Wednesday, October 29, 2008

RPB's First Online Fundraiser is Underway!

The end of October marked the beginning of The REAL Pit Bull's first official online fundraiser, which will run through the end of Dec. 08. The goal is set at $1,000, and the earnings will go towards implementation of programs, creation of educational material, and the day to day workings of RPB. In 2009, RPB will also be designating additional funds to help individual dogs and the efforts of groups and individuals to save Pit Bulls. Your donation helps! Just click on the Chip In link below.

If everyone who reads this blog, views our website, or visits our Myspace page donated $1.00 or even .50, we'd more than meet our desired goal - we'd far surpass it. We hope you'll decide to donate what you can.

RPB has been in existence since 1997, and operates one of the most respected online sources for breed information,; we also provide free educational services like handouts, brochures, and The Real Pit Bull Forum ( ) , as well as behavioral advice via phone, email and in person. RPB is a constant advocate for the APBT, speaking in public and to the media about the breed, working to help promote responsible ownership, and educating on ethical rescue practices.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ethical Considerations of Rescue Work

There are many, many APBT rescue groups in the USA, with more being formed with what seems like daily regularity. And while the work of those dedicated to helping individual dogs and restoring the breed’s reputation is noble in theory, it’s not always so noble in individual practice. Sadly, ‘rescue’ isn’t always synonymous with ‘ethical’.

Rescue work is a complicated, heart-rending, expensive undertaking that only those with the best of intentions for the FUTURE of the breed should pursue. This means that rescues must have a firm grasp of The Big Picture, recognize that they cannot ‘save them all’, and be 100% dedicated to thoroughly educating themselves on the breed BEFORE they open their doors up and present themselves as breed experts. And egos must be left behind. Rescue work is about the DOGS. Period.

Several years ago, a group of reputable advocacy organizations penned The Code of Ethics for Pit Bull Rescue. The impetus for writing this ethical document was not to try and control or judge the work of other groups, but rather to help guide and educate those newer to the world of APBT rescue. There is no ‘manual’ on how to do this work ‘right’, and experience, while often the best teacher, can sometimes come at the price of devastating mistakes and mishaps. The COE, as it’s been come to be known, was meant to help steer newer rescues on the path of least mistakes. The COE was also meant to help aid the public in spotting those APBT rescues that may not have the best ethics.

Ethics in rescue must always come first. Rescue is not a race to place the most individual dogs, or raise the most money, or build the biggest name. It’s about preserving the future of the breed, educating those who would impact the APBT breed, saving the best breed ambassadors, and committing to the public to always be open and honest about practices.

Breed rescue and advocacy is not for everyone, but if a person chooses to pursue this path, they must do so with the desire to always represent the field of rescue work to the best of their ability. They owe it to others who stand beside them on the front lines, and most of all, they owe it to the dogs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stereotypes: Busted!

If Pit Bull guardians and advocates have a stereotype, it’s that they are NOT capable of being stereotyped. The people who love this breed come in so many varieties, shapes, colors, and from every walk of life, reflecting the diversity of the Pit Bull itself. It is pretty hard to talk about a ‘stereotypical Pit Bull owner’.


But it must be human nature to stereotype and denigrate that which is unknown and hence feared, because despite the obviously vast array of dynamic and unique Pit Bull guardians, certain organizations and people keep insisting on trying to paint us all with one broad, ugly brush. PeTA, known to be anti Pit Bull and pro BSL, says that nice families don't want Pit Bulls. And, recently, Edmonton Sun columnist Yukon Jack had some pretty nasty descriptive words for Pit Bull owners. Not only did he manage to insult people who share their lives with this wonderful breed, but he also managed to trash talk mixed martial arts enthusiasts and people with tattoos. I ask you, what is wrong with the MMA world when it boasts champs like Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski who donates time to animal charities? And the tattoo-covered lovelies of Pin Ups for Pit Bulls would surely have something to say to Mr. Jack about his derogatory comments regarding those of us who sport permanent ink.

