Every dog is an individual, so we made dog tags that celebrate each one's unique personality! And now they're available to order!

These tags were made out of quarters (copper/nickel alloy) so they're about one inch in diameter. We used metal stamps to engrave the letters and filled the cracks with permanent ink. Then we scuffed them up a bit for a weathered, but shiny, appearance. Each tag comes with a split ring to attach it to your dog's collar.

Since these tags are handmade, each one will be slightly different. Just like dogs. Your tag will take up to two weeks to arrive.

There's no set price for the tags; instead, you're invited to make a donation.....and 100% of donations will go to groups who rescue or advocate for Elderbulls!

(If you haven't already guessed, this is our way of celebrating Sarge the Elderbull and helping other Elderbulls continue his mission!)


(1) Select the tag(s) you want from the photos above. To ask about custom orders, please email elderbulls@gmail.com (if we can fit it, we'll ty it!).

(2) Click on the "DONATE" link: DONATE

(3) Make a donation to Elderbulls (you pick the amount!).

(4) Click on "Add a note to the seller" and type in the tag(s) you want (e.g., "Old Fart")

Got questions? Email us at elderbulls@gmail.com.

Thanks for celebrating each dog's individuality and for supporting Elderbulls in need!

CLICK HERE to DONATE and order your tag(s)!

The Power of the Elderbull

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

- Alfred Tennyson, "Ulysses" (1842)

I am old.

Time has taken away my strength. Gray fur covers muscles that used to bulge. Stubby nubs rest in gums that once housed white teeth. A silver muzzle casts a shadow on my broad jawline. Caloused skin covers old scars. Arthritic elbows offset my barrel-chested stance.

But do not pity me.

I am no longer defined by my physical self, so eyes that were once fearful now look at me with compassion.

I can no longer breed, so minds that were once greedy now look at me with indifference.

I can no longer fight, so hands that were once malevolent no longer seek to exploit me.

Do not pity me.

For I, as an Elderbull, have a unique role to play.

Though time has made me fragile and weak, time has also given me a gift to reach hearts and minds that were once frozen by fear or ill-will.

Until we see the day where no dog is judged his or her physical appearance, let us not underestimate the capacity for Elderbulls to tread where younger dogs cannot yet go.

Let us view our age not as a weakness, but as an opportunity.

Let us not underestimate the power of the Elderbull.

For even though we may need to be carried, we will plow the way for all dogs to be treated fairly.

Save a life. Open a heart. Change a culture. Adopt an Elderbull.

What's in a Name?: Pit Bulls and Senior Citizens

In Shakespeare's play, "Romeo & Juliet," two star-crossed lovers fall in love, but they belong to two fueding families and are prohibited from being together because of their last names, Montague and Capulet.

Reflecting on the absurdity of denying their love because of the baggage associated with the warring families, Juliet asks, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

In the end, Romeo and Juliet kill themselves so they could be together in the afterlife, rather than live apart in this world.

How often are dogs killed because someone labeled, or named, them a "pit bull?" In areas with breed-specific legislation that bans their existence, it happens every day. In other areas where shelters/rescue groups place "special" adoption restrictions on dogs they label as pit bulls, countless dogs are killed instead of being adopted out to families who don't meet their "special" requirements. While some manage to get out, many other pit bulls die because there is no space.


So, to quote Juliet, "What's in a name?"

First let's look at a group that has nothing to do with dogs: senior citizens.

In the United States people are labeled as "senior citizens" in a variety of contexts, and the opportunities and treatment afforded to them varies depending on when that label is affixed and when it is not.

Is there a consistent definition of "senior citizen?" The answer is no.

Below is a list of organizations that offer or restrict opportunities (e.g., discounts, entitlement benefits) based on a person's age; the number is the age at which that organization considers someone to be a "senior citizen."

In one day, the same individual can go shopping for clothes, eat food, watch a movie, rent a car, apply for retirement benefits, and adopt a dog....and at some places she's defined as a "senior citizen," but at others she is not.

Same person, different contexts, different definitions.

I asked my Facebook friends, "At what age do you define a person as a senior citizen?"

