Keep Calm and Love Pit bulls
Keep Calm and Love Pit bulls
I came across an article recently while perusing Yahoo’s newsfeed. Now, usually I scroll right past this type of story because they’re just plain wrong. The stories either don’t report facts correctly, or just don’t report facts at all. And quite frankly I don’t want my newsfeed to start feeding me a whole bunch of nonsense stories, and then I’d have to find a new homepage. (What a drag!) However, the title of this particular story caught my eye. Entitled “Read on: Maybe we need common-sense dog laws,” I was intrigued. I thought maybe this article would introduce something new, something more than erroneous facts, gross stereotypes, and terrible generalizations. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
You see, I don’t like reading stories about Pit Bull attacks. And no, it’s not to try and ignore or disillusion myself, but it’s because a LARGE MAJORITY of the stories are wrong. The dog is not a Pit Bull, not even some sort of mix, the “attack” wasn’t some senseless act of violence, but provoked, and the story always likes to report made up facts about Pit Bull attacks that just get me angry. I also don’t want to be giving any attention to these types of stories, because it only helps them to gain traction, and that is something I refuse to do. But like I said, this story’s title caught my eye, so against my better judgement I clicked to read.
Was I genuinely surprised and tickled? Nope.
In fact, the author describes a beautiful day with his beautiful dog that is viciously attacked by, you guessed it, a Pit Bull. How does he know it was a Pit Bull, because his son who was actually present during the attack says so. The author himself wasn’t present, but sharing his two cents anyway. Those two cents go on to say that because some other places have enacted terrible discriminatory practices known as Breed Specific Legislation that all places should as well in order to stop terrible attacks that have left his dog unable to leave the house now. In fact, his suggestion is that all Pit Bulls should now have to be leashed whenever outside of their homes, on a short leash, and with muzzles on. All because one dog attacked his precious little pooch.
Well, you know what? I’ve got a suggestion for him too. Let’s muzzle Chihuahuas. How about little white Terriers? Pomeranians? Cats? Because every single one of these types of animals have attacked my two big and bad Pit Bulls, making them bleed, leaving scratches on their legs and faces, leaving us running into the middle of traffic to get away from them while careless owners stood on watching. And we haven’t been attacked once, twice, not even just three times in the four years we’ve had dogs. Nope. We’re lucky if our dogs only get attacked once a week. Once a week! This guy gets attacked once and suddenly he’s fighting to muzzle an entire breed! I can’t EVEN!
And before it gets asked, yes, I’ve had to fight off all these animals from my dogs. I’ve gotten scratched, bruised, bloodied, and pushed down. I’ve yelled at poop-shamers, and I’ve fended off Golden Retrievers and Labradors. I’ve had to fight off terrible people trying their best to get my dogs to attack them just so they can have something to boohoo about. I’ve protected my dogs and made sure the general public is protected every time I bring Simon and Rosee outside of the house.
So . . .
You want to muzzle someone or something? How about the people that think to fix one we have to punish all? How about the people who think their dog is somehow more important than another? How about the people that spew ignorance and hate? Because people who do these things are not helping to fix the actual problem that exists in society, but in fact are only creating new ones that impact people who are not even at fault.
My dogs should not have to walk around with muzzles on because of one set of irresponsible dog owners. My dogs should not be attacked by any other dog because of irresponsible dog owners. My dogs should not be subjected to irresponsible dog owners, period.
And neither should any other dog. An owner and a dog should be able to go on a nice, enjoyable walk in their neighborhood, at a park, or wherever they choose to go, without being subject to irresponsible owners and their untrained dogs. How does this happen? By enforcing leash laws and putting an end to illegal practices like backyard breeding and dog fighting. If leash laws were enforced then dogs wouldn’t be let loose in public places. It is usually the rules in cities and counties that when out in public, even in an owner’s front yard if not fenced in, dogs should be leashed, on a leash no longer than about six feet. Instead of being able to run at unsuspecting things, ALL dogs would be kept under control and their owners would be forced to take responsibility for them if leash laws were actually enforced. A novel idea, right?
