Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why pit bulls?

All kinds of dogs has many people who love the particularities that make them special.  What makes us want to help pit bulls in particular?

It’s really not that they are better than other dogs, though certainly we are all pretty sure that our particular pit bulls might be the best ever.

But just loving your family members doesn’t make you an advocate.  What is it about pit bulls that turns so many people who know and love them into activists?

First, they are the most in need.  Anyone who volunteers with – or just visits – public shelters in our area quickly realize that a large proportion, often a sizable majority, of the dogs in need of rescue are pit bull types.

But need alone isn’t enough to make anyone commit.  There has to be something positive as well.  And pit bulls have lots going for them: their huge smiles, their goofy senses of humor, their constant need to be THISCLOSE to the people they love, their eagerness to figure things out, and their optimism about the future.

Granted, lots of dogs have those qualities.  Possibly the most important thing about pit bulls is the gap between the lovable, ordinary dogs that we know and the fear, hatred, and discrimination that they often face. 

Lots of people love Golden Retrievers, or Cocker Spaniels, or St. Bernards.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  And no one ever tells you that you’re brave, or foolish, or even thuggish because you love your dog.

It’s different with a pit bull. 

Your activism might start the first time an apartment complex prohibits your family member, or someone crosses the street to avoid your happy, outgoing dog, or a relative tells you to keep your pit bull away from your new baby, or you discover that you can’t take a road trip through Denver because your dog could be taken away from you.

You start out telling your mom not to worry about the baby, or telling your neighbor “he’s friendly,” and before you know it you’re a full-fledged pit bull activist.

The best part about pit bull advocacy is the dogs, of course.  But after that, it’s surely the people.  And that’s because what holds us together is not anger or fear, but love. 

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