“Pit Bulls are wonderful companions"
June 19, 2011 7:22 am ET
Jeannette Smith | Arlington Animal Advocacy Examiner
The most difficult aspect of Amy LaFerrera’s job as an Animal Welfare League of Arlington
Adoption Counselor is animal surrender
. Handling caregivers who give up their pets for reasons out of their control “is heartbreaking from every angle.”
Before a companion animal is available for adoption at The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, all animals receive an initial health evaluation
. Canine intake is a more involved process, which includes behavior assessment, also known as temperament testing. As an AWLA Adoption Counselor, Amy evaluates dogs received into AWLA and interacts with them on a daily basis. The League does not have an adoption deadline for any animal; however, there are challenges placing Pit Bull Terriers and Pit Bull Terrier Mixes, who will likely remain at the shelter twice as long as other breeds, into quality homes.
“Each dog I see is highly individual
,“ Amy says. “Pit Bulls are wonderful companions. In general, I find the Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes I work with to be intelligent, energetic, and attentive. They tend to be very social with people.”
Inclined to be strong, confident animals, with lots of energy, Pit Bulls “don’t always show well when potential adopters come to see them in the kennels.” The easily excitable disposition of Pit Bulls coupled with the stimuli of the shelter environment can increase stress, channeling energy into jumping and barking. AWLA staff and volunteers diligently work with the Pit Bulls in their care on positive training exercises to teach them control of their arousal levels.
Advertisement Additional challenges placing Pit Bulls include residential lease regulations, breed restrictions, and public perception of the Pit Bull breed. Misinformed or unfamiliar with Pit Bulls, people may judge Pit Bulls based on negative media and therefore do not consider adopting one. “We advocate treating each dog as an individual. We look at the personality of each dog and do make suggestions to people based on which dog may be a good fit for them regardless of breed.” Amy believes, “there are many adopters who would be well suited to a Pit Bull type dog, who have pre-existing opinions on the breed.”
The AWLA distributes information on Pit Bulls to educate the public and potential adopters on health, training, socialization, and the physical and mental stimulation Pit Bulls need. “With the formation of the AWLA Pit Crew
, we can reach a wider audience in the community to educate people on the myths and truths of Pit Bulls in general.”
The AWLA Pit Crew meets every Wednesday at 6pm at The Animal Welfare League of Arlington
. All are welcome to join their efforts Saving America’s Dog.
Meet Abby, ID#A030980, AWLA Positive Pit Bull Pet of the Week