This is an interview with U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christian Sewart, 79th Rescue Squadron hydraulic specialist. Sergeant Sewart spends most of his free time volunteering at the Pima Animal Care Center and for a non-profit organization called Adopt-A-Bull. He helps care for and tries to adopt out pit bulls and other dog that are considered to be dangerous.
MW: When did you first find out about Adopt-A-Bull and volunteering?
CS: About five years ago.
MW: Were you just looking for a place to volunteer? How did that come about?
CS: I was getting involved with pit bulls and public awareness about them. I found a local pit bull rescue, the Pima Animal Care Center, and started volunteering with them.
MW: Why did you decide to volunteer?
CS: I wanted to make people aware that pit-bulls are not bad breeds. It’s the person that raises them and how they raise them that makes them like that. We also work with people on base and try to educate them about pit-bulls and other dogs that are considered the bully breeds. These are dogs like Bullmastiffs, Staffordshire Terriers, Dogo Argentino and pretty much any dog that looks like a pit bull.
MW: What does the animal shelter do when they get stray dogs?
CS: All the animals come from local shelters like Pima Animal Care Center, Maricopa County and Pinal County, as well as other rescue shelters out of Los Angeles. We also got some animals from Louisiana after hurricane Katrina hit. Before we pull dogs from the shelters, we evaluate the dog. We make sure they’re good around people, kids and other dogs. We usually got around 70 dogs every two months.
MW: Besides pit bulls, what other breeds do you work with?
CS: Again, we work with dogs that are bully breeds. But if there is a dog that’s on sick-bay, like a dog that has kennel cough or treatable circumstances and we know that they’re a good dog, we’ll try and adopt them out to a good home.
MW: What do you find to be the most rewarding about volunteering with PACC and Adopt-A-Bull?
CS: Meeting people that didn’t like pit bulls until they own one or see what they’re like and then that’s all they ever want to own.
MW: On the flipside of that, what do find to be the most challenging or difficult about working there?
CS: Dealing with the people who are against them. People who say they have lock jaw or that they’re bad with kids. They think that because people use them as fighting dogs, that they’re all bad dogs.
MW: Have you ever wanted to adopt any of the dogs you’ve worked with? It must be tough to have such an emotional attachment to them.
CS: It is, but they go to good homes. Every Sunday we hold adoptions at PetSmart on Broadway and Pantano.
MW: If you could give one piece of advice or talk to someone who was against owning a pit bull, what would you tell them?
CS: Try it. Go to someone’s house that has pit bulls and see how they interact with each other. Also, educate yourself on them.