Pit Bull People Part 1: How I became one
I didn't mean to become a Pit Bull Person.
I never had a problem with them, but I grew up with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and I always figured I'd get one of my own, or possibly a Golden Retriever. When I started fostering, I just picked a dog I thought was cute (which is not how I'd advise people get started). She was a Rottweiler mix, and she was lovely. Then I had a Dachshund mix who was extremely leash aggressive, a Coonhound who was a nut job, then 2 small poodle mixes who were human aggressive (one is still our only bite to this day, knock on wood). Then we got our first "pit bull." An emaciated little brown dog we called Penny. And that's when we inadvertently became Pit Bull People.
I first learned about the stigma pit bulls face when my parents saw our new foster dog and called to warn me. They had never met a pit bull in person, but they'd heard the hype. I insisted the dog was perfectly lovely, and welcomed them to come meet her. They did so cautiously, and since then I have not heard one more word about the dangers of pit bulls. Just like that, we and Penny set off on a quest to change as many minds as we could.
We first experienced breed specific restrictions when we had to move 2 weeks into fostering Penny. We saw several apartments that wouldn't take a "dangerous dog" without asking anything about her other than breed. I refused to move anywhere we couldn't bring her, because we had committed to fostering her until adoption (3 years later that joke's on us). We finally found a place and continued to foster pits and other bully breed mixes, because we knew how hard it was to find a place they'd be allowed.
Previously I had never about specific breeds being unwelcome. Over time, we found ourselves becoming more involved, hearing rumors and misconceptions—some negative, and some positive. We found ourselves memorizing responses, learning a ton about rescue, and more specifically about pit bull rescue.
More than anything, we have found one piece of truth: there is no such thing as a "typical" pit bull. All dogs are products of their genetics, their environment, the way they're treated, the experiences they've had, their individual personalities, the weather, the circumstances, their health, and even their moods. There is only one word that can go at the end of the sentence "All pit bulls are" and it's simply "dogs." Pit bulls are just dogs—and that's our job as Pit Bull People. To say that they're just normal freaking dogs. No better, no worse, not a different species. Just dogs.
This is the first post in a series about all the things people typically say about Pit bulls and how I respond to them. Spoiler alert: the most basic answer is "not all pit bulls." I'll be keeping track of the blogs and related IG posts with the hashtag #NotAllPitBulls, and encourage you to do the same.
Some things we'll address are:
- what exactly is a pit bull?
- what is Breed Specific Legislation and does it work?
- do pit bulls have locking jaws/ do more damage/ feel less pain?
- are pit bulls "nanny dogs?"
- are pit bulls inherently dangerous?
- can pit bulls live with other animals?
- why do pit bulls seem to bite more people than other dogs?
- isn't it how they're raised?
- are most pit bulls rescued from dog fighting?
- what's the deal with bait dogs?
- don't pit bulls score higher than other dogs on temperament tests? so shouldn't we really be pointing out that chihuahuas and dachshunds are more likely to bite?
- do they really have the worst farts?
- ...and more
If you have anything specific you'd like to see answered or addressed (or if I get anything wrong!) please contact us at HelloPigPen@gmail.com or use the contact form on this blog.
(Note: I'm not at all an authority on this subject. Just a lady who has loved a lot of pit bulls.)