Comment Of The Day (2): “A Definitive Tome About Pit Bulls, Which The Breed Bigots Will Ignore, Naturally”

No, this isn’t my sister’s Havanese, but you get the idea…

“There are two kinds of people…” and one of the most undeniable ways to finish this much-worn sentence is “those who understand dogs and those who don’t.” To understand them is to marvel at them, cherish them, and love them. Not to understand them, as an astounding number of humans do, is to live in ignorance and fear, and to miss out on one of the mystical joys of life: bonding with an animal.

I never fully appreciated this until my younger sister under went a rare midlife conversion, changing sides from the canine-phobic to the dog-allied.  Divorced, she was faced with an empty nest, and though she had always emulated my mother, who had nothing but contempt for dogs (cats too), decided that she could not bear returning to a house with no one to express joy that she had returned.

My wife, who had witnessed  my sister’s callous treatment of our dogs, who were greatly insulted, was dubious, and was certain her new companion, an abusrdly cute, cheerful, silly, dumb as a brick Havanese named “Elphie,” would be neglected. She has never been happier to be wrong.

My sister’s entire attitude has changed, not merely toward dogs, but toward the whole of humanity and the world. She is happier, friendlier, more resilient and less anxious. She has fearlessly assisted a huge lost wolf hybrid; she has guided a wandering Great Dane home; she lets pit bulls leap up to lick her. Now she complains that she missed so many years of interaction with what she has learned are fascinating, empathetic, loving creatures with individual personalities and the ability to surprise and delight every single day.

I thought of my sister as I read Lisa Weber’s Comment of the Day on the most recent Ethics Alarms post about the other side. Here it is:

A dog’s heart is cooperation over competition. Here in SoCal the shelters are full of Pitties and Chi’s and their mixes. I blame greedy ignorant breeders, a throw away society that thinks nothing of getting rid of dogs that become an inconvenience, and a lazy society that won’t put the effort and time into researching before acquiring, socializing and training….but still wants a puppy over an adult dog…

I sit at my desk, typing this listening to the soft snores of the dogs at my feet. All 16 of them. Yesterday there were 17. I had to help one old fellow shuffle off the mortal coil yesterday. Some asshole dumped him and his elderly lady friend at the shelter, claiming they “found them running stray”. Because they were “stray” the shelter by law had to hold them 5 days for their owner to reclaim them, which never happened. See in our state, it costs $80 to surrender your dog, but to drop off a stray is free. Hence we get a lot of strays that certainly weren’t stray.

The little old pug dogs, Monty and Matilda, sat on the cold, cement floor of a kennel terrified for 5 days before I could be allowed to get them. By then they both had caught kennel cough and an intestinal bug. Matilda has a collapsing trachea, and her kennel cough quickly turned to pneumonia. I had to put her in my ICU cage on oxygen twice to save her life. She is recovering now, but still doesn’t want to eat much. Her boyfriend Monty had bizarrely abnormal x-rays and an ultrasound revealed a huge tumor on his liver which was displacing his other organs. I had him just two weeks before having to let him go. At least he died warm and loved with gentle hands and the tears of someone who loved him on his coat instead of on the cold cement with a heart stick. That is how he would have died if I didn’t intervene. Both of them little old balls of furry love. How can humans fail their oldest companions so completely?

In rescue we agonize over the pitties, staffies, American Bulldogs, mastiffs and other “bully” breeds as well as dobies, shepherds, rotties and others with bad reps. So many are such wonderful dogs, but no one wants to take a chance and adopt them….except the fighters. I have seen them come to the shelters, they walk the aisles and kick and rattle the cages, they yell at the dogs, looking for the one that hits the fence aggressively. They write the number down and send their girlfriends and wives to adopt the dogs ( this happens to many a Craigslist free dog as well). Or even worse, they adopt passive, submissive dogs to use as bait dogs. I had a bait dog. He was a pug mix. Sweet as could be. They filed his teeth – I don’t know why, he would have never bit anyone, man nor beast. His skin was like a mosaic of scars where he had been torn open, crudely sewn back shut and torn open again. He never lost his trust and love of people or other dogs. I named him Edgar Allan Pug and he was adopted by a lovely family who had him until he passed.

No, there should not be breed bans. There should be idiot breeder and owner bans. It is not the dog that is at fault, it is man and his greed and irresponsible and selfish ways.


9 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day (2): “A Definitive Tome About Pit Bulls, Which The Breed Bigots Will Ignore, Naturally”

  1. Wonderful reading today. I have the little dog end as a dog sitter in the PNW, so I get many Chihuahuas & little breeds that unbeknownst to the owner, has some real personality…more personality than they expected. My wife & I often say “there are dog people & people who have dogs” and they certainly are two different things.

    Dog people speak dog. They get all the ways dogs speak to them, including body language, tone of sounds, etc. Their people speak back with tone, exuding of energy, rewards, and like in any good relationship, boundaries. Dog people know dogs like being a part of the pack, and they know you do too.

    People who have dogs don’t realize the impact a lack of training can have on other people, animals, and their surrounding community. These folks get frustrated when a puppy doesn’t respond to some new potty method within a day. Some leave their dogs alone for too long without concern and others smother them out of their own internal issues.

    I’ve often wondered if there was a way for people to get dog owner licenses. Of course this is a fundamentally terrible idea. More government bureaucracy won’t make for better owners, but man, some kind of “is being a dog owner right for you?” test would be awesome. This doesn’t mean only those who speak dog can have them. I have some clients who have become dog people after understanding the importance and training and boundless patience. I just mean that each relationship is more complex than the fantasy, and this includes having pets. It’d be nice to prepare folks better for such an important journey for both owner and canine companion.

    • Mixed Jack Russell/chihuahua here. We got him from my brother and his family which just couldn’t handle that much personality with three little boys in the house, too.

        • Yikes! I don’t think I’ve ever seen the JR/French Bulldog. But our Lucky is adorably energetic and craves our attention in our way even our son never has. 🙂

    • There’s some pretty good points in that comment, thanks for sharing.

      Mrs. Q wrote, “It’d be nice to prepare folks better for such an important journey for both owner and canine companion.”

      This particular point I found a little interesting for this reason; most people aren’t even decently prepared anymore for a relationship with another human being, maybe we should start with that kind of preparation and then the improvements in the human/canine relationship will naturally follow without any additional preparation.

    • Couldn’t there be some kind of a law to exclude thugs and criminals who have trained dogs in the past to be vicious from dog ownership? I realize that some people need a dog who will attack a burglar upon command to protect themselves or their property. Guard dogs have their place but appropriate training is necessary.

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