When Tulip joined the fold as our foster puppy at the beginning of April, we had no idea that we would be permanently adopting her several months later. This sprightly little Pit Bull mix worked a special kind of magic, though, and we soon found ourselves completely smitten with her.
Having Tulip in the house has been a joy; she is the quintessential puppy through and through. She has a very happy spirit and makes friends with everyone that she meets - human and canine. She loves to chase after tennis balls and sticks, and she is especially fond of squeaky toys which she gleefully pursues all around the house and backyard during her frequent ecstatic bursts of energy.
It's great to see Tulip's lively side since she was extremely sick and dispirited when we first met her. She was suffering from an advanced case of Demodectic mange, and the poor girl barely had any fur at all. She also had a body-wide secondary infection, and her skin was bright pink and covered with scabs.
Although her health has improved tremendously, her immune system is still weak and she needs daily antibiotics and regular medicated baths. Most of her fur has grown in now, but she still has a ways to go...
No dog will ever replace our Greta (or little Franny, who touched us greatly even though we had her for such a short time), but Tulip has introduced a wonderful component of joyfulness into our lives.
Three-legged Dewey seems pleased with her company, too, and they have struck up quite a partnership! They can often be found cuddled up together (using each other as pillows), and they share a mutual love of food.
As someone who has primarily had small dogs, it is a new and interesting experience to be a Pit Bull guardian. Unfortunately, the negative myths about Pit Bulls abound, and we have had some nasty comments about Tulip. What we have come to realize is that snide remarks and uniformed reactions are inevitable, even in a place like the San Francisco Bay Area, and so Michael and I are eager for Tulip to be a sterling example of all the wonderful qualities that a Pit Bull can possess. In all honesty, she is far better behaved that little 12 pound Dewey!
Our Pack Pit Bull Rescue has put together a good fact sheet that debunks many of the common misconceptions about our pittie friends:
The Truth About Pit Bulls
Pit Bulls Don’t Feel Head or Neck Pain: This is not true. Pit Bulls feel pain like other breeds do. Being tenacious, they will carry on a task until it's completed and push through the pain but they still experience pain just like other breeds of dogs.
Pit Bulls Are Human Attack Dogs: A Pit Bull with a correct temperament is very human friendly and seeks human affection. Pit Bulls love to be touched and handled by humans. As Pit Bulls are terriers they can be dog intolerant. This can vary as much within the breed as it does among all breeds and is very manageable. Note: Dog intolerance is a very different behavior from human aggression. They are not interchangeable.
Pit Bulls Have Locking Jaws: The jaws of a Pit Bull work in the same way as other canines. A Pit Bull is tenacious and willful and he may hold on as a result of his willfulness and tenacity but not because his jaws are physically “designed” to lock. Other breeds may also be very likely to bite and hold on but there is no evidence that any breed has locking jaws.
Pit Bulls Are Not Safe Around Children: The only thing to be concerned about with a temperamentally correct, well-socialized Pit Bull is that he may become very excited around children and knock them over trying to lick them! This is also very easily resolved through training. Pit Bulls generally love attention from children. Even poking, ear pulling type attention will make most Pit Bulls very happy. Of course, one should never leave their child unattended with any dog of any breed, ever. Also, children should be taught how to properly treat pets in the home. Any dog of any breed should be continually socialized to children, adults, and animals throughout his life, including the Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls Are Taught To Be Dog Aggressive: All canines can become defensive if they feel threatened. This is how dogs have survived for eons. They can also lack confidence in social skills with other dogs when not well-socialized and become defensive and fight. Therefore, they don't need training to fight. They can just be set up to fight in certain environments and then reinforced for it. Additionally, Pit Bulls are Terrier dogs. All Terrier dogs tend be less willing to tolerate another dog's rude gestures. This is a very easily managed trait. We have found that our fight bust dogs are our best dogs ever! All dogs of all breeds must be well-socialized with other dogs from an early age, including Pit Bulls.
Pit Bulls that have scars on the head or leg area have been fought: Not necessarily. Maybe he got into it with a coyote or got caught in a chain link fence. There are many reasons why a Pit Bull or any breed of dog could have scars.
Pit Bulls Make Good Guard Dogs: False! Better get a guard dog for your Pit Bull!