Friend, not Foe: Petplan pet insurance takes a look at the Pit Bull

Posted by Dr. Nina Mantione on Nov 02 2010

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!