Or how about stopping dog fighting rings and backyard breeding? Breeding creates an influx of dogs with not enough people willing to care for them, and more dogs ending up in shelters because of it. Breeding is a big problem for Pit Bulls as they are often the ones subjected to it. Everyone wants a Pit Bull until it comes time to actually caring for one. They are a strong breed of dog, one that needs lots of exercise and attention. Simon and Rosee certainly need their daily walks, playtime, and human interaction. But not everyone can give these things to a dog, much less a Pit Bull. So, after the novelty wears off and the dog is no longer a cute little puppy, the dog either gets abandoned to the streets or left at a kill shelter.
That is if the dogs don’t end up the hands of people who want to use them to fight, which is a whole other issue I am not even ready to get into. Dog fighting is disgusting and should not be inflicted on any type of dog period. It is something that needs to be taken more seriously by society in general and stopped immediately, with harsher sentences to those found responsible (looking at you Michael Vick).
But muzzling one breed? That is clearly not the answer. So please, think before your write.
And for the record, this is not “blowback” as you so kindly put it, author of the original article. This is common sense, just like you asked for.
I have to say something.
Some may understand. Some may not agree.
Yet, I have to say something.
The story of Diggy is both sad and upsetting. If you haven’t heard, though it seems to be everywhere on my newsfeed, Diggy is a dog whose picture went viral due to his smiling face. Due to the popularity of his picture local authorities took note and threatened to take him away from his brand new home because he looks like a Pit Bull and the area that he lives in has Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Despite numerous pleas that Diggy is not a Pit Bull at all, but in fact an American Bulldog mix, and has a DNA test to prove it, his fate is kind of unknown.
Now, I’m glad that Diggy’s story has garnered so much attention. His ordeal has provided the chance to bring some much needed attention to the unfairness that is BSL. People have been given the opportunity to see just how damaging BSL is to families and how it kills dogs simply due to what they look like. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happened. Instead, of opening up a larger discussion on BSL, the focus has been kept on this one dog. The problem is that even saving this one dog from being a victim of BSL does not actually address the root issue: BSL.
I’m not going to lie, of course, and say that I don’t have a personal opinion on BSL because as the owner of a Pit Bull how could I not. I love my dog and I don’t like anything that targets my dog based on stereotypes.
Still, my logical brain doesn’t agree with BSL simply because it’s inherently unfair and biased. My understanding of BSL from what I’ve read (which can differ from area to area) is that it is based on a checklist and features that Pit Bulls typically have. If your dog fits within any of those parameters, then your dog could be apprehended. The main problem I have with BSL is that it is meant to target a specific breed of dog, yet a “Pit Bull” is not an officially recognized breed of dog. There is the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog, which are commonly all labeled under the nickname of “Pit Bull.” It doesn’t mean anything. It’s almost synonymous these days with calling a dog a “mutt” or a “mixed breed.” If people aren’t sure what type of breed a dog is, then they just seem to label it as a Pit Bull. For reals, I have read plenty of stories about dogs that clearly looked nothing like a Pit Bull, yet they were labeled as such in the article. I mean honestly, how could a tall, skinny dog with a Golden Retriever-like coat be labeled a Pit Bull at all? Even more upsetting is that BSL is based on stereotypes. Am I denying that people that have been bitten by bully breeds are lying? Absolutely not! However, why should all dogs suffer as a result? Do we still believe that all poorer people are lazy? All Jewish people are cheap? All Hispanics are Mexicans and immigrants? All women “asked for it”? No, because we know stereotypes are just that; stereotypes.
Last night as I perused my newsfeed I came across two articles about Diggy. One was a report on the fact that a veterinarian had run a DNA test on him and confirmed that he is an American Bulldog. The other was from Woman’s Day magazine and the tagline stated that the reason Diggy was in danger of losing his forever home was “absurd.”
