Help People. Help Dogs.
Lisa, Chris, MIllie & Bella
What is your highest education level: high school drop out or GED?
Contrary to what media outlets would suggest, and as you will note in reading the other Owner Profiles on the Game Dog Guardian site, there is an increasingly strong faction of bully breed owners across the globe that are, believe it or not, EDUCATED, SUCCESSFUL and beyond MOTIVATED to change public perception of bully breeds.
What was the question? Oh, yes, highest education level - Juris Doctor 2005 (with honors, law review distinction, president of this, secretary of that, etc…)
Have you been in prison most of your life or do you have a day job?
Ha! Well, as cool as I would feel at my age to say I am a rebellious rule breaker, my life has been devoted to hard work, not hard time. Whether it was in the classroom at Auburn University, Northern Illinois University or in my office for the past 5 years as a Securities Attorney, I have worked hard and take great pride in my success. I currently work as in-house legal counsel for an investment management firm in Chicago, IL (Assistant Vice President and Legal Counsel).
(Pictures of Millie and Bella are prominently on display in my office)
While not on the front lines of the bully breed advocacy movement, I work behind the scenes to share my story and educate those around me on the truth about bully breeds. I speak from experience and speak as someone who at one time was not sure what the truth was. One of my greatest accomplishments came through sharing my experiences with bully breeds with a colleague of mine. As many of us often encounter, he was someone who knew nothing of bully breeds other than that which he heard on televised news and in print media. Like many hearing for the first time that I have two rescued pit bulls, he raised his eyebrows in astonishment. That was my opportunity to educate. I spent almost three years educating him on bully breeds, sharing stories about my dogs, sharing pictures, and eventually….sending pictures of adoptable dogs for him to consider! ;) This very same colleague adopted a rescued pit bull in 2008 and he and his family now share the truth. (Note: he is part of the faction of bully breed owners I reference above - attorney, husband AND father of 5 children under the age of 10!). He was my first masterpiece. This story proves that each of us can make a difference for these dogs we love so much.
Do you neglect your dogs by keeping them chained up in the backyard or locked in the basement?
Well, unfortunately, Millie and Bella have it rough, to say the least. Each of them has freedom in our home, sleeps in our bed (I know, I know…), are covered with warm blankets and have pillows under their heads every night. They have a nice fenced in yard to run and play in (and poop in….lots of it!) and enjoy an abundant supply of toys, treats and belly rubs. Millie and Bella both love going for walks, rides in the car, and Millie in particular, loves to go swimming. They love chasing after their Jolly Ball in the back yard, and when they are worn out from that activity, they enjoy lounging on the patio couch in the sun.
Did you accidentally adopt a pit bull type dog or did you do it intentionally?
As mentioned earlier, at one time, I was not educated on bully breeds. During a summer of volunteering at a local animal shelter during my first year of law school, I was faced with my first real life encounter with a pit bull (two of them!). Two pit bulls turned up in the shelter one day while I happened to be there. I was asked to feed them, and play with them. Admittedly, I was incredibly nervous….they were in the kennel run together, male and female, “Bonnie” and “Clyde.” I confidently approached the run, opened the kennel door and prepared myself for the worst. As those of you reading this probably well know, I was bombarded with “Bonnie” and “Clyde” kisses! From that day forward, I was forever a fan of pit bulls. “Bonnie” and “Clyde” opened my heart and my mind.
The following fall (my second year of law school – 2003), I was surfing the internet (instead of studying) and came across a story of a mom, dad and litter of puppies in Kansas City, MO that had been rescued from the yard of an abandoned house by local rescue volunteers. I was in no way in a place in my life where I should have been caring for anything other than a house plant, but I was immersed in this rescue story. I immediately applied for one of the puppies and after making my way through the application process and home visit, I was blessed to be owned by Millie (my 7 year old).
Fast forward to March 2007, I am volunteering at a local shelter after work a few days/week. A pregnant, stray pit bull is admitted to the shelter and has her puppies shortly thereafter. I spend the next couple of months volunteering and seeing the puppies (all named after spring flowers) being adopted out to loving, forever homes. May comes around and one of the puppies (Bella – f/k/a “Petunia”) is still waiting patiently in the shelter for someone to take her home. I was smitten with her, and after some convincing of my significant other (now, my fiancé), we adopted her. (In reality, he had no choice in the matter, but I made him think he did).
I can say with 100% certainty that we will forever be parents to bully breeds.
(I will also note here – even though I have not been specifically asked this question – my family, who had reservations about me adopting a pit bull, foster failed in November 2007. Natalie, another Kansas City, MO rescue, is now part of our family).
What is daily life like with a pit bull type dog?
Aside from the notorious pit bull farts, daily life with a pit bull type dog is pure bliss! ;)
My life has been enriched in ways I cannot even explain in words. They live for me….they wake me every morning with love and affection….they greet me at the door every day after work. They are there for me when I am happy, sad, stressed, angry, you name it. At all times, they show unconditional love, devotion and gratitude. I would not be the person I am today without them in my life. Millie and Bella are my heart and soul. I will forever stand up for them and defend their existence and fair treatment in society.
Anything else you want to add?
Well, as if I haven’t taken up enough of your time, I would like to thank all of the wonderful people I have encountered over the past 7 years in pit bull rescue and advocacy (Missouri Pitbull Rescue, Mid-America Bully Breed Rescue, Don’t Bully My Breed, Naperville Area Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Society, Animal Legal Defense Fund and A.D.O.P.T.).
I have known Katie Bray for years….and even though it wasn’t until recently that we met in person, she is someone that has educated me, supported me and inspired me over the years.
I would encourage all of you reading this to do anything you can to help this cause….whether it’s through donations, education, foster or adoption. Everything you do, no matter how small it might seem, contributes to making this world a better place for pit bull type dogs.
Way to go Katie and Anthony! Thank you for speaking for my dogs and for so many out there that do not have voices.