Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sharing Stigma: Pitbulls and People with Co-Occurring Disorders

Gator, a Boxer/Pit mix and Zeus, a Pit, are anxious awaiting a treat for sitting still long enough to take a photo.

I never realized how much my role of a pit bull owner and my role of a co-occurring substance abuse specialist would intertwine.

“Aren’t you scared they are going to turn on you?”

“They are so violent!”

“They are just bad. You can’t fix them.”

“Aren’t you scared for your family?”

“Lost causes.”

Those are all statements that I have heard in regards to when people learn I’m a Pitbull Mama and work with people with co-occurring disorders. The fear and ignorance surrounding both pitbulls and people with co-occurring disorders is astounding. However, I do see how pitbulls and people with co-occurring disorders are alike.

Both are perceived as dangerous and violent but typically have big hearts and treat you with the same amount of respect that you treat them with.

Both are misunderstood and often times are given up on because of this reason alone.

Both are extremely resilient and can live happy, healthy lives after experiencing heartbreaking conditions.

Both possess incredible amounts of strength. Pits have massive amounts of physical strength while people with a co-occurring disorder have immense strength for daily working towards recovery.

Both have been victims of the media painting less than accurate portraits of them.

Both need advocates to help dispel some of the inaccurate stereotypes and discrimination against them.

Both don’t need to be fixed. They need to be loved, appreciated, supported, and respected.
So, yea. Pitbulls and people with a co-occurring disorder ARE alike….and I’m lucky enough to be able to be in their lives daily.
Zeus is also a suicide prevention advocate. Here he is at the Cape Girardeau Out of the Darkness Walk with my husband and son.



  1. Fantastic read! The correlation is true. Imagine what the world would be like if we put aside our judgment and discrimination all around.

  2. They feel lost and are constantly looking for a solution. When we are not able to achieve what we aim for, we tend to think that we are useless. Kinesiologie Zürich

  3. You can be giving other animals a chance to have a good home by doing business with an animal shelter. I love pitbulls