The Bully Collective

Pibbles, Pitties, Pits, Pit Bull Types, Pit Bulls, Bullies, Bully Breeds, Big Head, Block Head, you name it, we’ve heard it or said it ourselves. Every one has a name they prefer to use and everyone has a term they absolutely hate. Personally, we tend to use “Pit Bull Types” as we feel most comfortable with it and rarely use the term Pibbles, although it is kind of cute. I used to feel more adverse to the term “Bullies” specifically because of all of the anti-bullying campaigns and wouldn’t want a(nother) negative connotation associated with our boys.


When our pack walking group formed I was a bit leery of the new name, The Bully Collective, but knew that the vision and spirit of the group would overcome any negative association that came with the B-word.


Collective: shared or done by a group of people: involving all members of a group; marked by similarity among or with members of a group. (Merriam-Webster)


We, the members of The Bully Collective are a group of like-minded individuals who love our dogs and seek a safe, nonjudgmental forum in which to walk and socialize them. We are from all walks of life and our dogs are all individuals-some with physical attributes that might be found in Breed Specific language- but others are spaniels and shepherds and such who are also individuals.


Last week a neighbor whom I’d seen occasionally, was walking her dog and called out a welcome-to-the-neighborhood to us. Seeing her beautiful dog geared up in her Freedom Harness, I of course approached and engaged her in a chat. Her dog, she said was people friendly but wary of other dogs and they were just taking a walk during half time of the game. I invited her to a pack walk and assured her that it was a no-contact group and that we’d love to have them join us. A full week passed and I kind of forgot about it until the neighbor appeared at the door this past temperate Sunday morning and asked if the offer was still open. Delightedly I gave her the details and we met up at the walk location.

Photo credit to Rachel

Photo credit to Rachel Hoening


We had a smaller group and along with Neighbor-lady there was another first timer. Most of the dogs seemed spunky whether it was because of the warmer temps, the energy of two new dogs, or the skipped week, but as we trod the path we all eventually began to settle in and hit our stride. The morning was gray but warmer and we enjoyed a leisurely pace capped off by one of our new dogs diving belly first into a large mud puddle to cool off!


At the conclusion of the walk, our neighbor thanked me for inviting her and said, “This is the best thing that’s happened to us all year.” Then later followed up with a text about how she had been praying for a path to help socialize her dog and was happy to have found us.


In reality, none of the dogs in The Bully Collective are perfect. Some certainly have better manners than Julius others but we’re a Collective. We all come together for our dogs and week after week we see an improvement or at least a glimmer of light ahead. We support and encourage and celebrate victories great and small while sharing thoughts and bagging poop.

Walk of Fame

Oh what a difference a week can make.  Actually, what a difference one week, a lot of support, a blog post, more support, a pack order, a Halti, and more support can make. 


After last week’s debacle of a walk and all of the uplifting comments we received, including some learnings for the group as a whole, we had a most enjoyable and very successful walk to date.  Others acknowledged that the previous walk felt rushed and there was an air of “let’s get through this” of which I admit I was feeling the same of.


Freedom Harness

Freedom Harness

Each week we’ve been meeting at a different location.  This week I made it my mission to be at least 10 minutes early and subsequently made it on time, though we allowed for the new location and waited several minutes longer.  We took the time to do verbal introductions again and then fell into our newly assigned pack order.  Juli took up the lead with his buddy Clyde (you’ll be reading more about him in the future) and a head Halti that he borrowed from Dahey, Ray’s littermate (!).  He hated the Halti, but only enough to keep him from screeching. About a quarter of the way through the walk, I adjusted the clip to the leash and Julius seemed happier with the slighter bit of freedom.

We trod a path that was a nice mix of nature and civilization so we encountered several dogs, bikers, joggers, walkers and such with a lot more success for the entire group.  Knowing we were all supportive of each other really was a difference maker in the tone and feel of the walk.

If  you happen to live in the Fort Wayne area and are interested in joining this great group, check out the link and fill out an application.  We’re a young group and still figuring things out, but there’s always room for more!