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Picard’s Dog Was Inspired by Patrick Stewart’s Pit Bull Advocacy

The legendary actor fell in love and is now a Pit Bull champion.

by Cameron Woo
June 21, 2021
A loving pitbull licking a man's face.
Photo: Courtesy of Patrick Stewart / Instagram

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Patrick Stewart, err… I mean, Sir Patrick Stewart is not only one of the most beloved actors of the time, but he’s also a huge fan of dogs and willing to boldly go where few have gone before — look beyond Pit Bull stereotypes.

Fans of Star Trek and those of us who love Pit Bulls were over the moon when we first learned about Star Trek: Picard. The latest installment of the cult-favorite franchise focuses on Captain Jean-Luc Picard, portrayed by Sir Patrick Stewart, made its debut in early 2020 on CBS All Access and the second season is now available on Paramount+.

In the show, Picard is shown enjoying his retirement in the solitude and luxurious surroundings of a vineyard estate, accompanied by his canine companion, a devoted Pit Bull aptly named Number One. Appearing in two episodes of the first season, Number One is played by a sweet rescue Pit Bull named Dinero. Stewart played a huge role in ensuring Picard’s dog was a rescued Pit Bull because of his advocacy against breed stereotypes. It’s fantastic that such a prominent show is featuring this breed of dog.

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But Stewart wasn’t always the advocate that he is today. In an interview with People, Stewart said of meeting his neighbor’s Pit Bull, Sadie, “I had a reaction, which I am now significantly ashamed of because Pit Bulls to me meant only one thing: aggression, hostility, violence. I was uncomfortable with the idea of meeting this dog.” After meeting Sadie, something clicked. He found himself quickly enamored, and that meeting pushed him to become a foster.

The actor and his partner regularly fostered Pit Bulls at their home in Los Angeles via the rescue organization Wags and Walks. At one point, Stewart even considered adopting his adorable foster dog, Ginger. “The experience of fostering a rescue Pit Bull has left a lingering joy in my life that I believe is here to stay,” Stewart said on Instagram. But due in part to the UK’s “draconian” breed-specific legislation, Stewart decided it would be best for Ginger to stay in the US as he frequently moved between England and the US. Wags and Walks found her a forever home in the Los Angeles area that could see her through her necessary medical treatments for an ACL injury.

But, he continues to contribute his presence to public service videos, including one with the ASPCA in which he’s shown embracing a Pit named Orson and calling for an end to dogfighting. Stewart spoke to Esquire about the breed, saying, “I’m passionate about these [Pit Bull] dogs, and they are abused and treated appallingly all over the world. I’m now campaigning in the UK for the laws to be changed and for them to be allowed into the country.”

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Cameron Woo

Cameron Woo was co-founder, publisher, and art director of The Bark magazine.