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Give Pits a Chance


Vincent J. Marcus, 1999 to 2008

One year ago today, I said goodbye to one of the great loves of my life: my dog Vinny, the one-in-a-million mutt I’d found who’d been hit by a car while living on the streets. He was 8 months old when he came up to me, hobbling on three legs and needing surgery for a broken hip and treatment for skin infections, a bladder infection and the millions of fleas that crawled all over him.

I miss him every single day. So much that I am crying right now as I write this because he was absolutely the coolest, sweetest, most precious little muffin in the whole world.

Right after I found him, a neighbor said, “You’re not keeping him, are you? That dog is ugly.” She knows I never forgot or forgave the remark. But, it shows how so many people are about animals. They want this breed or that breed, a beautiful, perfect dog. Well, Vinny turned out to be a pit bull/Chow mix — an amalgam of what most people assume are the most vicious dogs in the world. And yet, my little brindle dog with the “catfish whiskers” was the most giving dog that ever lived. He made me laugh all the time. He liked life better when he was shaved down, so I kept him shaved — but gave him a Mohawk. People would come up to him on the street and the first thing they’d want to touch was his hawk. He knew it was cool. Some people were actually dumb enough to ask if it grew like that naturally.

Every year, upwards of four million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters because they don’t have homes. I get so mad at people who don’t spay or neuter their pets. We have enough animals. What we need are more homes.

I was devastated by Vinny’s quick death from lung cancer. He was only 9 and I never thought my younger dog would die before my senior citizen Golden Retriever Reggie who, by the way, was also rescued. I came home from a cruise in Alaska and the dogsitter said she thought something was the matter with Vinny. Three weeks later, I had to let him go. It was that fast.

I grieved hard and am still grieving, but it’s been a little easier since I was given Louie for my birthday in September. Louie is a 6-year-old pit bull mix. I used to assume so many things about pits

Me & My Louie

Me & My Louie

before Vinny, but now I know the truth. For every aggressive pit, there are hundreds who would never turn on anyone. I woke up this morning and Louie had crawled into my arms so he could sleep on his back, cradled like a baby. He is so different from Vinny. Louie is shy and quiet — he is vulnerable. And darling beyond words. I swear I kiss that boy at least 200 times a day. And, you can see that he returns the favor.

Louie was adopted from a pit bull rescue in Tampa from a man and his wife who would become two of the best friends I have. Art Fyvolent and Lisa Presnail gave me so much with that little guy. To thank them, I want to encourage others to learn the truth about pit bulls. Think they are scary? Nasty? Aggressive? Well, the American Canine Temperament Testing Association tests every breed of dog for aggression. Nearly 83 percent of the American Pit Bull Terriers pass the test, compared to an overall average of 77 percent for all breeds of dogs. They do the test by putting the animals in confrontational situations and chalk up a failure at the first sign of aggression. Of the 122 breeds that are tested, pit bulls rated the fourth best. Not fourth from the bottom — fourth from the top. Surprise: Golden Retrievers are worse. And Schnauzers. So, you have to ask why communities are banning pit bulls instead of Schnauzers.

I should note that when pits are raised to be vicious, they are especially vicious. So, is the problem the dog or the owner? Art saved my Louie who had only a few hours left before his scheduled euthanasia. I can’t imagine my world without him in it. Louie was lucky that Art saved him. But think of the thousands that are killed every day.

Art is a marketing wiz who came up with the slogan, Give Pits A Chance. I sure wish you would.

Nap time at Art and Lisa's house.

Nap time at Art and Lisa's house.

  1. Bitch! – now I love you even more than yesterday!

    That is beautifully said, and I too was crying thinking about JMarcus – I never knew him, but I know he is part of your deepest soul, something you will never be able to lose.

    Dogs do that, many times more often than people do. They so want to provide unconditional love and affection, and all they require in return is a little love, some decent food and a warm place to sleep. How hard is it for people to understand that we are their caretakers, and we have a profound responsibility to treat them with love and respect, not with chains and a stick to the head.

    Thank you for being part of our mission to have everyone understand that once you have experienced the affection, personality and love of a pit bull, your life will be forever changed.

    It happened to us, and to you and Julie – and everyday we see people who now “get it” and understand it’s not the dog’s fault they have this reputation – it’s the assholes who treat them badly. Give them love, and they will be your friend forever; and give you far more in return than you can ever give them.


  2. Fawn~

    I so admire what Art is doing just by seeing this pic… can see & feel the love just by looking at it! You had shared with me the story about how you got your Sweet Louie…now I get it even more. Animals are Such A Blessing in our lives…and A Gift to have. They always double what we give them in love & affection & companionship. Your Vinny will be there to greet you when you someday cross that bridge to the next realm….my thoughts are with you today on this anniversary. May Louie give you extra sweet kisses today!


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