The American Pit Bull Terrier

American Bulldog - Pitbull
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The American Pit Bull Terrier

The Pit Bull or the American Pit Bull Terrier is one of the most misunderstood breeds of dogs in the world. They have been branded the vicious dog of the 2000s.

America Bull Terrier / Lab Mix - Baby Casey (1994)
Baby Casey

In the 70s it was the Doberman Pinscher; in the 80s it was the German Shepherd; in the 90s it was the Rottweiler and for the past 20 years it has been the Pit Bull Terrier. The really sad part about it is that they are not vicious dogs, they are protective of their owners. I have owned four Pittys over the past 27 years. Casey was adopted from the Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center in North Carolina. We didn’t know she was a pit bull, but we weren’t scared of pit bulls either.

Our son was a year old and it was time to adopt a puppy, to fill the hole left when Pepper passed away a little over a year earlier (she was a Cock-a-poo). We were at the Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center (shelter) and they were bringing us out puppies to see and they brought out this cute charcoal gray (blue is what it is called) colored puppy, she was the cuties thing and she came over to our son and she climbed in his lap, licked him all over and she peed on his shoe, be laughed, hugged her and well, that was it, she picked up (I’m a very firm believer that they pick you, not you pick them). Our son and Casey grew up together and one of my fondest memories was the time I caught him leading her around the house by her tongue and she was loving it. They did everything together and we never once didn’t trust her with our child.

We had our second child when Casey was 8 years old and again, we never once didn’t trust her. In fact, I knew my children were safe around her, both from her and from anyone that wanted to do harm to them. Not only was she good with our kids, but also with our cats, friends, and other animals. She would throttle her strength to whomever she was playing with. With me, it was full-on balls to the walls, with the kids, they could pull her around the house and they, and she loved it. With smaller dogs, she would let them control her actions. She was amazing, and she was the first dog we trained like you would train a working dog. She was extremally disciplined and was both voice and hand control up to 50 yards away.

America Bull Terrier / Lab Mix - Casey
Casey In Her Prime

Casey passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. I really loved and miss that dog. Next came BJ, who wasn’t a pit bull, so I will talk about him in a future post. Since this is about Pit Bulls, next came Zeva.

Zeva was adopted from the Orange County Animal Shelter, in Virginia, at one of their PetSmart events. Basically, we were killing time waiting for our daughter to get out of Gymnastics and we went to PetSmart. The story goes that Zeva (then Freedom) had a tractor beam on me. My wife said that from the moment we entered the store, I went straight to the shelter dogs and stopped at her cage and I never went any further. On her cage was a note stating that she is deaf. When we talked to the shelter volunteer, they told us that she is special needs, and has been at the shelter for some time as no one wants a deaf dog. That didn’t scare me or my wife and we took her for a walk and that was it, she went home with us that very day.

Zeva playing
Zeva playing with her favorite pink soccer ball

On the way out of the store, we picked up a nice hot pink harness and leash for her and she picked out a toy as we walked down the aisle, a pink stuffed pig. Not only was Zeva deaf, but she was also partially blind (blind in one eye), and she had a handful of physical abnormalities as well. It looked like she had her head smashed in as a puppy and someone did reconstructive surgery on it. Her eyes were not lined up correctly, you could tell that her neck had been broken and she breathed like a pug (with a snoring sound). It didn’t take our 8-year-old daughter any more than a day to start teaching Zeva sign language.

She looked it up and then she adapted it to our needs. That opened up a whole new world for Zeva and she loved being able to communicate with her family. She seemed to (like most pit bulls), put her past behind her and start life with our family anew. She had this huge vest for life and loved every minute of her short life. One of her favorite things to do was lay in the front yard, watching the world go by and bask in the sun. She would lay there for hours every single day.

Our daughter-in-law had never been around large breed dogs and was raised with purse-sized dogs (Chihuahuas), so when she met Zeva for the first time as my son’s new girlfriend, she was obviously apprehensive, but the two of them quickly became great friends and Zeva couldn’t wait for her to visit. One of the funniest things about Zeva was who her best friend was, it was our mini lop rabbit (Oreo). The two of them would play for hours, chasing each other and even wrestling. Like with Casey, we never once didn’t trust Zeva around our children or our pets.

Sadly she developed rapidly growing benign tumors that first started to consume her entire left rear leg. The veterinarian was aggressive in her surgery to remove the tumors and was successful and as bad as it looks, she recovered very well and quickly.  That was September of 2014, a month later came tumors on her belly, which were quickly 

Zeva's leg post op
Zeva's Leg Post Operation

removed and sent off, and again they were benign; a week later a tumor appeared on her neck and even burst open, she had surgery and the tumor was sent off, which was benign. In December she started having more appear all over her body, she was taken to the vet and an x-ray was done, she had many tumors all over her body. In January, she had a massive seizure and we decided it was time to humanely euthanize her. The last thing she saw was the family all showing her the “I Love You” sign, which she always loved to see.

Ginger living the good life with BJ
Ginger living the good life with BJ

A few months later we got a call from the Orange County Animal Shelter, stating that they have a dog that has cancer and no one wants her and wanted to know if we would foster her for the last few months of her life. We made the trip and we not only fostered “Freya” (we changed her name to Ginger), we adopted her and picked up all her current and future medical bills (this was October 2015). We brought Ginger into our lives as no animal should 

die in a shelter alone and abandoned. They said that Freya had been adopted twice before and returned to the shelter both times. Well, that wasn’t going to happen again. We never did find out why they returned her, she was a great, well-behaved dog. She got along perfectly with our other dog and our cats and bunny. One of her favorite things believe it or not was to get her nails painted, she just loved it for some reason. die in a shelter alone and abandoned. They said that Freya had been adopted twice before and returned to the shelter both times. Well, that wasn’t going to happen again. We never did find out why they returned her, she was a great, well-behaved dog. She got along perfectly with our other dog and our cats and bunny. One of her favorite things believe it or not was to get her nails painted, she just loved it for some reason.

We started a bucket list for Ginger and stood up a website to share her bucket list and what we were doing for her. Like with our previous pit bulls, we never once didn’t trust Ginger around our family, In fact, I had less trust in BJ than I did her. We checked everything off her list before except for going camping before she passed. The vet gave her 3-6 months and we had her for one year and two months, and she loved every minute of it.

Ginger's nails
ginger loved to get her nails painted

As my family grew up and my wife and I got older, we wanted another pitty, but a smaller one, so we looked for a cross-bred or a pocket pit. Again it was off to Orange County Animal Shelter where we a putty, who we adopted and named Roxie. We adopted her in 2017 and she still lives with us today, with her 11 cats and yep, we still have the bunny. Roxie is a pit/beagle mix and is a great little 40-pound dog, but she is plagued with health issues. She has already had both her back

knees operated on due to a confirmation issue that caused her knees to pop out of the socket all the time. She has that surgery last year and still hasn’t fully healed. Not sure if she ever will. She also seems to really have some type of accelerated aging process going on, Poor baby! 

Roxie goofing off in the yard
Roxie goofing off in the yard

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