The answers varied significantly and included: 65, 72, 70, 65 or 62, 60, 50, or 80.

So what about pit bulls? Is there a clear and consistent definition for a what a pit bull is?

The answer is no. Again, it depends on who is defining him, in what context he is being defined, and where the dog is located.

I'll use myself as an example -- that's me, Sarge, pictured below.

(Photo by Jennie Ruff)

Am I a "pit bull?" Depends on where I am, who is asking, and why.

If I am with The Real Pit Bull (a rescue, education, and advocacy group): NO, I am not a pit bull because they define them as purebred American Pit Bull Terriers.

If I am with the American Kennel Club: NO, I am just a mixed-breed dog because they only recognize purebred American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers (but not American Pit Bull Terriers); futhermore, they do not recognize the term "pit bull" as a breed.

If I am with the United Kennel Club: NO, I am just a mixed-breed dog because they only recognize purebred American Pit Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers (but not American Staffordshire Terriers); furthermore, they do not recognize the term "pit bull" as a breed.

If I am in the City of Boston: YES, I am a pit bull because they define them as any/all dogs who "displays the majority of [physical] characteristics" of an "American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishable [physical] characteristics." [Note: Boston has BSL, so I am required to be muzzled if I enter the City of Boston because I "pose a significant threat to the health, welfare, and safety of the residents and visitors to the City of Boston.]

If I am at any PetSmart Hotel or Doggie Day Camp in the United States: YES, I am a pit bull because they define them as part of the "bully breed classification," which they define as "American Pit Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, OR mixed breeds that have the appearance or characteristics of [at least] ONE of these breeds." [NOTE: As a result, I am banned from coming to PetSmart Hotels or Doggie Day Camps "for the safety of all animals and associates."]

If I am in Omaha, Nebraska: YES, I am a pit bull because they define them as "any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentina, Presa Canario, Cane Corso, American Bulldog, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of these breeds."

If I am in the Pennsylvania SPCA shelter (where I was adopted from): YES, I am a pit bull because the person who made my kennel card listed me as a "pit bull terrier mix" based on my physical appearance.

If I am on the MARS Wisdom Panel DNA website: NO, I am not a pit bull because "due to the genetic diversity of this group, we cannot build a DNA profile for the pit bull."

[Note: According to my MARS Wisdom Panel DNA test, I am a mixed-breed dog with significant traces of Boxer, Boston Terrier, and American Staffordshire Terrier.]

I could go on and on citing examples from cities (especially those with BSL), shelters, rescue groups, businesses, etc, and come up with different answers for each one.

Same dog, different contexts, different definitions.

In 2011, A pit bull is whatever anyone says it is, whether we like it or not.

So what's really in a name?

Many people define things according to the behaviors they associate with the name, or label.

When my Facebook friends listed their definitions of "senior citizen," many of them listed behaviors. These included: when they start thinking of themselves as knowing it all; when they want to retire; when they want senior discounts; when they start feeling old; when you go into a nursing home; when they can no longer do every day things for themselves; when they feel stiff; when they forget things; or when they stop looking toward the future and focus only on the past.
Whether my friends realize it or not, all of these behaviors are based on stereotypes.

While there are certainly individuals who REALLY DO exhibit these behaviors, my friends might be surprised to learn the following stats about people age 65+ in the United States (current as of 2009, compiled by the US Administration on Aging) :

* 97% of seniors live in the community (in a house, apartment, etc); only 3 % live in an institutional setting (i.e., nursing home, hospital, jail).

* 75% of seniors living in the community do NOT require extra help with activities of daily living (i.e., "every day things" like bathing, eating, dressing, grooming, using the toilet).

* 41.6% of seniors living in the community assessed their health as "excellent" or "very good" (compared to 64.5% of people age 18 to 64).

* 87.5% of seniors DO NOT have Alzheimer's disease (which causes memory impairment).

Therefore, the majority of people age 65+ do not meet the criteria by which some people define "senior citizens."

What about pit bulls? Can we compile accurate statistics about pit bull behaviors, which could help us predict behavior of individual dogs who look a certain way?

No, we cannot.

