When Amy adopted her pup, Patti Smith, in January of 2003, she thought she was adopting a Jack Russell terrier. She’d never owned a dog before, and since she lived in New York, she was looking for something small and portable – the kind of dog you can bring in a bag on the subway. The shelter claimed Patti was a terrier, “but over the next two months she gained 20-something pounds and started to look a lot larger,” Amy recalls now, with a laugh. “I had people coming up on the street saying, ‘oh, you have a pit bull!’” Before long, Amy realized those people were right: forget a Jack Russell, Patti was a pit.
As reality sank in, Amy knew she was in over her head. “Everything I’d ever heard about pits was from stories on the news, and they weren’t very positive stories,” she remembers. “I noticed there were people who would squeal out of fear when she was walking toward them, or cross the street to avoid her entirely. I’d never handled a dog, and now I had a very energetic pit bull that I didn’t know how to train or socialize.” Amy started poking around on the internet for pit training resources, but came up empty handed. “I thought maybe I should start my own group,” she says, “and gather pit owners from the community together who might have some ideas or tips for how to train my dog.” In October 2003, the NYC Pit Bull Meetup was born.
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