The Pit Bull breed has a reputation for being aggressive, but there are some that are sweet and charming. Meet Elle, from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. She helps teach children about safety around dogs, reading, and the ability to overlook breed-specific stereotypes.
Most of the time, you can find Elle cuddled up with an elementary school child for reading time. She is a certified therapy dog and with the help of her owner Leah Brewer, founded the reading program "Tail Wagging Tales" to help young children gain confidence by reading aloud to her. "She provides confidence for students and a comforting ear," Brewer explained to Today.com. Elle regularly visits with students at Vaughan Elementary in Macon, NC and Chaloner Middle in Roanoke Rapids who take turns reading aloud to her for 20 minutes each.
Elle's efforts have also earned her the honor of being named the American Hero Dog by the American Humane Association, beating out over 140 other dogs for the honor. Eight finalists were selected from over 1 million votes cast by the American public with Elle being selected by a combination of public votes and a panel of animal advocates and celebrity judges.
"The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards were created to honor some of the most extraordinary heroes the world has ever known, the very best of our 'best friends' -- ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things," said Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association.
Many in the community struggle with issues surrounding breeds with bad reputations. Ganzert thinks that it's great to see a Pit Bull win. "As an organization that for years has fought breed-specific legislation, we are also pleased to honor a breed that has often been unjustly maligned," he said.