Hi, my name is Elle and I’m an American Pit Bull Terrier. I know… scary right?
Most stories in the media portray my kind as vicious, aggressive and dangerous, and this causes an unfair and negative image in the minds of others. Well, let me tell you something: That’s not exactly true. I am sweet, friendly, very well mannered (just to name a few of my characteristics) and I am here to set the records straight!
In December I will be celebrating my 4th birthday, and life is good for me and my family. My mom tells me I am her angel and she will always light up and smile whenever I am around. I think she loves me.
I was not a rescue or a stray, but I was a pup in need of a good home: Someone who would be responsible and take the best care of me. Someone who would provide me with positive activities and strong leadership so I would grow up to be the best companion ever. The day my mom came into my life, I ran over to meet her and found my bestfriend.
I was a handful during my puppy stages, but for some reason I always understood that I have to be calm around the elderly and children. One morning while walking with mom, she decided to stop and talk to an elderly man who we’d only acknowledged in passing so many times before. You see, we would receive stares and frowns from others, but this man, he would always smile and wave. So we took a chance that morning and stopped to chat with him.
I sat very quietly and respectfully while they talked, just watching them get acquainted. My mom was so proud of me and when we walked away she kept giving me kisses telling me she was so proud. That day changed our lives forever.
We started taking obedience classes, and I was able to make friends with lots of other dogs and people. It was a great way to meet new friends, and Mom and I developed a strong bond. We trained for about 4 weeks and then took the AKC Canine Good Citizen test and passed. Then it was on to the Therapy Dog test, which we passed and we were recorded as a Pet Therapy Team three months later.
I started working right away volunteering. I wanted to help the community and be a breed ambassador. I routinely visit residents at a retirement community and I have a few favorites that really enjoy seeing me. I also visit kids at the Boys and Girls Club. Sometimes they read to me and other times they learn about how to be safe around dogs.
Mom created a Therapy Dog Reading Program at the library called “Tail Wagging Tales.” The children love reading to me and I love listening to a good story. Occasionally, I am invited to participate in public events and I am happy to be a part of educating and providing awareness, and this gives me a chance to shine.
Last year the local paper did a write up about me and my visit to lift police spirits. The Police Department had recently made an arrest in a gruesome dogfighting case and the Captain thought I could help erase the negative images in the officers’ minds. They got a chance to interact with me — a friendly, healthy, happy pit bull — and I got to meet and play with the Police Chief.
A local news editor really took a liking to me and wanted to write about my journey and share a positive pit bull story with the community. Starting when I passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test, then a mishap that took place just before taking the Therapy Dog test and a continuing series showing the progress of how I am helping Dylan, a 6-year old, overcome his fear of dogs.
Dylan has been reading to me since November of last year. His mom signed him up for the reading program at the library to help him overcome his fear. At first Dylan did not want to be close to me, but this month we witnessed a great thing: Dylan overcame that fear…he took me for a walk!!
Because of the great things I am doing in the community, the board members of the Boys and Girls Club of Halifax County voted me their official mascot!
My mom was nominated and awarded Unsung Hero for her devotion with Tail Wagging Tales and her exceptional work trying to dispel the myths and bad image of pit bulls. (You go, Mom!)
After volunteering for one year, I find that people are always amazed that I am so well behaved and they are shocked to know that a pit bull is a Therapy Dog. Seeing is believing! To meet me and understand that I just want to be your friend, I am hoping one day it will inspire a change on how people view other dogs just like me.
Thanks to all the people who believed in me and helped me along the way!
Elle the Pit Bull
I am on Facebook so stop by and say hello!
You can read the whole rrspin.com’s Doggie Doubts series featuring Elle.