Restoring America’s Treasures
Mike Wolfe Speaks Up for Pit Bulls in Nashville Paw
American Pickers star teams up with Nashville Paw to help restore the image of America’s pit bulls
It is a bone-chilling morning in late December when we arrive at Marathon Village. Over the past year and a half, the long neglected Marathon Motor Works that stretched forgotten along Clinton Street has become one of the most requested tourist attractions in Music City, thanks in large part to one fascinating storefront: Antique Archeology. It’s the sort of place where things left to die find new life and meaning, which seems an ideal metaphor for the day’s mission.
We have arrived early, hours before most of the shops open, but already a few folks are trickling over to the nearby Garage Coffee Company to kick-start the day. By the time the doors open at Mike Wolfe’s second retail location (the original is based in LeClaire, Iowa), a line of tourists and locals will be threading its way along the sidewalk despite the gusting winter wind. For now, it’s just me, my crew and the store manager, Matt—until a peppered blue heeler bounds through the back door, barreling into the midst of the small crowd of strangers.
Meet Ruby. Exuberant and bouncy, she greets each of us in turn as only an Australian Cattle Dog can. She is soon followed by Wolfe himself, who attempts to call her off. “Sorry, guys,” he chuckles. “She gets excited to meet people.” Wolfe is not only the television star of History’s hit show American Pickers, but he is also a dedicated animal lover, which is why he didn’t hesitate to step up when we invited him to participate in our new campaign to bring positive awareness to America’s most abused and misunderstood dogs: pit bulls. We were thrilled that he obliged, given his knack for restoring beauty and worth to that which society has cast aside.
After human introductions are made, Wolfe greets his castmates, Shay and Samantha, two of sixty-five dogs rescued in November from a suspected fighting operation in Ashland City, Tennessee by Animal Rescue Corps and Cheatham County Animal Control. In turn, they pose with Wolfe for the cover of this issue and film a public service announcement video to promote positive awareness about their breed, all the while wagging, wiggling and giving sloppy kisses as Wolfe cradles them in his arms on a vintage sofa find. After all, those who rescue and share their lives with pit bulls know that, contrary to urban legend and media hype, American Pit Bull Terriers and their relatives are known for their excellent temperaments, even surpassing beagles and golden retrievers in tests performed by the American Temperament Test Society.
“It’s hard for me to believe what some of these animals have to endure,” sighs Wolfe, shaking his head. “But what I think is so amazing is that despite what they go through, despite what people are capable of doing to them, they are so forgiving and so trusting of us. They simply want to love and be loved. That is what I try to learn from my own dogs all the time. I mean, imagine walking through life with that sort of capacity for love, trust and forgiveness. That would be a perfect world.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE AND VIEW MORE PHOTOS HERE AT NASHVILLE PAW.
Watch Nashville Paw’s pit bull PSA video featuring Mike on their YouTube channel at youtube.com/nashvillepaw
Photos by Aimee Stubbs. We highly recommend viewing more of her work with animals on her site online here. In addition to Aimee’s work with Nashville Paw and as a personal pet photographer, she is the official photographer and photography teacher at the Nashville Zoo.