Let’s Talk About Linus

This is Linus, my foster puppy. And since it’s Pit Bull Awareness Month, I’d like to tell you a bit about him.

Linus was found on the side of the road in a North Carolina as a puppy. A concerned citizen took him to a shelter and eventually he found his way north thanks to the Underhound Railroad. We picked him off of a truck — along with his buddy Dora — on Labor Day weekend.

Linus & Dora

They were a handful — constantly wrestling until they both collapsed into a puppy pile. We took them to the Coventry Farmer’s Market, where the dogs are as big an attraction as the produce and artisinal cheese. Dora’s cute ears earned her a lot of attention and before we knew it, she was adopted.

Linus has been with us for over a month now, and though we have no idea what mix of breeds he really is — our guess is Lab/Boxer based on his webbed feet, and Boxer-bounciness — he will undoubtedly be looked at as a Pit Bull-mix by most. And that’s fine, because he couldn’t be a better ambassador for the breed, defying stereotypes at every turn.

  • We have an old cat who has no desire to play. Linus play-bows and hops all around trying to entice Jerry to relent and have some fun. When Jerry smacks him in the face, he just lays there and takes it. Then Linus licks him in the face and tries to present him with toys.
  • He looooves other dogs. When Dora was adopted, we’d worry he’d be depressed without her. The added attention from people helped him through it, and now we make regular trips to the dog park where he is usually among the best behaved, most good-natured dogs there.
  • When we take him to the farm, he likes to watch the chickens but without any malice in his little fluffy heart. There’s no barking or lungeing. Just a mild curiousity.
  • Pitties are known as the original Nanny Dogs and Linus would make an excellent, if not entirely responsible, babysitter. He looooves kids and covers them in kisses.

To All the Pit Bulls I’ve Loved Before

Anyone who has worked with rescue dogs knows Pit Bulls and Pit-type dogs end up in shelters at an alarming rate. We also know they get a bad rap, and just like all dogs, each one is an individual.

The truth is, a lot of the dogs that get called Pit Bulls are just some mix of block-headed breeds. Russell was called a Boxer-mix. The mostly white puppy was probably American Bulldog. Theo and Leo were more believably Pit-mixes. And in the end, none of it really matters, because they’re all individuals.

Every Dog is His Own Person

A dog’s breed can only tell you so much about him. When I adopted Maybelle, the kennel card at the Humane Society said she was a high-energy herding breed who would excel at dog sports like agility. She would have done those things if I asked her to, but she was just as happy going on regular walks and laying on the couch. I’ve known Golden Retrievers with aggression issues, and high-strung labs who could never be trusted alone in the house. I grew up with German Shepherds who would kill any small creature that moved, but I’ve also known Shepherds who were gentle and nurturing to small critters. I’ve known Pit Bulls like Wilbur who were sweet and lazy, and met some who were aloof and hyper.

Wilbur after a short walk around the athletic fields.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some Pitties I wasn’t fond of and had some bad experiences with them. Though the only dog I was ever really afraid of in all my years of volunteering was a Sharpei.

Meanwhile, Linus has been a delight. We’ve sat on patios and had dinner with him. He’s been walked by our friends’ kids, and pushed around by a Sheepadoodle. We’ll miss him when he finally gets adopted (he’s had two applications, but nothing has worked out just yet), though we want him to be in a home with other dogs or kids (or both) where he’ll have enthusiastic playmates.

So if you’re in the market for an adoptable pooch, don’t dismiss the Pit-types out of hand. They’ve been some of the best dogs I’ve known… and I’ve known a lot of dogs.

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