By Danny restivo
Gary is a 5-year-old pit bull and bulldog mix with white fur and a build that is large for each breed.
He weighs 77 pounds, and it’s mostly muscle.
At first glance, Gary may look intimidating, but his caretaker says he’s anything but scary.
“Gary is really rather lazy,” said Katie Costello, part-owner of the Learning Dog Training & Enrichment Center on North Main Street. She cares for Gary — but hopes someone will give him a forever home.
Costello said the center adopted Gary after hearing the story of another dog in Northern Ireland, who was euthanized. The story of 7-year-old Lennox caused an outcry from animal- rights activists worldwide.
After more than a year of legal battles, authorities classified Lennox as a pit bull. The owner claimed the dog wasn’t a pit bull and had never exhibited any signs of violence. In most cases, it’s illegal to own a pit bull in the United Kingdom, and Lennox was put down in July.
“They’re [pit bulls] awesome dogs, and they really get a bad reputation,” said Costello. “They are just the demon dog right now.”
She points to the stereotype of a violent and vicious fighting dog as the source. That doesn’t apply to Gary and most other pit bulls, she said.
Based on statistics, other dogs have higher bite rates and pit bulls are no more violent than other dogs, she said.
For seven months, Costello personally has taken care of Gary. She received him from Club Pet Adoption in Transfer, Pa., after he spent a year at the nonprofit shelter.
Club Pet Adoption cared for Gary after he was rescued from an animal shelter about two years ago. She said he was found running along the side of the road outside Sharon, Pa., before he was taken to the pound.
Club Pet Adoption founder Dianna Estman said her center rescued him before he was euthanized. Estman took care of Gary and noticed he had anxiety issues when it stormed or when he was confined in a cage.
Estman said Gary was fine once he was medicated. He became a burden when it stormed or when he was confined with no medication, she said.
Some of those symptoms included crying or scratching the door trying to get in or out of the house, said Costello.
Estman said those are small problems for a dog as well-behaved as Gary.
“He really is an awesome dog,” said Estman.
She contacted the Learning Dog for help finding Gary a home, and he has been with Costello since. She cares for seven other dogs, and says she can’t give Gary the adequate attention he needs.
Costello said Gary is neutered and the cost of his medication is $34 a month. She said Gary has lived with her for the past seven months, and he is “gentle soul, and a total love.”