I'll be the first to admit that I've never been very keen on the idea of Pit Bull Awareness Day. It's lovely, but it supposes that we need to market pit bulls to the world of (usually, white) people who (might) think they're scary. At this point in time, if people think dogs or people for that matter are scary based on what they look like, there isn't much we can do or say to help them see their way out of that mindset. But we'll keep keeping on with our events and activities and maybe those folks will notice how much fun we're having with our dogs - or maybe they won't. I sincerely believe that it's not up to us to change anyone's mind. We're here to have a good time with the dogs we call family and do some good work with the dogs and people who aren't so lucky.
On that note, as an animal welfare group, we do believe that it is up to the collective 'us' to look for ways to help the tens of thousands of pit bull owners in our home counties get what they need so they can enjoy their dogs. Which isn't easy considering dog owner resources are few and far between, and the economy has certainly forced many to make incredibly difficult choices, including surrendering their dogs on the heels of misfortune including foreclosure. So to celebrate the dogs the way we love best, we went out to under-served Pittsburg last Saturday and teamed up with Well Pet Vet Clinic to help people get their dogs fixed, vaccinated, microchipped and trained. There was no need to convince this crowd that pit bulls can be valued family members. There wasn't even any need to convince them that spay/neuter or training was beneficial. They were here for all kinds of help, and everyone was very grateful to get it.
The event officially started at 11am on Saturday. At four in the morning, people started lining up to make sure they were able to get what their dog needed... Four in the morning. At 8am, over 75 pit bull type dogs were in line to get spayed/neutered. By the end of the day, that number rose to 90 and we started wondering how far over budget we were going to go. A good problem to have, actually!
When you see a line like this, you have to wonder: Why would anyone in the world think that mandated spay/neuter laws would be practical or even necessary?
All in all, a hugely successful event that took a relatively minimal amount of planning. All advertised via flyers and word of mouth in under-served communities by fellow dog owners in the community, and staffed by volunteers who value this work. We are enormously grateful to PetSmart Charities for allowing us to buy so many surgeries (even though - gulp - we might've gone a little over budget on this one). And to Well Pet Vet Hospital for not passing out when the line grew around the block. You people rock in ways we didn't know people could rock!
Finally, huge thanks to our volunteers for your heart and tenacity and to Best Friends Animal Society for sending shelter workers from out the area to witness the way we like to celebrate pit bulls.
Finishing off with the best photo of the day. Thanks for your photography Brian George!