When it comes to the canine kingdom, few breeds are as controversial as the pit bull. Often used as fighting dogs, pits have developed an undeserved reputation for being dangerous.
Unfortunately, this perception has been perpetuated by celebs like Kelly Ripa and Kate Gosselin, who have both gone on record as suggesting the dogs are unsafe to keep as pets. The good news is that pit bulls do have some fans in their corner. Read on to find out about 10 stars who are working to break the stigma surrounding the pooches through advocacy, awareness, and/or lots of adorable photos.
The “Big Bang Theory” star is a huge pit bull advocate. The actress recently adopted her third and frequently tweets about misconceptions of the breed and how much she loves her own pups (and enjoys sharing silly photos of herself with her pooches, as evidenced by the shot above). She also partnered with Angel City Pit Bulls to make a PSA for the dogs, stating that she was “so proud” to work with the organization.
Not only that, but she was one of the first celebs to speak up when the dogs were publicly maligned by talk show host Ripa. On her morning show, Ripa referred to the dogs as dangerous and said, “But the gangster’s dog is uh, I mean if it’s a gangster it would have to be a dangerous, uh, Pit Bull kind of dog, right?” Cuoco immediately spoke up, saying that she was, “completely heart broken and disappointed.” She also tweeted, “I really hope @KellyRipa didn’t say what I think she said this am regarding pit bulls. #Please don’t be true.” Unfortunately, it was true, but perhaps all the protests she received — from Cuoco and others — helped changed Ripa’s mind.
Photo credit: Kaley Cuoco Facebook
Kaley Cuoco wasn’t the only celeb upset by Ripa’s ignorant pit bull comments. Cuoco’s occasional “BBT” co-star Wil Wheaton also took to Twitter — and he blasted Ripa’s remarks. In his first tweet, he said, “According to @KellyRipa, Pit Bulls are ‘dangerous’ and ‘the gangster’s dog.’ Her ignorance breaks my heart, and will hurt Pits in shelters.”
He followed that up with, “I’m not a gangster. My friend @KaleyCuoco is not a gangster. My dog Seamus is not dangerous. @KellyRipa couldn’t be more wrong. Millions of people listen to @KellyRipa. When she spreads misinformation about Pit Bulls, it makes it less likely people will adopt them. I hope @KellyRipa will do some research, spend some time with a Pit Bull, and correct the misleading impression she gave millions of people.”
The former “Star Trek” star also took to Tumblr to defend the breed, pointing out that pits make great therapy, service, and search and rescue dogs. His wife Anne also joined in, tweeting that neither she nor Wil are gangsters or thugs. For the record, the pair have two rescue pits: Seamus and Marlowe.
Photo credit: Wil Wheaton Twitter
Ray loves dogs so much, she founded a line of dog food (Nutrish) that benefits shelter pets. Additionally, her pittie Isaboo has been her constant companion for years, long before Ray had a human significant other. And after Ray did settle down and get married, Isaboo continued to have free run of the house. Ray told People that she fixes Isaboo special dinners, and that the pooch sleeps in bed with the couple.
“I make a dog-friendly version of almost everything that we make for dinner, so she gets a lot of home-cooked food. She likes barley or orzo with chicken stock, carrots and parsley. She likes parsley a lot… We have a queen-size bed and the dog sleeps in the middle. John and I are sort of these little quotation marks on either corner. Isaboo starts out under [the covers], she gets too hot, then she comes back over. We haven’t slept well in six years,” said Ray. It doesn’t seem like she minds too much, though.
Photo credit: rachaelray.com
Millan is famous for his dog-training techniques, and for years his companion in training was a pit bull named Daddy. Daddy’s mild temperament made him an ideal choice for helping to rehabilitate aggressive dogs, and Millan said of the pooch, “[Daddy] never made a mistake — never, never. He’s never displayed aggression or any other negative behavior. He’s just always helped me. I have never had a dog like Daddy. I’ve been astounded by his intuition, consoled by his affection, and awed by his silent empathy.”
After Daddy passed away in 2010, a new pit bull stepped in to take his place — Daddy’s pit bull protege, Junior. Millan adopted Junior as a two-month old puppy and relied on Daddy to teach the pup appropriate behavior. It worked, and now Junior is the official ambassador for large dog breeds. According to Millan’s website, “Junior [is a] representative of powerful breeds everywhere, from pit bulls to Rottweilers and Great Danes. He will not be a replacement [for Daddy], but a new face of calm submissive dogs at the DPC (Dog Psychology Center), showing the world that it isn’t the breed alone, but the human behind the dog that determines behavior.” In case you couldn’t tell, the Dog Whisperer is a certified fan of pit bulls.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Phil Stafford
Jessica Biel is so in love with her pit Tina that she’s created the hashtag #TuesdayswithTina just to share photos of the pooch on her Twitter and Whosay pages. The pair are often spotted around Los Angeles, where Biel proves that pit bulls make great companions — the active actress regularly takes Tina hiking and to the beach, the park and more.
All that activity apparently takes a toll on the pooch, who has developed a reputation for sleeping in unusual spots. Although Biel was quoted as saying, “I promise I have an actual dog bed for her,” Tina seems content to nap wherever she sees fit. When the dog isn’t happily snoozing away in the actress’ potted plants, the pair cuddle on the couch together (above), and Biel even referred to Tina as her “55-pound blanket.
