Pit Bull Accessories
The Pit Bull Lover Gazette
pitbull harnesses and training collars
Books about the American Pit Bull Terrier
Tough Pit Bull Toys
About the American Pit Bull Terrier
how can you help pit bulls
responsible pit bull owners

pit bull blog

pit bull articles
Training Your Pit Bull
Keeping your pit bull healthy
Breed Specific Legislation
American Pit Bull Terrier rescue information
Pit Bull photo gallery
Myths about the American Pit Bull Terrier
Fun activities for pit bulls and their owners
About Pit Bull Lovers
meet my pit bulls Angel and Honey
positive pit bull websites
link to us
Sitemap of Pit Bull Lovers
Pit Bull Lovers home page

Therapy Dogs - Pit Bulls Make Great Therapy Dogs Despite Public Perceptions

By Jason Mann

Every day thousands of dogs assist people as therapy dogs. Many visit senior citizen homes and give residents something to look forward to each week. They literally wait for the moment a therapy dog walks through that door so they an lavish attention and praise on them.

Pit Bulls serve as outstanding therapy dogs. The following story is one example of their remarkable diversity.

Today I'd like to share the story of Hershey with you. Hershey is a therapy dog in Ontario, Canada. Since I don't know Hershey personally I'll let her owner, Jennifer Waite tell you her wonderful story.

From Living in a Crate 24 hours a Day Under Cruel Conditions to Certified Therapy Dog - The Story of Hershey

I was lucky and privileged to have Hershey adopt us about 3 years ago.

I was volunteering for a rescue at the time called Barlee's Angels Rescue Network and they had gotten in this special girl who was named Windy at the time.

She was loved by every volunteer who met her and unfortunately they didn't have a foster home for her so she was placed in a volunteers boarding kennel until a home was found for her.

A request had gone out to spend some time with the dogs at the kennel and I went out to spend the day with Windy and another male pittie that was being held there.

She melted my heart the minute I met her. Even though she was thin as a rail with her ribs sticking out she just layed in my lap accepting love and pats.

When I put her back into her kennel area she walked up to the front and ever so gently placed her face alongside the gate for a last pet. The look in her eyes haunted me for days after. It was then I knew I had to help this girl.

We fostered Hershey for a month and formally adopted her after that. She was about 6 at the time and had come into the group extremely thin, with nails that looked like they had never been clipped.

She was grateful for any attention she could get even when the vet drew blood for her check-up. We found out she had been a breeding dog for a puppy mill and had been kept in a crate 24/7, never fed and when she had tossed out enough puppies the owner dumped her.

Due to the over breeding and losing her babies the one small amount of joy she had was to carry all of her stuffed toys around with her and keep them all together in her bed when she slept.

Her hips are quite bad from being contained all the time and we found out her jaw is fractured on both sides from some sort of past trauma (not sure I want to know from what) and she can only open her mouth to fit the size of a golf ball.

Today Hershey is a Happy
Healthy 9 Year old

Today she is about 9, happy, healthy, very loved and lives with her sister Reese's who is an American Staffordshire Terrier, her little brother Twix, a 3.5 month old Brindle Pittie, 2 cats and the odd foster dog.

In the beginning she was very uncertain about open spaces (as she had been contained) and didn't know how to play, didn't know what toys were and just stayed in her bed all the time.

With patience and love she became a happy, secure loving dog who greets people with a smile everyday. Her obsession is swimming and diving for rocks. Once in the water it is hard to get her back out.

She will dive underneath for up to 15 seconds looking for that perfect rock. All that is noticeable is her tail steering her around like the rutter on a boat.

After locating the treasure it is brought back to shore and dropped at your feet to show off the newest find.

Hershey is a Certified Therapy Dog in Southern Ontario

Among her many wonderful charms is her new found stardom as a certified therapy dog with St. John's Ambulance Therapy Dog Program in Southern Ontario.

Hershey's smile is ear to ear when her bandana goes on and she knows it is time for work. Off she trots to visit her friends at the senior's home.

Cookies are given out with lots of love and scratches. The visitors are full of stories of their day and kisses for Hershey and her therapy partner Miss Madigan, a beautiful fawn coloured Bull Mastiff.

Due to her outstanding service with the seniors and her restricted breed status in Ontario, Hershey was presented with an award from the Toronto Humane Society during Be Kind to Animals Week.

She received a medal and a few newspapers and news channels carried her story including the Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, and City TV.

CTV highlighted her story with the seniors and it was shown throughout Ontario on the CTV news.

Hershey has a remarkable ability to find the people who need her the most. If someone is not feeling well that day she will be at their feet for most of the visit.

One time one of her regular seniors had to be put on oxygen to assist her breathing. When we arrived for the visit, Hershey went immediately to this lady and sat in front of her walker staring at the oxygen pump.

With every pump Hershey cocked her head to the side trying to figure what this new apparatus was. She then proceeded to walk over to sit beside her friend and place her head on her lap as if to say, "I'm not sure what is wrong but I'm here to help". Hershey sat there for most of the visit.

