Meet the Most Awesome Pit Bull Who Ever Lived

Bulletproof Sam came out the other side of hell with love in his heart, and now you have a chance to support dogs just like him.



We received a lot of feedback on our February feature, the Pet Lover's Guide. It’s not surprising; people are more than passionate about their dogs. A great deal of the response, though, praised our placement of a smiling Pit Bull on the issue’s cover — after years with a bad rap, folks are finally realizing that the unfairly-maligned breed are victims of a bad reputation and systemic abuse, and make for some of the finest pets a dog lover could ever adopt.

So let me tell you about Bulletproof Sam. Sam, an American Pit Bull Terrier, was a “champion” fighting dog; he fought, and won, for much longer than most dogs exposed to that brutal world survive. Through the course of his abuse, he lost a portion of his face and most of his teeth. He was alternately chained up outside and locked in an underground cage with seventeen other dogs, all fighters or bait dogs, nearby.

What’s remarkable about Sam, though, is what happened when he was rescued. In February 2012, the Humane Society of the United States conducted a raid on the Jacksonville, Fl. compound where Sam was imprisoned. As the rescue workers approached, Sam had no reason to comprehend what was going on around him — let alone trust the unfamiliar people approaching. For his entire life, people approaching always meant bad news.

But when the locks were cut off of Sam’s cell, he tentatively emerged and then joyously embraced the rescuers. Within seconds of emerging, Sam’s obvious desperation for affection and human companionship took over. There was no more fighter, no more fearful victim; only an irrepressibly loving dog, so thankful to be held and cared for. (Be sure to watch the video above, but be warned — it’s a tearjerker.)

Pit Bulls are the dog of choice for the perpetrators of these crimes because they’re so unwaveringly loyal and desperate to please. More than many other breeds, they crave attention and affection; unfortunately, that makes them alluring to people looking to control dogs for unthinkable reasons.

Fortunately, it also makes them unmatched pets. Sam, more than any other dog on the planet, had reason to distrust humans. But today, he’s the gentlest dog imaginable, given to fits of unbridled joy when a new person approaches. Pit Bulls are obedient, loving, caring dogs, healthy and playful. The shameful media attention they sometime attract — wholly, unequivocally, unflinchingly inaccurate — is sensationalism and nothing more. (Between you and me, if you see a member of the media painting these dogs in a negative light, do feel free to ignore that individual and/or outlet henceforth.)

After his rescue, Sam moved in to the Hello Bully Halfway House outside the city. They’re looking for Sam’s forever home — because of his past, he’ll need experienced dog owners, and he’ll need to be an only pet — but in the meantime, he has his own Facebook page, Twitter account and customized collar. He was honored by City Council as they declared February 16 “Hello Bully Day” in Pittsburgh. There's even a stuffed version of Sam — and you’ll have your chance to take it home this Saturday at Hello Bully’s annual Lovers Not Fighters Gala.

The event, held at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, will feature a red carpet arrival area, auctions, a lineup of hors d’oeuvres and a dessert buffet and more. And the cost of your ticket will go to finding Sam and his pals loving homes — and changing the lives of Pit Bulls nationwide for good.

4141 Fifth Ave., Oakland; Saturday, 7 p.m. (VIP reception at 6 p.m.); $50 (VIP Tickets, including champagne reception and premium gift bag, $120); info and tickets at hellobully.org

The 412

Travel + Leisure Says PNC Park Has One of the Best Views in America

Travel + Leisure Says PNC Park Has One of the Best Views in America

No, not just one of the best views at a ballpark — best views period.
Thrival Festival is Like Coachella for Cool People

Thrival Festival is Like Coachella for Cool People

Moby, Portugal the Man will headline the music and innovation festival Sept. 13-14 at Bakery Square.
Watch: UPMC Doc Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Every Baby He Delivers

Watch: UPMC Doc Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Every Baby He Delivers

“The Singing Doctor” of Magee-Womens Hospital makes every birth feel special.
PSA: Uber is Delivering Ice Cream On-Demand

PSA: Uber is Delivering Ice Cream On-Demand

Act quickly — you have until 5 p.m.

Hot Reads

City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

We explore every inch of Allegheny County (and beyond) for a look at the communities where we live, work and play.
6 More Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh

6 More Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh

PittGirl's at it again — this time with a list of a half-dozen fun facts you'll want to mention at your next cocktail party.
'Which Neighborhood Should I Live In?'

'Which Neighborhood Should I Live In?'

We pick the perfect neighborhood for six breeds of ’Burgher.
Pittsburgh’s Refugee Children Could Use a Good Neighbor

Pittsburgh’s Refugee Children Could Use a Good Neighbor

Those who eye 8-year-old children with suspicion have more than a self-awareness problem.

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Travel + Leisure Says PNC Park Has One of the Best Views in America

Travel + Leisure Says PNC Park Has One of the Best Views in America

No, not just one of the best views at a ballpark — best views period.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 8 Best (Not) Restaurants in Pittsburgh

The 8 Best (Not) Restaurants in Pittsburgh

Food trucks. Pizza boats. Bagel Clubs. The best on-the-run food in town.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
Pittsburgh’s Refugee Children Could Use a Good Neighbor

Pittsburgh’s Refugee Children Could Use a Good Neighbor

Those who eye 8-year-old children with suspicion have more than a self-awareness problem.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments


Crowdfund These Pittsburgh Food Startups NOW!

Crowdfund These Pittsburgh Food Startups NOW!

5 Kickstarter projects that deserve your patronage.

Comments


Bar Exam: Mineo’s

Bar Exam: Mineo’s

Does the pizza heavyweight’s new bar give it an edge in the (friendly) pie war?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Calling All Sunbathers

Calling All Sunbathers

The perfect complement to your favorite swimsuit.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Goodbye, Franktuary Downtown

Goodbye, Franktuary Downtown

Staff at the flagship hot-dog spot say "franks for the memories."

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Hit the City for Fashion, Dancing and More

Hit the City for Fashion, Dancing and More

“Project Pop-Up: Fashion” brings a one-time-only bazaar of clothing and accessories

Comments