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‘For the Love of Pits’

Petco event will focus on the positives of this breed

Posted: February 9, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 9, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Tanya Terzian poses with her pit bull Tuxedo on Tuesday to promote the "For the Love of Pits" event at the Petco in Saugus.

 

The whimper from the back of the room caught her ear.

Tanya Terzian, leader trainer at Petco in Saugus, had just come back from her lunch break and entered the training area. Inside a dog crate was a note and a black and white male pit bull puppy, just four weeks old.

“We can’t take care of this dog. We hope you can give it a better life,” the note read.

Terzian knew the young dog needed love and attention. Her goal was to bottle feed the pup until he was healthy, then find him a loving home after spending several months on training and socialization. Instead, the Terzian family fell in love with the sweet dog, naming him Tuxedo and making him part of the family.

The experience has led Terzian to become a pit bull advocate.

She created “For the Love of Pits,” a free adoption, education and outreach event taking place today at Petco in Saugus from noon to 4 p.m. as a way of sharing the positives of pit bulls with the general public.

“People have such a misunderstanding of pit bulls or pit bull mixes. I thought if we had a family day at the store, where we can educate on the great characteristics of the breed, it would let people know that the bad stories you hear on the news are rare,” Terzian said. “We have two or three in every training class here at the store and honestly, if I was to choose a breed I always want to train, it would be pit bulls. They’re very intelligent and such pleasers.”

“For the Love of Pits” will feature training and grooming demos, adoptable dogs from Angel City Pit Bulls, an appearance from Josh and Sunny Ray of “Dogumantry,” spay/neuter information from AngelDogs Foundation, and samples and goody bags from Natural Balance.

Popular Los Angeles food truck, “The Grilled Cheese,” will offer tasty sandwiches in the parking lot and donate 10 percent of its proceeds to Angel City Pit Bulls.

Face painting, a scavenger hunt, a drawing contest and other children’s activities will also be available in the store.

“My initial goal is to pass this event on to different trainers at Petco and do this nationwide. There are states that have banned pit bulls and I don’t think there’s a reason for that,” Terzian said. “Every dog bites and statistics have proven that other breeds have a higher bite rate. Why aren’t they being banned?”

According to Terzian, problematic pit bulls are raised at the hand of people who don’t make them a family pet, but rather train the dogs to be something else entirely.

“The biggest reason pit bulls are used for dog fighting is that they are so eager to please and you can teach them to do anything in a short amount of time. A young puppy is like a ball of clay and unfortunately that can be exploited by constantly rewarding bad behavior instead of good,” she said.

Terzian is training Tuxedo to become a service dog for a relative that suffers from anxiety and depression.

She said he’s a natural pit bull ambassador. “He’s a very calm dog. Usually, at this age, dogs are very nippy, but not Tuxedo. He’ll walk up and lick you, then sit down and wait to be petted. None of my other dogs have been this way. Tuxedo just has a very mellow personality.”

Tuxedo has already changed the mind of Terzian’s parents, who were initially against adopting a pit bull.

“My mom thought they were bad dogs that ate their owners. Now she goes around and tells everyone that they need a pit bull,” she said. “Why not show other families? If people see how loving these dogs are, it’ll open up the door to more adoptions, meaning less pit bulls in shelters, where they are usually the first dogs to be put down.”

“For the Love of Pits” takes place today from noon to 4 p.m., Petco at 26501 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. For more information, call 661-297-6936.

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