The above statistics are based on individuals with documented dates of birth. The sample population only included people aged 65 and older (as of 2009) and was large enough to reflect the population as a whole, so researchers could accurately extrapolate from their sample to the entire 65+ population in the US.

With pit bull dogs in 2011, there is no way to gather a sample population that reflects the behavior of all dogs labeled as pit bulls.

Everyone defines them differently, so we'd be comparing apples to oranges. Although we could limit ourselves, for example, to American Pit Bull Terriers who are registered with the UKC, those dogs are not representative of all dogs labeled as "pit bulls" throughout the country. And it's highly likely that purebred American Pit Bull Terriers exist who are not registered or do not have any pedigree papers.

So why do communities with BSL define "pit bulls" by expected behaviors (dangerous, vicious, and threatening to society)?

Why do shelters and rescue groups believe they can predict how a pit bull (according their definition) will behave, and restrict adoptions accordingly?

It's all because of stereotypes.

We cannot allow stereotypes about groups to predict the behavior of every individual in that category, whether we're talking about senior citizens or pit bulls or any other group who has been labeled.

I hope you'll consider this next time a dog's life depends on the name assigned to his appearance. No dog should have to join Romeo and Juliet in the afterlife just because the rest of the world couldn't get past a label, or because the shelter/rescue worker was too lazy to get to know the individual dog in front of him.

The Mad Dog/Pit Bull Fallacy of 1925 and 2011

Yesterday on Facebook I promised to send my trading card (shown below) to every person who correctly filled in the blanks to the following excerpts from newspaper articles:

"I've come across more than 500 _____. As I told you people last year, I have been bitten twice by _____."

"Not one _____ scare in thousands has a real _____ behind it."

"In one Western city, in a _____ scare, valiant cops would walk along the sidewalk and shoot dogs as they lay asleep on their masters' doorsteps."

ALMOST EVERY PERSON GUESSED "PIT BULL." A few people guessed Dobermans. One person said Golden Retriever.

All OF THEM WERE WRONG. (One person guessed correctly, but it was on her second try).

The answer was: "mad dog," a label used to describe a dog with rabies. The newspaper excerpts were from 1925 (shown below).

"I've come across more than 500 cases of so-called mad dogs. As I told you people last year, I have been bitten twice by so-called mad dogs."

"Not one mad dog scare in thousands has a real mad dog behind it."

"In one Western city, in a mad dog scare, valiant cops would walk along the sidewalk and shoot dogs as they lay asleep on their masters' doorsteps."

* It's important to note that while cases of rabies were higher in 1925 than they are today, those cases were still extremely rare, in comparison to the total population of both dogs and humans.

What is most interesting to me is that BREEDS or GROUPS of dogs were not the only subjects of fear in the past. As the above example illustrates, any dog -- regardless of breed, shape, size, or appearance -- can fall victim to hysteria.

In other words, THE ISSUE IS NOT ABOUT BREED; it's about the POWER OF FEAR to trump reason and hold ANY AND ALL DOGS captive, often with deadly consequences.

Therefore, in our attempts to advocate for and celebrate pit bulls, we must stop placing emphasis on BREED, as breed (or, in most cases, presumed breed or mix of breeds) did not make pit bulls deviant to begin with. FEAR made them deviant.

Take the following example from a 1925 newspaper article (shown below) about the mad dog scare, "Why Be Afraid of Dogs?"

"A poor harmless street dog gets a fit or is stoned by boys till it's in panic. It snaps at someone. Fear does the rest. The whole town is scared stiff. For weeks, every dog that is off its feed or dumpy or sick or unhappy gets shot as a mad dog. Every dog has to wear a muzzle or be chained up or kept indoors."

Wait! This is starting to sound like towns in 2011 that have breed-specific legislation!

Here's how that same article would read today if we substituted "pit bull" for "mad dog":

"A poor harmless dog gets neglected/abused or is exploited by boys till it's in a fit. It bites someone. Fear does the rest. The whole town is scared stiff. For weeks, every dog that has short fur or a seemingly muscular build or blocky-shaped head gets impounded and killed for being a pit bull. In areas that don't have outright pit bulls bans, but have other forms of breed-specific legislation, every pit bull dog has to wear a muzzle or be kept in special enclosures and carry exhorbitant amounts of insurance."