Give me a moment…
Of course, it’s absurd! It’s absurd that a dog may lose a home just because of what he/she looks like. It’s absurd that a girl was in danger of losing her therapy animal, which was a Pit Bull, because of what he looked like. It’s absurd that a long-haul truck driver lost his dog because he dared to have a heart attack while he was passing through a town that had BSL in effect. It’s absurd that people choose to live in their cars in order to keep their dogs, or spend an enormous amount of money keeping their dogs in kennels because they aren’t allowed to keep them where they live. It’s all absurd. These dogs have never done anything wrong. They have loving homes and great owners, but are suddenly in danger of losing their lives anyways.
Furthermore, the fact that one of the main arguments people have used in favor of freeing Diggy is to say that he is an American Bulldog really displays just how little understanding there is about BSL. Bully breeds are usually what BSL targets with Pit Bulls being the main bullseye, and if it walks like a Pit Bull and talks like Pit Bull, then it surely must be a Pit Bull. Still, proving Diggy is not a Pit Bull doesn’t explain why it’s not okay for him to lose his home. It doesn’t address why he deserves to stay.
I guess the point of this post is to say that Diggy, the smiling dog, is not alone. BSL affects more than just this one dog and more than just this one family. When did we condone blanket punishments based on a biased and unclear stereotype? Let’s talk about the larger havoc that BSL wreaks, raise awareness about it, and see if we can find better ways to stop all dog attacks. (*cough*leash laws*cough*) I want owners who have misbehaving or dangerous dogs to have to take responsibility for their inability to be responsible owners. Do I enjoy getting attacked by the same Chihuahua every time I walk my dog and have it bite Simon’s face? NO! Is it okay that I’ve complained three times about this dog and yet it still gets to run around loose without supervision? NO! Yet, there are laws in place for dogs like mine who have never done anything, but look a certain way.
Sadly, Diggy’s story isn’t the first and he certainly won’t be the last dog affected by BSL. So, please, support Diggy, but not just because he’s a cute, smiley dog who deserves his forever home. Support his case because you don’t agree with BSL and want to give a voice to the many other dogs that fall victim to this policy.
I am Pit Bull.
Hear me . . . snore!
(Seriously, she could do this all day.)
I know what you’re thinking! (Seriously though I am a mind reader, in case you didn’t know)
You’re probably thinking: What happened to Rosee?
I get it, I do. I mean, it was only a little over a week ago that Monica posted a story about Rosee having a bad case of hives, and now here’s a picture of Rosee in a cone with a cast on her leg. So, what Happened?!
It turns out, despite what stereotypes would have most people believe about Pit Bulls, Rosee is no match against the ordinary house cat. You see, last Tuesday evening Rosee decided it would be fun to chase Orion (the cat, who is not an ordinary cat at all, by the way) through the kitchen. Orion, of course, was too smart for a silly old dog to catch him—cat’s rule, dog’s drool!—and ran away to his bedroom, which is actually my bedroom, but semantics. However, as I went over to get Rosee after checking on Orion I noticed that she began limping. She would not put her back right leg down, and was holding it up whenever she was standing or walking anywhere.
So, in case you’re keeping score its: Cats 1 Dogs 0.
Now, we were concerned about Rosee’s leg because she wouldn’t put it down. We weren’t too worried though because Rosee has strained her leg before and it turned out to be nothing more than just that, a mild strain. According to the vet (when we took her at the time), she just needed about a week of rest and she’d be fine. She was given some anti-inflammatories to help with the pain, but there was nothing more to do than wait for her to heal. Unfortunately, this time was different. The next day Rosee was still not putting her foot down, and something told us we just couldn’t wait. Fortunately, Rosee’s annual check-up was due and so we thought we might as well take her in for her annual vet appointment and get her leg checked at the same time. Two birds with one stone, you know?
Luckily, we were able to get an appointment for that Friday. Of course, at this time I was convinced that the vet was going to think we were terrible pet owners considering that she has strained her leg in the past, just went in to get treated for a bad case of hives the week before, and was now needing to go in for a bum leg. I was seriously doubting my abilities as a pet owner. Either that or Rosee was much more fragile than I ever thought.
Still, I was trying to remain positive and hoped the vet would tell us that she sprained her foot and just needs a week or two of rest like he did before.
The vet did not tell us that.
