Wednesday, March 13, 2013

YHS to hold 'pit'y-party

Helen Keller said of her
pit bull, Sir Thomas, he
“seems to understand my
limitations, and is always
 close beside me when I
am alone. I love his
affectionate ways and the
eloquent wag of his tail.”
The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) is throwing a Pity Party this week at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott - and you're invited!  Join YHS behaviorist Ellen Paquin this Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a free educational seminar on the American pit bull, a breed blessed with tenacious athletic ability, loyalty, intelligence, and high energy.

All YHS dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped; this is over a $400 value - but this week every bully breed is available for just $25.

Pit bulls are not lap dogs nor are they for the sedentary person. They are not fashion accessories or macho symbols. They are a breed apart from every other canine on earth.

The U.S. military recognized this in the early 1900s when they chose the pit bull to represent the USA on WWI and WWII recruitment posters. Sergeant Stubby, a pit bull WWI war hero served in 17 battles, was injured twice in battle, saved his entire platoon by warning them of a poison gas attack, and captured a German spy. Stubby earned many medals for heroism. Stubby's New York Times obituary may be viewed at the Connecticut State Military Department's website.

Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, George Patton, Jack Dempsy, Helen Keller, Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire, Anne Bancroft, Thomas Edison and Mark Twain all owned pit bulls. Celebrity pit bull owners include Jon Stewart, Alicia Silverstone, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Michael J. Fox, Bernadette Peters, Brad Pitt, Madonna and Rachael Ray.

Pit bulls are commonly used as therapy dogs at senior care facilities and to help people recover from emotional trauma. Pit bulls are also used in search and rescue missions and as narcotic- and bomb-sniffing dogs. One pit bull, Popsicle (rescued from an abandoned freezer), is responsible for the largest recorded drug bust in Texas history.

While certain purebreds are prone to many health problems, pit bulls are healthy and hardy. They are strong and long-lived. They are low-maintenance because their short coats are easy to care for; you'll have no grooming bills.

Most pit bulls are great with kids, too; consider Petey, the beloved dog featured in "The Little Rascals." Pit bulls were called "nanny dogs" in the early 20th century because of their gentle and loving disposition with kids.

Pits have great personality; even as they age, most remain playful. They are affectionate, appreciating their owner's attention and approval more than anything else.

According to The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), an organization promoting uniform temperament evaluations for purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs, the pit bull scores an 86.2 percent rate. That's better than the Australian shepherd (80.7 percent), beagle (80.3 percent), border collie (79.6 percent), boxer (84 percent), chihuahua (71.1 percent), cocker spaniel (81.9 percent), collie (79.2 percent), German shorthair (76 percent), golden retriever (83.8 percent), lhasa apso (70.4 percent), miniature poodle (77.9 percent) and sheltie (67.3 percent). ATTS also found bit bulls are generally less aggressive when faced with confrontational situations that produced negative reactions in many stereotypically "friendly" dogs, such as beagles and poodles.

In our community, pit bulls are so popular they represent the largest percentage of dogs rescued and adopted. If you want a super-dog, consider a YHS pit bull. YHS adoption counselors are always ready to help you select the perfect dog for you and your family.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.