Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte is a dog-lover who sees past stereotypes. One of his two dogs is a three-year-old "bully breed" named Ali.
Many people fear pit bulls as ill-tempered and violent animals due to the breed's popularity in dog fighting, which is an illegal blood sport in the United States. Forte, however, advocates that they are loving pets when they have an owner that properly cares for them.
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Everybody thinks bully breeds are mean, vicious dogs, which they aren't. So they were kind of concerned when we first were getting one, asking, 'What about when y'all have kids?' But we told them and sent them some of the research about the dogs
When I'm not at home, I know that he is protective of the family. It's good to have a dog who can do that and also be gentle with kids.
Read up on them. Get informed about the breed of dog and that there's many types of bully breeds. Don't put your mind on what everybody always says about them. Just make it up for yourself by reading on the dog and experiencing them for yourself. Obviously owning a pit is a large responsibility, so make sure you're able to take care of the dog, and provide for it.
Forte said he runs The Hill at Arlington Heights, and Ali runs with him. When Forte is away -- either on a road trip or at training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. -- Ali is protective of the family, which includes Forte's wife and two young children.
PAWS Founder and Chair Paula Fasseas recognizes Forte as a responsible pit bull owner and a powerful voice for the cause.
Via PAWS Chicago:
Matt is a wonderful ambassador for bully breeds. He has such a big heart for kids and animals, and he uses his fame to impact the lives of others. You can just feel the love for his family and his dogs. It's special to see.
Forte, 30, isn't your average NFL running back. After eight seasons with the same team, he is aware of his voice in the community and the impact he can have on a larger scale. In this case, he's using that influence to help sway opinions about bully breeds.