Yesterday when I was coming off the track I noticed a young preppie couple sitting on a bench with a huge pit bull.
He was gray and white with floppy ears and a head the size of a regulation basketball.
I, of course, had to meet him.
At first I thought it was Conky, a neighborhood pit that could easily be a rodeo clown he’s so sweet and funny, but when the guy put his hand up to stop me from coming over, I knew it wasn’t the Conk.
Now I never just barge over to any dog, big or small…I always hold my palm open allowing the animal to make the decision, but this fella, you could see, wasn’t taking any chances.
“Is he a rescue?” I ask, already knowing the answer.
“Yes,” the girl said.
“What’s his name?”
This really made me smile because I knew where they got the name from: The 1935 film Captain Blood starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Jeremy Pitt was a sailor on Peter Blood’s ship played by a wonderful actor named Ross Alexander. It happens to be one of my favorite films.
When I revealed this they warmed up to me.
I said it was a pity pits can’t tell their story because then we’d know where all the fear and anxiety stemmed from. I went off on one of my tangents saying, “Couldn’t you just see him at a 12 Step meeting: Hi, my name is Jeremy and I’m a pit, and this is what happened to me.”
They said at first he was nervous even with them, but finally, after almost a year calmed down, but he still gets uppity if he doesn’t know you. I couldn’t help asking what made them take on such a noble challenge and she said, “It was the way he looked at us…all three of us knew we were his only hope.”
Did I fall in love with these two hearing that.
They made me think of Mighty Mutts, a no-kill shelter based in Manhattan. Imagine four-legged parolees trying to find homes. It’s the group no one wants, yet this flock of angelic optimists display them proudly on busy street corners hoping to find a couple like this one.
It’s more than a little admirable. The last time I ran into Mighty Mutts was a while ago at Union Square. It was Pit Adoption Day even though it was already 3 p.m. and no one was adopted quite yet. They were right out of a Humphrey Bogart movie. Who had one eye, the other a limp. I mean again, if only they could talk, they’d all have book deals. Meet 11- month old Bugsy, their puppy of the month… a ridgeback-pit mix, perfect as can be, found tied to a tree during Hurricane Sandy. Look at that foch (face), as my grandmother would say.
The woman in charge smiled at me figuring I was a prospective parent, but I was only able to give a modest donation. If I ever brought a pit home, I’m worried the Upper East Side would retaliate picketing my apartment, as if I adopted Charlie Manson.
This is why my friend Jennifer had to move. Pits, I’m sorry to say, aren’t always welcome above 72nd Street.
I wasn’t able to pet Jeremy Pit but was very happy to make the acquaintance of the brave, committed couple who adopted him despite his sad, but I’m sure, soon to be mastered issues.
“You won’t quit on him, right?” I said, before taking leave.
“Are you kidding?” they both said in unison.
Jeremy barked as if to say, “Hey, we’re a family.”
Yes you are Jeremy.
Heroes…many of them…right in our midst.