Douglas Sonders' #NotABully Photo Series Shows How Awesome Pit Bulls Really Are

Do pit bulls scare you? They shouldn’t. They’re friendly, loyal, and totally loveable. Don’t believe me? Maybe this amazing photo series, #NotABully, will convince you otherwise.

Photographer Douglas Sonders started Not a Bully in 2012. As he wrote in the Washingtonian that November, it took him a year after he lost his best buddy, a purebred boxer named Winston, to health problems before he was ready for another dog. When he finally attended a rescue event to find a new pal, he ended up taking home a pit bull mix named Emma, to his own surprise. Emma is, he says, “one of the most intelligent and mindful dogs I’ve ever known” — but people shied away from her because of her appearance, and he had to emphasize the Labrador in her to get his apartment manager to agree to let her move in.

After encountering an absurd amount of prejudice simply because his pup was a pit bull, Sonders decided to do something about it. Thus began Not a Bully, a photo series with the aim to educate the public about pit bulls and other dogs considered “bully breeds.” The term “bully breed” encompasses 14 different breeds of dogs, all of which many believe to be inherently mean, aggressive, or violent. In fact, behavior tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society in 2009 showed that this couldn’t be further from the truth: Bully breeds scored better than 121 other breeds, and they’ve been shown to be great service dogs, therapy dogs, and family pets.

But still, negative perceptions about bully breeds persist. The result? Almost no one wants them, in spite of the fact that they could be the most loving pet you’ll ever have. Shelters are crowded with them, severely limiting their chances of finding homes. Through these gorgeous portraits and heart-wrenching rescue stories, Not a Bully hopes to put an end to prejudice against pit bulls and other bully breeds. I mean, seriously. Look at those faces. These pooches couldn’t be more sweet-tempered and loveable. If I lived in a bigger apartment, I would take all of them home with me. All of them.

Not a Bully joins a growing movement of reeducating the public about pit bulls; another of my favorites is Pinups for Pit Bulls, which creates calendars starring pinup models and their pups to raise awareness about the issue. Find out more about both Pinups for Pit Bulls and Not A Bully at their respective websites — and if you’re thinking of adopting, don’t count these sweeties out!

Images: Not a Bully/Facebook