One of the most misunderstood K-9 breeds we have today is the “pit bull”. Pit bull is an umbrella term which includes many breeds, some of which include Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. For most of our history America’s nickname for pit bulls was the “nanny dog”, a trusted caretaker to watch over children. But over the last several years, pit bulls have been vilified. Before pit bulls it was the Rottweiler, before the Rottweiler it was the Doberman, before the Doberman it was the German Shepherd. The fact of the matter is, that whichever breed is currently being targeted as “bad dogs” their homeless rates rise, they are overrepresented in shelters and their euthanization rates go through the roof. Did you know that the pit bull euthanization rate in shelters is on average 93% which means only 7% will find their forever home? Because of this, rescue groups have been forming all over the nation focused on giving these dogs a second chance. A Rotta Love Plus (ARLP) is one of those groups that works tirelessly to help Rottweiler and pit bull breeds. I was able to sit down and talk with Sara Nick, Communication Director for ARLP to learn a bit more about their organization.
Sara adopted her dog Josie from ARLP who was one of 500 dogs rescued from a Missouri dog fighting bust and has been a volunteer for them the last three years. In fact, ARLP is an all-volunteer advocacy organization which is based in Minnesota that addresses issues faced by Rottweilers and pit bulls. As Sara put it, they use a “nose-to-tail” approach which includes public outreach, community enrichment and education, spay/neuter initiatives, owner education and training and foster-based rescue and rehoming.
- ARLP’s foster network, which takes a quality over quantity approach, allows them to rehome approximately 35-50 dogs each year and they provide ongoing support to ensure their success.
- With their Rott n’ Pit Ed program they serve approximately 60 dogs/year and growing, outfitting owners with the tools needed to ensure the right approach is taken for each dog.
- The Get Your Fix! Program provides free vaccinations, low cost microchips and free spay/neutering to an estimated 300 pit bulls and Rottweilers per year in the communities that need it most to decrease overpopulation thus reducing euthanasia in shelters.
- Their PRIORITY Paws (Pit bull and Rottweiler Interactive OutReach, Instruction and Therapy for Youth) program spends over 400 hours per year conducting free dog-therapy groups with youth in crisis which helps them to work through their crises using the lessons and skills that the dogs teach them.
- The Dog Safety/Humane Education program reached over 3,000 individuals over the last three years by using a hands-on learning experience to educate youth, adults and organizations about humane treatment of animals and dog safety.
While all breeds face their own overpopulation challenges and have wonderful breed specific rescues to help them, the “bad breed” dogs face an uphill battle due to the stereotypes which hinder them from being given a fair chance at finding a forever home. That’s why we found ARLP to be such a great organization, not focusing solely on rehoming but also working hard to fix the issues at the source through their many programs that benefit the dogs and the community.
That approach sure helped Josie during the adjustment to her new environment when Sara adopted her. Proudly, Josie is now a registered Therapy Dog and touches the lives of so many youth during the outreach programs in which she participates. And since we always try to give animals a voice, we couldn’t end without asking Sara what she thought Josie would say if she could speak. Sara thought she would say "My ARLP friends and I are living proof of all the good stuff that can happen when you give pit bulls a chance. Now please give me a hot dog, I'm starving!"
If you are interested in fostering or adopting a dog from ARLP CLICK HERE to see their available dogs.