Then there are the everyday heroes who go about their lives with a Pit Bull by their side – working to save abused and abandoned animals, while simultaneously bringing joy and hope to fellow humans; dog sport enthusiasts who agree that Pit Bulls are the supreme athletes of the canine world, and countless guardians who couldn’t imagine waking up in the morning without a Pit Bull bed hog snoring in their ear.

For more examples of the wonderful variety of Pit Bull people out there, our Pit Bulls & People and Life with Pit Bulls pages are now accepting visitors!

Stereotype THAT.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The RPB Mission & Vision Statements

The Real Pit Bull has gone through many reinventions since 1997, with several 'unofficial' mission and vision statements that have been amended as the organization has evolved. One critical aspect that has always been part of the RPB mission is education of owners, other advocates, and the public. This is something that has never changed or wavered and will always be the most important thing we do.

As we approach our 12th year, big things are in store for RPB and we hope to make our biggest impact yet, as we work diligently towards creating a brighter future for the APBT. In light of the new and improved goals and plans, we'd like to present you with our fully updated Mission and Vision statements. We think they pretty much say it all.

*drum roll*

- Mission Statement -

The Real Pit Bull is an education and advocacy organization dedicated to the American Pit Bull Terrier; our mission is to serve as an advocate for the breed; provide information; and educate those who impact the lives of Pit Bulls.

- Vision -

RPB envisions a future in which the American Pit Bull Terrier is widely recognized as a companion animal and working dog partner; dog fighting is a thing of the past; dog laws focus on deed not breed; and all American Pit Bull Terriers have loving, responsible homes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Accused dog fighter acquitted....but his dogs are still dead.

Pit Bull owners may feel somewhat vindicated after the acquittal of Floyd Boudreax, renowned breeder of APBTs who, long in the past, was known for his quality pit dogs. Boudreax was still breeding dogs, but when he was charged with dog fighting over 3 years ago, and had his property and dogs seized, he maintained his innocence. Many advocates across the internet were appalled at the guilty-before-proven-innocent accusations and assumptions, and those closer to ‘FB’ insisted he no longer fought dogs (and that when he had, it was still legal in his state of Louisiana ).

When FB’s dogs were seized, they were immediately euthanized, because Louisiana's archaic and inhumane law insists that such dogs are always dangerous and may be destroyed without consequence. Regardless of FB’s past choices, one thing is certain: the dogs did not deserve their fate. And the vitriol spewed by groups like HSUS helped signed the FB dogs, and countless others like them, death warrants. In fact, HSUS was responsible for the arrest and trial of FB due their ‘evidence’ and pressure on law enforcement agencies. But the end result was an old man run through the ringer, only to be found innocent, and 50+ dogs dead and buried.

It is a known fact that HSUS insisted the Michael Vick dogs be destroyed, since they were undoubtedly too dangerous and unpredictable to ever be placed in loving homes. In an amazing show of determination and loyalty to the breed, many advocates and organizations (including RPB) stepped up to speak on behalf of the dogs that would otherwise have suffered the same sad demise as FB’s dogs. Miracle of miracles, the authorities acquiesced and almost all of the Vick dogs deemed adoptable or potentially adoptable were saved. Months after the fact, the Vick dogs are thriving as therapy dogs, companions, and good ambassadors for their breed. The Vick Dog triumph has set a precedent, and paved the way for salvation for other fight bust dogs. It truly is a wonderful thing.

So when does it stop? When will HSUS reevaluate the way they do things in regards to the APBT and specifically fight dogs? When will other orgs stop perpetrating myths and end the fear mongering, attacking the very creature that most needs their help? When will the witch hunts stop? When will honest guardians be able to sleep at night without awaking from nightmares in which breaksticks and treadmills, and other legitimate dog care items cause them to be branded as ‘dog fighters’?

