Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pit Bulls Don't Cry

Rescue groups

There’s several different types of rescue groups right here in Maine.  Some specialize in one breed.  Others accept all breeds and mixes.  These rescues are a small group of dedicated dog lovers.  They rely on a network of foster homes where the dogs live.  Therefore, there’s no specific location where the dogs can be seen.  Many rescue groups do participate in adoption events where you can see some of the adoptable dogs.  Some have you make an appointment with either a rescue group volunteer or the dog’s foster.

Foster homes are very important.  The families are able to evaluate the dogs in a home setting.  By having this precious “hands on” approach they are able to work on any health, behavior, training or social needs.  Working with a dog in this setting helps prepare it for it’s new home.

The rescue has usually covered all the dog’s health needs including any medications, vaccinations, and treatments.  Also the rescue dogs are spayed and neutered before they’re adopted out.  Unfortunately this often puts a strain on a rescue.  Their adoption fees are often higher then humane societies and shelters for this reason.

Sometimes a downside to working with a rescue group is time.  If you’re in a rush for that perfect dog that may frustrate you.  Sometimes there’s waiting lists.  Many places don’t believe in a “first come first serve“ policy.  They want to take the time to make the right match.  Their goal after all is to find the dog a forever home.

If you’re a private person their process may be uncomfortable.  Lengthy applications, interviews, home visits, and reference checks.  Some rescues have a lot of strict policies and regulations.  Often it’s much like the process of adopting a child.  The thing to remember is this is for the best interest of all parties.

The best way to know if going through a rescue is for you is research.   Ask around and get recommendations.  Inquire and ask questions.  If a rescue isn’t open to answering your questions that may raise a red flag.  You can do searches online for rescues in your area.  A very good source to use when looking to adopt a dog is Petfinder.

Good luck in your search for your new family member.  Remember every Pit Bull that is rescued and given a new homes saves another.  You have helped free up valuable space for another to be pulled into a foster home.  

Pit Bull friendly rentals

Often times it’s hard to find a dog friendly rental. It’s even more difficult when that dog is a Pit Bull. Sometimes the reason given is insurance issues. Then there’s those that are just flat out against any “bully breed” in general.

After some extensive research online the results were not very helpful. It was suggested that anyone in Maine looking for dog friendly housing check out Another frequent suggestion was craigslist where you’d have the option of finding homes or apartments that are privately owned. Places like complexes or condos are more likely to have restrictions.

Good Tip - When inquiring about a place don’t automatically mention the breed.  In other words don’t say, “Do you allow Pit Bulls?” You can imagine what the answer would probably be each time. Instead word it something like this, “What is your pet policy?” You should be able to get a sense of how to proceed by the way they answer. If asked about your dog’s breed be honest.

It won’t be easy. However, if you’re persistent and don’t give up you may find that one landlord that is willing to give you both a chance. That’s all you need to prove yourselves. Be proactive and positive. Don’t be negative and defensive.

Show the perspective landlord why you (and your dog) would be good tenants. Make a point to have the landlord meet the dog. Be prepared for any reaction. Remember no matter what the reaction is you have to be polite, professional and show a positive attitude. You don’t want to give the anti bully people anymore fuel for their fire. Assure the landlord that they have nothing to worry about.  Ask them if they have any questions or concerns. Explain to them what you’re willing to do to prove that this arrangement can work for all parties.

Suggestions for helping your argument:

  • Spay/Neuter
  • Vaccinations are UTD.
  • Obedience Training
  • Good Citizen Program.  
  • Be sure your Pit Bull is housetrained.
  • Offer to pay an additional pet deposit.
  • Always clean up after your dog. 
  • Curb excessive barking. 
  • Never let them free roam. 
  • Prove to everyone (neighbors included) you’re a responsible Pit Bull owner.

If you’re still not having luck convincing a landlord don’t give up. Try placing Rental Wanted ads. Be upfront and honest about what you’re looking for. You never know someone may just see your ad and be understanding of your situation.

Whatever you do don’t give up. Please don’t back down and decide to get rid of your beloved dog. It may take time but with research and patience you should be able to find that perfect place for the both of you.


Dog parks

Something to think about: 

There’s mixed views on dog parks in general. Many find these places as a great way to socialize and exercise your dog. However, others see these environments as a potentially dangerous place. Remember dog parks can be a breeding ground for issues that could otherwise be avoided. Not all dogs like to play well with others. There’s also a higher risk of dog bites, fights and even sickness.

Another reason dog parks are often shunned by experts and Pit Bull owners is the sad reality - not everyone is Pit Bull friendly. There are people who don’t want a “bully breed” around them, their dogs, kids, or families in general.

