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Book Review: “Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs” by Melissa McDaniel

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Book: Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs: 82 Dogs the Media Doesn’t Want You to Meet

Author: Melissa McDaniel

Publisher: Present Dog Press, New Hope, PA

DogTipper Review: A few years ago, portrait photographer Melissa McDaniel began creating a series of photo books, each focused on a particular canine issue. Designated as “The Photo Book Projects” each volume illustrates its theme by featuring individual dogs via evocative color photos and a short biographical description. To date, the series includes Deaf Dogs, Rescued in America, and the latest, Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs, published in November, 2011.

Like preceding volumes in the series, Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs introduces readers to individual real-life pets with high-quality photo portraits and concise stories of the dogs and their human companions. As with the other books, this one has a point to make and in this case, it is obvious from the book’s subtitle. As a class (not a breed or breeds) of dogs, all manner of “Pit Bulls” suffer from the same lack of understanding. A zero-tolerance mindset has led to discriminatory attitudes and actions by governmental agencies and the public alike.

Sadly, Pit Bulls have been banned in some communities, targeted by insurance companies and are subject to higher than average euthanasia rates at shelters across the US. In a thoughtful introduction to the book, the author points out that Pit Bulls are only the current perceived villains of the dog world. Previous decades have seen other dogs similarly targeted, among them Bloodhounds, German Shepherd Dogs, and Doberman Pinschers.

As a counterpoint to these attitudes, McDaniel traveled across the US in search of Pit Bull type pets who have been successfully adopted and who are now loving, loyal family members. Some of the 82 dogs represented in the book have been brushed by notoriety (10 Pit Bulls rescued from Michael Vick), some have famous owners like Philadelphia Phillies infielder Chase Utley, while some are famous in their own right like Wallace the Pit Bull, master of flying disc competitions. All of them, whether famous or not, have defied the odds by emerging from harsh circumstances and finding their places in human hearts and homes.

Although inspired by a grim subject, the book is a joyous celebration of the canine spirit and human dedication. These masterful portraits present a deeply moving testament to the power of the canine/human bond. The author says that although these stories end happily, there is still much to be done to change prevailing attitudes:

“This book is for those who never were so lucky…I am creating this book for them, and in the hope that things will change for dogs in the future…I hope to change attitudes and spark a change for the better for these dogs. I want this book to show what I know–and what the people who share their lives with these dogs know–that pit bulls are dogs, just like any others.”

Price: $29.95. (10% of the profits from the book are dedicated to animal rescue and advocacy causes.)

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Disclosure: We received a copy of this book for review; we were not paid for our review and all opinions are entirely our own.

About 

Paris Permenter is an award-winning author of over 30 pet and travel books. Along with her husband, John Bigley, Paris is the founder and publisher of CatTipper and DogTipper.

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