So yes, today APBT lovers can feel somewhat vindicated – the HSUS and PETA were made to look silly after their demands to see the Vick dogs killed thankfully were not heeded. And now with FB’s acquittal, his case thrown from court because of an appalling lack of any evidence whatsoever, we can feel a sense of validation. And the memories of the 50+ FB dogs as well as countless other victims of fear and hatred, can live on, and continue to inspire all those who work tirelessly to save the ones who still live.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Quest for Pit Bull-proof Gear

I am a leash and collar snob. No doubt about it. I turn my nose up at the pathetic excuses for dog gear at the local pet supermarkets. Plastic snaps, cheap feels-like-plastic leather, hardware that doesn't even deserve to be called such. Every so often I feel compelled to pick up one of these almost-comical contraptions and scoff in an indignant way, "Put this on my dog? For serious? Bah!"

In all fairness, I don't have your average dog, so your average collar just won't cut it. Pit Bulldogs require a little something "more". They need bigger, thicker, stronger, better collar and leash fare. This isn't just about snootiness and needing "special" gear, this is a utilitarian issue (ok, there might be a tad bit of bully-owner snootiness there). But finding bulldog-tough gear isn't always easy. Through the years I've often double-collared and -leashed (ugh, an-NOY-ing!), and although I've never actually had one of the sub-par items I've been forced to resort to now and again break on me (:knock on wood:), the threat is always looming overhead as imminent.

I've been driven to search far and low for items I feel comfortable using and recommending as bully-proof, and I've experimented with many styles and brands. I've spent more money on collars and leads than I will ever admit to, and sadly even some of the stuff labeled as heavy duty doesn't feel quite good enough. I felt fairly certain that an agitation leash - you know, an attack dog leash - would surely do the job. But when the leash actually arrived, the hardware frankly scared me. After only a couple months of use, the leather around the snap of the lead was starting to wear, as was my patience.

Once I purchased items labeled bulldog-proof. When I got the items, they were certainly bulldog-tough, but so tough in fact that comfort flew right out the window. I'm not a sissy, but I AM a girl and I don't want to have to wear gloves when I walk my dog to protect myself from 3rd degree leather burns and blisters. Ok, so these leashes were bulldog-proof, but only suitable for construction worker owners with sufficiently tough hands. Plus I thought my dog looked uncomfortable in a two-inch wide stiff leather collar.

But seek and ye shall find. It's not all bad, and as time goes on, I discover true gems amidst the mega-tons of coal. Like, my recent discovery of Raw Dog Leather: . Coolest leather leashes I've come by, totally custom and offered with a lifetime warranty. I just got my first one yesterday and boy do I love it! This is the first truly comfortable, heavy-duty leash I've found. (They make collars, too! Oh boy!)

Collar-wise, there is the popular - and "blocky", they aren't kiddin'. I have a martingale style from this company. The craftsmanship is beautiful, although after a month of use, the collar is still pretty stiff. I'd recommend these for only the biggest, gnarliest dogs. But do I feel safe walking my dog in this collar? You bet. Feels good .

There is a really nice, basic leather leash from - this is the simple "obedience leash", and I LOVE mine. Although I don't feel entirely safe using this on a super strong dog, my leash has gotta be 3 or 4 years old by now and it's not a day worse for wear then when I first got it. Soft and comfy leash, too.

Lastly, there is the martingale collar from (it's hard to find on the site, so here is the direct URL: ) . It is a really nice, middle of the road collar for smaller bullies or more laid back dogs. Actually, I've had one of these on my nutcase 70-pounder for several years now and have had zero problems with it. Still, I like something a little heavier, just because I'm definitely a Murphey's Law kinda gal.

So right now, my boy is sporting the Blocky Dogs blue martingale with silver stripe, and the 6-ft Raw Dog leather leash with silver bull snap. Ruff, rugged and ready to go. This might be the first time in my life that I don't feel the need to double collar. Ahhhh, the freedom!

~Mary, RPB Founder/Director