A few more examples of how "mad dog" and "pit bull" (and the years 1925 and 2011) could be interchanged. These are excerpts from a 1925 article on "mad dogs," but I inserted "pit bull" after each reference to illustrate my point.

"But just take a look at any of the mad dog/pit bull scares that are forever bobbing up, in town after town. When the scare has subsided, what do you find? You read that a lot of harmless and friendly pet dogs have been massacred as a safeguard to the community and that the epidemic is at end. 'At an end!' It never was at a beginning, except in the scared brains of a lot of cowards or of people who don't know the truth."

"Use your own brain, for half a minute. You speak as if every mad dog/pit bull starts out to bite every other dog and every human....That is the customary idea. It's silly."

"A dog gets lost on a crowded street. He runs up and down, getting more and more scared and confused every minute. Maybe some kids get to chasing him or stoning him. He foams at the mouth. He's so scared he thinks everyone is an enemy. He gets to snapping [biting]. Then goes up the good old yell of 'Mad dog/pit bull' again."

Whereas in 1925 any dog who "snapped" (i.e., bites) was labeled a "mad dog," such is the case in 2011 for "pit bulls."

BOTTOM LINE: Fear has the power to make ANY dog a deviant. It's not the breed we should be focusing on. It's the fear. Fear can lead the hysteria for dogs of any breed, type, shape, size, age, or color.

Therefore, animal advocates, in our attempts to advocate for pit bulls, it's time we stop keeping the focus on breed and start putting the emphasis back on the root of the problem: FEAR.

PS: I'm happy to send my trading card to anyone who wants one! Please send me an email (elderbulls@gmail.com) with your name and mailing address.

Part Two: With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

There's an old fable about a man in Persia who sat at a city gate and saw the Plague entering the city. He asked the Plague how many it was going to kill. The Plague answered, "I'm going to kill 300." A month later, as the Plague was leaving the city, the man met it again and he said to it, "You lied. You told me you'd kill only 300, but 9,000 are dead." The Plague answered, "I did not lie. I killed only 300. My twin-brother, Fear, killed the rest."

This fable is an all-too-familiar reality for some pit bull dogs.

In the past (and in a dwindling number of places at present), breed-specific legislation (BSL) is what plagued the pit bull dogs. But times are changing. More and more cities are ditching their discriminatory and ineffective laws that target dogs based on physical appearance without addressing the dogs who pose a real threat to society, on a case-by-case basis. A few days ago, on June 17, 2011, Cumberland County (in Canada) dropped their BSL in favor of breed-neutral laws that focused on dangerous dogs'/reckless owners' behaviors, rather than dogs' physical appearances. Animal Control Officer Darby Arseneault noted, "From what I understand, a lot of communities are moving in this direction." For examples of those communities, click here.

So if the tides are turning and politicians are learning that a dog's physical appearance does not make him inherently dangerous, then what else is holding the pit bulls back?

It's the fear-based language, policies, and practices of shelters, rescue groups, and advocates who consider themselves "friends of the pit bulls" that inadvertently continue to place us in an "other" category of dog.

Below are a few examples of how some "friends of the pit bulls" have recently used fear-based rhetoric to describe the dogs, either intentionally or [hopefully] not:

- Missouri Pit Bull Rescue says pit bulls are "the ultimate canine gladiator" and has "a firm no same-sex placement policy." (Thank goodness my bro Junior didn't wind up there, or he would never have made it home to me!)

- The ASPCA says pit bulls "may have little control over their behavior," they "tend to bite harder in play than other breeds," and they "require a degree of special treatment."

- PETA says "preventing more pit bulls from being born" is the only way "to help prevent tragic attacks."

- Pit Bull Rescue Central says pit bulls "have superior physical and mental characteristics," including a "high tolerance for pain."