You must be prepared to deal with a possible negative response if you do bring your Pit Bull in a public place. Remember to always be professional and polite. Don’t allow their lack of understanding put you in a defensive mood. If you handle it with a calm cool manner some may actually be receptive to it. Who knows you may even change a few minds. However, there’s always going to be others that won’t be bothered with giving you or your dog a chance. No matter the reaction remember you have to be an ambassador of the breed.

These are just words of caution and reminders. Don’t let this scare you off from trying public places such as dog parks. Just be cautious, responsible, and smart about the situation. Only you know what you and your dog can tolerate.

Note - It’s recommended that your dog has their vaccinations up to date. Also it may even be a good idea to carry proof with you wherever you go.  It’s always best to be prepared.

Is your dog micro chipped?

You may want to consider it. Thousands of lost and abandoned dogs are taken in by shelters and humane societies across the country each year. The sad reality is many of these animals never make it home because they couldn’t be identified. Pit Bulls are a large portion of those displaced dogs.

A simple device the size of a grain of rice could help prevent your dog from being a homeless statistic. Instead they could be one of the dogs that finds their way home safely.

Each microchip is safely implanted by injection under your dog’s skin. The process is quick and often painless. It’s described as being much like your dogs getting their vaccinations.

The chip has a unique identification number. When vets or shelters use special scanners they are able to detect if a dog has one. They can then track down a dog’s owner using a recovery service. (It’s very important to keep these files updated.)

Why Microchip?

  • Permanent form of identifying your dog.
  • Best way to improve the chances of your dog’s safe return.
  • Tags and Collars can become unreliable (lost, stolen, broken, illegible)
  • Tattoos can also become hard to read.

If you want to know where to go, the cost, or other information you can contact your vet, local shelters, or go to a local clinic event. Don’t forget the internet is also a good source for learning more.

Note - Our Pit Bull got his 24petwatch microchip in the shelter. Our Lab got her AVID microchip implanted by our vet during her spay. Many of the local clinics that do microchips use home again.  Some companies such as 24petwatch let you register your chip whether it’s their brand or not. For more details check out their websites.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Using baby gates may be very beneficial for your multi Pibble family, There’s a variety of places these easy to install and durable gates can be found. A cheap alternative getting them second hand or though garage sales.

Step 1 - Each dog will need to be individually trained. They will need to learn that they must respect the gate. Therefore do not allow them to push, chew, or jump over the gate. Also do not allow them to put their paws on it.

Step 2 - The dogs must learn that they are to stop and wait at the gate. This concept can be taught by using treats or food. Also incorporate a signal of some kind. When the dog has done this you can open the gate. This will be the reward for waiting. Each time they’re at the gate make sure they ask permission to enter. Make sure they know that if they nudge or push at the gate they will be forced to go back onto the other side again. Once they are back in a sit/stay position or have acknowledged the signal they may go through the gate again.  Never allow them to bark or whine to get their way. They must be quiet and obey you before they are rewarded with entry.

Step 3 - Make sure the gates are in place before the dogs are allowed into their “free range” areas.

Step 4 - Always make sure any “trigger” items aren’t around that may cause issues. It won’t matter if there’s a gate if a dog covets an item on the other side. Items such as food, toys, and especially bones can be too tempting and cause issues.

Adding the gate concept to your crate and rotateschedule allows dogs some “free range” time. However, remember to never use gates as a means of separating dogs when you can’t supervise. Don’t put it past them to find a way to jump over or knock the gate down. It won’t matter how durable a gate is if you have a persistent Pibble intent on chewing their way to the other side.

Crate Anecdotes

This page is dedicated to Pibbles. However, I wanted to share this since we are on the top of crates.

Labrador Retriever “Jenna” absolutely loves her crate. As a puppy it didn't take very long for her to get the whole concept. At first it was used mostly as a place she went if and when she wasn't going with us somewhere. It was also her bed at night. We did try to encourage her to sleep with us but she refused. She much prefers her doggie den. As she got older she’d spend more and more time in it. This was her choice. If she wanted to go have a nap or just have alone time that’s where she went. We try to make a point of keeping everyone out her crate. For the most part the cats and dogs respect the concept. However, she has allowed the occasional visit . The only dog that can almost always go in with or without her is our Chihuahua. For some reason it seems she has given him his very own guest pass. She wasn't too fond of her former foster brother. When she was tired of dealing with him she’d spend a lot of time in her special hideaway. The most unique thing about “Jenna” and her crate is how she literally puts herself to bed. No I’m not referring to the nap times in the day. This is completely different. Somehow she has set her internal clock to a certain time. Whether it’s daylight savings or not she is very retentive about what time she must be in that crate. She will track us down and give us “the look”. When you ask her if it’s time for bed she will lead you down the hall. This has become a ritual with her daddy. This dog won’t settle down comfortably for the night unless you put her to bed at the precise time. You must also close the crate door and lock it so that intruders do not disturb her slumber. Funny thing is we didn't train her on the crate she trained us.

