Pit bulls seldom garner positive publicity. McDonald’s recently came under fire for an ad that painted the dogs in a less-than-flattering light. Lovers of the breed were outraged that trying a new McDonald’s product was portrayed as less risky than “petting a stray pit bull.”
Todd Jagemann of Jamesburg, NJ said he hopes to counter this negative stereotype with his children’s book “Macy the Lonely Pit Bull Finds a Home.” Available via Lulu.com, the book is based on the true story of how Jagemann and his wife, Robyn, came to locate and adopt their own beloved Macy, only to realize their need for her is much like hers for them.
“When my wife and I attended a pet expo with Macy in Edison, I was struck by how many people thought she was nice and calm and really enjoyed her,” he said. “I realized I should do something to spread the word about how great the breed really is.”
It was Robyn Jagemann who advocated adopting Macy and succeeded in convincing her husband to give Macy a chance.
“When she found Macy on Petfinders.com and told me what kind of dog she was, I said, ‘Are you crazy?’ ” Jagemann said. “Listen — we all hear bad things about them. However, Robyn had worked at an animal hospital years ago and assured me they are really very friendly dogs. She was certainly right, and I thought to write the book primarily to show children what kind of dog she is — to inform them about the breed — in an entertaining way.”
He said he cannot stress enough that the reputation attached to pit bulls is a product of how they often are raised to fight — that is, the malevolence is entirely from man, not from man’s best friend.
“People see them as a status symbol and try to make them tough so they can fight, because they’re naturally very strong,” he said.
“When we first adopted Macy, she weighed 30 pounds, one of her ears was almost gone, and she had scars on her face and legs. Whoever had her before we adopted her probably either tried to use her as a bait dog or fight dog. She’s very social and kind with other dogs, so I’m sure she failed miserably.”
Many other local pit bull owners are similarly quick to speak in their favor, including Jessica Miller of Edison.
“My boyfriend and I adopted Hazel when she was 6 months old, and she quickly became a part of the family,” she said. “She thinks she is a 50-pound lap dog. She even cuddles with our cat, who is 4 months old.”
“It’s sad that in the U.S. they are given a bad reputation because of stupid people who raise them to fight.”
In addition to entertaining and informing young readers, “Macy the Lonely Pit Bull Finds a Home” has helped raise funds to help pets waiting at adoption centers for forever homes.
“We go to many different events, including ones with the Pet Rescue of Mercer, and when we sell the book, we give a portion of the proceeds to them since that’s where we got Macy,” Jagemann said, “I’m so glad we found her. My wife was a big advocate for adopting, not buying, and now I am, too.
These days, Macy enjoys love, affection and the comforts of home, much like she does in the story she inspired.
“It’s funny,” Jagemann said. “When my mother found out we’d gotten a pit bull, she announced ‘I’m not coming over anymore!’ Now, it’s like my parents have another grandchild. They love her.”