Meet Pirate the Pit Bull, a Lovable Service Dog Who Is Helping Change Stereotypes About Bully Breeds
When dog mom Asha Leo started an Instagram account for her dog, Pirate the Pit Bull, it was mainly a way to share photos with friends and family. Leo had no idea that the account would end up with such a huge following (over 98k Instagram followers to date)—but Pirate's goofy, adventurous, and infectious nature earned him fans around the world. And now Leo is using the account's popularity to help advocate for pit bull and bully breeds.
"I think my main focus with Pirate's Instagram is to highlight how misconceived bully breeds and pit bull type dogs are," Leo tells Daily Paws. "They are kind and sweet and just extraordinary little dogs that really should be given a chance to live as part of a loving home."
Leo uses Pirate's Instagram account to help show how intelligent, trainable, loyal, and athletic pit bulls are and to help raise awareness about breed-specific legislation that allows pit bull bans in entire buildings, towns, and even countries. Pictures and videos on the account highlight Pirate's happy, fun-loving personality, his many adventures, and his growing list of American Kennel Club training certifications.
"In my opinion, a well-trained dog is the best advocate for pit bull-type dogs," Leo says. "I actually love the look of disbelief on people's faces when I tell them that my pit bull regularly competes in agility, nose work, and rally."
Leo rescued Pirate, who is now three, from an LA-area shelter when he was only seven months old. Pirate was adopted as a task-trained assistance service dog for Leo, a sexual assault survivor who says she now struggles with depression and constant fear when she travels alone for work.
"He has been an absolute gift in my life," Leo says. "I have learned that through caring for another being I've had the opportunity to learn how to care for myself … he's by my side, he's loyal, and I know that he has my back."