People & Their Pets: Dutch the Pit Bull
By Jane Pontarelli.
Many of us, while growing up, were never exposed to pit bulls. Furthermore, many people have long been told of their awful behavior, and the breeding of them to be killers. These poor animals get a bad rap.
I want to introduce you to Dutch, a seven-year-old pit bull with a big personality and even bigger issues.
While at a party recently at Sushi Roxx, I had the good fortune of being seated with not one but two beautiful ladies, who could have been sisters, but were in fact mother and daughter. Both were warm, open, and engaging. They had lived in New York City, but now reside in the country. Daughter Brittany, a model and current cast member of a running reality show (Mob Wives), and mother Andrea Giovino, a published author and animal rescuer, wanted to share their story with me. Andrea is a devoted animal lover. I knew right then and there my readers would be fascinated. Their story and her love changed my opinion of Dutch, a loving pit bull.
The story unfolds as Andrea opens her door seven years ago, and standing there is her son Keith. He had been visiting friends at a college frat house, when he noticed they kept a 10-month-old pit bull in the basement. The dog had not been walked, was starving, and was just skin and bones. They let Keith have the dog.
In his heart he wanted to keep the poor dog, but did not have the time. So what's a son to do? Bring the pooch to mom, of course. He told her it would only be for a short time, but Andrea knew this was it. Her heart was breaking for this poor abused puppy, who was ill fed and ill trained. Andrea knew then that this was not a temporary situation, but a lifetime commitment.
Dutch, as she named him, had several behavioral problems. He would constantly mount people and was a big-time nipper. Also, Andrea had a cat named Freddy in their home, and was afraid that Dutch would hurt Freddy. She grew to love Dutch, and found that love does conquer all—at least in the puppy world.
Andrea had to separate Dutch and Freddy for six months. Three times a week she took Dutch for intense training sessions She never gave up on Dutch and knew she could bring out the good in him; she was determined to save him. Even though he was eating all of her shoes, and teaching himself to open the screen door, she still loved him.
Today Andrea says she cannot imagine her life without Dutch. Everybody loves him. She takes him everywhere—including to the mall and on trips into Manhattan while apartment hunting with her daughter Bridget.
Dutch changed Andrea's life, and changed my opinion about pit bulls. Every time a dog is blamed for bad behavior, instead look to the owner. It's not easy taking on a pit bull; it is a lifetime commitment, but a very rewarding one.
As Andrea's children have grown and moved away, Dutch is her champion and best friend. Freddy the cat, Dutch, and Andrea have a wonderful life together. They all rescued each other.