I always say that it's a good day if I have learned something new. Last week I came across something new to me, in the Pit Bull world, that opened my eyes to a whole new mentality. I'm not sure it made it a good day, but it made me a day smarter... I saw a news report about a dog attacking a child. It was very unfortunate and probably could have been prevented. Of course the dog had showed aggression in the past and he was running at large once again. I had never commented on one of these articles so I thought I would try it and see what would happen. I commented that the stock photo that they used was very inaccurate for a few reasons. They tried to say the dog had never shown aggression in the past...The picture was clearly a seasoned aggressive dog. Secondly, I commented that because the breed hadn't been officially determined, and I thought it was unfair to post a pic of a pit bull, further demonizing the breed, rather than a more objective photo.
Wow! Was I not ready for what happened next! I know there are people who are scared of pit bulls and even those that think all pit bulls and mixes should be euthanized to eradicate the breed, but I had NO idea that the people who think all pit bulls should die, regardless of temperament, were so violent in their beliefs! I got attacked and called a number of derogatory names. One person called me a murderer because I owned pit bulls that will "someday kill my family members". The people just kept commenting even when I wasn't commenting back. I just kept reading until I couldn't read anymore. It really opened my eyes... They sounded like white supremacists when they are ranting. Frankly, it upset my stomach.
What did I learn from these people violently opposed to the breed? I guess it goes back to my post on talking to a brick wall. The people were commenting in such a "vicious" way, there was no way they would hear reason. Why even fuel the fire so that they can get their comments up for the public to see? So I just walked away... I am so glad I surround my self with people who read studies, listen to behaviorists, and have experience that teaches them to judge the dog by temperament, not by a guess of a breed.
I may have left the conversation, but I decided to go ahead and research some of the people commenting. One of them turned out to be a woman, I have heard of in the past, who started a website after she was "attacked" by a Pit Bull. She eventually moved from her home town to a city half-way across the US because it was determined by Animal Control that...get this! She attacked the Pit Bull! Crazy right? Apparently there was some proof that she grew up being told all Pits should die and it carried into her adult life. I couldn't imagine being a person that is never open to learning new things. Just because something is my culture, doesn't mean I push it onto other people in a vicious way. It's got to stress these people out to be so hateful. I know I felt less stressed when I turned off the computer. Geeze!
Fifteen years ago I got my first Staffordshire Pit Bull. She was almost two and hadn't been socialized. When I asked my boyfriend why he hadn't socialized her he said it was because of where he was from, "If they liked people they would get stolen". Months later when she moved in with me and we did have a few stand offs... She sincerely thought the couch was hers and I shouldn't come in the room. It was not pretty. I spent weeks entering the room with treats and even got her a recliner just for her use. It only took me a few weeks to change her mind about me sitting on the couch. For the next few months I spent time teaching her that people entering the house and passing us on the street were mostly good. She was so eager and quick to learn, it started to make me wonder about all of the pit bulls I saw on chains at my friends houses over the years. "The root of fear is ignorance" and I was very ignorant back then.
Back to my Staffie. She lived to be 9 years old and by the end of her life, everyone was a friend. I think this is a testimony of the great loyalty the American Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Pit Bulls. Missy was very loyal when she was taught to not like anyone but close family, and she was very loyal when she was shown that it was okay to like everyone.
Again I want to state that a Pit Bull's best attribute is also their worst attribute...LOYALTY. They want to make us happy and in turn are the ones chastised for doing what they are told.