You guessed it! My inspiration this week are Pit Bulls. I know you might be thinking that is a little odd, but after you read this, you won't. I have been feeling it for a while, but I read a story that I will share with you at the bottom of this blog, that made me realize it was time to speak up. I walk a 10-year-old Pit Bull mix named Bailey. To say that I love and adore Bailey is probably an understatement. The truth is that I stand in amazement of him. Bailey is the best dog I have ever worked with, that includes all of my past dogs, all the dogs I train and walk, he really is the epitome of what a "good" dog is. He is perfectly behaved in public, is a complete gentleman in his house and unless a smell overwhelms him he never pulls on his leash. Did I mention he is the sweetest dog in the world? He greets me with kisses everyday and throughout our walk he looks up at me with those beautiful loving eyes as he automatically sits next to me every time we stop at an intersection. According to Bailey's owner, this is how he has been the 9 years he has owned him.
Everything I just said is why it is heartbreaking to me to watch people look at him with such fear. Literally people will jump out of our path, hide behind trees or say out loud "keep that killer away from me". There have been days that I get so angry that I start defending him loudly to these people or start to get extremely irritated that people are so ignorant, then I have to remember what Bailey must look like to everyone else. He is intimidating, he is solid muscle with a jaw that looks like a steal trap (though I think he has a very cute smile). What gets to me is what would it be like to go through this world and be discriminated against around every corner. I think we as humans would get a huge chip on our shoulder and after a while would greet each person with the expectation of this discrimination. I know dogs don't understand everything we are saying, but they do read energy and I would think that would be enough to effect him, but I am so wrong about that. This is what inspires me everyday. Bailey walks down the street with his head held high and tail wagging, greeting every single person with his smiling eyes and a little sniff to say hello. He never leaves my side and never pushes himself on anyone, but the few that do pet him, he is most grateful. To watch him just be who he is and to be proud and happy is a daily lesson for me. I am so thankful Bailey is in my life and I have had this experience for as long as it lasts. I really do learn from him every single day. So my challenge to all of you, is to take each dog as they come, don't determine their demeanor based on their breed, though it can be a good clue to how a dog is, it is not a definite.
I said at the beginning of this blog that I felt it was time to speak up because of a story I read. The story is called The Poodle and The Pit Bull and was written by Rachel Greenspan in K9 Magazine. It was a beautiful and moving story, except one part. Rachel states: "While I am fully aware that her demeanor could change instantaneously, and she could demonstrate the dangerous behaviors sometimes found in Pit Bulls, I hope that she doesn’t change." This is not true and really is a statement that typically comes from close minded people or someone has told her this that just doesn't know. I don't think that she is close minded overall, when you read the story there is no doubt how much she loves and respects this dog, but the statement bothered me. I don't want to endorse the story and have you all think that line is true, it is not. All dogs if put in the wrong situation or owned by the wrong person could demonstrate dangerous behaviors, just like all dogs can bite, it doesn't mean that they will.
I hope you all enjoy this story as much as I did and I wish for all of you to have a special dog in your life to change you, to make you aware and to inspire you.
To read The Poodle and The Pit Bull, bark on the link: Bark!