Restoring American Treasures

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American Pickers star Mike Wolfe teams up with Nashville Paw magazine to help
restore the image of America’s pit bulls


Mike Wolfe is not only the television star of the hit show American Pickers and the owner of Nashville’s own Antique Archeology, but he’s also a dedicated animal lover. That’s why he didn’t hesitate to step up when we invited him to participate in our new campaign to bring positive awareness to America’s most abused and misunderstood dogs: pit bulls.

Eager to help make a difference, Wolfe recently posed for the upcoming February cover of Nashville Paw magazine with Shay, one of 65 dogs rescued in November from a suspected fighting operation in Ashland City, TN by Animal Rescue Corps and Cheatham County Animal Control. He also filmed a pit bull PSA video that the magazine will debut in February, in partnership with our Nashville Paw Foundation, which funds local pet spay and neuter and promotes animal welfare.

We saw Wolfe as the perfect fit for the campaign, given his knack for restoring beauty and worth to that which society has cast aside.

“For years, pit bulls have been the victims of not only abusers who force them to fight, but of an incredibly misinformed public perception,” says Nashville Paw founder and publisher Heather Dowdy, who has long advocated for pit bulls and last year adopted her own from death row at a shelter.

“In the days of The Little Rascals television show, pit bulls like Petey were considered the ideal family pet because they are so loving, loyal and great with kids. These dogs have not changed since then. The media has simply given them a public lashing for so long that many people now believe they are somehow dangerous. That could not be further from the truth, but that myth has resulted in an estimated 75% of pit bulls being euthanized upon intake at shelters across the country rather than offering them the chance of adoption. It’s astounding how much damage can be created through hype and misinformation.”

Those who rescue and share their lives with pit bulls know that, contrary to urban legend, bully breeds are known for their excellent temperaments, even surpassing beagles and golden retrievers in tests performed by the American Temperament Test Society. In fact, during the video shoot with Wolfe, Shay and fellow rescued pit bull Samantha wagged, wiggled and gave sloppy kisses as Wolfe cradled them in his arms on a vintage sofa find.

“For anyone who believes that these dogs can be made vicious, I ask them to consider this,” says Dowdy. “Here are two dogs rescued from a fighting ring just weeks ago, and they are rolling around like babies in a stranger’s lap. These dogs were horribly abused. Yet, not a single dog in the whole group of 65 has shown any aggression to anyone whatsoever. They simply are yearning to love and to be loved. That is what we want the public to understand through this awareness campaign: that pit bulls are amazing, loving, intelligent and playful dogs who, despite suffering so much abuse, continue to love and forgive.”

In Wolfe's interview for the February issue of Nashville Paw, he says, “It’s hard for me to believe what some of these animals have to endure, but what I think is so amazing is that despite what they go through, despite what people are capable of doing to them, they are so forgiving and so trusting of us. That is what I try to learn from my own dogs all the time. I mean, imagine walking through life with that sort of capacity for love, trust and forgiveness. That would be a perfect world.”

Wolfe’s Nashville Paw cover and feature, as well as a story on the recent pit bull rescue, hits stands February 1 at over 300 locations across the greater Nashville area, including Whole Foods, Harris Teeter and Pet Supermarket stores. You can find the complete listing of pick-up locations here or subscribe online to have it mailed to you hot off the press.

The PSA video will make its big-screen debut on February 2 at Art for Animals, our annual spay and neuter fundraiser at Jamison Hall in the Factory at Franklin from 5:00pm – 8:30pm, to benefit our Nashville Paw Foundation's spay and neuter efforts. Afterward, the video will be launched on our YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, pit bull Shay has gone from a life of abuse and neglect to Nashville Paw cover stardom. She is currently being cared for at Cheatham County Animal Control until she is placed into foster care with a rescue organization.

Mike Wolfe with his blue heeler, Ruby, at his Antique Archeology store in Nashville.

The board members of the Nashville Paw Foundation with Mike in his Nashville-based Antique Archeology store, clockwise from top left: Founder and President Heather Dowdy; Fundraising Coordinator Kim Sullivan; Mike Wolfe and Secretary Marge Wild.


COPYRIGHT NOTICE: All photos copyright Amiee Stubbs for Nashville Paw. Images may not be copied, redistributed or otherwise used for any purpose.

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