Chances are you have probably seen conversations in the news or on social media regarding pit bulls. Some are nervous about the dogs having heard stories suggesting pit bulls to be aggressive and possibly dangerous. But, a new voice has begun to change the conversation and paint a new picture for a category of dogs now growing in popularity.
“We’ve begun to see a new generation of pit bull owners,” say Rebecca Lohnes, Behavior and Training Manager at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. “Negative generalizations, about a category of dogs with many positive traits, have fostered new groups advocating to give these dogs a second chance.”
The pit bull category refers to several terrier or retriever breed mixes and includes a variety of dogs with a muscular build and square face. Lohnes says, “Adopters are beginning to see past the generalizations of the pit bull to let the individual personalities of each dog are shine through.”
Many Pit Bulls are wiggly, people-friendly dogs who have been surrendered to Lollypop Farm through no fault of their own. Their owners may simply not have been able to care for them due to personal or financial reasons.
Lohnes explains that all adoptable dogs at Lollypop Farm are given thorough physical and behavioral evaluations. This helps provide potential adopters with the information they need to know if the individual dog is a good fit for their home. Because each dog’s temperament is evaluated individually regardless of breed or mix, adopting a pit bull is no different than adopting any other dog at the shelter.
Sunflower, a five year-old pit bull mix was found as a stray and brought to Lollypop Farm. “Sunflower was a great example of a pit bull with glowing personality,” says Lohnes. “Despite being a stray with some medical issues we were treating, she was super sweet. Sunflower loved every person she met and was excited to meet all the other dogs staying at the shelter.”
“By looking past generalizations, potential adopters are able to find the pet that best fits their home, family and lifestyle,” says Lohnes. “Whether that means a dog that loves snuggling up on the couch or another that prefers long runs.” Negative generalizations leave pit bull waiting for a new home longer than other breeds and mixes. Opening adopters’ minds to see each dog as an individual personality can not only provide them with a better fit for their home, it can save lives.