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From my earliest recollection as a child, I always had a dog as a pet. The dog breeds ranged from chihuahuas to German Shepards… And everything else in between.
But a vicious Pit Bull? HELL NO!
I wasn’t always a fan of the Pit Bull breed. Like most people, I was completely ignorant about Pit Bulls. I believed the hype of how the breed could never be trusted due to their killer instinct. I held these beliefs for quite some time. But that all changed a decade ago…
That’s when I met my wife. She is an animal lover and was involved with volunteering at pet adoption events. There was a big adoption/fostering event coming up in Newark, NJ and she asked me if I would volunteer since they were short on help. We were still in our “courting” stage and I wanted to impress her so I agreed to volunteer at this event. I asked a few of my Natural Training Center members to join me and they agreed. We jumped in my Jeep and headed for the event. At this point, I was excited about contributing to great cause and couldn’t wait to meet the pups.
We got to the event and we waited to be paired with a dog that was in need of fostering or adoption. Our job was to handle the dogs and expose them to as many people as possible to see if we can find a right fit for the new owner as well as the dog. It was my turn to get my furry buddy for the day and to my surprise… It was a muscular, 65lb Pit Bull!
I took the leash that was handed to me and a spec sheet with details about my dog. I couldn’t really look at the sheet because I was too busy trying to maintain my bearings and to not project fear. I had read somewhere that if a Pit Bull smells fear on you, it’s over! I took a quick glimpse at the spec sheet and in big bold letters the header stated, “Hello, I’m Darla!”
I walked side by side with Darla and we were lead to our staging area. I looked at my watch and thought to myself… Just 4 more hours, you can do this…
Within about 20 minutes, we had our first visit from a family that was interested in Darla. The family had a small girl that was no more than 7 years old. My heart jumped into my throat as I saw the little girl dart towards Darla. The little girl hugged Darla as if the Pit Bull was a giant stuffed teddy bear and Darla proceeded to lick the little girl as if her face were made of ice cream. I was baffled! Pit Bulls are not supposed to be friendly, how can she react to strangers 10x better than my pure breed Jack Russell Terrier would have?
It was suggested by the woman in charge of the event that we walk around the venue with our dogs to give them a bit more exposure. I was still weary of Darla but she was walking by my side as if we had been together for years. I figured that Darla was special and an exception when it came to the Pit Bull stereotype. However, as I walked around the event I saw another Pit Bull. Ten feet later… I saw another Pit Bull & then another… As I finally began to relax at this event, I noticed that the majority of the dogs in attendance were Pit Bulls!
To my surprise, all of the Pit Bulls were as well behaved & as loving as Darla. The Pit Bull myth had now gone by the wayside, and the more Pit Bulls that I interacted with, the more that I began to adore the breed.
My wife and I continued to volunteer at other adoption events and at the local shelters. While volunteering at one of these shelters my wife came across a Pit Bull that had been severely mistreated. He was a white Pit Bull but at the time, my wife couldn’t make out his color because his coat was covered with filth. She brought the little guy home and we named him Bruno.
Bruno has spent many hours out in the field with me and Manchester, my Jack Russell Terrier. Within all those countless hours of training and working on preparedness skills, I learned a few things about the Pit Bull breed.
I want to share with you 10 reasons why I feel that every prepper should own a Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls Are Great For Security & Protection
The Pit Bull is a muscular breed that can be extremely intimidating, especially to those ignorant like me. Being aware of this, many Pit Bulls are used by their owners as guard dogs. Their stature, look and stare make them perfect deterrents to the would-be un-welcomed “guest.”
Wherever your basecamp may be, the Pit Bull will alert you to noises and movement in the distance that you would otherwise be unaware of. Depending on their training, Pit Bulls can become very aggressive toward unwanted visitors. However in most cases, once the Pit Bull has done its job by notifying their owner of a stranger approaching… and the owner gives the OK signal… The Pit Bull will continue to pursue the victim with a serious tongue lashing and a few hugs. Let’s keep that last part of our secret.
Pit Bulls Are Excellent Swimmers
In an emergency situation, wading through a waist-deep body of water is a common occurrence in order to achieve certain missions. Luckily, this is one of the facets of working on Preparedness that my Pit Bull, Bruno, really enjoys. Not only is this an important characteristic for your dog to have, so that he does not become a liability, but it also helps him get and remain in excellent physical condition.
Being that the Pit Bull is a proficient swimmer, they can also help you gather food. I have several friends that take their Pit Bulls hunting and use them to retrieve water fowl during their hunting trips. Bruno has yet to retrieve any ducks for me but he is a skilled tennis ball and tree branch retriever from the local watering hole. 😉
Pit Bulls Have Excellent Endurance
In the early 19th century, Pit Bulls were used as working dogs on rural farms. They were known as the “poor man’s horse.” Their muscular bodies and desire for adventure allow them to cover great distances with very little effort. If you go, they go…
When I am out in the field with Bruno and some of his fellow Pit Bulls, we trek for hours. The terrain is not always easily navigated but the Pit Bulls seem to take everything in stride. Just like other dogs and even people, Pit Bulls need to be hydrated so be sure to take frequent water breaks and keep that water purifier on you at all times.
