Meet the dogs featured in AZK9's 2017 calendar! We used the calendar as a means of launching the Pit Bull Perception Project. Each of the dogs featured in the calendar were rescue dogs with diverse backgrounds who all are model citizens and a positive representative of the Pit Bull breed.


We hope you enjoy the calendar as much as we enjoyed putting it together. if you have not yet purchased a calendar, you can do so here!


Ita was rescued nearly 5 years ago by Lost Paws. She was around 6 years old at the time and had lived her entire life outdoors and bred over and over again. The day she was rescued we saw her sitting there in the pound, malnourished and dirty, and she had the most beautiful, soulful eyes. We knew the moment we saw her how special she is and rescuing her was one of the best things we have ever done.

Ita has brought so much joy to our lives and all who know and love her. Despite the way many people see her from the outside, with her cropped ears and boxy face, she proves the negative Pit Bull stereotypes wrong every time she meets someone new.  She is a breed ambassador, so gentle and well behaved. I am so honored to have been able to rescue her and have her as my own.

This past July 2016, Ita was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer growing on her liver that was discovered  after having emergency surgery.  The news has been devastating to us all, but we are enjoying each and every extra day we have been granted to share with her. We started a bucket list of different things we wanted to be able to do with her before she leaves us. One of the things on her list was to start a

project in her honor and so The Pit Bull Perception Project was born.

Ita's presence on earth has been incredibly special and we know one day when she is gone her spirit will live on through her legacy. We are hoping that this legacy will continue to help other Pit Bulls and change the way many people see them. After all they are just dogs, some of the most loving, comical and loyal creatures on earth.


If your heart belongs to a Pit Bull, it is our responsibility to not only ensure our dogs are ambassadors for the breed by

understanding their individual needs, characteristics, likes and dislikes and always setting them up for success, but to also advocate and communicate on behalf of these dogs that are so often misunderstood at every opportunity. To be a responsible guardian means to provide proper training and a safe environment where our dogs can thrive. We must give our dogs constructive energy outlets, and proper mental stimulation. A tired dog is a happy dog and Pit Bulls love nothing more than exploring the neighborhood or trails with you.


Pit Bulls are a special breed with huge hearts full of love to give, stubborn and ridiculously smart brains, and a strong drive for activity. All of these areas need to be engaged for them to be happy and thriving members of society and a family. Engage their minds through sports and thinking activities such as training, engage their drive for activity through any activity that wears out every muscle in their body, and engage their hearts by letting them into your heart and loving them back, with every fiber of your being. They are amazing dogs, and I am proud to be a Pit Bull owner and rescuer. I can't ever imagine my life without Pit Bulls. My heart is forever changed because of them and I am forever thankful to AZK9/Lost Paws for allowing me the privilege of of adopting two of my most important loves, Zappa and Ruby Tuesday.


Mellow is the best thing that ever happened to me. I am so grateful that I opened my mind and was educated that Pit Bull types can make absolute fantastic pets. Mellow passed the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test.  The CGC certification helped us convince our old landlord that even though my dogs were large bully type dogs they were well-behaved, good dogs. I love the fact Mellow defies negative Pit Bull stereotypes.  I wouldn't trade Mellow and her unconditional love ever, not even for a million bucks.


Responsible Pit Bull ownership is simply responsible dog ownership. If you take good care of your dogs, then you’ll have good dogs. And good dogs dispel negative perceptions better than anything else - seeing is believing.


Many people are afraid of my dogs, simply because of the way they look. Changing these negative perceptions about Pit Bulls is all about education and exposure. Educating the public about the breed through community outreach initiatives and exposing those, who may not take the time to seek out a Pit Bull on their own, in a not so typical setting, such as a gym.  Leroy is a regular at my gym, which happens to be dog-friendly. He comes a couple times each week and hangs out for an hour or so while I work out. When I first started bringing Leroy, some people were hesitant to come say hello or to approach him. Over time they saw how well behaved he is and how gentle he is, and they began warming up to him and subsequently warming up to the idea of actually liking a Pit Bull. Nothing makes me happier than being able to squash negative perceptions about the breed I love so much.


