Gunther the Pit Bull wins hearts

Gunther is a very special dog - and not just because he's the most recent winner of ASPCA's Adopt-A-Bull contest, sponsored by Animal Farm Foundation.

This winning pit bull with the joyful smile has overcome many challenges in his short life:

  • Gunther, like most pit bulls, has had to face the negative stereotypes and misconceptions that sadly accompany the American pit bull terrier breed.
  • He arrived at the Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM) in rough shape. He was dirty and mangy, much too thin, and had an embedded collar - sure signs that Gunther had experienced significant human neglect or worse.
  • Gunther is deaf.

Happily, Gunther has turned out to be a resilient dog who overcame his physical obstacles and who never lost his trust and affection for humans. Gunther demonstrates all the qualities that make pit bulls outstanding canine companions to those to appreciate these compelling dogs.

Through ASPCA's Meet Your Match® Program, HSSM could also give Gunther the opportunity to be matched with an adopter who would give him the loving home he deserved.

Putting 2 + 2 Together

The Meet Your Match Canine-ality Assessment and Adopter Survey helped HSSM and Rebecca Hengen, Gunther's adopter, feel confident about matching her with Gunther:

The Goofball description is, "I'm a fun-loving, happy-all-the-time, glass-is-half-full kind of dog looking for someone who loves to laugh and play around. Must have a great sense of humor and some time to spend with me. I'm a dog on a mission to please you."

  • Rebecca's Adopter Survey showed that her lifestyle and expectations for a dog would fit best with orange Canine-alities.

Though she was smitten by Gunther even before she completed the Adopter Survey, its results convinced her that she and Gunther were "meant to be."

Talking It Over

Rebecca's survey was also the starting point for a conversation between Rebecca and the HSSM adoption counselor about her requirement for a dog who would be gentle with other animals, children, and the elderly. Gunther's MYM SAFER and Canine-ality Assessments, as well as the experience of shelter staff with this dog, indicated that Gunther met this requirement. Adoption staff were also able to help Rebecca understand the impact of Gunther's deafness on his interactions with her and others.

Pit Bull Adoptions: Meet Your Match and More

MYM Canine-ality and the SAFER Aggression Assessment are key tools for all dog adoptions at HSSM. HSSM staff are also knowledgeable about pit bulls and other bully-breed dogs. In fact, some staff are bully-breed owners.

HSSM told us that this enables their staff to "speak to adopters with authority about bully breeds in general, in addition to being well-acquainted with the personalities of the individual pit bull type dogs that are available for adoption."

This combination of reliable assessment, sound knowledge, and two-way communication is a powerful tool for making lasting matches that benefit the dogs, adopters, and the agency itself. As HSSM eloquently told us, "It is a joy to know that Rebecca and Gunther are out in our community showing everyone the happiness that adopting a pit bull can bring into your life."

Ready for the Grand Prize

As our 4th quarter Adopt-A-Bull winners, the Rebecca and Gunther will score a prize pack of goodies. The Meet Your Match shelter who matched this pair, HSSM, will be awarded a $4,000 grant. Gunther, Rebecca, and HSSM will automatically be entered into the "Vote for Your Favorite Match" contest, which will take place online at, in February 2009.