The truth is, a pitbull can be very stubborn. They get something in their head like “I can get under that fence (or through a screen)” and they will be difficult to stop. They have a high pain tolerance. Our pitbull used to crawl under our neighbor's fence. We tried to fix the fence, but she didn't know she couldn't get under it, so she always found a way!
They need exercise, and a lot of it. The more they get, the more they need, as they seem never to stop amassing muscle. However, the more they get, the more they are contented being "good" dogs. They are very powerful for their size.
An aggressive pitbull is a very dangerous thing. They can kill a person, and the truth is that sometimes they do. You need patience to train one, and because they can be stubborn, they can seem kind of dumb sometimes.
However, their love and affection for the responsible owner (in my opinion) far surpasses any of these issues. Our pitbull, Molly, made a “terrible” watch dog. This is common. She never barked. She never growled. She seemed totally content to just sit in anyone's lap! She never even cared to sniff an offered hand. She just went straight for the lap, or a hug. We had to warn folks!
If you already own a pitbull, you will be discriminated against. You will find hotels, campgrounds, RV parks, apartments, and homeowners that will not allow you to stay on their property. You will find insurance companies that will not cover pitbulls.
In 2008 the entire state of Ohio tried to ban the breed! They all claim it's “too risky” to have a pitbull around. They are banned in many US cities.
You will be given “looks,” and a wide path. You will clear out dog parks. You will hear rude comments like, “You know that dog is going to kill and eat your child, don't you?” Everyone will secretly wonder why you would want to own a “devil dog,” even if they aren't insensitive enough to try and openly show it.
Your extended family may treat you like a child abuser just for having one. Your dog's “pitbull smile” will be mistaken for aggression. If your dog does bite, it will always be the pitbull's fault. You will spend far more time defending you dog than your dog will ever spend defending you.
Our pitbull came to us when she was four and a half years old. She chose us, so I have had the wonderful privilege of owning a pitbull. Her name was Molly, and we call her our angel dog. I adopted her from the Humane Society in Pennsylvania. She had been horribly abused, and when they found her dropped off at their door, she couldn't even walk.
I adopted her a month after the drop, and I could outrun her.
The truth is, I had heard many of the stories about those evil “devil dogs.” You have probably heard them too. Some are even true. It never entered my mind that I would own a pitbull one day.
Well, anyway, I had taken my three year old daughter to the Humane Society to get my wife a birthday present. I knew that she loved bigger dogs (I am a “psychotic attack cat” lover myself).
After spending two afternoons getting to know the Humane Society staff and the dog choices they had, I had kind of decided to settle. However, one of the staff discerned this and asked, “What would you think about a pitbull?”
Well, I pointed to my little daughter and said, “No way! I have a small child!”
“Well, let me introduce you to this one,” he said with a smile.
He asked me and my daughter to wait in a small petting room, and I just sat there wondering what was about to happen. The truth was, I had never seen a pitbull before. I was shocked at what I saw. He returned with the skinniest, most malnourished dog I have personally ever seen. You could count her vertebra. I was both shocked and repulsed! Her skin literally hung from her body like draped cloth. I could see how abused this animal had been, just by looking at her. Much of her hair was missing.
I could tell that she had been used in a “puppy mill.” As the fellow sat down in the floor, he unhooked her leash, and this malnourished, balding, sagging dog gave the man a hug. It was so close to a human hugging a human, that there was no doubt as to what was going on! I was totally dumbfounded!
The gentleman gently pushed her away and said, “He's the guy thinking about adopting you, go hug him” -- and she did exactly that!
In the meantime, my young daughter had decided to play with the pitbull's big leash. Before I realized what she was doing, she had conked the dog in the head with the huge collar clasp! The dog didn't even flinch. She just gave my daughter a doggy sniff, and then turned her love and attention back to me. I was convinced -- well, sort of convinced.
With some trepidation, I took the dog home (my wife was at work). I spent my day doing research on the Internet about pitbulls. I began to discover what the real truth is. The pitbull spent her entire day lying in my lap, and working her way totally into my heart.
By the time my wife got home, I knew that we would just have to keep this dog.
When I greeted my wife at the door, she took one look at the dog and said, “That's a pitbull!” I simply replied, “Yes she is, but you just have to sit down and meet her.” There was the hug thing again, and my wife was sold. She instantly named our new dog Molly. Molly became our angel. I say angel because anything that can be abused for over four years and not become mean, has to be an angel!
Still, there are so many bad things about pitbulls in the press, I kept looking for any sign of aggression in her. It just wasn't there. Molly totally recovered, and she became a beautiful example of what a healthy bully pitbull can look like. After we had had her for about two years, she became so healthy and strong that we finally decided to get her a Min Pin for a playmate.
After just a few days, they slept in the same crate together, played together, ate together -- and eventually died together.
You see, we were in the process of selling our house. Someone came by (unknown to us) and left our fence gate open. The Min Pin got out and got struck by a car and killed. Molly stayed by her side until she was struck and killed as well. We still miss our loving pitbull angle. She was so much more than “just a dog”.
In loving memory of the best dog my wife or I have ever had -- Molly.