- A pit bull rescue group near Baltimore, Maryland told Fox news that perhaps cities should "maybe put something out there that you should have to have a license to own X amount of breeds. I mean, that I think would be fine, too, because somebody, somewhere with authority is screening the people that are walking these dogs around that are capable of doing things that are powerful."

- Not limited to pit bulls but disproportionately targeting them, the San Francisco SPCA states, "The San Francisco SPCA uses a '50%' rule in its adoption policy - the smaller of two dogs must be at least half the weight of the larger dog." (My family is lucky we don't live in San Fran, or Junior and I would have break up with our girlfriend, Mary Todd Lincoln, who is a rather portly Pug but still checks in at slightly less than half our weights.)

- In 2010 an anti-dogfighting advocate in Philadelphia told a major newspaper, "Fighting dogs are not hard to spot. They will bark or lunge at other dogs. [Pit bulls] kept with big collars or pit bulls with clipped ears most likely are being used as fighters. They can be seen all over the city. Dogfighting is a big problem in Philadelphia." (With three cropped-earred pit bulls, two of whom wear huge collars, you can imagine how my family felt when this was published! Are Mom & Dad fighting dogs while I'm asleep?! According to our "friend," they most likely are.)

- When interviewed for a story on a dead raccoon found hanging from a tree in Philadelphia, the Cumberland County SPCA (located an hour away) seized the opportunity to put locals on high alert for dogfighting. (Did the "fighting pit bulls" use the raccoon as bait?!)

As I've said before, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

How is it that politicians, who have no vested interest in sugar-coating pit bulls, are understanding that dogs need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, yet the "friends of the pit bulls" still insist on placing ALL of us in a category of dog requiring "special" treatment? How is it that these "friends" don't recognize that by making us "special" they inadvertently cause us to be feared and demonized?

How is it that more and more cities realize that they can't predict a dog's behavior based on generalizations about physical appearances, yet some "friends of the pit bulls" still adhere to blanket adoption policies that presume all dogs who look a certain way will behave the same way, too?

BOTTOM LINE: BSL was the Plague that killed pit bull dogs in those areas. It's twin-brother Fear -- manifesting himself in too many shelters, rescue groups, and advocates -- is what continues to kill the rest.

The History of the Pit Bull: Santa Claus Was a Dogfighter


We hear this over and over from politicians looking to pass breed-discriminatory legislation (BSL) to ban pit bulls, and from sensationalist media reporters looking to add shock-value to a news story. The phrase also shows up in almost every piece of legislation banning pit bulls.

But we also hear it from pit bull advocates, rescue groups, and shelter workers.

They say that "the history of the pit bull" requires us to take special precautions when adopting out pit bulls (if they'll even adopt them out), and to make adopters jump through extra hoops to protect the pit bulls from their own special powers. One pit bull rescue in the Midwest even describes pit bulls as "the ultimate canine gladiators" and warns potential adopters that without extensive "knowledge of the breed" and its "superior and specific fighting abilities," the dogs will "become more problems than fun," "destructive and difficult to handle," and "can chew you out of your house!" After all, they say, "there is nothing a Pit Bull cannot do."

The result?

By scaring away or rejecting any adopter who isn't himself a "gladiator" in the market for a mythical beast with supernatural powers, pit bull dogs are killed every day because no one could possibly be skilled enough to adopt one.

After all, "the history of the pit bull" has proven that these dogs are, in fact, unlike any other dog, and it takes a VERY special kind of warrior to own one.

But is that really the only thing history has showed us?

Today I found a 1933 issue of The Times-Picayune from New Orleans, Louisiana. Back then, the newspaper had a kids' section called "The Young People's Paper," where kids could letters to a fictitious "Aunt Jane," and Aunt Jane would print their letters along with her responses.

On January 1, 1933, a little girl from New Orleans wrote a letter on behalf of her beloved pet dog named Bullie.....who happened to be a pit bull! She talks about her pit bull's dog friends. And she even describes the Christmas presents that Santa Claus brought to her pit bull (which begs the question......was Santa fighting dogs? Oh, Santa! Please, don't tell me Rudolph was a bait reindeer!).

Since the photo is so small, I transcribed her letter for everyone to read (see below).