Chihuahua “Pepe” isn't really fond of the crate. We attempted the whole sleep in it at night thing. That didn’t go over well. I’ll admit we didn’t help the process. His father took pity on him and allowed him to break that golden rule that many trainers frown upon. Yes he shares our bed at night. Rather he shares my pillow. He’s almost as obsessive about that sleeping spot as his sister is with the crate. He has however gone in his crate on the rare occasions we have had to leave him home. Also he’s wandered in it from time to time. He is completely obsessed with a crate. However, it’s not his crate that he loves. His brother’s crate is always open and it’s in the kitchen. They take turns napping in it. Sometimes they’ve even napped together. The cats are known to use it from time to time as well. Apparently the whole one dog only in the crate concept does not apply to this particular crate. We figure why break  the pattern now. It helps them get comfortable with crating and learn that there’s some benefits to having your own little hideout.

Pit Bull puppy “Tango” has spent some time in his crate. Mostly this time is spent napping or hanging out with his friends. We have left him in it a couple times when we weren’t able to take him with us. He doesn’t sleep in it at night. Seems daddy has allowed another doggie into the bed at night. His ritual is usually sleeping at the end of the bed. I guess neither of the dogs has been taught by their sister that a crate has many uses. However, all three dogs have been exposed to the crate. They understand it’s not a punishment and that they are safe and can rest comfortably in it.

Crate and Rotate: The Setup

How to set up a crate and rotate routine - 
Review your household schedule and routines. Then come up with a schedule and system that works best for everyone. Make sure all the family (including the dogs] know what this new routine is. You may have to tweak things until you find a system that works best for everyone. Be sure once you find what works best you stick to it. Consistency is the most important key here.

Decide on the who, what, where, and when to get yourself started. Who goes in which crate? What they will have to entertain them? Where will the crates be? When will they be using their crates? When will the bathroom breaks be? When will they eat?

Another thing to take into consideration is whether you need to separate the dogs. Yes you’ve separated them into crates. However, it doesn’t quite end there. Can they be crated in the same room? If any are possessive of their domain they’ll need separate rooms. 

If you’re a multiple dog home there’s some other things to consider. Can any of the dogs be out of their crates together? You may be lucky and have some dogs that can “share” these activities with each other.      

Perhaps none of them are able to share time with each other outside their crates don’t panic. Although it may feel like more work there are solutions. You will just have to rotate them all separately. This would be for all their activities - feeding, walking, bathroom time, exercise, training, and of course one on one time with the family.

Exercise is probably one of the most essential parts. Making sure your dogs are getting an adequate amount is important. This helps them mentally as well as physically. It gives them an outlet to burn excess energy. Remember the old saying, “a tired dog is a good dog.” Anxiety and tension can also be reduced, resulting in a more positive and relaxing crate experience. 

Remember not all Pit Bulls have dog on dog issues. However, part of being a responsible Pit Bull (or any breed) owner is being prepared. It’s important to be proactive instead of reactive. Always monitor your dogs and watch for any signs of a change in their normal behavior. Be ready to separate if it’s needed. Don’t forget - NEVER allow your dogs together without supervision. It only takes that one time for something to happen

Crate and Rotate: The Crate

Crate and Rotate -
You may have heard this phrase before. Pit Bull owners often refer to this method of training. Many find it a valuable and effective tool. This process is not as complicated as you may think.

Remember it’s sometimes in a Pit Bull’s nature to decide they want to be the lone dog. Whether you’re just adding another Pit Bull (or any breed) to your home, or you suddenly have some dog on dog issues get familiar with this technique.

The Crate -
If you’re not familiar with crating this is a good time to learn. Many dog owners swear by this concept. Don’t worry it’s not a bad thing to crate your dog. Rather it shouldn’t be a bad thing. Make the crate a rewarding place to be. You’d be surprised how fast some dogs take to crates. Others may take a little longer. For tips, advice, and answers to questions you may have check out the various articles online. Also talk with other dog owners (Pit Bulls or any breed).