It turns out Rosee broke one of her toes in her back right foot. The vet was actually surprised that she didn’t react when he was first feeling her leg and foot, and instead just lay on the ground letting him feel and bend her foot. After taking an x-ray of her whole leg and foot he saw that the bone in one of her toes was pretty much broken in two and just hanging in there. So, one cast, a prescription for anti-inflammatories, a prescription for sedatives, and one head cone later Rosee was finally headed home.
We were given very strict instructions for Rosee. For the next 6-8 weeks (no, you didn’t misread that) Rosee’s foot will be in a cast with weekly visits to the vet to ensure that her cast is working and doesn’t need to be rewrapped. She’s basically on bed rest for the next two months (yikes!) and we have to keep her as quiet as possible, which just seems impossible (especially with Simon around), hence the sedatives.
Then, as if all this wonderful news wasn’t good enough for one day, Rosee somehow ended up getting her entire cast off her foot that afternoon while my family was out running errands. It didn’t matter that she was tethered to her bed, and had her cone on so she couldn’t actually reach her cast with her mouth. She still managed to get her cast off with no issues. Luckily, the vet was able to squeeze us back in later that afternoon to replace her cast.
What’s the teaching moment here? Rosee may be a Pit Bull, but despite all the stereotypes she’s really just a delicate flower.
These past two weeks have been bad. I’m talking long-lasting, long-suffering, earth-shaking bad. Why? Well, it just so happens that everyone here at the Play Hard Bark Often doghouse was sick. And I do mean sick. Luckily, there was no puking, but there was nausea, coughing (hacking, really), sore throats, runny noses, and congested noses. We were all sick as, well, dogs.
Everyone except Simon that is. Unfortunately for the rest of us Simon remained in tip top shape and fully unable to comprehend that his people didn’t feel good. At all. He would go out in the backyard and stare forlornly at his toy box, making sad eyes at anyone who happened to make eye contact with him, doing his best to make you feel guilty on top of the sore throat, headache, and chest pain. He was good at it, I’ll tell you that much. His darn eyes got to me so many times I would spend every morning hiding from him on the couch and resolutely looking anywhere else.
And like I said it wasn’t just me that was put out of commission, but the whole entire family. Theresa was laid up on the couch next to me, with the other couch taken over by our mother, while our stepdad had been exiled to the bedroom as the sickest one out of all of us. Even Rosee was not immune to catching something this past week. However, her sickbed was quite certainly the scariest of them all.
Yeah, that happened.
Theresa and I woke up one morning, let the dogs out into the backyard so we could feed the cat his morning wet food, and by the time I followed outside to do poop duty Rosee’s entire face was swollen. Her left eye was almost swollen shut, both of her jowls looked and felt like they were stuffed with tennis balls, and she had spots all over her sides and back. Quite frankly, she was a mess!
Now, both Simon and Rosee are sensitive dogs. They roll around on too much grass for a little too long, get stung by a mosquito, come into contact with some chemical sprayed at our local parks and their skin tends to react. They will get bumps all over their backs and itch themselves into a frenzy. The only thing that helps reduce the bumps and calm the scratching is some cheese pockets filled with Benadryl. Yup, that’s right. Benadryl works wonders. Of course, always check with your veterinarian before giving your animal any sort of medicine. So, after consulting our veterinarian we were told it was safe to give our dogs a couple Benadryl pills over a few days whenever an allergic reaction took hold. And Benadryl has certainly been a little pink lifesaver for our two sensitive pups.
Like I said, allergic reactions hit at the most unexpected of times (and some not so unexpected) and it’s nice to be able to have something always on hand to take care of them. Benadryl has always proved strong enough to combat whatever is in the dogs’ systems and get them back to feeling their best in no time. However, this past allergic reaction of Rosee’s was definitely the worst I have ever seen on one of my dogs, and it was really scary!
Right away when we found Rosee swelling up and numerous bumps rapidly appearing all over her body we stuffed two Benadryl down her throat and anxiously awaited them to take effect. They did, slowly, but surely. Since her reaction was so severe we kept a close eye on her and when just about two hours had gone by it looked like her slowing deflating face was starting to get worse again, we stuffed another Benadryl down her throat. However, it became clear that whatever was wrong with Rosee was not going to be halted, let alone stopped, with Benadryl. So, it was off to the veterinarian for an emergency visit.
