Big mouths = big smiles.

dog laying down on bed
Credit: Roni Pflueger

Imagine a house with three big dogs, then add a few more to the mix. That’s what you would find if you walked into Roni Pflueger’s home in North Carolina—three sweet, goofy pit bull terriers and a handful of foster pups at any given moment.

The three pups—er, pitties—and their 17,800 followers on Instagram are worth celebrating ahead of National Pit Bull Awareness Day

“Rescuing and fostering pups has become one of my biggest passions in life. Pitties are so resilient and it’s amazing to see our foster pups transform into happy, healthy dogs,” Pflueger says, “It’s also cool to see how each foster dog we take in integrates into and becomes part of our pack.”

Riot started it all. Pflueger adopted the 3-month-old cutie in 2015 from Hope Animal Rescue on the heels of her and her husband’s move. Originally, they didn’t apply to adopt him since they were still settling into their new home. But he was still on an adoption website a few weeks later, and Pflueger couldn’t resist. 

“I grew up with dogs, so couldn’t imagine my adult life without one,” she says. “I knew I always wanted to adopt instead of going to a breeder since pet overpopulation and crowded shelters were an issue, especially in the South. I also knew I wanted a pit bull-type dog. I admittedly had minimal experience with them, but they seemed like loyal, loving, smart, goofy dogs.” 

A few months after Riot joined the family, Pflueger started fostering pit bulls and similar dogs. Chaos joined the family next, also as a 3-month-old puppy, and then came Calamity, who was originally a foster dog. 

Calamity was in bad shape after a life of being tied to a tree: dirty, underweight, and positive for heartworms. He also had several chipped or missing teeth and skin infections, and he would be startled easily. Pflueger helped him recover, but one thing didn’t go according to plan: Calamity joined the family permanently instead of staying temporarily as a foster.

Initially, Pflueger chose to adopt from Hope Animal Rescue because that’s where they found Riot. But that soon snowballed into fostering and getting even more involved with Hope because they believe in the group’s mission of helping the dogs that need it the most. Hope takes in many of the “unwanted of the unwanted”—sick and elderly dogs and dogs that are looked over or discriminated against due to their breed. (Pflueger now sits on the board and is the rescue’s development director and even runs its social media.) 

Her pups certainly do seem to love their life in the Pittie House, she says. Riot loves going on walks and laying in his “pittie pool” on the back deck in the summer. Chaos loves running and incessantly giving people kisses. Calamity loves to lounge, whether on his “magic carpet” (a heating pad), under the covers, or on the back deck. 

On Instagram, you’ll see the three of them wearing sweaters (or jammies), going for car rides, impeding human chores, and waiting on a puppicino.  

“Don’t judge a book by its cover or because of an inaccurate stigma that’s attached to a breed,” Pflueger says. “Pit bull-type dogs are some of the most loving, loyal, smart dogs I’ve ever met. We’ve taken in pitties from all different backgrounds and of all different ages over the years, and regardless of their circumstances, each one eventually turned into a loving, cuddly snuggle bug.”