DEVOTION: BLESS THE BULLYS
JODI PREIS WITH HARLAN AND KANE
By Jodi Preis, Founder of Bless the Bullys
In 2004, I started Bless the Bullys: Pit Bull Rescue and Education because I fell head-over-heels in love with the breed after I adopted Tiffin, my first Pit Bull in 1998. He was the ultimate companion, and he brought so much joy to my life. I wanted to help others know that bond and that joy.
My knowledge of Pit Bulls before Tiffin was pretty nonexistent because, to me, a dog was a dog. I started reading and researching the breed, but it didn’t take very long after Tiffin came into my life that I began to notice the “Pit Bull stereotype” was also cast upon me. Having a Pit Bull in your life is a challenge, and more often than not, the challenges come in the form of discrimination and bias from society rather than from the dog himself. Not only are Pit Bulls categorized in a derogatory manner, but their owners are as well. We have to be great role models and set an example to others in our community because the media is not Pit Bull-friendly, and there is, unfortunately, never any shortage of negative Pit Bull stories in the news.
Since starting the rescue, Bless the Bullys has helped 107 dogs find their forever homes either directly through the rescue or by assisting shelters or good Samaritans. And this year, I am putting a lot of focus on National Pit Bull Awareness Day to make 2012 the best year yet. I’m working on a new website, so it can be used as a greater tool to educate and inspire others to take active roles in changing the image of Pit Bulls. In addition, I’ve reached out to the very Pit Bull-friendly director of our local shelter with a proposal for breed specific legislation (BSL)/Pit Bull workshops in our community, and she is extremely receptive to the idea. Of course, we always look forward to Bully Bonanza with our friends at East Tennessee Pit Bull Rescue in the spring, as well as Dogapalooza and Bark in the Park here at home.
Bless the Bullys is not the typical rescue organization—it’s a one-person show. In addition to taking care of all the dogs, I work full-time in a hectic law office, and I don’t have a lot of time for event planning. In that respect, though, I’m like a lot of people. I’m just a person with a passion: to make a positive change for Pit Bulls. My passions are Pit Bulls and the law, so it’s only natural that my area of focus is on the legal side of the Pit Bull issue. Since 2005 and my first victory over a breed specific ordinance, the focus of Bless the Bullys has shifted dramatically from being strictly a rescue organization to becoming a predominantly BSL-fighting organization. Being a one-person rescue limits the number of dogs I can physically help, but my efforts with respect to fighting breed discriminatory laws allow me to help dogs and their owners across the country.
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