Categories
Advocacy and Activism Animal Stories Articles Pit Bulls

What’s it like having an ‘outlaw dog’?

I almost forgot to write about this interesting meeting between my dog Red (Rednose – American Staffordshire Terrier Mix) and an unenlightened human, at my hair dresser’s about 2 months ago.

I was late to my appointment and couldn’t drop off my dog at home, so I called the hair dresser and asked if I could bring my big dog with me. She said, “Of course you can bring your dog.” Red and I walked into the hair salon and he showered everyone who came near us with kisses, his tail constantly wagging for 10 minutes, and he loved the attention and affection. Before I sat down in my chair I asked everyone if they were comfortable with me having my dog nearby. No complaints, so I placed Red right in front of me on his blanket. He laid down and watched the people, calm and super sweet as usual. Everything seemed to be perfect and everyone enjoyed Red’s friendly attitude.

Red at the beach

I was getting my hair cut when the customer to my right was finished and left. A new customer, a tall blonde lady, sat down. Red was excited to see the new woman and tried to get her attention by being super cute and staring at her. He got her attention, and she called him to come over. I let him go, and he was all over her, licking her face and trying to get as close to her as possible. He laid next to her and she patted him for awhile. Then, she asked me about his name and what kind of dog he is.

I said, “Red is a Pit Bull Mix.”

The woman (in her early 40’s, dressed in a business suit) stopped patting him and looked at me, repeating “A ‘PIT BULL’? I mean a ‘PIT BULL,’ PIT BULL?”

(*”Pit bull” is NOT a breed. It’s a generic term often used to describe all dogs with similar traits and characteristics known to the public as “pit bulls.” When we use the term “pit bull” here, it should be understood to encompass American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and mixes of those breeds. Source: Pit Bull Rescue Central).

I said, “YES, he is an American Staffordhshire Terrier and Rednose Mix, he probably has some other breeds him as well.”

I explained to her what a PIT BULL is and she listened, interested. She: “Oh my god, really? I can’t believe it. He is so sweet, loving and well behaved.” Her voice was not excited anymore – it sounded more like she had dry mouth and needed a glass of water. Me: “I know, he is a total sweetheart and an absolutely perfect dog.”

I could feel I was talking to someone who was totally prejudiced about Pit Bull-type breeds. The woman: “You know, I’m an attorney and I just heard of a case where a Pit Bull attacked a neighbor’s child. The child needed 14 stitches and we can be very happy that the dog did not rip the child apart.” Me (in my dry-German way): “Oh really? Why did the dog attack, and what happened to the dog?” She: “I don’t know why he attacked the innocent child. They took him to the pound and he got what he deserved.” Me: “What he deserved? I’m very sorry to hear that. What kind of experience have you had with Pit Bulls until now?”

Lilly & Red

I had second thoughts – should I start a heavy conversation with her or just ignore it?

She: “I’m usually not a dog person (I DISLIKE), but I kinda like your dog. I still can’t believe he is a Pit Bull. I hope he won’t go after your kids one day. My friend is a firefighter and he told me some ugly stories. What is it like having an outlaw dog?” I was not surprised she used the word “outlaw”… I mean, as an attorney she needed to do that. This is the point where my eyes and the eyes of my friend and hair dresser met in the mirror. I smiled and said: “It’s great. We love it. He is definitely an enrichment in our lives.”  I turned around to her and said: “You should read more about this type of dog, educate yourself and meet more Pit Bull-type dogs, if you are interested in dismantling your prejudices.”

Now my hair dresser, another friend of hers and two customers got involved. A very interesting conversation was engaged by this woman. In the meantime, Red was busy licking the woman’s hand and legs, and being an ambassador for Pit Bull-type mixed breeds. I knew I was not with “dog-people” who knew a lot about dogs, and I had to handle this differently than the talks I have with rescue friends, dog advocates or dog lovers. I listened for the first 20 minutes and then I started asking questions, and educating them about Pit Bull-type dogs, their needs, temperaments, and of course about responsible dog ownership. I also told everyone about some really good resources where they could learn more about this (of course I mentioned PackPeople). The conversation ended at a nice point where everyone agreed to look at a dog as an individual and not to discriminate against an entire breed, with all the negative publicity surrounding it.

Pit Bulls and their cousins can be great in a multiple animal household, if handled properly. Please contact us for more details.

The responsible pit bull owner is aware of the heritable attributes of their breed’s behavioral makeup and recognizes that pit bulls have an inescapable genetic history. Pit bulls make wonderful and loyal family companions. Like all dogs, they require intelligent, responsible and dedicated ownership.

