Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue needs volunteers, funding |

Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue needs volunteers, funding

Brittany Markert
Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue is spearheaded by Grand Junction residents Chelsea Shaw-Dowdy and Ben Dowdy. According to Shaw, the couple works many hours to help foster hundreds of not only pit bulls, but many dogs in need in the Grand Valley.
Brittany Markert / | Free Press


Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue is currently looking for foster homes to house adoptable pit bulls. If you are interested in helping, simply email or call 970-778-8024. A home check and contract is needed to ensure dogs will be housed safely while waiting for adoption. An understanding for pit bulls is also recommended.

For more information, find the group on Facebook at Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue.

Zeus, a 3-year-old pit bull, is built like a tank. His muscles bulge as he drags his foster father, Ben Dowdy, behind him. Zeus then races to give a big, sloppy kiss to his foster mother, Chelsea Shaw-Dowdy. His main goal is to sit on a warm lap and get a good belly rub.

Shaw-Dowdy of Grand Junction was not always familiar with pit bulls. She grew up with other dog breeds, like shepherds and boxers, so when she and her husband inherited his brother’s pit bull, Oso, she had to learn.

Due to media reporting pit bull attacks more than other dog attacks, it created a bad image for the breed, she said. The general public often sees pit bulls as dangerous, but any dog of any breed can bite. It’s training and environment that makes a dog aggressive or not.

According to Shaw-Dowdy, after educating herself about pit bulls, she fell in love with the “misunderstood breed.”

“They’re the No. 1 over-bred breed and the No. 1 most abused breed,” she noted. “I never knew how hard the breed had it until I owned my own. Once I had the desire to learn more, I saw all the abuse case stories and realized people weren’t always inclined to help.”

To facilitate education and care for their new-found passion, Oso and his brethren, the couple formed Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue in 2011. Currently, the rescue operates out of Shaw-Dowdy’s home with the help of more than 15 foster families.

“It’s a lot to take on,” Shaw-Dowdy said. “One dog gets adopted out and four more come in.”

Since its inception, Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue helped more than 100 dogs find loving homes. Most dogs are surrenders from locals, but dogs in need in some cases come from other shelters.

“It’s one of the most rewarding things to do, seeing a dog find a great home,” Shaw-Dowdy said. “Some [fosters] are afraid to get attached, which we call foster failure; it could happen, but it’s a good thing.”

Long term, Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue aims to build a facility where dogs can be housed together.

“It will come when it’s supposed to,” Shaw-Dowdy said. “It takes a lot of money.”


According to the American Kennel Club, the American Staffordshire terrier is one of several breeds combined with bulldogs and terriers to create the “pit bull.” Pit bull is a generic term used to describe dogs with similar characteristics, which include AKC breeds like the American pit bull terrier and Staffordshire bull terriers.

Pit bulls are energetic, strong, and sporty, Shaw-Dowdy added.

“I am always learning about the breed.”

Dogs available through Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue cost $60 in adoption fees, which covers vet bills and up-to-date shots.

For more information, find the group on Facebook at Grand Junction Pit Bull Rescue.

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