He arrived when he was about 10 months old, and has been in a kennel at the shelter for almost two years without the prospect of a new home.
Oliver’s story is not uncommon at the shelter, operations manager Tammy Davis said. Pit bull mixes that come in have a hard time finding a home, and sometimes spend years at the shelter before finding one. Davis said there are a handful of these breeds in addition to Oliver that have been at the shelter for a year or two.
The shelter is coordinating with a new local organization called The Pit Crew at The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room this Saturday from 4-10 p.m. “Pits, Brews & Tunes” will feature family-friendly activities from 4-6 p.m., including a silent auction, pit bull education and dog safety information, kids’ activities and, of course, a kissing booth featuring Oliver.
Erin Ferris and Shalena Peterson adopted their dog, Charlie, at the shelter about five years ago. Charlie is an American bulldog mix, and Ferris and Peterson weren’t aware of the stigma surrounding pit bull breeds until they adopted Charlie, so they co-founded The Pit Crew, by which they hope to help pit bull breeds in the area find homes.
“Being out in public, oftentimes we have been met with the stigma of the negative attitudes people tend to have about pit bull-type dogs,” Peterson said.
“It was something we weren’t even aware of until we adopted her. She is none of those things, she is a wonderful dog. It’s unfortunate that this is the public’s attitude toward pit bull-type dogs, so that inspired us to get involved on behalf of those animals because they tend to be the ones that fill up the shelter and spend the most amount of time there.”
Peterson said resources will also be available for people who want to learn more about pit bulls and similar type breeds and mixes, including where the stigma against them comes from.
The silent auction will feature Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion tickets; a downtown yoga package, including a massage and yoga party; National Storytelling Festival tickets; a University of Tennessee sports basket; and Bristol race tickets. The tunes will crank up at 6 p.m. and featured acts will be bluegrass group Big Like the Ocean, local singer-songwriter Annie Robinette and headliners Crazy Like Lexi.
“The community has really come together and helped us prepare for this,” Ferris said.
Tickets for the event are $15 ahead of time and $20 at the door. VIP packages are available, and all funds will benefit the shelter. While anyone is invited to come out and enjoy the evening, pets should stay at home.
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