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The pit bull used to watch over kids. But now it's got a bad rep. Here's how to fix it.

How a stereotype is killing some of our Earth's most cutest and family-friendly friends.

The pit bull used to watch over kids. But now it's got a bad rep. Here's how to fix it.

Once upon a time there was a dog called the Staffordshire bull terrier. It was so good with kids, it was called the "nanny dog."


Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go WOOF. Staffordshire bull terrier image (altered) via Sannse/Wikimedia Commons.


The Staffordshire bull terrier is a version of the pit bull breed. Much like pit bulls, it combines the tenacity and determination of the terrier with the strength and loyalty of the bulldog. It's like the Anna from "Frozen" of dogs.

She will take her fave snowman friend and come to your ice castle, and she will force you to accept both yourself AND love! Image (altered) via Sannse/Wikimedia Commons. "Frozen" details via Julie, Dave & Family/Flickr.

The Staffordshire and the American pit bull are a bit like cousins. They're both great for protecting your kids, your cows, yourself, your sister and her ice castle — and like all protective things, it comes from a place of loyalty and love and affection.

And also like all protective things, it can be a little hard to deal with at first.

So get to know it! Do your research! Pit bulls are very similar in ancestry and in natural-born temperament and nanny-like history to Staffordshires. Helen Keller had a pit bull! And that dog who watched over The Little Rascals? Pit bull. So what happened to these wonderful, kid-friendly animals?

Overbreeding, bad training, and neglect, especially for pits. And repeat. Then repeat. Then repeat again. Pretty soon you go from farmers in England being all, "YES! The nanny dog will be amazing for my family!" to everyone being all, "OMG, pit bulls are murderers. The end."

1.2 million shelter dogs total are killed each year ... and pit bulls and other misunderstood breeds are a huge part of those adorable friends we've lost.

No one, not pit bulls and not babies, comes into this world as evil. We're shaped by the world's expectations of us, and pit bulls are a perfect example of that. In this video, "evil" pit bulls are wearing monster hats, reading with kids, and (as far as I can tell) laughing!

Expectations, y'all. Check'em.

The perception of pit bulls is 100% our fault.

That's good! Because all we have to change is ... our minds!

Do you mean we have to "let it go" when it comes to our stereotypes?!??! GIFs via Dogly.

We can change how we care for, train, and think of pit bulls — and we get cute friends as the reward.

Your pup might like fairy wings and kisses. Or a monster hat! Adapt to it!

If people learn more about pit bulls — the whole breed as well as their own individual dog habits — PEOPLE can adapt their behavior, and everyone will be happy as a result. Know thy dog and be well!

That being said, you can't train your dog by changing your mind. Specific dogs require specific care. You wouldn't take someone who loves to do tae kwon do to the ballet and expect them to plié and pirouette with Misty Copeland. That person would really mess up that ballet and probably kick Misty Copeland in the face!

But take that same kick-happy tae kwon do person to a soccer game, and you might see some interesting fieldwork and possibly some goals. Score.

Same is true of dogs. Play to their strengths and offer them positive ways to express their innermost selves. All dogs — pit bulls included — will respond accordingly.

Cuuute.

And we'll see a really happy ending for everyone.

GIF via "Mary Poppins."

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 06.28.21


After Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, was pursued and shot by three white residents while jogging through a Georgia suburb, Ellen and Patrick Miller* of San Diego hung a Black Lives Matter flag in front of their house. It was a small gesture, but something tangible they could do.

Like many people, they wanted to both support the BLM movement and bring awareness about racism to members of their community. Despite residing in a part of the county notoriously rumored to be marred by white supremacists and their beliefs, their neighbors didn't say much about it—at first.

Recently, though, during a short window when both Ellen and Patrick were out of the house, someone sliced the flag in two and left the remains in their yard.

via Paula Fitzgibbons

They were upset, but not surprised.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."