October is Pit Bull Awareness Month

Photo shared by Lois Ash. "My great-grandmother with my grandfather, his brother and their dog," circa 1910.
Photo shared by Lois Ash. “My great-grandmother with my grandfather, his brother and their dog,” circa 1910.

Staff Report

One of the most misunderstood dog breeds is the pit bull, yet owners of the animals claim that they are some of the most loyal, gentle and friendly dogs they have ever owned. In fact, even the term “pit bull” is a misnomer as recent DNA analysis shows that dogs commonly called pit bulls today are actually a mix of multiple breeds. Today, pedigreed pit bulls are often labeled as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, or, more recently, American Bullies.

During the first half of the 20th century, the American Pit Bull Terrier was the closest thing the United States had to a national dog, according to Mutts Matter Rescue in VA. They were featured on U.S. recruiting posters in World Wars I and II, prominently featured as corporate mascots and cast as the ideal family dog in television and movies. Now the breed can be demonized as it battles everything from a media-driven reputation for being predators, to abuse from their owners, to legislation that seeks to outlaw their existence. According to the Humane Society of the United States, in 2007, Pit Bulls were involved in 25 percent of reported dog-abuse cases. About half of the dogs killed in shelters today will be Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes and nationwide, 75 percent of shelters euthanize all Pit Bulls, regardless of temperament, age or history.

“We believe strongly, as with any breed, that they are a product of how they are raised,” said Sherry Shupe, Owner of Fur-Baby Boutique, Daycare, Spa & Hotel in downtown Milford. “All of our bully friends here are well behaved and vary in sizes and temperament. They have been very sweet, very loyal. They are fine examples of great ownership.”

Shupe has been committed to dispelling the fears of the bully breed through her business which includes daycare, grooming and hotel services. She has rescued two bully breeds, mixed with chocolate lab and chesapeake bay retriever, and knows first hand of how sweet and kind they can be. Hannah and Sadie are an integral part of the business as Hannah leads the temperament tests for new dogs, judging how they interact and play with new recruits, and Sadie is a daycare member herself at the age of 7 months, learning the ropes until she can assist like her older sister Hannah.

“We adopted Hannah three years ago because of her sweet, gentle nature. She loves to meet new dogs and new people and not afraid to give new friends plenty of kisses,” said Shupe. “She is known for her positive, gentle temperament and a breed ambassador.” Hannah has also been a participant in the Doggone Safety program at the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club and with the Avenue Preschool students that teaches young children how to engage with dog owners and their four-legged friends. “Because of Hannah’s sweet nature, we decided to adopt Sadie three years later and she is on her way to becoming a breed ambassador as well.”

During this month, Shupe states that there are several things individuals can do to support Pit Bull Awareness Month including owners sharing stories and videos on social media about the kindness and soft side of their bully breads, making an effort to avoid judging animals and humans based on their appearance and volunteering for foster and rescue organizations.

During the month of October, Fur-Baby Boutique is offering a Fall Harvest upgrade on any grooming package to all bully breeds, a $10 value. For more information about Fur~Baby Boutique, Daycare, Spa & Hotel, individuals are encouraged to contact the business at their new location, next to Arena’s in downtown Milford, at 302-725-5078 or visit http://www.fur-babyboutique.com/.

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