National Pit Bull Awareness and Appreciation Day (NPBAAD) is a day of appreciation and education designed to change perceptions and stereotypes about bully breed dogs, commonly referred to as “pit bulls,” and their responsible owners. NPBAAD was established to educate and foster positive communications and experiences in the communities in which we and our dogs live, and it is an initiative dedicated to restoring the image of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
NPBAAD was started in 2007 by Jodi Preis of Bless the Bullys, a pit bull rescue and education group in Middle Tennessee. When Bless the Bullys introduced the idea of a nationwide pit bull awareness day, the response was overwhelming! It was immediately recognized as an opportunity to educate, change minds, and bring about positive media attention to pit bulls across the country all on one day.
Despite the overall positive reception, Preis initially received criticism from some for using the generic term “pit bull” in naming the nationwide effort, however, the term was chosen deliberately, and is used for a very obvious reason. “Pit bull” is the name most familiar to the public, and the term that evokes a negative connotation of a particular grouping of dogs. The objective of NPBAAD is, of course, to change that negative image.
Preis then received criticism for using the term “awareness.” Quite simply “awareness” means educating people. If the public associates “pit bulls” with something negative, as pit bull advocates, it is our duty to educate the public or make them aware of the truth about “pit bulls.”
The ultimate goal of NPBAAD is to promote the truth about pit bulls. What’s the truth? They’re just dogs. Nothing more, nothing less.
Knowledge is power, and with education and advocacy, the truth will save lives in terms of negating the fear and bias generated by the media, circumvent knee-jerk reactions such as breed bans, and the truth will result in fewer pit bulls ending up in animal shelters.
Initially, NPBAAD was set on a certain date in October. However, over the years, those participating have scheduled events any day during October. NPBAAD events are “unstructured” to allow those who participate to be as creative and have as much fun as possible with their ideas and celebrations. Through the years, we have seen some really creative and incredibly successful events!
NPBAAD is the heart of the National Pit Bull Awareness & Appreciation Campaign, an effort to change minds and opinions about pit bulls not just one day a year, but everyday!
National Pit Bull Awareness & Appreciation Day
* Founded 2007 *
A celebration of America’s Dog!
OCTOBER IS NATIONAL PIT BULL AWARENESS & APPRECIATION MONTH
In 2011, Bless the Bullys, a pit bull rescue and education effort located in middle Tennessee, designated October as National Pit Bull Awareness & Appreciation Month after a friend suggested that the founder, Jodi Preis, do something special to honor the memory of her first pit bull, Tiffin, who had passed away in the spring of that year. Preis wanted to pay tribute to the incredible companion that captured her heart and inspired her to work to change the perceptions of the American Pit Bull Terrier and “pit bull-type” dogs.
That said, Preis realized every pit bull owner considers their dog to be special, a dog for whom they desire to see positive change – a dog that inspires and brings happiness to their lives – and it was her hope that in working together for the breed, that TOGETHER we would create a legacy for ALL our dogs.
And we are.
According to Preis:
Really and truly, we should strive daily to put forth our greatest efforts for the breed, and I know many of you do. Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed an upswing in positive stories about pit bulls…they are even the center of TV shows. While we can’t all be on television educating about and advocating for our dogs, we all can make a difference in our own way. We all can and should play a part in correcting false information and changing the perception of these incredible dogs. We are their voice, and they are depending on us to educate the public (not only about the breed in general, but with respect to responsible ownership practices), to dispel the false information out there, and to restore their reputation as a great American icon. Leading by example is a great place to start!
Extending the National Pit Bull Awareness & Appreciation celebration to an entire month is a great opportunity for shelters, breed clubs, and rescue organizations to spotlight the breed with adoption, education, and responsible ownership events in multiple communities and venues! Since its designation in 2011, we’ve been thrilled to see so many shelters and rescues across the country hosting events during the entire month of October, with the hope that the spirit of National Pit Bull Awareness & Appreciation Day is carried all year through.
Tiffin inspired me to create a national day of awareness and appreciation for the American Pit Bull Terrier. For Tiffin, and for all out beloved family companions, we should keep the spirit of the National Pit Bull Awareness & Appreciation Campaign in our hearts in October and every day!
Through education and compassion, we will bring about a positive change for these incredible dogs!