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Pit bull saves man from house fire

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Corey Matthews ~ Daily American Republic Jacob Ford sits on the remains of his front porch where his pit bull, Butch, warned him of a house fire Friday.
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- After a fire gutted a house and basement apartment Jacob Ford lived in last Friday afternoon, the 20-year-old Poplar Bluff man said he's thankful to be alive, and even more so for the dog he "never really paid any attention to."

Ford was awakened Friday afternoon by the persistent whining of a pit bull owned by his mother's boyfriend, and knew something must be wrong.

"As soon as I stood up, I had smoke in my face," he said.

Grabbing a fire extinguisher, Ford headed upstairs, only to find the house's hallway full of smoke as well. He then ran outside to call the fire department and his mother.

Ford then realized the pit bull, Butch, had saved his life, because smoke alarms in the house failed to sound. Butch, however, was nowhere to be found.

"I went to the top of the stairs twice," Ford said. "I was yelling for Butch at the top of my lungs, but he didn't respond. That's when I figured he was probably gone."

A Butler County firefighter eventually found the dog, still alive and hiding in the smoke-filled basement, and led him to safety.

Tina Mobley, Ford's mother, said the dog apparently lost a lifelong fear of basements while attempting to wake her son. Butch, she said, had been abused as a puppy before she purchased him with "the last $52 I had on me."

The dog, Mobley said, had "only been in that basement one time up until that day," because he was terrified of the place, having been kept locked in one as a puppy.

Mobley, who's raised American pit bulls for years, said while the breed has a poor image, not all of the dogs are troublesome.

"They just need a lot of attention," she said.

Ford agreed, saying pit bulls are "family-oriented dogs if they're raised right."

For Mobley, all the extra work she went through to raise Butch from an abused puppy was worth the effort, and now, she said, she'll be forever indebted to him.

"He's a pretty heroic pit bull," she said. "That's the best $52 I ever spent in my life.

"If it had not been for that dog, there's no doubt in my mind my son would have died."

For his efforts, Butch received singe marks on his muzzle but seems to have has suffered no health problems. He has regained much of his puppy fear, though. "He doesn't want to be left alone now," said Mobley, "because he's scared all over again." Ford hopes to change that, he said, starting with the big steak dinner he's promised his new best friend.

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This baby should get 2 steak dinners!

Pit Bull's are given a bad rap. My dog is part Pit & part Lab & she is wonderful. My husband & I adopted her from the Humane Society & LOVES TO RIDE IN THE CAR/TRUCK/Tractor/4-Wheeler. Anything that has wheels she wants to ride on.


-- Posted by Spay&Neuter on Fri, Sep 19, 2008, at 1:40 PM

I agree - way to go Butch!! I'm happy to hear no one was hurt and that Butch got out ok too! I'm also happy to finally see a good story about a Pitt Bull. I've been around quite a few and they are wonderful and faithful dogs. They do just need a lot of love and attention. Give that good boy a medal!

-- Posted by CapeRes on Fri, Sep 19, 2008, at 1:46 PM

What a cute picture! I've owned a pit mix, also. She was a very loving, affectionate dog with no signs of aggressiveness. I think some breeds are given a bad rap and I've found that with these specific breeds some "friendly" socialization with other animals can teach them to be better pets and less threatened by other animals and people. Any dog will become dangerous when taught to be that way by irresponsible owners!

-- Posted by sosassy on Fri, Sep 19, 2008, at 1:56 PM

My husband had a Pit years ago and said that it was the biggest baby ever. I don't there are "Bad Breeds", just bad owners....

-- Posted by tinks89 on Fri, Sep 19, 2008, at 4:37 PM

I'm so glad to see a pit receiving positive news! They are a wonderful breed...very loving and sweet.

-- Posted by tchrgrrl on Fri, Sep 19, 2008, at 10:48 PM

that study is probably true, but again it is the owners of those dogs that train them to behave like that. I'm sure if someone tried they could train any breed of dog to be mean and vicious.

Good job Butch!

-- Posted by PeggySue on Sat, Sep 20, 2008, at 11:33 AM

Great Job Butch!! I would give you a steak dinner myself! I own a pit and she is a loving dog that loves her job as a pet pal! She has gone though several training classes and I do spend a lot of time with her! She is my Diva Dog and if our house ever was up in smoke there is no doubt in my mind she would also let everyone know in the house something was wrong! Again GREAT JOB BUTCH

-- Posted by dpalmer on Sat, Sep 20, 2008, at 7:43 PM


Unfortunately, your "exception to the rule" comment displays the ignorance that has been spread about this breed. To understand it, you have to understand it's original purpose.

It is rumored that they were first bred by a tribe that stemmed from ancient Greece. They were used to intimidate and battle the enemy during warfare. Only an extremely loyal and intelligent dog could be used for this unfortunate reason.

Because of this they were soon used as fighting dogs for entertainment in Roman Arenas and Coliseums. Centuries later, they were used to "bait" belligerent bulls to the slaughter. Once again, a pretty intelligent and loyal dog.. not to mention fierce.. to do that horrible job.

So as you can see, battle and aggressiveness have been bred into them. But it doesn't overrule them. It's when someone takes that trait in a pit bull, exposes, manipulates, and abuses it... that it becomes a dog that attacks unprovoked.

But it could be done with any breed. Take the Australian Shepherd for instance, a fiercely intelligent dog, but what some would call a, "one owner dog". Often known to be extremely protective and high strung. But because it's cute, and soft, and fluffy... well, you'd never know it, would you?

And one other piece of information. I'm a dog groomer, and in the time that I have been doing it, I've been bitten and snapped at countless times by Shih Tzus and Yorkies more than any other breed. In fact, probably 60% of the time. Pit bulls on the other hand, not even a snarl. And I've been exposed to quite a few.

All I'm saying is you shouldn't punish and bad mouth a breed that isn't responsible for the ignorant owners that buy them.

This dog is a prime example of what an amazing breed pit bulls are. And no, I don't own one, I just know better than to degrade them.


-- Posted by dnb23 on Sun, Sep 21, 2008, at 12:29 AM

I'm going off of my experience with pits...or any dog for that matter. You mustn't stereotype a dog by it's breed. You have to look at the fact that all dogs have the same innate traits and how people use those traits. We owned our pit, Pedro, since he was a few weeks old. We bottle fed him, took him through obedience training, exercised him, and above all, loved him. He gave us back so much love and loyalty in return. ANY dog can be trained to be aggressive. Rotts and Chows receive just as much negative attention. It's time people stop looking at the breed and look at the individual dog. Butch is obviously a loyal and loving dog...good for him!

-- Posted by tchrgrrl on Sun, Sep 21, 2008, at 11:18 PM

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