Why do I love this? Because it illustrates "the history of the pit bull" that got left out of the conversation. Pit bulls were/are/will be cherished family pets, even though a small minority of the dogs were/are/will be exploited for dogfighting and become victims of cruelty at the hands of human beings.

Whether you're a politician looking to ban pit bulls or a pit bull advocate trying to get them adopted, may you never forget that the history of the pit bull is as diverse as the dogs themselves. And may animal advocates never again cause a homeless dog to be killed because of their narrow version of "the history of the pit bull."

Dear Aunt Jane:

Bow-wow! Woof-woof! Oh, I did not mean to frighten you, Aunt Jane, but may dogs become members of your club? Yes? Oh, how proud I am! And do you send dogs club pins? I suppose it seems funny that I should be able to wear it, but that jolly old man whom they call Santa Claus may bring me a collar and a chain for Christmas, so you see I could wear it on that. Then, when I go to see some of my dog friends, I will be ever so proud to say I belong to Aunt Jane's Letter Club, and of course, they would see my club pin, which I'm sure they would like.

I think now it is about time to describe myself. I am a pit bull, and my name is Bullie. I have what my mistress calls lovely fur. It is brown, black and white. My ears stick straight up in the air. I don't suppose that anyone likes naughty dogs, but if I do have to say so myself, I am a very naughty one sometimes. I bark and bark until someone has to call me to stop. Don't you know that for dogs, barking is a pleasure as singing is to people?

Let me tell you one of my adventures.

Now I am quite a large dog, but when I was a puppy, I was so small that you could stick me in your coat pocket. I was taken out in a very large thing called an automobile, and where do you think we rode to? Right straight to Audubon Park. Of course, dogs are not allowed in the park, but I was allowed to play on the outer edge in the grass. I played ball and played with sticks. Don't you think that's an adventure for a little dog, Aunt Jane?

Well, I must run away and bark a little while now. I will close hoping to become a dog member of your club. Please tell all the dog cousins who have pets to write to 'BULLIE,' care of Elizabeth Irons, 4521 Perrier, New Orleans.

Pit Bull Dogs of the Past, Present, and Future

My humans did some shopping this weekend throughout upstate New York. They thought they left us dogs at home, but images of pit bulls kept popping up everywhere they went -- from chain stores like Old Navy to fancy home furnishing boutiques and several antique shops (they ran into former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer at one of them!).

Seems like everywhere you turn these days, a pit bull dog is looking back at ya! Mom snapped the following pictures to prove that pit bull dogs are an undeniable part of our culture and community, whether we're reminiscing about pit bull dogs from long ago or celebrating the pit bull dogs of today.

Makes you wonder: If pit bull dogs are so much a part of society, why would some shelters and rescue groups make it so hard to adopt them? Perhaps they need to get out more.

And if you find yourself thinking, "Hey, that's not a pit bull dog!" then please remember that somewhere, someplace, someone else thought it was. And if that dog were real and found itself in a shelter, we'd better hope it weren't one with discriminatory or outdated adoption policies against dogs who look a certain way.

From the Old Navy kids section in Kingston, NY (on sale for $5 -- woohoo!)

Spuds McKenzie coin bank at an antique store in Stanfordville, NY

Mom bought Spuds, along with his two friends. The feller in the back reminder her of me and my brother Junior!

Pit bull dog portrait in a fancy schmancy home furnishings store in Hudson, NY. Love me some brindle!

Coffee table book (appropriately titled "Dogs,"published 2007) in the same fancy schmancy store......it now lives in our not-so-fancy-schmancy home!

Off to buy dog food at "Dogs of Hudson" -- Mom and Dad were googly-eyed when they spotted this doggie in the window!
Doggie doorstop at a home design/art gallery in Hudson.
Mom was tempted to buy this piece she saw in a window display (at the same store), but we don't follow those rules at our house!

Old bull dog print from an antique store that smelled like an attic.

That store had a collection of customers' dogs by the register. That white feller in the top left looks awfuly handsome!

Vintage toy from the 1940s featuring "G.I. Joe and his K-9 Pups." The pup on the left tried talking Mom into buying this toy, but she learned it cost $225 and went on her merry little way.

