America’s Most Misunderstood Dog

By Dawn Raffel

For all that I’m a dog person, I have to admit that I’ve been less than enthusiastic about pit pulls.  Then I picked up a copy of I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet.  

Bestselling author and animal rescuer Ken Foster has filled his new book with gorgeous photographs of the widely vilified breed, and more importantly, with a lot of myth-busting info. A well cared-for pit bull, writes Foster,  can be a loyal, trustworthy, and loving pet.

It’s when the dogs are abused and forced to fight (think Michael Vick) that they become aggressive. In fact, almost all of the dogs rescued from Vick thrived in new homes; some even became certified as therapy dogs. Foster also points out that Petey in the American classic Little Rascals was, in fact, a pit bull, and he offers portraits of dozens of lovable pits.

Yet pit bulls are often turned away from shelters and they are banned in some cities.  In response, Foster created the volunteer-run The Sula Foundation to educate people about responsible pit bull ownership in New Orleans, where he lives, and beyond. Interestingly, while I was reading this book on the bus, the guy sitting next to me asked whether I own a pit pull. I don’t, but he once did, and lit up talking about his old pet. “That was a great dog!” he said.