Our veterinarian was able to squeeze us in and after getting checked over it was a lot worse than we thought. Rosee had an elevated temperature, her ears were swollen and red, and her poor little paws were all red and inflamed as well. Luckily, after listening to her lungs our vet was able to determine that her breathing was fine and unobstructed even though the rest of her was puffy and swollen. So, in order to help her before things got worse the vet administered a steroid shot and gave clear instructions on when to give her more Benadryl throughout the rest of the day. Immediately after the shot her swelling started to go down. Her face became more recognizable and lost the tennis ball-hoarding look. You could clearly see both of her eyes again and her bumps started receding. Things were looking up . . . at least until that night.
By bedtime some sort of negative reaction had taken place within Rosee’s body. Either her steroid shot had worn off and the Benadryl wasn’t doing enough by itself, or the Benadryl and the shot were not mixing together well. The end result however, was even more horrifying than it had been that morning. Rosee’s entire body—back, sides, neck, chest, stomach—was completely covered in red raised bumps. She looked like she had been stung by over one hundred bees. It was terrifying! The poor girl was so incredibly uncomfortable! She would sit down for five minutes, then start running around the house whining. Our mother was so worried. She stayed up with Rosee all night to monitor her breathing, except the poor girl didn’t let anyone get any sleep. She barked and whined and ran around all night, just so miserable in her own skin. By the next morning the veterinarian was called again, and Rosee was prescribed stronger pills in order to combat the bumps. And combat the bumps they did.
After about two days on these extra strength pills Rosee’s bumps had completely disappeared and any sign of redness or swelling was long gone. The girl was healed! In fact, after being so swollen she looked positively small once back to her original state. I was ready to stuff her full with tons of treats if only to make her smile more.
According to our veterinarian the cause of Rosee’s ordeal was most likely some sort of bug bite or bee sting. Now, Simon and Rosee have been stung before, Simon has actually picked up a fallen bee and eaten it (getting stung in the mouth of course). They have also received numerous mosquito bites when, during the summer months, we sit out in the backyard for too long, too late in the evening. When they have gotten bitten or stung in the past bumps rise right where they were bitten, but don’t spread over the rest of their bodies. So, I find it hard to believe that Rosee’s dreadful allergic reaction was due to a lonely bee sting, and considering it was 9 o’clock in the morning, there were no mosquitos around. Also, we don’t use chemicals in our backyard (no weed killer or anything like that), no spiders (like the dreaded black widow!), and nothing weird that the wind may have carried over the fence. It’s like her allergic reaction just materialized out of thin air, which is really disturbing because we’re all afraid it could happen again. So far it hasn’t, but knowing that her allergy could be that bad certainly makes all of us keep a closer eye on where and what both Simon and Rosee get into. Caution is the new rule of all our lives, so cautious we will be.
Clearly, allergic reactions in dogs are serious business, just as they are in humans. Allergic reactions, whether to bug bites, bee stings, food allergies, in dogs should be monitored and treated because they do have the ability to get worse and have quite severe repercussions. Our veterinarian made it clear that Rosee’s airways could have swelled and made breathing difficult. Any sign of wheezing was dangerous. Also, overheating for a dog is a very serious matter. An elevated temperature can start killing brain cells and affecting your dog’s quality of life, not to mention it’s not always an easy situation to rectify. In the years that we have had Simon and Rosee we have learned what foods, treats, and toys are off limits because of their sensitivities and have been lucky that no truly life-threatening reactions have occurred. This last reaction of Rosee’s has certainly been the worst that either dog has ever experienced, and I am glad that our local veterinarian could take care of us so quickly and efficiently.
Bottom line: red, swollen bumps bad; normal smiling faces good. Be wary, but prepared. Learn your dog’s sensitivities and allergies—it could save his/her life.
Like a great song, a pit bull’s grin will never go out of style…
Plus they go with everything
On the third day before Christmas my true dog gave to me…
Press Play to find out!
