot her. That is just one example. There are others. It really hurts to be treated like that when I’ve worked so very hard to have model canine citizens.

  6. sillyfox4lyfe says:

    If I ever see Mr. Voodoo on the street, I’ll compliment his handsomeness any day, and buy him a slim jim!

  7. msfranmc says:

    This reminds me of our sweet Jace. Its a great story where his foster mom wasn’t going to let him go unless people came along who were special enough to meet her standards. Lucky for us we actually met every criteria she had listed. He’s amazing and hilarious! We take him with our retired Greyhound to meet & greets and he wears the “adopt a Greyhound” vest. People love it!

    • StubbyDog says:

      @msfranmc He sounds wonderful. If you would like to share your story with us, please email laurap@stubbydog.org. We would love to hear all the details and share them with everyone. Please include photos of both dogs!