This German kids toy (Flippo by Guntherman) also caught her eye. Skunked again! It cost $270. That's a lot of kibble.

Leaping back into modernity, Mom & Dad wandered into a boutique that sold pretty-looking soaps and other things that are so nice, you'd be afraid to actually use them. Wadda ya know! Among the floral themes was a.....Bull Terrier!

This old guy almost came home to live with us. He was at an antique store and seemed like a nice catch, until Mom & Dad remembered my sister Fannie's fear of statues (ask them about the time they took Fannie to the Unviersity of Georgia and she freaked at all the bulldog statues......).

Up there with the other dogs (in the same antique store) was the fella on the right, a cast iron door stop from a time when milk was still delivered to your doorstep. He was a handsome little booger, and Mom might save up her allowance to "adopt" him. She's a sucker for pit bull dogs with cropped ears.
On their way home, Mom and Dad stopped in a cafe on Warren Street in Hudson to get a sugar fix. And wouldn't ya know it, right on cue, this pretty lil' thing was outside waiting to greet them! Her name was Allie and she's 6 years old. Her Dad adopted Allie when she was 2.

And there ya have it.......pit bull dogs always were/currently are/always will be a cherished part of our society!

PS: In the future, when that Old Navy kids shirt ends up in a vintage store 50 years from now (probably selling for $200), you remember where you saw it first: "ELDERBULLS!!"

A Month of Famous Firsts...from the First Ladies!

All across the USA, the past 30 days have been full of FIRSTS! So my housemates, "The FIRST Ladies" -- Mary Todd Lincoln (left), Nancy Reagan (middle), and Martha Washington (right) -- asked if they could write a guest blog post.

This, too, will be a FIRST, so here goes nothing.....

(Left to right: Mary Todd Lincoln, Nancy Reagan, Martha Washington)

Our Fellow Americans:

It is with great pride that we celebrate the following "FIRSTS" that haven taken place throughout our great nation over the past 30 days. Each one brings us closer to our vision of creating safe & humane communities for all: one nation, under Dog, with liberty and justice for all.

Travel with us as we celebrate these milestones.

In Dog We Trust,

Mary Todd Lincoln, Nancy Reagan, and Martha Washington
June 7, 2011

Washington, DC: We begin in our nation's capitol, where Tank was the FIRST pit bull dog to be released to a rescue group from a rural animal control shelter in South Carolina. Tank was quickly adopted (his foster Mom said it happened "in the blink of an eye!") and he now lives in a loving forever home in Washington, DC.


Cleveland, Ohio: Next we travel North to Cleveland, Ohio, to the folks at the Cleveland Animal Protective League (CAPL). In May 2011, thanks to a new-and-improved adoption policy, Joliette became the FIRST pit bull dog to be adopted from CAPL in 25 years! With a fair and progressive policy in place that views each dog as an individual instead of a stereotype, we're sure Miss Joliette will be the FIRST of many, many pit bull dogs to find loving homes!

(Joliette, adopted from Cleveland Animal Protection League)

Cleveland, Ohio: Speaking of Cleveland, have you heard? On June 6, 2011, the Cleveland City Council voted to drop its discriminatory and ineffective vicious dog laws that targeted "pit bulls" based soley on physical appearance! As Councilman Matt Zone, who introduced the legislation, told Fox 8, "The breed of a dog is not an indicator of its personality. These revisions shift the focus from the type of dog, to its behavior and neglectful actions of its owner." John Baird, Chief Animal Control Officer for the City of Cleveland added, "There are many responsible owners with good pit bulls. In my years of experience, it has become more difficult to identify, with certainty, if a dog is indeed a pit bull." Right on, Officer Baird! For the FIRST time ever, Cleveland is on the road to becoming a safe & humane community! PS: Kudos to the National Canine Research Council for providing this poster (also below) to the folks in Cleveland, which undoubtably helped with the process!