In case you haven’t heard, PETA has recently announced that they are in support of banning the breeding of Pit Bulls. In an article they have released on the Huffington Post, they make the argument that by banning the breeding of these dogs they are not supporting anti-pit bull legislation, but rather they are actually supporting a way of protecting these dogs. My understanding of this article, as well as PETA’s claim, is that by enacting breeding bans on the specific breed of dog that represent the majority of dogs in shelters, are used in dog fighting, and most often are the ones found in abuse and neglect cases, then the aforementioned problems will be alleviated. By not allowing these types of dogs to exist, then it will deny abusers and dog fighting rings the ability to take advantage of them.
It is a noble thought that by simply getting rid of a single dog breed problems like abuse, neglect, and dog fighting will be eradicated. As a society we wouldn’t have to worry about dogs being hurt, brutalized, or forgotten about. In short, the world would be a better place.
Yet…then reality hits me in the face like a cold shot of water.
Unfortunately, (in my humble opinion) PETA is wrong.
Abuse, neglect, and dog fighting rings are not going to end just because we stop breeding Pit Bulls. Things might slow down for a little while, but then other breeds of dogs are just going to take their place. Dog fights are still going to happen, abusers are still going to abuse, and others are still going to get dogs and leave them in their backyard because they’re too much of an inconvenience to take care of. Violence, abuse, and neglect don’t discriminate. These plagues on society aren’t going to stop just because one breed of dog is eradicated. Rather, other types of dogs will be abused and neglected instead, and then what? Will PETA (as well as others) ban the breeding of Boxers (since they have been used as fighting dogs historically)? German Shepherds? Bulldogs? Heck, even Chihuahuas when we’ve run out of large breeds to ban? Even more importantly, where will it end? When do we draw the line at punishing the victims, and really try to end the actual problem?
These problems aren’t going to go away. As long as we continue to punish the victims of these crimes, and not the perpetrators nothing’s going to change. Instead of punishing the bullies in these situations we continue to limit the victims and hide behind the argument that by removing the victims from the situations we are really protecting them. However, are we really protecting Pit Bulls by committing genocide? Why aren’t we sending the message that dog fighting rings and the act of abuse and neglect of dogs (and all animals actually) is in no way, shape, or form acceptable in our society?
Let’s not be those people that say those women wouldn’t have gotten attacked if they hadn’t have been wearing such skimpy clothing. Let’s stand up and say violence perpetrated against another is not okay.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why PETA is supporting such a decision. The abuse and neglect of dogs in general is a big problem. Too many dogs just get left out in the backyard with little to no interaction of any kind. Too many dogs gain fame these days in internet stories written about the abuse they have lived through. Furthermore, backyard breeding is certainly a big problem. For instance, a couple of months ago when my family took Simon to the dog park we met a couple who had brought in their new puppy who was from a backyard breeder, and the conditions he was found in were deplorable. Every morning the puppies were given a few minutes to drink some water from a hose and then once it was gone that was it for the day, and their food was whatever was put in a kiddie pool. There was no shelter, and they were left in the sun for most of the day. Generally, I’m sure stories like this aren’t exactly new, which is actually pretty upsetting, to say the least. The worst part though, is that it is these puppies that end up getting abandoned, neglected, used in dog fighting, and turned over to already full shelters. Dog fighting rings are definitely a big problem. Dogs are treated horrendously, and as nothing more than a commodity that is thrown away when they’ve been all used up. So, I do understand the logic behind PETA’s explanation. Frankly, I just don’t agree because their solution doesn’t actually target the source of these problems.
So, here are my proposed solutions: wider access to spaying and neutering services, perhaps even making it mandatory for all household pets to be fixed unless someone is a licensed breeder; getting rid of housing discrimination practices since one of the main reasons dogs get surrendered to shelters or abandoned is because people can’t find housing that accepts pets; more severe punishments for abusers, neglecters, and especially people that are involved with dog fighting rings (because seriously, there is no way Michael Vick should even be allowed in polite society after what he did). It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be a quick fix. However, I firmly believe that one breed of dog should not have to pay for simply existing.