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Founded by former Chicago Blackhawks and current Carolina Hurricanes left winger, Bryan Bickell and his wife Amanda; the Bryan & Amanda Bickell Foundation was born from the campaign, Chicago Loves Pits. With the help of, Chicago Loves Pits was an idea that turned into a reality. In 2012 Chicago Loves Pits launched its first campaign featuring two billboards located in prominent areas of Chicago that bore the headline: Bryan Bickell is the only fighter in this family. Since the campaign, the realization came about that not only do "pit bulls" need our help, so do children in need that can benefit from seeing and learning about the resilience of "pit bulls". 


The Bickell's love of "pit bulls" began when they came across a 5-week- old puppy in need. The puppy's owner was a crack addict whose dog had puppies. The owner took the puppies from their mother at an extremely young age. The puppy was trying to feed off a different mother dog, and her tail was cut off with scissors. The owner bragged about both of these things. Bryan & Amanda offered the owner $50 for the puppy and he literally grabbed the money and threw the puppy at Amanda.


The pup was now safe and named Bailey. The Bickells brought Bailey to the vet where they were surprised and pleased to hear that she was healthy and her tail would heal with care and antibiotics. About a month after saving their precious puppy, The Bickell's hometown of Ontario, Canada enacted a ban against any dog resembling a "pit bull". Within a week Bryan & Amanda were no longer allowed at dog parks, puppy classes, or to take their puppy for a walk unless it was muzzled. People would cross the street afraid that their 10 pound, sweet as could be, little puppy would attack. Animal Care and Control was called on the Bickells almost every two weeks because someone in the neighborhood would call in "fear of their life". Bryan and Amanda couldn't understand it. How were they supposed  to socialize their new puppy who had been abused and now deserved lots of love and care in her new life? Life in Ontario became very difficult for Bryan & Amanda simply because they owned a "pit bull". But their puppy was family and they'd never give up on her.


After living in Chicago Bryan and Amanda heard that the city was thinking of banning "pit bulls". Fearing what might happen, they knew they had to share the truth and help "pit bulls" in Chicago. Bailey has also been instrumental in the Bickell's lives as a dog who heals others. As the Bickells have seen members of their family suffer from child abuse and bullying they knew they wanted to not only help out their loyal furry friends but abused children as well. From that moment, the Bryan & Amanda Bickell Foundation  was born and programs are taking shape in order to fulfill it's vital mission in helping those who often cannot help themselves.


Labeling dogs as "pit bulls" is killing innocent, sweet mutts in shelters and on the streets.  Here’s the thing about “pit bulls” - the "breed" doesn’t exist. In fact, the American Kennel Club does not recognize “pit bull” as a breed because it is a mixture of breeds. “Pit bull” is a slang term that has been used loosely and taken advantage of by the media to describe a dog with a big head and muscular build. When a dog has been labeled a “pit bull” it is based simply on their look and not on; personality, traits or DNA. Even we at the Bickell Foundation are guilty of calling a dog a “pit bull,” but we are ready to stop. 


Visit your local shelter or rescue and adopt your very own best friend today!  "Pit bulls" are the most euthanized dogs and our shelters are bursting with them.  They come in all colors, sizes, and personalities and you are sure to find one that completes your home.  Please remember to always adopt, not shop!


The American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bulldog and Miniature Bull Terrier are recognized dog breeds but are mislabeled as “pit bulls” everyday. Dogs comprised of multiple breeds, aka mutts, are mislabeled a “pit bull mix” because of certain features like a large head or body.  


Labeling dogs a “pit bull” and enacting bans on this nonexistent breed is discrimination and makes no sense. When humans judge each other based on looks alone they’re being discriminatory. Humans do the same thing to “pit bulls” except these dogs are banned, abandoned, killed, abused and misused because of the way they look - something they didn’t choose. Discrimination and mislabeling these dogs must come to an end. 

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