I had no preconceived notions about what a Pit Bull was until I started telling people I wanted one. Since then I've found that much of what people think they know rarely comes from personal experience but rather from negative media coverage "informing" the public and has given people the completely wrong impression. Since the day I adopted Savannah and Quincey I took them everywhere I could. I think that, without meaning too, I began to change the opinions of people around me. To me being a Pit Bull owner has really just been one of the best decisions I've made. I love knowing that I can take them places and they might just turn some heads and hopefully change some perceptions.


I didn’t know much about Pit Bulls before I was owned by one, and I have learned how they steal your heart. Che has so much love to give. He shares his huge heart with others as a therapy dog, loving seniors in care facilities and kids at a Boys and Girls Club. Some people are scared when they first see him, though they can’t help but be charmed by him, all wiggles and a huge smile. He sees the good in everyone and loves with complete abandon. He has converted many people to truly love the breed by his complete joy of being around them. All people are friends as it’s hard not to love someone who loves you so much in return!


Friends come over and say they are scared of Pit Bulls but when meeting our dogs their minds are changed. Not every dog is perfect, Slim is scared of everything but we make people aware of that so that he doesn't get more scared. Slim helps people learn more about Pit Bulls and dog etiquette in general. Every day when I get home he is the first thing I see. He is jumping and barking with joy and looking at me with the biggest Pit Bull smile and the prettiest blue-gold eyes and when I get in the door he can't keep still because he is so happy to see me. That is exactly how I feel when I see him too.  Slim brings me so much joy to my life, the best most lovable, sweet dog ever.


Skarlet is an ambassador of the breed and teaches people to not judge a book by it's cover.  Pit Bulls are nothing like the poor reputation that they have, they're very smart, loving, and loyal dogs. Skarlet is that and then some, She has put up with over 50 puppies I have fostered, loves children, and happily greets any dog she comes in contact with . I love bringing her out in public, and changing people's misconceptions they have of the Pit Bulls. Skarlet is one of the gentlest, most sensitive creatures I have ever known, and I can’t imagine my life without her.


My dogs make me smile and laugh out loud on a daily basis and I try to share their quirky, goofy side with the world. When I think of Pit Bulls I think of dogs who live to please, whether attentively following directions when training or simply wearing a pair of glasses paired with a silly hat for a photo, if it makes you happy it makes them happy. While some people find dogs dressed up in photos silly, the impact goes beyond that. People who have never met my dogs tell me how sweet and well behaved they are. By simply taking a photo the vasad of the news hyped aggressive Pit Bull melts away giving way to a much more true depiction of the breed.... a silly, happy, loving, and wonderful family pet!


Puparazzi has been using Valencia and Del to educate people on the breed for years. Seems most people have fear of the Pit Bull breed due to the media and misinformation. Valencia and Del frequently ride along in the mobile grooming vans to show the positive side of the breed, and to help people overcome their fears. You can see Valencia as the face of Puparazzi as she is at all of the Expos posing with complete strangers for photo opportunities. Together we continue to change the stigma against Pit Bulls.


We are just an ordinary family and I wanted to show others that Pit Bulls are just ordinary dogs. I am now the proud mom of two Pit Bull type dogs, and both of them are very dog friendly, yet others expect them not to be. This is what's wrong with the world. Labeling any being based on their appearance and perceptions instead of their inherent temperament. As a Pit Bull owner I am very aware that I am held to a much higher, though unfair standard....My goal, for people to simply see dogs. GOOD dogs. By our example I hope to open the mind of others and eventually, their hearts into considering adoption as well.


At 6 months old we knew we needed to enroll Maya in an

obedience class. At graduation the teacher said to me she would make a great Therapy Dog. We noticed Maya loves to train so I did some agility with her. In April 2015 I enrolled her in the Lost Paws CGC class which she passed with flying colors. She's the type of dog that needs a job & in return she loves you for it! She just loves to please you! In February 2016 I enrolled her in an 8 week Therapy Dog class. After the 8 week class she & I had to go through 4

observation tests,1 handling test & 3 at different facilities. In June of 2016 she became certified and in the fall we will start our journey as a therapy dog team.