I’m a responsible dog owner.
My dogs are properly vaccinated and spayed. When we go out in public, they are leashed. I don’t let them roam the neighborhood, and I clean up after them. I have tried to properly train them so that they’re well-behaved and well-socialized.
As far as I can tell, I’ve done pretty much everything right in raising my dogs.
And yet when I take my 65 pound Pit Bull mix for a walk in my own neighborhood, people cross the street to avoid us.
When we walk in the door at the vet’s office, other pet parents immediately scoop up their smaller dogs, as if to protect them from my girl.
When we go to Petsmart or the dog park or a local dog-friendly event, it’s hard not to notice that people tend to avoid us.
I know why. It’s that big block head. It’s the fact that she’s a Pit Bull.
What these people don’t know is that she is gentle and loving, and if I scold her, it breaks her heart and she works diligently to make up with me.
They don’t know that she lives with a 15 pound, 15 year old Dachshund, and they are the best of friends.
They don’t know that I’ve never owned a sweeter, smarter, or more perfect dog.
I am angered by the misconceptions and prejudice I encounter every day as a Pit Bull owner, not only directed at my dog but at me, as well. I’m frustrated beyond belief that my dog is held to a different – a higher – standard than other dogs.
I’m sick of having to prove over and over again that she is a good dog, when the fact is, she’s never been anything but.
So I become angry at the media for its sensationalized reporting on Pit Bulls. I’m angry at the neighbors who cross the street and the people at the vet’s office and the dog park for their ignorance.
But then I remember that who I really should be angry at are the dog fighters, and the irresponsible Pit Bull owners, and the thugs who use and abuse these dogs every single day. They are the ones who have painted these questionable pictures of my dog.
They are the ones who have taught the unenlightened to fear what they do not know or understand.
They are the ones who have caused the rest of the world to believe that a smart, educated, professional person would never own a Pit Bull.
They are the ones who, essentially, are responsible for the hundreds of thousands of millions of homeless Pit Bulls that die in shelters each and every year because no one came for them.
So don’t waste your time getting angry at biased (and often inaccurate) media reporting. Don’t waste your time getting angry at your ignorant neighbor or co-worker who says, “Oh, I just never imagined YOU would own a Pit Bull.” Quite honestly, they’re just following the leader, believing everything they see and hear without any proof to back it up.
Instead, use your energy to do something to change the way people view us and our dogs.
Get angry and do something about dog fighting in your community. Don’t look the other way – keep your eyes open and report suspicious activity. Realize that dog fighting is everyone’s problem and we all must work together to stop it.
Be a responsible Pit Bull parent, realizing that you do have to be better than the average dog owner.
Show the world what kind of people really own Pit Bulls. We are business owners and bankers, chefs, law enforcement, and clergy. We’re students, financial analysts, and teachers. We’re upstanding citizens and responsible dog owners who make positive contributions to society, and we are the MAJORITY.
Tom Thumb, Wezzy, Lacy, Akimbo, and Batman are all part of amazing photographer Shannon Johnstone’s Landfill Dogs project. They are all currently available for adoption in North Carolina. Click directly on their photos for more details. Please share this post to help these precious faces find their forever homes.