According to the Humane Society of the United States, 8 million to 10 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year and more than half of them never make it out. They are euthanized. Between an estimated 25 percent to 30 percent of those homeless dogs are purebreds.
Juno, a blue and white purebred pit bull nearly became a sad statistic. She was a cruelty case, found malnourished and locked in an abandoned apartment in DeKalb County. Juno was starving and had gaping wounds on her back when she was taken to LifeLine Animal Project for nourishment, treatment, training and rehabilitation.
American Pit Bull Terriers are also referred to as American Staffordshire Terriers. There are those who say these terriers are not one but two breeds, similar but not precisely the same. However, both are commonly called pit bulls or “pits” and are often at the center of raging controversy and debate.
They are sleek, strong, smart and stubborn - typical traits of their ancestors, bulldogs and terriers. Animal advocates and supporters blame chronically irresponsible owners and breeders as the source of woes for this lively and highly focused breed.
In a recent study of 122 dog breeds by the American Temperament Test Society, pit bulls achieved a high passing rate of nearly 84 percent, a more positive score than either Beagles or Golden Retrievers (to see how your favorite breed scores, see ATTS.org).
Due to the breed’s solid strength and tenacity, pit bulls have become a favorite to train for use in illegal dog fighting. It is widely covered in the press when one attacks or bites a human. Some insist that pit bulls are dangerous dogs and for public safety should be banned from private ownership.
But this is a modern notion. There was a time when this durable breed was widely seen as an all-American sweetheart. They were often pictured in World War I artwork and a pit mix named Stubby was a decorated World War I hero.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House on the Prairie” books, had a working pit bull named Jack. President Theodore Roosevelt and Helen Keller both owned pit bulls as pets. RCA Victor and Buster Brown Shoes famously used the breed as product mascots. Remember Petey, the dog from the Little Rascals TV show? He was a pit bull.
Juno doesn’t know about the controversy or bad press her breed has received. She doesn’t know that at just 3-years-old she’s already outlived the average pit bull, many of whom who will die astonishingly early due to abuse, shelter euthanasia and illegal dog fighting.
When cared for, they have a natural lifespan of 12 to 15 years, longer than most large breeds. What Juno does know is that she loves to go for long walks and enjoys the company of humans. She loves to play, enjoys treats, and favors male dogs over female.
It took 3 months to heal the wounds on her back and to save her after nearly being starved to death. But Juno is a happy, hardy, and active dog now.
She’s spayed and has had all her shots. She's receiving leash training. Like all pit bulls, she’s short-haired and easy to keep clean. She’s fine as an only dog or with a male dog who wants to play with her.
If you want to give this blue and white beauty a home of her own or want to know more about Juno, contact LifeLine Animal Project through their website at www.atlantapets.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.