In an emergency situation, you and your Pit Bull may have to cover lots of ground on foot. Having the confidence that my dog can get to our destination takes a bit of the stress away. The fact that my dog can carry his own water and even his food, makes Bruno a viable asset in my ability to survive a SHTF scenario.
Pit Bulls Are A Healthy Breed
Pit Bulls are generally a healthy breed, but they are susceptible to the same ailments as most other large breed dogs.
1 “The Pit Bull is a strong, muscular dog, with good skeletal formation, but like all dogs can be prone to hip dysplasia, a hereditary defect in the joint between the hip and hind legs.”
Most of these issues can be diagnosed and addressed early on in the Pit Bulls life. I have owned other dog breeds that requires specific medications in order to maintain their health. In an emergency situation, it would be difficult if not impossible to provide for my dogs medicinal needs. This is an aspect of preparedness that many forget to include in their personal plan, let alone planning for their dog.
Good nutrition and exercise will keep your Pit Bull healthy and prepared for whatever mission that you throw at them. Just like people, the better the lifestyle, the closer to optimal health that your Pit Bull will be. But unlike people… They solely depend on you for that lifestyle…
Pit Bulls Want To Be Family
The Pit Bull will easily assimilate into your family/tribe/group. They want to belong and will do what they can to fit in. When I first got my Pit Bull Bruno, he came into a home with 2 existing dogs. I have a Jack Russell Terrier and a Mini-Dachshund. We had the other 2 dogs for years and to say that they are both territorial is an understatement. Bruno arrived, was much bigger than the other 2 dogs but realized that he was outranked by the other 2 dogs.
Bruno did what he could to fit in but it took a while for him to be accepted into the pack. (still not sure the Jack Russell has fully accepted him yet) As Bruno grew and became 4x larger than the other dogs, he still maintained the respect and his position in the pack order.
When we add children to the mix, I can see why Pit Bulls were known as Nanny Dogs.
2 “For most of the 114 years since the American pitbull terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club, the breed was rightly seen as the perfect “nanny dog” for children because of its friendly nature, loyalty and stability. As the ASPCA notes, the Pit Bulls were “once considered especially non-aggressive to people.”
Bruno loves to play with children and is also very protective of them. When my niece and nephew come to visit, Bruno is in his glory. He performs a bit of a rain dance when he first greets them and never wants to leave their side. As my nephew goes around destroying all my trinkets that are within arms-reach, Bruno follows closely making sure that my nephew in not disturbed. We recently added a cat to our little tribe and as expected, our cat has become Bruno’s best friend.
Pit Bulls Are Loyal Companions
As a Pit Bull parent, I am well aware of their loyalty. They will do anything to please their owner. Unfortunately, that is what also brings the negative attention to the Pit Bull breed. Just like a human, a Pit Bull can be “raised” to be a benefit to society or trained to cause harm. A lot of the scum that we have in our society are aware of this and use the Pit Bulls as a tool of sport. The Pit Bull will do anything for it’s owner including losing life and limb.
Luckily people are becoming more aware of this scenario and are monitoring these occurrences as we do what we can to prevent them. Pit Bulls make such great companions that they are being used to treat our military veterans with PTSD.
3 “Everyday, 22 veterans commit suicide (nationwide),” explained Jennifer Hunt, “and 4,000 pit bulls are euthanized each day. We are going to take pit bulls and train them to be therapy or service dogs for veterans with PTSD.”
Pit Bulls are also making their way into retirement homes giving the seniors much needed companionship as well as love.
4 “These dogs (Pit Bulls) have been visiting nursing homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centers for several years. Their arrival is always eagerly awaited and patients are especially delighted with the dogs’ inherently affectionate natures.”
We all know in a disaster situation, companionship is key. It may be the only other being that we can trust and depend on. In Castaway, Tom Hanks had Wilson to keep him sane… For me, I have Bruno! He also makes a wonderful heat source in colder climates when used to snuggle with. 🙂
Pit Bulls Are Easy To Train
The fact that the Pit Bull is extremely loyal and eager to please its owner, makes the breed easily trainable. The masses are starting to finally realize this fact and even Law Enforcement has chosen to add Pit Bulls to their K-9 units.
5 “New York’s First K-9 Pitbull Is Top Dog -Now she’s New York state’s first K9 pit bull officer. She is part of the City of Poughkeepie Police Department’s K9 force and her partner is Officer Justin Bruzgul. Kiah is Bruzgul’s first K9 partner, and together they’re patrolling the streets of Poughkeepsie, making it a safer place to be.”
