+
Most Shared

Meet 2 pit bulls that had it rough. Their human families' love saved them from stigma.

Canelo and Lula found forever families, and those families changed everything.

Like many pit bulls, Lula was a stray.

When Lula first showed up at the Hughes' home, she was severely underweight. She was also covered in scars and had evidence of mistreatment, but her sweet disposition won her family over immediately.

Lula was "just a giant head attached to a bag of bones," Ame Hughes told me about the day her family met her.


Lula photos via the Hughes family, used with permission.

And yet, Ame said, "I knew we were goners from the start. She's just too easy to fall in love with!"

Pit bulls have an unfortunate history in America as fighting dogs.

They're sometimes kidnapped or recruited into dogfighting circles. This bad reputation — often misguided — makes it difficult for pitties to get adopted. In fact, some adoption centers won't put pit bulls up for adoption at all.

But studies (like this 2013 one from the American Temperament Test Society) have disproved people's fears about pit bulls, showing that the pups are actually far more friendly and stable on average than most other dog breeds. Many pittie owners, like me and others, will tell you their dogs are nothing but loving.

Rather than risk Lula's low chances of adoption from a shelter, the Hughes family decided to take her in. They gave her a forever family on Valentine's Day 2012.

“She's a gentle baby," Ame says about Lula's temperament three years later. “[She] will kiss whatever happens to be in front of her face, including our guinea pigs."


Lula is also a big fan of napping with the Hughes kids in her favorite chair.

But even once a pit bull is adopted, discrimination lurks everywhere on a daily basis.

When my husband and I first adopted our pit bull, Tori, the adoption organization suggested — like places do for many types of dogs — that we enroll her in behavior training. We live very close to a PetSmart, so we planned to take her there. But guess what? PetSmart does not allow "bully" breeds to be trained at their locations. (They also specify that they don't allow wolves. Good to know, right?)

It's a common and sad story, one Simona Mihiela says she's faced with her pit bull, Canelo. Simona has been Canelo's dog mom since he was six weeks old.

All Canelo photos via Simona Mihiela, used with permission.

"He has been the joy of my life!" Simona told me. "[He] still thinks he's a 13-pound baby. He tries to crawl in my lap!"

But when Canelo grew into a 126-pound big boy, he didn't always mind commands like "sit" and "stay." So Simona sent him to an extended behavioral training course that a friend recommended.

Look at that sweet face! But, no, not quite a lap dog anymore, are we, buddy?

What's hard to realize is that pit bull mistreatment can happen anywhere.

Simona says when she took Canelo to obedience training, he was healthy. When he came back, he was 17 pounds lighter and covered in cuts and scars. She believes that because of his breed, Canelo was used for stereotypical dogfighting during his "training." He had fresh and healing cuts and sores all over his body, and his teeth were damaged, she says. According to Simona, the training facility, which has since closed, says Canelo caused his own injuries.

Poor Canelo!

Canelo is safe and sound now, thanks to Simona's efforts.

He's on five different medications and needs surgery on his teeth, Simona says. But despite that, he's still a happy pup. With her own form of training now, Simona encourages him with treats, toys, and “showing him tons of love."

Canelo and Simona: forever friends!

While Lula and Canelo were lucky enough to be saved from tough situations by their families, many pit bulls aren't.

But even people who don't own pit bulls can help change the current stigma! Organizations like The Humane Society of the United States offer rewards to people who report suspected instances of dogfighting. And Facebook groups like Your Pit Bull and You, Bully Rescue and Advocacy, and Pit Bull Advocates share positivepittie news and educate followers about training tips.

If pit bulls don't have humans expecting and encouraging them to fight, maybe we can see how family-friendly they can be!

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less

RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


Keep ReadingShow less