Bottom line of my visit at the hair dresser and the hour-long debate between hair dressers and customers: I got an awesome cut, and no one really knew the facts about Pit Bull-type dogs. Today, I know much more about this type of dog than I did 2 years ago, because I educated myself, did not discriminate, opened my mind, heart and view.

When I adopted Red I fell in love with his personality, and didn’t care about his look or his heritage.

Many Pit Bulls are waiting in U.S. shelters and animal rescues. Search here. Please always adopt never shop! ~ Thank you.

Categories
Adoption Breeds No - Kill Movement Non - Profits Pet Care Pet Care Pit Bulls Shelter Animals

Speaking Up for Z

We love this entry from guest blogger Katie Jockers at endurapet.com and Beloved Beasts… very important words about believing in – and speaking up for – pit bulls, animals and the mission to save lives. Thank you, Katie! – Rufino and Yurda

[from Katie:]

An interesting thing happened last week:

I exited the grocery store and found myself facing a soft, handsome, 8-month-old tan and white pit bull. A young man was proudly holding his leash. I waited my turn as the lady in front of me dropped her groceries to give pats and praise, and then I asked if I might say hello to the furry man of the hour. Permission granted, I proceeded to pat and compliment and gush. The dog’s name is “Z”. I complimented the young man on how nice and well-socialized his puppy was. Of course, I also took the opportunity to ask if he had attended the rally at the state capital in support of reversing Denver’s breed ban. No? He didn’t even know about it. I gave him the information to join one of the local groups, and scrawled out StubbyDog and BAD RAP’s info for him, which he was glad to have.
(BAD RAP and StubbyDog are both excellent online pit bull resources. Although they are not in Denver, I wanted him to see both)

Then, I can only think he misunderstood me, because then he boasted, “We breed Pits too! We have Daisy and Meathead, Desi and ZanyMan… They all have huge heads, man. It’s sick, Yo.”

Huh?

I didn’t know what to say. I picked up my bag, told him his dog was a sweetie, and started to walk away. I was stunned. As I processed what I had just heard, I began muttering “Idiot!” under my breath. Suddenly in my head the young man was no longer a nice guy out with his dog. He was an idiotic, baggy pants, sideways-hat-wearing, irresponsible, stupid, lowlife punk.

How quickly we change. The things I regarded minutes before merely as unfortunate, yet harmless, fashion choices on his part now became evidence of this punk-ass lowlife monster and propagator of misery for the breed I love so dearly. I hate it that I did this, but I did. I gathered peripheral details and stacked them up against him, almost justifying walking away instead of trying to talk to him.

Let me just say here that I know talking to people who “don’t get” it is not going to change things in a day, and I don’t hold any crazy ideas that some people will suddenly stop regarding pit bulls as badges and things. But I think that when it is safe to do so, we need to speak up for those who can’t. I am not proud to admit I almost walked away and complained without saying something, but I think it is a choice we all have to face and I need you to know that yes, it was hard. It was scary, and even though I am outspoken about animal well-being in general, I still almost walked away.

I knew I had to say something, and I also knew I had to collect myself. I put my groceries in my Jeep. Hopped in, and pulled around to catch him as he walked around to the back of the store. I felt safer up in my Jeep. I had already decided he would not want to hear what I had to say. I waved, smiled, and said just that:

“Hi again! Look, I know you probably aren’t going to want to hear this, but my life is dedicated to working with animals, and I spend a huge amount of time working on behalf of pit bulls. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try. Can we talk for a minute about why I want you to reconsider breeding them?”

“Okay” (Wow! He said okay. Neat!)

“You see, it is clear that you really love Z, and this is not meant to be an attack on you personally… but I wonder if you are aware of the number of pit bulls at the county shelter right now?”

“I know, Man. That’s messed up.”

“So you do know how many are in the shelter right now, and that most of them will be euthanized? Did you also know that all across the US shelters are overflowing with wonderful pitties who will end up in garbage bags today and every day?”

(He stares at me)

“I am talking to you about this because I thought you might want to know. It makes me sad to hear that you’re breeding them, when for every dog you produce, another in the shelter loses his or her chance at life. I wanted to let you know this, so that maybe you will reconsider.”

“Yeah, well it’s my grandpa who’s the breeder. He has a license to breed them and everything, He is real careful about selling them and shit. We don’t fight ‘em, we sell them for protection.”

Here is the place where I had to count three breaths before I responded, “And I can see that your grandpa has taught you well about respecting the breed and cultivating a friendship with Z. That’s great! Can I buy you lunch so we can talk some more?”

