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Every Dog Has Its Day

It’s the Pits founder Beth Gruff’s mission is to give rescued pit bulls a second chance
Pitt Bull Rescue walking on the beach from San Diego rescue organization It's the Pits Dog Rescue
Courtesy of It's the Pits Dog Rescue

Beth Gruff has always been an animal lover. Even as a child, she’d bring home stray dogs and cats. So when her son found an ad for a dog in the PennySaver, she agreed to go take a look. 

“Of course, it was a pit bull, which now we call American Staffordshire Terriers,” she says. “I was one of those people that had heard they were not great dogs, but after seeing her, we brought her home and I just fell in love with the breed.”

Gruff soon began adding to her “pack.” She started rescuing adoptable pit bulls from local shelters, but faced challenges trying to do it all on her own. 

Beth Gruff, founder of It's the Pits, with a rescued pit bull in a veterinarians office
Courtesy of It’s The Pits Dog Rescue

“I started pulling dogs from the shelter and actually got chastised,” she recounts. “They said, ‘What are you doing? You’re rehoming dogs?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m trying to save their lives.’ So, I got a 501(c)(3), and here we are, 7,000 dogs later.”

Gruff formed It’s the Pits in 2006. It’s the Pits’ support teams and volunteers rescue dogs from various shelters, evaluate them for temperament around people and other animals, and ensure they are healthy, then match them with an appropriate person, family, or foster home. They also enlist behavioral specialists to help prevent owners from surrendering their dogs in the first place. 

“We’re one of the few rescues that actually train people with their dogs,” Gruff says. 

Though the breed sometimes gets a bad rap, Gruff has seen time and time again how gentle and intuitive they are. “Pitties” have a knack for sensing anxiety and make great emotional support animals, she says. They may also be able to save lives. Gruff credits her dog, Buddy, for sniffing out her cancer. 

Two rescued pit bull dogs from It's the Pits charity side by side
Courtesy of It’s The Pits Dog Rescue

“I had this little bump on my shoulder, a lymph node. I went to my doctor, and he said it was just infected. But when I came home, my dog would come over and sniff me, and then he would punch his nose into my chest, like, ‘Something’s not right, Mom,’” she says. Gruff insisted on more testing, which revealed that she had early-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

“He saved me,” she says.

Gruff also works behind the scenes to change people’s perception of pit bulls and stresses the need for more people to adopt or foster. 

“Right now, we don’t have enough fosters to save them all,” she says. 

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