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friend, not foe: petplan pet insurance takes a look at the pit bull

  • Dr. Nina
  • Posted by Dr. Nina Mantione on
    Staff Veterinarian and Underwriting Support of Petplan


I saw an adorable Pit Bull puppy in my office this week.


Much has been written about this breed, most of it negative. I want to go on record as saying that as a whole, I have found Pit Bulls to be lovely, well-behaved and sociable dogs. I feel like I can say this with some authority after having spent the early part of my career working in Philadelphia, where they could be the unofficial city mascot. 

I have seen Pit Bulls of all shapes and sizes. I have taken care of these dogs in a huge variety of situations that often come up when you live in a large city: hit by cars, fallen from second story window, neglected, abandoned in a box and (very sadly) injured by gunshot. I have seen these dogs in all kinds of adverse circumstances. Very, very rarely have I ever even had one growl at me. 

To me, Pit Bulls are cool dogs and very smart. I once saw a stray un-neutered male Pit Bull in West Philadelphia wait on the corner with pedestrians until the light changed and he could cross safely and go on his way. Don’t get me wrong, they are super tough. The dog I treated for a gunshot wound (luckily not life-threatening) actually wagged his tail as I examined him. Super stoic, they generally sit patiently for medical procedures. In fact, one of our worst problems is keeping them resting after they’ve had surgery.

Shelters across the country are full of these (often misunderstood) dogs. Many of them have come from rough circumstances, and like any dog with a bad start, are in need of some loving rehab. But if you want a smart, loyal companion, I urge you to visit your local shelter and see if you can find a match!

As for the puppy, Nala, who I saw this week, she reminded me of a baby hippo (in a good way) – dark steely gray and rolly poly. She wagged her tail and politely accepted a treat after her shots, and then rolled onto her back for a belly rub. Hardly the picture of menacing aggression we are conditioned to think of when we hear “Pit Bull.” Maybe Nala can be the new spokes-dog for the breed!

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Comments
Posted by John masso
on July 12 2012 19:40

Thank you for writing this piece Dr. I myself own a pit bull who is loving,well behaved and well adjusted. A very misunderstood breed that hopefully your article helped out by shedding light on what we as owners,knew already. My Murphy is 10 years old and I pray for another 10 years with him.

Posted by Amy Peck
on July 12 2012 11:01

Thank you for this wonderful and positive article! As the mom of two rescued pit bulls, it's so refreshing to read something good about the breed, as opposed to something incorrect and ignorant. With enough kind people like you I think we can turn the stigma of the "inherently dangerous breed" around.

Posted by Blue Astrid
on July 11 2012 23:41

I have to say I agree 100% about everything you have written. I started taking care of pitbulls 10 years ago when I was told I could not have children, 2 months later, I was pregnant with my only child who will be 9 now. Since our 1st pitbull, I was told to keep them away, dont let them near the baby, blah blah blah. At the same time, the hospital offers a course on how to introduce the baby to the dog before you bring her home. And guess what, that course was amazing and I learned so much. Not only from that class, but from my dogs. They are very gentle, will not snap when you give them a treat, they even understand that my daughter is not me and they have to slow down and walk beside her when she takes them for a walk. So that alone will tell you they are very smart and know right from wrong. I have 5 pitbulls now and they are not pets in our eyes, they are family. And we love them so very much. You will never hear your pit bull say, " Your to fat. Your ugly, your hair looks horrible." Why? Because they love you for who you are and not what you look like. These are very special dogs and you can not pick them, they pick you. And they will stand by you to the end. They may even die to protect you. A pit bull is a very protective dog, and will do what they can to keep you safe. But, here is a funny think I have also learned. If they get loose from your yard and show up at someone elses place, they will respect what does not belong to them, wag their tail and look with a friendly hello and be on their way. So if a pit bull does find its way to your home, he or she may be lost and wants to find its way back. Don't hit, yell, scream or run, because you are scaring the dog, as with all dogs, just be calm. If you get scared, go inside, don't run, just go in. Be kind, put some water out if it is a hot day. let them know you are a friend. But do not hurt them. A pit bull is nothing but a misunderstood dog. I have taken in so many that were very close to being put down. And these were adult dogs. One was 5 yrs old and he is 10 now. He is my best friend and would never hurt anyone. He just wants to be loved and maybe a belly rub here and there. Please if you read this and you are not a fan of the breed, don't hurt them. They do not deserve the harm they have gotten. Thank you. B'

Posted by Barbara
on July 11 2012 23:40

We had a lost pit bull puppy wander into our yard, and she was absolutely adorable. Not an ounce of mean in her, but, being a puppy, she wanted to play-bite, and it hurt! Such powerful jaws! Fortunately for her, she was wearing tags and was retrieved by her owners. (Unfortunately for us - I wanted to keep the little doll!)

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Chris AshtonCo-Founder and Co-CEO of Petplan Pet Insurance
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