Close your eyes. Don’t worry, it’s not weird, just close them. Now – get a picture in your mind of a being with poise, trustworthiness, elegance, beauty, loyalty, and spunk. Okay, you can open them now. Did you picture a Pit Bull? Of course, you did!
Pit Bulls are fantastic. I mean, c’mon, just look at them. They’re all smiley and they’re always trying to sit in your lap like a human person. They also have those mushy, kissable jowls. They make me just wanna bury my face right in their sweet little cheeks and smooch them like crazy and ermehgerd … eh hem. Sorry, got lost in the moment for a sec.
So, these dogs are great, yet they’re consistently maligned in the media as being inherently malicious and disproportionately aggressive – despite a 2013 study by The American Veterinary Medical Association finding that Pit Bull-type dogs are not excessively aggressive versus other breeds. This poor PR has made them subject to breed specific legislation, limiting their ability to live in certain areas or act as service animals, and is largely the reason why they’re subject to the highest euthanasia rates in shelters – with 93 percent being put down versus adopted.
This is why photographer Sophie Gamand has made it her mission to change the way Pit Bulls are viewed by those who’ve been given the wrong impression. Her work photographing Pit Bulls with incredible floral headpieces has been viewed globally and now, just in time for Pit Bull Awareness Month and Adopt a Shelter Dog Month – her book Pit Bull Flower Power is set to hit the shelves. The soft light, ornate flowers and smiling faces of her subjects help to counter the vicious image these dogs have unfairly received over the years – allowing people to see them for who they really are. Dogs who need the love and support of the right pet parent for them.
Want a taste? You know you do! Here are just a few of the phenomenal photos you can find in the upcoming book, as well as some fun facts of our own about Pit Bulls themselves. For example – did you know that “Pit Bull” isn’t actually a breed at all, but rather a blanket term used to describe a variety of breeds like Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Pit Bull terriers? Now you do. You’re welcome.
Pit Bulls used to be referred to as “nanny” or “nursemaid ” dogs due to their trustworthiness and gentleness with children.
They have a face that was just MADE for pictures, gracing the cover of LIFE magazine on three separate occasions – more than any other breed.
American Pit Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Terriers outscore many other terrier breeds – including the bearded and beloved Miniature Schnauzer – on the assessment run by the American Temperament Test Society.
Lots of celebrities count themselves fans of these babies – including Jessica Biel, Alicia Silverstone, Linda Blair, Jessica Alba, Jamie Foxx, Rachael Ray, and Dr. Phil.
Pit Bulls are sometimes thought of as ferocious guard dogs … but they’re certainly not “designed” to do this. Seriously. While they may step up if they feel that “their” human is threatened, they generally like people too much to be overly motivated to watch over your property. Unless you count being whipped in the kneecap by an over-enthusiastically wagged tail as “guarding,” you may want to just get an alarm system.
As of June 2018, 1.8 million – or about 41 percent – of the 4.4 million Pit Bulls alive in the United States were in need of a home. Maybe one of these floral fluff balls might just be the perfect companion for you?
Until then, you can learn more about Pit Bulls, breed specific legislation and ways you can enjoy this loyal breed HERE.
All Images: Courtesy of Sophie Gamand