Dutchess County, New York: Head East as we visit Dutchess County, New York, two hours outside of New York City. With support from Animal Farm Foundation, a local library in Stanfordville started their FIRST ever "Read to the Dogs" program that featured local pit bull dogs! Our brother Sarge the Elderbull was the FIRST to volunteer, followed by McCoy (top) and then me, Martha Washington (bottom)!


(Martha Washington)

Stanfordville, New York: Also in Stanfordville, Mojo (left), Sarge (middle), and Hector (right) were the FIRST pit bull dogs to march in the town's annual Memorial Day Parade! They also made two movies about their experience: click here to watch the first movie, and click here to watch the second.

(Mojo, Sarge, and Hector)

Newark, New Jersey: Headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, Prudential Financial - a financial services company with approximately $784 billion of assets under management - featured their FIRST pit bull dog in their new commercial, which aired June 2011: click here to view the commercial. Prudential joined the ranks of other companies, from Fortune 500s to local businesses, who use pit bull eye candy to promote their products and services. To celebrate how mainstream society has embraced pit bull dogs as America's family pets, Sarge the Elderbull created the FIRST compilation of pit bull dogs in 21st-century advertising campaigns: click here to see it!

Jefferson County, Ohio: Traveling back to Ohio, a Grand Jury charged a Jefferson County man named Sherman Bell with three felony counts of dogfighting after a nine-month investigation and joint legal action by the Humane Society of the United States and the Jefferson County Humane Society. Thanks to a unique provision in Ohio law, which allows local humane societies to bring criminal charges against animal abusers, this was the FIRST time Ohio's special prosecution statute has been applied to dogfighting. In 2010, more than 200 dogs were seized from Bell's propety, evaluated as individuals, and given the opportunity to be adopted or sent to rescue groups. To read the full press release, click here.

Do you have any famous FIRSTS we should celebrate? Email them to elderbulls@gmail.com or post them on Facebook at Sarge Wolf-Stringer.

21st Century Pit Bull Dogs in Advertising

We always hear about the good old days, when pit bull dogs were used in mainstream marketing & advertising. Buster Brown? The RCA dog? We love the vintage ads from way back when!

But what about pit bull dogs today?

You may be surprised to learn how many mainstream companies in the 21st century use pit bull dogs to promote their products and services.

Let's continue to celebrate the glory days of pit bull dogs of yore. But let's ALSO celebrate the positive images of pit bull dogs today!

After all, there is plenty to cheer about!

Here are some examples I pulled from the past few years. Enjoy!


Molly Mutt: the Dog Bed Duvet Company: click here to view their website.

American Idol Crystal Bowersox (for her album, "Farmers Daughter):

Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health: click here to view the website.

KV Vet Supply:

Trupanion Pet Insurance:

Plugg Jeans Co. (sold at J.C. Penny):

Kroger Grocery Store:

Woodland Series Dog Beds:

Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits:

'Lucky' Magazine (April 2011, p. 153):


Old Navy: click here to view commercial.

Eleanor's Kitchen in Phoenixville, PA:

Free People Clothing Boutique: click here to view website/catalog.

In the Company of Dogs: click here to view website/catalog.


Amazon Kindle: click here for commercial.

Boyds Philadelphia: click here for website.

To view the complete "BOYDS Spring/Summer 2011 Magazine" (featuring numerous pit bull dogs), click here and flip to pages 108 to 118.

Doctors Foster & Smith Pet Supplies:

Scotch (3M) Lint Removal Products: click here for website.

Ruff Wear Performance Dog Gear: click here for website.

Rachel Ray's Nutrish Dog Food: click here for website.

Prudential: click here to watch commercial.

Blackberry: click here to watch commercial.

Lowe's Home Improvement: click here for website.

(This is from a Lowe's commercial that aired on tv in March 2011, but I can't find the link!)

Sally Loo's Wholesome Cafe in San Luis Obispo, California: click here for website.
Lagunitas Brewing Company: click here for website.

Fetch Bar & Grill in New York City: click here.

Do you have an example of a pit bull dog in 21st century advertising/marketing? Please share it with the Sarge-ster by emailing me (elderbulls@gmail.com) or posting it on my Facebook page (my profile is Sarge Wolf-Stringer). Gracias!