The Gulf Coast Humane Society helps give Pit Bulls a much-needed paw up in the adoption game.
By: Kaitlin Calk
As the Gulf Coast Humane Society (GCHS) is a strictly no-kill animal shelter, every animal that comes through the society’s doors is given the chance they deserve to find their loving forever homes. No dog or cat is euthanized due to limited space, behavioral issues, treatable disease or breed. This means these animals stay at GCHS until they are adopted – and sometimes, they wait for a long time. Unfortunately, one breed of dog at GCHS tends to wait longer than others: the Pit Bull.
“Pit Bull” is actually a term used loosely to describe any dog with physical features such as a square-shaped head or bulky body type. The American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog and Staffordshire Bull Terrier are formal breeds with these features that are considered Pit Bull types. However, according to the ASPCA, “It is likely that the vast majority of Pit Bull-type dogs in our communities today are the result of random breeding. […] For this reason, it is important to evaluate and treat each dog, no matter its breed, as an individual.”
The Pit Bull is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the Coastal Bend area, but is also one of the hardest to find homes for. This is due in large part to the misconception that Pit Bulls are inherently aggressive, or will one day “snap” and attack their family. This stigma against Pit Bulls runs rampant in many communities, and it severely damages these dogs’ chances of finding their forever homes, despite what experts in animal behavior say about it.
According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, “Any dog may bite, regardless of the dog’s size or sex, or reported breed or mix of breeds.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, stating that, “Any dog of any breed has the potential to bite.”
To boost our beloved Pit Bulls’ chances of getting adopted, we have created our Ador-a-Bull Adopt-a-Bull program! This program gives adopters the opportunity to take home an Ador-a-Bull-eligible dog for a two-week trial foster period. This “test run” will also alleviate potential adopters’ concerns based on misconceptions about the breed, since two weeks is certainly long enough to figure out that Pit Bulls are generally squishy-faced slobber machines. If the trial period doesn’t work out, the dog will be welcomed back to GCHS so that they can continue looking for that perfect home. On the flip side, if the dog becomes a permanent member of the family, the adoption includes a training consultation with Animal Smart Training.
Not only does our new program give the Pit Bulls of GCHS a much-needed paw up in the adoption game, it has the potential to help countless Pit Bulls in the Coastal Bend. It is our mission to help every animal we are able to, but unfortunately, we are usually forced to turn away Pit Bulls simply because we have too many. That is about to change, though, because when one Ador-a-Bull dog is adopted, that kennel will be available for us to take in another Pit Bull!
Stigma isn’t the only thing preventing our block-headed companions from the loving homes that they deserve – landlord restrictions make it nearly impossible to find somewhere to live with a Pit Bull. This is another obstacle we hope to overcome, or at least simplify, with our Ador-a-Bulls program. We are working to compile a list of local realtors that help people find rentals that allow the breed, as well as working with apartment complexes to be more accepting of Pit Bulls.
With our Ador-a-Bull Adopt-a-Bulls program, we hope the Pit Bulls of the Coastal Bend can expect big changes in their lives. Ultimately, this program is meant not only to find these wonderful dogs homes, but also to change our community’s perception of this misunderstood breed.
The Gulf Coast Humane Society is located at 3118 Cabaniss Parkway in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information about the Ador-a-Bull Adopt-a-Bulls program, visit www.gchscc.org.
Photo courtesy of Gulf Coast Humane Society