In a SHTF situation the Pit Bull can be trained for a plethora of things including patrolling your perimeter. Earlier on, we discussed how the Pit Bull can be trained as a retriever for hunting purposes. One thing that my Pit Bull Bruno does is to retrieve sticks. He goes out into the bush and comes back with not only kindling but also some serious fuel. I selfishly claim that I taught him this firewood gathering “trick.” But to be honest, he is just looking for the next… BIGGER & BADDER chew toy…
Pit Bulls Are Very Affordable
As we work on our preparedness, budget is always a concern. We need to gather a lot of different gear and none of that comes cheap. When we equate that to owning a dog, certain breeds can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. But when it comes to owning a Pit Bull, the ludicrous fees charged by most puppy-mills become null and void.The bad news is that due to the vicious Pit Bull stigma, many Pit Bulls end up in shelters or worse. The good news for you is that you can own a Pit Bull at a fraction of the cost of other dog breeds.
Since the ASPCA, rescue groups and local shelters are at max capacity with these loving Pit Bulls, you can adopt one for a small fee. Most of the time, these fees even include vaccines and other medical treatments.
Keep in mind that we are talking about a loving dog here… not a piece of equipment that you store and use when you need it. If you feel that you cannot provide for your Pit Bull and give them a great life in their short lifespan, then please stay away from owning any dog let alone a Pit Bull. Wait until the time i right and then go ahead and adopt your new best friend.
Another cool feature that most shelters and rescue groups offer is the ability to foster a Pit Bull. So if you are not quite sure if a Pit Bull is for you and your lifestyle, you can foster the Pit Bull for a short time period. This frees up their spot at the shelter allowing another dog to take it’s place and have a fighting chance of finding a home.
During this fostering period you can take your Pit Bull out into the field with you. You can go through various preparedness training scenarios with the Pit Bull at your side. You can feel what the breed is all about and judge if it is the right fit for you. In the meantime, you can search for a permanent loving home if you decide that the time is not yet quite right.
Once again, the Pit Bull is not a rent-a-car that you are using for the weekend in order to play and post pictures on Facebook. Fostering is a great responsibility that requires serious decision making. If you think that you will just return the Pit Bull after you had your fill, you are not only an asshole, but you will have to answer to some of us that patrol our local rescue groups. Treat your Pit Bull like a child regardless of the precious time that you get to spend with them. You will get back a lot more than you put in.
Pit Bulls Do Not Require Much Space
Whether you need to bug out or bug in, Pit Bulls make due with small spaces. Whether it is in a vehicle, a tent or a small shelter in your home, Pit Bulls tend to turn themselves into a round little ball making you almost unaware of their presence. Keep in mind that they will require exercise to maintain that level of tranquility. But as someone focused on being prepared, you must address your own physical preparedness. By being responsible for your Pit Bulls daily exercise needs you will also be building up your strength and endurance. This will ensure that you are both ready for any upcoming missions.
I lived in a small apartment when I first got my Pit Bull Bruno. Once Bruno got to 75lbs. I was a bit worried that I may not have adequate space for him. Since I have an active lifestyle, Bruno was with me while hiking, running, trekking and even came into my dojo to play on the mats. Once we got back to our apartment, he would find a spot on the couch, roll into a small ball and just relax for hours.
Me and Bruno have gone on countless outings together where we needed to stay in a tent. Bruno would integrate seamlessly into my one-person tent, barely budging, and allowing me to get quality rest. The thing that remained constant was giving him proper nutrition, hydration and of course… EXERCISE.
Pit Bulls Have A Versatile Diet
Unlike my other dogs that are sensitive to many different food groups, Bruno seems to take everything in stride. I give Bruno the best quality, protein filled food with no fillers, that I can afford. But when I go out into the field, Bruno eats what I eat. I have a much cleaner diet than most and I make sure that everything that he consumes assimilates well with him natural diet. Well, at least while I’m watching… Did I mention that Pit Bulls can be very sneaky when it comes to food? 😉
6 “Pit bulls can also be fed homemade dog food that consists of hamburger, chicken, boiled vegetables and rice, as well as canned dog food, refrigerated dog food, raw meat and raw bones. Homemade diets should consist of at least 70 percent protein. Foods containing high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids help pit bulls maintain a shiny coat, minimize shedding and promote healthy bowel movements.”
Knowing that the Pit Bull diet has flexibility is crucial to those of us focused on preparedness. Having “home-made” options when store bought dog food is not an option is certainly an asset. It takes a great deal of pressure off of me knowing that I can trap, snare, fish or hunt for Bruno’s nutritional needs and he will fair well. I realize that we both need a strong immune system if we hope to survive a disaster situation. Proper nutrition will go a long way in helping us get through the stressful scenario.
Bottom Line: Owning a Pit Bull has been one of the best experiences in my life. However, this joy comes with a responsibility. When we hike with or even walk our Pit Bulls down the street, people are watching. You and your Pit Bull are ambassadors to the breed. How you and your Pit Bull act and interact in public has everything to do with public perception. For the sake of our wonderful Pit Bull breed and for you and your family’s preparedness benefit… Be the person that your loving Pit Bull thinks that you are. Those are very large boots to fill but as always… I encourage you will lead from the front!
2 http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/Pit Bulls-used-be-considered-perfect-nanny-dogs-children-until-media-turned-them