Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Confessions of a reformed pit bull hater

Okay, "hater" is not exactly the right word.  I've never hated any dog, nor have I never supported breed specific legislation or the mandatory euthanasia of any breed, and I've always held a very big grudge against those who give pits a bad name.  I was always just a little, let's say, overly cautious around pits.  I said I've never bring one into my home because in the past they have been bred to be vicious, and I believed part of that likely lingered deep in their DNA. 
Miss Molly

But all of that changed when I came to work for CWAC.  The pit that changed everything for me was Molly.  This adorable little girl was a compact, muscular bundle of joy.  I remember being a little nervous the first time she jumped up to lick my face.  I was even more nervous when I took her out to play with one of our other dogs, Cody.  Molly and Cody took opposite ends of the yard, stared one another down for a few minutes then took off at full speed toward each other, collapsing into a big ball of wrestling fur.  It took just a split second to realize they were playing, not fighting, and having a great time.  Molly always greeted me with slobbery kisses and hugs, and climbed up onto my lap for loves whenever she could.  Molly changed my perception of pit bull type dogs.

During my time at CWAC, we've been blessed to have several pitties come through our kennels.  From Mama and Tina to Gus -- a dog with cropped ears, the broadest head I've ever seen, a seriously bad-ass mean-streets look, and the biggest heart imaginable. 


Gus killing me with kisses.
I loved talking him for walks, because people would clear the sidewalks when they saw us coming.  I couldn't blame them, if I saw a dog looking like that coming toward me, I would be scared, too.  Gus could have been the poster child for BSL -- he definitely had the right look -- but he was a much better representative to fight against it.  Gus was a perfect example of exceptional behavior.  He seldom barked, never jumped up, and always answered when called.  He also loved to get attention and wouldn't hesitate to plop his heavy paws on your lap and tilt his head just enough to tell you he was open for some ear scratches. 

Molly, Gus, Rocky, Chubby, Bella, Billy, Katy, Tina and Mama have all had an impact on me that is nearly impossible to put into words.  They changed me.  There's nothing inside them that makes them prone to snap, not a violent bone in their stocky bodies.   Every time I see them, I saw the love and appreciation in their eyes, and the undeniable truth that there is nothing that separates them from Labs, or Collies, or even Poodles.  Okay, maybe one thing -- their fierce loyalty and ability to love.  I've never seen a type of dog so willing to please and so desperate to bond.  Despite the popular stories in the media, they are not vicious or unsafe.  Of course, all dogs should be properly socialized and introduced to new people and children.  But pit bull types should not be excluded simply because of the way they look. 

We now have several pits at the CWAC facility, all waiting for a home of their own.  It's Love Your Pit this month at the kennels, and we invite you to come down and meet them for yourself.  I promise you'll never be the same.

Amber is a caretaker with Canines With A Cause and runs public relations and marketing campaigns.

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