Tuesday, April 24, 2012

For The Love of Pit Bulls

The author's Petie
My husband and I joke that one day we'll come home to find our pit bull terrier, Petie, sitting in the recliner with the remote, watching TV with a beverage. Of course, the other dogs and the cats would be watching TV with him, but they wouldn't have a clue as to how to use the remote or get a cold one from the fridge. 

Pits are smart, or did I already say that. They're also funny, and full of themselves. I don't know of anyone who lives with a pit bull and ISN'T a huge fan of this not-quite-a-breed dog. The term pit bull term is used for most of the bully breeds---American Staffordshire Terrier, Alapaha Blue Blood, Bull Terrier, Bullmastiff, American Pit Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Terrier. Want to know what the other bully breeds are? Take this link to Bully Breeds You Should Know. (Surprised to see Boston Terriers there?)

Do you remember Petey from the Our Gang,TV show? He was a good baby sitter to the Little Rascals. He was also a pit bull.

Bad Rap, a pit bull Website, offers a spot-on character description:

Pit bulls are beautiful in their variety, but their most appealing features are their inner qualities. Strength, confidence, a sense of humor and a zest for life are all hallmarks of the breed. They also tend to be sensitive and get their feelings hurt easily. Properly socialized dogs are quite affectionate and friendly, even with strangers, and therefore do not make good guard dogs. They’re intelligent and eager to please and tend to remain playful throughout their lives. While some can be low key ‘couch potatoes,’ many others need a job to channel their enthusiasm and energy. They excel in dog sports, search and rescue work, drug and bomb detection work, and as therapy dogs. Severe shyness, fearfulness or human-directed aggression is not characteristic of the breed and highly undesirable in any dog. 

When our Petie gets his feelings hurt, he sits down in front of us, with his back turned. He won't even look over his shoulder to see if we're ready to gush over him, apologize for our transgressions, whatever they may have been, and beg his forgiveness. 

Rocky waits for a new home

The pit has definitely gotten a  bad rap. According to Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter Director Cheryl Wicks, pit bulls have been excessively stereotyped, with media coverage playing the largest role in shaping the public's misconceptions. She doesn't deny that an out-of-control pit bull is capable of inflicting great damage to other animals and sometimes humans, but says that's a very small percentage of pit bull dogs involved in attacks and should not be used to generalize the breed as a whole. Cheryl says that statistics show people are at greater risk for injury or death due to falling, drowning or spousal abuse than they are from dog attacks.

At Sammie's Friends, pits come into the shelter too often. These dogs seldom did anything to warrant being dumped, but you better believe their feelings are hurt. You can see it in their expressions.That is, until you start talking to them, then their expressions change into wide grins.

For more great information about pit bulls, take the link in our blog roll to BadRap.org. I've purposely left out all the negative things we've heard about this group of dogs. But I hope you were open to reading "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey used to say. We'd love to hear about your positive interactions with this fabulous group of dogs.

---Michelle A. McKenzie lives with six dogs, one of whom is Petie-the-amazing-pit.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Petie! Thanks for the post, Michelle!