Photo credit: Jessica Biel Whosay
The “Daily Show” funnyman is such a canine fan that he occasionally lets dogs fill in for him at work (see above). Additionally, he’s a dad to two rescued pits, Shamsky and Monkey, and has gone on record saying that, “pit bulls are very nice dogs.” His most famous observation about the breed happened during the 2008 election cycle, when Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin said that the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull was lipstick. Stewart countered with, “One is unfairly maligned in spite of evidence that it is no worse than any other dog, and one is an artificial demographic that is no better or worse than any other mom.”
According to dogster.com, “The Daily Show” is an extremely dog-friendly workplace (a fact that’s confirmed by The Bark). The site reports that, on one particular day, “at least four different [dogs were] roaming around unsupervised. Apparently staff members can and do bring their dogs to work every day.” And during the Michael Vick dog-fighting scandal, Stewart had no qualms about ripping into the quarterback on air. “He calls [dogfighting] a sport! I’d like to cover him in liver and let the dogs see if he’s as fast and elusive as they say he is. My guess is no.” Well said.
Photo credits: The Daily Show Facebook page
She may be best known for her pea-soup-spewing role in “The Exorcist,” but these days Blair devotes her time to animal rescue — particularly for pit bulls. The actress is such a huge advocate that she formed her own rescue organization, the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation. Not only does it train, socialize, rehabilitate and work to find homes for pets in need, but the Foundation also provides interesting tidbits — such as Blair’s collection of vegan recipes. Additionally, the organization works to clear the misconceptions about the dogs.
Blair is very open about her love for the breed. “The first dog that I came across that followed me home was this big brown and black brindle pit. Now, the new media said, ‘Run, It’s going to kill you,’ and so I was terrified, like many are still today. The dog that followed me home was asking for help. And he changed my life forever. I gave him a helping hand, and in turn, he healed my heart,” she says.
Photo credit: Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation Facebook page
Silverstone is mom to three pound pups, including a pit bull named Butterfly (also known as “The Pig”). She says that Butterfly has long been the “princess of the house,” and tends to get spoiled the most. “I’m obsessed with her belly,” Silverstone says. “I love rubbing her belly. It’s so soft.” Silverstone has been advocating for pit bulls for years, in part because she thinks the breed is misunderstood, and that it’s the people who train them to be aggressive that are the problem.
In addition to using her website, The Kind Life, to help aid adoption for shelter pits, she also uses it as a forum for pooch pampering. In 2011, she featured a post on her dogs’ plant-based diet, saying that they are healthier than ever now that they’ve gone meat-free. “Since our dogs have been eating this way, they have stopped getting fleas, hot spots, and their coats look so nice. They are all super healthy with perfect blood work. People always think they are younger than they really are. Feed your animals grains, beans, and veggies like you would eat and you will absolutely see a difference in their health,” she says.
Photo credit: The Kind Life
Last year, the “Hunger Games” star made headlines when he rescued a pit bull puppy. The dog, now named Driver, had been dropped off at a kill shelter with a broken leg. A rescue organization saved the dog, and Hutcherson took him home as soon as his leg healed. “[Driver] sat in the shelter for 11 days with a broken leg, and the injury was already about a month old. He’d been sitting in a great deal of pain,” said a rescue worker.
Fortunately, the dog’s life has vastly improved. Not only has Hutcherson provided, “a full stomach, warm bed and a loving owner,” but Driver — who has grown substantially — even gets to accompany his owner on set. It seems that the movies are in the dog’s blood — Hutcherson said his name was inspired by Ryan Gosling‘s character in the movie “Drive.” It looks like the pooch will be hanging out on sets for the foreseeable future.
Photo credits: Hands Paws Hearts and Shutterstock / Joe Seer
Fans were excited last year when Apple released her first album in seven years. Unfortunately, her tour plans in support of that album were interrupted by her dog’s severe illness. Apple adopted her pit bull, Janet, when the pooch was just a puppy. At the time, she found the four-month-old in L.A.’s Echo Park with a rope around her neck and bite marks on her body, indicating that the puppy had been used in dog fighting. That was fourteen years ago, and the pair have been inseparable ever since. “She was under the piano when I wrote songs, barked any time I tried to record anything, and she was in the studio with me all the time we recorded the last album,” said Apple.
Sadly, Janet suffers from Addison’s disease, so when the dog’s health took a turn for the worse last November, Apple postponed her tour. In a four-page letter posted to her Facebook page, the singer explained her decision. “She’s my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is. I can’t come to South America. Not now. But I know that she is coming close to point where she will stop being a dog, and instead, be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go. I just can’t leave her now, please understand,” she wrote. She has not released further updates on Janet’s condition.
Photo credit: Fiona Apple
It’s clear that these 10 stars have found loving companions in their four-legged friends. We bet they will continue to advocate for the breed, showing how wonderful, loving and non-aggressive the dogs can be. Perhaps Blair’s comments on pit bulls say it best:
“The misconceptions, the prejudice, and the misunderstanding of this breed… This is the original American hero…There’s a history, and if you get into it, you understand they’re an amazing dog. But it is all in how they are raised.”
Here’s hoping more people follow in these celebs’ footsteps and raise them as the gentle pets they were meant to be.