Valparaiso | A television celebrity showed up at the Moose Lodge on Saturday afternoon.
Boss, a brindle and white pit bull from the Animal Planet television program "Pit Bulls and Parolees," laid froggy-style on the linoleum while giving kisses and accepting pets -- and the occasional meatball.
Boss, and his “dad” Ben Dunham, were the featured guests at You Can’t Ban Love: A Peaceful Pit Bull Protest, at the lodge.
“This is a global peaceful pit bull protest that’s happening today all over the world,” said Laura Bruccoleri, of Chesterton. “It’s for awareness and to end BSL (breed specific legislation).”
At the event, organizers Bruccoleri and Sheri Christopher of Guardians of the Green Mile, an area organization that matches shelter animals with foster homes, screened the film "Denver Dog Massacre," a documentary about breed discrimination laws in Denver, Colo. Local shelters, including the Starke County Humane Society, and pet businesses, including Fotos 4 Fido, also offered information.
Boss, and Bruccoleri’s pit bull, Piper, were clearly the event’s stars, demonstrating the affability of the breed.
Dunham met and adopted Boss after seeing him in a training session at the Villalobos Rescue Center featured on the show.
Dunham said he felt “an instant connection” to the dog, who had been saved from euthanasia at an L.A. county shelter by the Villalobos staff.
“I knew right then and there he was for me,” said Dunham.
Since his adoption, Dunham has trained Boss to surf.
“I used to leave him on the sand with whatever girls I had met,” said Dunham. “He would sit there staring at me.”
Dunham remembers the day Boss learned how to hang ten.
“It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Dunham, who created a Web site and Facebook page for Boss.
No one had to convince Josh Barker that pit bulls are friendly.
The 8-year-old wore a T-shirt with a silhouette of a pit bull and the quote, “Judging me doesn’t define who I am. It defines who you are.”
“It’s not the dog, it’s the trainer,” said Josh, munching on pepperoni pizza. “Pit bulls are loyal and loveable.”
Bob Fry and Carolyn Pessmeg also wore T-shirts in support of pit bulls.
“We support people who don’t classify pits,” said Fry, of Valparaiso. “They’re like any other dog – it’s how they are raised. Dogs are what you put into them.”