Breed discrimination is just that, discrimination, and those that suffer the most from it are Bull breeds. I was dumped, along with my pup, at the front gate of the Second Chance Humane Society shelter. We were underweight and clearly poorly cared for. I am not saying my hardships were due to my breed, but I certainly won’t rule it out. So today’s Pet Column is dedicated to addressing misperceptions about my breed.
In my three short years of life I have learned that people hold rather polarized feelings about my breed. Bull breeds have a bad rap for being aggressive and dangerous, and have been banned from cities, housing developments and last year, Delta Airlines (so families with Bull breeds are also immensely impacted from breed bans). But there are many who love us, and are even trying rebrand us as “Pibbles” to show a softer, trendier family pet. I hope after reading this you will land more in the middle of these two viewpoints.
“Pit bull” isn’t a breed. It’s a term used to loosely describe American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers: big head, muscular, stocky body. No other dog has had so much media coverage in the last 15 years. Condemning a dog based on his physical traits is declaring his guilt, or worth, based purely on his appearance. But, still, the section of society that does not feel safe with Pit Bulls has a right to be heard.
Like all dogs Bulls react to the world based on breeding, environment and training. You can’t breed a dog to fight other dogs for almost 200 years and expect those instincts to vanish. To try to sell the Pit Bull to the public as a fluffy bunny does a disservice to the public, to potential Pit Bull owners and to Pits. But so does making an assumption that, based on my breed, I am too aggressive to live peacefully in today’s society.
Most importantly, those that bring Pit Bulls into their families have to realize that due to our natural tenacity, strength, and prey drive there is a greater level of responsibility placed on our people to keep us safe and avoid situations that may trigger an aggressive reaction (which can happen with any dog if placed in a bad situation).
Things that are important to dog parenting become more so for the Pitty parent: learning and staying tuned into their pet’s body language, providing structure, training, exercise and lots of attention. We are highly trainable, but do need to be trained. Our intelligence, focus, gameness, loyalty and desire to please make us one of the most teachable dogs.
So why adopt a bull breed? Well, for starters it’s been proven that Pit Bulls give more kisses than any other type of dog. We love humans and human interactions and feed off positive attention. We truly are loving, friendly beings who enjoy having fun. We are like other dogs yet also unique. Don’t fear us, just work to understand us. You people aren’t the easiest creatures to comprehend but we haven’t given up on you either.
As for me, after getting a new life with Second Chance, I am now happy, healthy and ready for my forever home. I play well with all the other dogs here, although I am not a big fan of cats. My absolute favoritist thing to do is cuddle with my human friends. I am quite mellow, walk well on a leash and will make a loving and loyal pet.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for over 26 years. Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.