Activists across the country are trying to change the conversation about an animal that's, unfortunately, gotten a very bad wrap over the years: the pit bull.
New York based photographer Sophie Gamand is using her skills behind the camera to shed the tarnished image of pit bulls from something aggressive to something sweet.
The series "Flower Power, Pit Bulls of the Revolution" showcases adoptable pits in the New York area - who are all looking for forever homes. Gamand is trying to remove the stigma around pit bulls as being vicious or dangerous and highlighting the truth: pits can be very affectionate.
Pit bulls are often mistreated by owners, abused and abandoned. Sweetheart, one of the dogs in the series, was treated poorly by previous owners. Her little teeth have been filed down, some even ripped out. Even so, she's known as being very loving.
Another Flower Power pup, Lucy, (pretty much the happiest looking dog in the world) was abandoned at the vet's office when she lost use of her back legs. With surgery and TLC she's walking again at the age of 9.
There are tons of misconceptions about pit bulls so to help out the advocates like Sophie Gamand let's take a look at some of the facts.
According to the ASPCA, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters across the country every year. Of those, an estimated 800,000 to 1 million are pits. Look at the math - that's almost all of them. And pit bulls aren't really even a breed. The commonly used term refers to generic characteristics in certain dogs. The "pit bull" is actually comprised of any pure breed or combination of the following: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or Bull Terrier.
Pit bulls aren't inherently bad or vicious. They're also not inherently good and loving. Like all dogs, pits don't have a conscience - they're a product of instincts and how they're treated by their owners.
Contrary to popular belief not all rescue pit bulls were abused and those that were mistreated can often be rehabilitated. Brooklyn was abused and stabbed in the head by previous owners. After a lot of rehab and a ton of love Brooklyn is looking for belly rubs, dog kisses and a forever home. Brooklyn came to hang out with his foster dad Brian Garton from Pibbles & More Animal rescue during the Huffington Post's pit bull week to show off how far he'd come.
All of the Flower Power pits are looking for a family so if you want to adopt one visit sophiegamand.com for shelter information. If you're not able to adopt but still want to help the cause prints of these photos are available and a 2015 calendar is in the works - all proceeds going to the Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Second Chance Rescue and Animal Haven - the rescue groups part of the project. You can also show your love for the project by tweeting a pic of your pup with flowers using the hashtag #PitBullFlowerPower.And if you're looking to get a dog please rescue but, do your research, forever homes should be forever so find the right dog for your family.
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