This dog is a wonderfully warm, patient creature with a heart of gold and has a smile and a wag for every man, woman or child she meets.

She is a special soul and has changed many people's opinions on the breed. She has attended many dog shows or special events only to be on her back the entire time with her four paws up in the air looking for belly rubs.

To be judged for her breed is a horrific situation and is very heart wrenching.

When we go out in public people cross the street when they see us coming, families have pointed her out and told their children, "these are dogs you have to stay away from." Growing up as a child my parents taught me to never judge a book by its cover...you must look beneath to discover the true meaning of a person.

It is unfortunate that we must now move out to the country to give Hershey and her family some private spaces and freedom to run around without being persecuted for the beautiful creature that she is.

Thank you Hershey for sharing your life with us and showing me what a loyal, comical breed Pit Bulls can be. I will never live without one in my life.

Jennifer Waite
Proud owner of 3 perfect Pitties


Please Take a Moment to visit the following websites and show them your support.

Bullies in Need and Southern Ontario Animal Rescue

Final Comments by Jason Mann

I don't know about you but every time BSL is brought up I can't help but think about Pit Bulls like Hershey.

Hershey and other Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes suffer greatly.

While the current laws grandfather any current Pit Bull residents in, the law does require they be leashed and muzzled at all times.

Because of Breed Specific Legislation Hershey will no longer be able to be a Therapy Dog in Canada.

Sadly, Hershey along with all of the Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes are going to be removed from the Therapy dog program by August 29th this year. :o(

Breed Specific Legislation, people's irrational fear, and the media hype effectively snuffed out the joy these dogs bring to people through their therapy work.

I don't even know Hershey, or any of the Pit Bulls in Canada, but I feel deeply hurt by the fact they will no longer be able to comfort folks who look forward to their loving presence.

Hershey's story reminds me why I love American Pit Bull Terrier's so much. Their capacity for love is immense and admirable. We can learn so much from the example they set for us everyday.

Learn More about the Therapy Dog Program

If you would like to learn more about therapy dogs and getting involved you can start by visiting the Therapy Dogs International website.

You can also get more information about training, qualifications and other important information by visiting Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Back to Pit Bull Training Articles

Copyright © 2005-2010. All rights reserved.

So You Want a Pit Bull?
Thinking about getting an American Pit Bull Terrier? Read this first.

Training articles and tips to a well trained Pit Bull
Training articles and tips to building a strong bond and having a well trained companion

Having a healthy Pit Bull is having a happy Pit Bull.
Health related articles, tips, and information for a healthier pet.

Ten Facts about Pit Bulls
Did you know a Pit Bull drug dog has the largest recorded drug find in Texas history?

Therapy Dogs - Pit Bulls As Therapy Dogs
Pit Bulls make excellent therapy dogs. One example is Hershey. A therapy dog who happens to be a Pit Bull living in Canada. Read Hershey's story here.

Drug and Bomb Detection Dogs - Pit Bulls As Detection Dogs that Sniff out Bombs and Drugs
Pit Bulls make excellent detection dogs due to their drive. This is the story of Neville. A dog that was doomed by Canadian breed specific legislation but beat the odds. Read Nevilles story today.

Pit Bull rescue resources and organizations
Rescue is an excellent option for finding the right dog for you and your family.

Support Pit Bull Rescues
Rescues and the people who operate them do great work for our breed. Learn how to show your support by reading this page.

Wonderful pictures of Pit Bulls and their owners
Our photo gallery is by far one of the most enjoyed sections of Pit bull lovers.

Tough toys for your Pit Bull
These dogs can destroy even the most "tough" of the toys. We have found some that stand the test of time.

American Pit Bull Terrier books.
It's not easy sifting through the junk online. Find books.

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Can't Trust Vicious Pit Bulls
Ten reasons why you should fear the Pit Bull

Blue Pitbull - Pitbull Puppies and other Destructive Forces
Yet another blue pitbull or pitbull puppy for sale. If you're interested in buying an American Pit Bull Terrier, read this page.

Fighting Pit Bull - Dog Fighting and the American Pit Bull Terrier
In this article you'll learn a bit about the history of Pit Bulls and dog fighting.

Dog Names
Finding the perfect name for your Pit Bull

Pitbull Attacks: Deadly Pit Bull Attacks and Why They Happen
Pitbull attacks are on the rise in the United States. Following is an examination of why these attacks happen and some ideas on preventing them.

Dog Boarding - Pit Bull Boarding Tips
Choosing the right boarding facility can be tough. Follow the tips in this article to decrease your boarding headache.

Pit Bulls in Denver
Pit Bulls in Denver are being seized and killed because of breed specific legislation. Read more here .

Stop the Banning of Pit Bulls
Download petitions to fight breed specific legislation at this page.

Pit Bull Puppies - The Curse of Cute
Read about Pit Bull puppies and the impact they have on over population.

Two Pit Bulls = Bad Idea
Before you go out and get two Pit Bull puppies or add another Pit Bull to your life read this article.

Pit Bull Lovers Site Map
Easily find anything on the site by visiting the Pit Bull Lovers site map page.