When you hear the words “therapy dog
,” what do you picture?
Odds are it isn’t a pit bull
. As it happens, pit bulls are becoming an increasingly popular choice for offering canine comfort to the sick or disabled. That is because, despite the stigma surrounding them
, according to the American Temperament Test Society, pit bulls are one of the most amiable and gentle breeds
, second only behind the Labrador Retriever. Surprised?
Now one of the most in-demand service dogs in the greater Boston area, Blueberry is the prime example of how sweet pit bulls can be. However, like pit bulls all across America, Blueberry wasn’t exactly accepted into the service dog community with open arms. In fact, the first therapy center her handler applied to - a program for developmentally delayed adults - rejected Blueberry based purely on the fact that they did not want a pit bull in their program.“I was like, you would never want anyone to judge your students based on how they look, but you’re doing that to my dog,” said a dismayed Maura Porter, Blueberry’s handler.
But Maura was not about to let one rejection keep her down. Blueberry had too much love to give. So they kept looking until they happened upon Dog B.O.N.E.S
- a therapy dog service. Since joining the ranks at Dog B.O.N.E.S, Blueberry has become a staple at hospitals in the area, working with the terminally ill and infirm while dispelling negative myths about pit bulls.Her Facebook page
, aptly titled “Blueberry the pit bull therapy dog changing minds one visit at a time,” is riddled with accounts of patients who, although initially hesitant of interacting with a pit bull, end up requesting Blueberry return, as well as become outspoken advocates for pitties.Here is one example of a typical Blueberry interaction:
And Blueberry is not alone. A number of pit bull therapy dogs are out there, proving day after day that these dogs are so much more than the way they are perceived. There are even organizations like Pits for Patriots
that specialize in pairing people in need of a service dog with a specially trained pit bull.
Sadly, regardless of how much progress is made by dogs like Blueberry, the overwhelming belief is that these dogs are inherently violent and unruly. It is for that reason that shelters across America are full to the rafters with these lovable pups - people just don’t trust them. And that is 100% wrong.If you would like to help us dispel these harmful beliefs, share this article with your friends. And if you are looking to adopt a new friend, don’t let yourself fall victim to their stigma - pit bulls are just as sweet, smart, and well behaved as any other breed.