Taking it to the Streets

March 9, 2011  

Pretties with Pitties walk the streets to help pit bulls get adopted

By Micaela Myers

On any given weekend in San Diego, you may encounter a group of women wearing hot pink and walking pit bulls sporting vests with catchy phrases, such as “Adopt Me, I Love to Cuddle” and “I’m a Lover Not a Fighter.”

The group draws attention, and that’s just the way they want it.

It all started in mid-2010, when Kerri Ewing and Jessie Moreno were spending most of their weekends volunteering at pit bull rescue adoption events staged outside pet supply stores. The dogs would have to sit on leashes for several hours, and most of the people going into the store already had dogs and weren’t looking for another.

“We decided we needed to think of something different to get the dogs out there so that people would see how cute they are – something where we were getting the dogs out for exercise as well, versus sitting at the event,” Moreno explains.

In addition to giving the adoptable dogs exposure and exercise, Moreno and Ewing wanted to help change perceptions about pit bulls.

“A lot of people have the perception that they’re really for masculine guys and tough guys,” Ewing says. “We wanted to show people that that’s not the case. They are great dogs for anybody.”

After some initial brainstorming, the idea evolved.

“We thought it would be really fun to have a big group of girls walk a bunch of adoptable dogs. Everybody would be wearing a bright color like hot pink, which of course is really girly, so that we get noticed. That way people can also see it’s a big group of girly girls, which is not as intimidating.”

“It just took off,” Moreno says. “The reaction is really, really great.”

Each of the monthly walks features adoptable pit bulls from several local rescue organizations handled by 10 or so volunteers. As the group walks, they hand out adoption cards to anyone interested in learning more about the dogs online. People of all ages stop to pet the dogs and ask what it’s all about, giving the volunteers the perfect opportunity to educate them about pit bulls.

“Everybody is really nice when they meet us,” Moreno says. “They really want to get involved in the idea.”

And it’s obviously working. “About 80 percent of all the dogs we have walked have been adopted,” Ewing reports. “We have also managed to convert people who were once scared of pit bulls into pit bull fans, which is always so rewarding.”

In addition to the walks, Pretties with Pitties organizes fundraising drives for local pit bull rescues.

There’s no doubt about it: With each step they take, innovative groups like Pretties with Pitties are taking it to the streets to help people rediscover the pit bull.

To learn more, visit Pretties with Pitties San Diego.

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14 Responses to “Taking it to the Streets”
  1. Anne says:

    That’s quite a track record! 80% of the dogs they walk have been adopted! These ladies ROCK!

  2. Sherri Hansen says:

    How can I sign up to help with this? I love this idea!!!

  3. MD Stovalli says:

    Look at that, not one of those dogs being walked correctly; 4-5 feet out in front at leash end…

    • StubbyDog says:

      Thanks for your comments. The fact that these shelter dogs are getting out to be walked and seen is really what it’s all about.

    • Kerri says:

      MD-our group does not train the adoptable dogs. None of us are dog trainers and that is not our focus. We walk dogs that represent the breed in the best way possible, and if that means they get excited to meet people and sometimes walk a little ahead of their handlers at times, then that is fine by us, because adopters are not necessarily looking at that. They’re looking at how well the dogs interact with them and their families, their goofy and sweet personalities-and of course their huge pit bull smiles. 🙂

    • Katrina says:

      These dogs desperately need homes, and someone is doing something about that, and you’re complaining about them pulling on the leash?

  4. chad hubrig says:

    Such a great idea, Any thoughts or plans about going to or helping other cities start up this great way of educating and adopting these great dogs

  5. Ladies,

    What a BRILLIANT idea! KUDOS to you!!!