Long story, but after sitting on the curb outside as he nursed his milkshake and just talking for 30 minutes, he was asking questions and really doing some thinking. People came and patted Z, who was loving the extra attention. We talked in detail about euthanasia, something about which he had very little information. We talked about why it is especially hard to swallow the fact that anyone would think of breeding pit bulls when just 10 blocks away – where Denver borders our neighborhood – countless innocent dogs have been lost because of Denver’s insane breed ban. We talked about the opportunities available for him to work with pit bulls and the other ways he can gain respect and feel pride – like training, speaking out against breed bans, and educating people about the breed. We agreed that it is likely Grandpa may not change his mind, and will probably tell him the crazy lady at the grocery store was off her rocker, but he promised to talk to him.

It was a better outcome than I had expected, and I guess the reason I’m sharing this is because I’d like to encourage others to try for a minute move beyond the anger, and try to talk to people like this young man. While we might want to flip out and scream, it sometimes pays to try to channel a much calmer, less horrified person for a few minutes… and try to talk to them like we really believe they might change. The result may not always be like this, so be safe, but please do consider speaking up. I am glad I did.

And what did I learn?

I found that had more in common with this this kid than I thought, Yo.

Pit Bulls are currently banned in our nearby city of Denver. More on breed ban here: http://stubbydog.org/2011/03/the-psychology-of-breed-bans/

More articles with and about Pit Bulls: Interview with ChakoInterview with PBRCInterview with PCDRInterview with Downtown Dog Rescue Article about Pit Bulls

Categories
Adoption Breeds Interviews on packpeople.com Non - Profits Pet Care Pit Bulls Shelter Animals

70% are Pit Bulls in animal shelters – Audio Interview with PBRC – Teal Erickson

Founded in 1996, Pit Bull Rescue Central has created more than an informational website; it’s a virtual shelter and resource for owners and caretakers of American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and pit bull mixes. Pit Bull Rescue Central envisions a compassionate world where pit bulls and pit bull mixes reside in responsible, loving homes and where their honor and positive image is restored and preserved. PBRC provides tons of information about the breed and pitbull education.

We had a great time interviewing and learning from PBRC Adoption Coordinator Teal Erickson, and we’re excited to share with you her experiences, knowledge and insights in helping dogs find loving homes and educating people.

Pit Bull Rescue Central  – http://www.pbrc.net/

Twitter: @PBRCtweets

Facebook: Pit Bull Rescue Central

Interviewee: Teal Erickson / Interviewer: Rufino Cabang (PackPeople)

Please check out this wonderful audio interview here:
PBRC by PackPeople

www.pbrc.net has great websites and links listed; Teal also would like to draw attention to

Collar Mania  – www.collarmania.com

Ella’s Lead  – www.ellaslead.com

Paco Collars – www.pacocollars.com

Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!

[nggallery id=36]

More Pit Bull related interviews? Please check out:

Interview with Chako

Interview with Pacific Coast Dog Rescue 

Interview with Downtown Dog Rescue

Misconception about Pit Bulls

Categories
Adoption Breeds Interviews on packpeople.com Non - Profits Shelter Animals

The Big Misunderstanding about Pit Bulls – Interview with Rachele from Chako Pit Bull Rescue

Chako Pit Bull Rescue is a 503 (c) non profit organization which aims to alleviate the persecution of the Pit Bull breeds by finding homes for Pit Bulls in need, promoting responsible dog ownership, and standing against breed discrimination. The Pit Bull rescue is based in Sacramento, California. Chako Pit Bull Rescue provides advocacy efforts for responsible dog owners, free and low cost Pit Bull classes, and educational events throughout the year.

We had a great time interviewing and learning from the Social Media Coordinator Rachele, and we’re excited to share with you her experiences, knowledge and insights in helping Pit Bulls and educating people.

Chako Pit Bull Rescue – http://chako.org

Twitter: @chako_org

Facebook: Chako Pit Bull Advocacy and Rescue

Interviewee: Rachele / Interviewer: Rufino Cabang (PackPeople)

Please check out this wonderful audio interview here:
Audio interview with CHAKO Dog Rescue – Pit Bulls rule! by PackPeople

Rachele recommended following websites:

Pawsitive Attention Pet Care Services – www.pawsitiveattention.com, which includes a “Resources Tab” with several useful links, including:

Dog Food Analysis – www.dogfoodanalysis.com

Feline Nutrition – www.feline-nutrition.org

CHAKO on Google+
Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!

[nggallery id=28]