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Pit bulls need love too, and you can show it

By Toriano L. Porter | [email protected]

Contrary to popular belief, not all pit bull dogs are considered vicious or violent. In fact, just like any other species on the planet, the breed of dog is represented by the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly.

A group dedicated to rescuing pit bulls from the throes of pain and violence knows this and remains upbeat in its effort to place orphaned pit bulls in the proper home.

"Pit bulls are very people-oriented and they truly enjoy attention and affection," says Melanie Gipson of Missouri Pit Bull Rescue, a non-profit, volunteer lead organization consisting of a small network of foster homes for pit bulls in the Kansas City area. "In fact, they seem to never get enough of it. These dogs crave human interaction and are true lap dogs at heart. Pit bull owners will tell you that nothing beats cuddling with a warm pit bull on the couch."

Gipson said the group promotes responsible pit bull ownership, provides breed education, combats pet over-population, fights unfair legislation and finds qualified homes for sound pit bull dogs in Missouri.

A fundraiser dubbed Celebrity Scoop Night from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Maggie Moo's Ice Cream at 19130 East 39th Street in the Independence Commons will benefit the organization's cause. Gipson said 10 percent of the sales during that time will go to benefit Missouri Pit Bull Rescue. Dick Dale from 96.5 FM the Buzz will be on site from 6-7 p.m. as celebrity host. Dale adopted a pit bull from the group a few years ago and agreed to help with Celebrity Scoop.

"Pit bulls can remain silly clowns very late in life," Gipson said. "A happy pit bull will wag his whole body and the joyful expression in his eyes is impossible to miss. Even dogs that are rescued from very difficult situations usually keep a very positive and uplifting spirit."

Because most people think pit bulls are people-aggressive, there is a tendency to shy way from caring for the breeds, Gipson said. Although pit bulls are naturally aggressive, their people-attacking skills are learned, not born, traits.

"Pit bulls are now the number one bred dog in the United States," Gipson said, adding 75 percent of shelters nationwide euthanize all pit bulls without even trying to adopt them out and only one in 600 pit bulls will find a home. "Ironically, they are one of the hardest breeds to find good homes for."

Gipson said approximately 30 active MPR volunteers help year-round trying to solicit donations, sponsorship and adoption fees and fundraisers.

"Every dog in our program will cost an average of $250 depending on his or her medical needs and length of stay," Gipson said. "To give the dogs a better chance however, our adoption fee is only $125. This means that MPR absorbs half the cost of most dogs in our program."

For more information on the Missouri Pit Bull's Celebrity Scoop Night, visit www.mprgroup.net.

Some pit bulls, Gipson says, can take several months to place. Some of the group's rescued dogs have been in foster care for as long as one year.

"We have several dedicated individuals that have committed to sponsoring our foster dogs while they are in our care, which helps us to continue rescuing dogs," she said. "We board many of the dogs in our program and must pay for rent, utilities and supplies. We print educational material and other supplies needed for adoption events."

In the end, Gipson said, the adoption of a pit bull is one of the most caring acts a human being will ever perform.

"Nothing is better than a pit bull's smile to cheer you up after a hard day at work," Gipson said. "They are great morale boosters and a constant source of inspiration and laughs."


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