“I’m trying to get people to see this sweet, loving pit bull and realize that it is all about the way they are raised, how they are treated and if they are cared for and loved.” –Joseph E. of Elmont, NY.
In many shelters, you’ll find that pit bulls are one of the most common breeds available for adoption. They are also one of the most commonly misunderstood, and if you’ve followed the media recently, you’ve probably noticed a bit of controversy surrounding breed specific legislation. This is a sad sight to see, when the truth is that pit bulls are kind, loyal and incredibly intelligent dogs. Due to their unfair rap, these sweet dogs are often overlooked by potential adopters.
Simon was once one of these pit bulls, waiting in a shelter for someone to give him a chance. We first met this sensitive pup after he was rescued by the NYPD and brought into the ASPCA Animal Hospital in the summer of 2015. As a victim of cruelty, it took a fair amount of time and rehabilitation before Simon’s personality began to shine through. Despite the traumatized pup’s apprehension to strangers, the Behavior team began to learn just how smart the three-year-old pit bull was: Simon already knew a bevy of tricks, was housetrained and walked right by the Behaviorist’s side when going out. Though his past had been dark and he had been mistreated, Simon’s natural demeanor—sweet and intelligent—couldn’t be subdued.
Fortunately for Simon, there was someone willing to give him a chance, and he wasn’t far away. Joseph E. had a history and familiarity with pit bulls, though he’d only gotten them as puppies and through breeders in the past. He’d recently had a change of heart, and realized that there were plenty of dogs in need in shelters. He began to search the ASPCA website for a new furry friend to add to his family—and then he saw Simon. After seeing the three-year-old dog’s photo, Joseph and his girlfriend immediately went to the ASPCA Adoption Center to meet him in person.
However, when they first encountered Simon, the scared pup began to bark behind his glass enclosure—he did not seem as friendly and playful as in his photos. This reaction made the couple hesitant, but Joseph thought of his old pit bull Max, and how protective he had been in his home. He decided that they couldn’t leave without first meeting Simon face to face.
Giving Simon the small chance to meet them was the opportunity that the young dog needed. In that moment they saw a completely different side to Simon. The adorable pup came alive, and was so excited to meet the couple. “He was licking us, wagging his tail and even rolling over on his back so we could pet his stomach,” Joseph says. In that moment, he knew he had found his newest family member. “He warmed up to us right away.”
Joseph says that he believed that many people probably overlooked Simon out of fear, and that if he had not had familiarity with pit bulls in the past, he could have very well been one of those people.
In his new home, Simon’s attachment to his new pet parent was immediate—at first it was hard to pry Simon away from Joseph’s lap! Over time he developed more confidence, and Simon describes him as the most loving dog he has ever had, and his best friend.
Joseph tells us that Simon taught him a lot about the amazing the benefits of adoption. He can’t wait until the day that they can come back to the Adoption Center and find a new furry brother or sister for his best friend.