Most Shared

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."

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
via KrustyKhajiit / YouTube

Thomas F. Wilson played one of the most recognizable villains in film history, Biff Tannen, in the "Back to the Future" series. So, understandably, he gets recognized wherever he goes for the iconic role.

The attention must be nice, but it has to get exhausting answering the same questions day in and day out about the films. So Wilson created a card that he carries with him to hand out to people that answers all the questions he gets asked on a daily basis.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less
via Marcella Mares / Facebook

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of disruption to people's work and family balance as well as their educational pursuits. These days, people are required to do just about everything simultaneously as they attempt to handle business while taking care of their children.

Marcella, mother to a 10-month-old girl, received an email from one of her instructors at Fresno City College in California, requiring all students to turn on their cameras and microphones during class time.

The request makes sense being that online classes make it easier for some students to take advantage by ignoring the instructor.

Keep Reading Show less
via WatchMojo / YouTube

There are two conflicting viewpoints when it comes to addressing culture from that past that contains offensive elements that would never be acceptable today.

Some believe that old films, TV shows, music or books with out-of-date, offensive elements should be hidden from public view. While others think they should be used as valuable tools that help us learn from the past.

Keep Reading Show less