The concept of the crate is simple. Basically a crate gives your dog(s) their own domain. A dog’s instinct for a “den” seems to be ingrained in their make up. Respect your dog’s need for quiet time away from the rest of the family and world. Many like to keep their most treasured toys inside along with perhaps a favorite blanket. Many dog owners feed their dogs inside the crate. By feeding your dog or allowing them their most coveted toys or treats inside their “den” this helps establish it as their own. Another important thing to keep in mind is - it’s their home. In other words do not allow children, other animals, or dogs to invade the sanctuary. This should include you as well.

First and foremost make sure all your crates are durable and tough. For larger dogs or ones that tend to chew a lot it’s probably not a good idea to invest in the hard plastic type. The tough metal ones with a plastic pull out tray work wonders. [We have four heavy duty metal crates. Two of those are made by Midwest. These are my personal favorite not only because of their durability but they also “grow” with your dog. The large cages have a divider and multiple doors. This way as your dog grows you can expand it without having to keep buying crates. The little extra expense upfront is worth it in long run.]

Be sure that your dog will be entertained inside his “den” when he’s not napping. Provide their favorite toys. The best type of toys for crates are durable ones that keep your dog busy. A big favorite are tough chew toys, rawhides, even Kongs filled with their favorite stuff. This will keep your dog entertained and keep the crate concept a positive thing in their eyes. Many owners take this opportunity to allow them things that they may be more apt to fight another for outside the crate.

Don’t worry about the dog using their crate as a place to relieve themselves. Normally dogs will not use their bedrooms in this way. Another way to prevent this is let them do their business before and after. Starting this type of ritual enforces the concept. They will train themselves to hold it. Sometimes there’s an occasional mess up. This is especially true with potty training puppies, elderly dogs, or ones that may be feeling ill for whatever reason. If you find this happens more then it should it could be your crate is too big for the dog. There’s various tips on how to cure this problem online. Many suggest blocking off a section of crate until they grow. [This is why “life stages” crates are such a great idea.]

Keep the amount of time in the crate to a minimum. Remember you want them to see this as a good thing. Too many hours in a crate may have an opposite effect. They need exercise and to be able to burn off energy. If they feel stifled because of the lengthy crate visits this may have an adverse effect on the crating concept.

Adding another Pit Bull to your family

Some things to consider before you decide if this is the right decision for all involved.  Not all Pit Bulls can live with other dogs especially of the same breed. Some may prefer being the lone dog while others are more accepting.

Your current Pit Bull should be well behaved. In other words they should already have a good grasp on simple commands and behavior that you approve of. He or she should already display dog friendly traits, good temperament, and overall good behavior. If this is not the case a new arrival may follow in their misbehaving footsteps. If you think it’s hard now to keep one high energy dog under control you haven’t seen anything yet. Consider it a kind of doggie see doggie do. Of course this is great if your current dog is a model example of what a Pit Bull should be.

Take into consideration the dogs and their ages. Are they puppies, adults, or somewhere in between? With most dogs it may be recommended to have them close in age. Many feel that this will encourage them to be friends and playmates. However, some Pit Bull experts say this is not the case here. It’s suggested that the greater the age difference the better chance of reducing dog on dog conflicts. Of course it depends on the dogs involved.

Do you have your mind set on a specific gender? Take into consideration that not all Pit Bulls of the same sex get along. Often opposite sex pairings work out better. Don’t forget whatever pairing you decide they both need to be spayed or neutered. Not only does it obviously prevent unwanted results but it can help reduce other issues. Also it’s suggested that litter mates not be paired up. Often times they can become very competitive. Yes sibling rivalry can even exist in the dog world.  

Refresh yourself on your dog’s body language. Can you tell if your dog is only playing? How does she or he sound and act? Are you aware that not all dogs will share the same traits? If dogs are involved in an intense match against each other, do you know whether it’s fun or bullying? Dogs vary when it comes to how they react when playing. Some are very loud and rambunctious while others are less excitable. The riled up ones can be too intense for the more mellow ones. Be sure to always supervise these interactions. Break them up If things seem to be getting out of control or could quickly head that way. Do whatever it takes whether it’s a phrase, command, or noise. Teach your dogs a specific “time out” code. This simple gesture could prove to be invaluable. Whatever you do don’t attempt to physically break up the situation yourself. Even dogs that know better get into what is sometimes called “the zone.” They may end up turning on you without realizing what they are doing. To prevent any accidents always break up intense interactions in a way that protects you from this possibility.

Once you’ve become a multiple dog family you’ll need to split up your time. It’s important to have individual one on one time. Use this time for walking, exercise, and training. Of course don’t forget to take the opportunity to spoil each with some extra love and attention.  

Are you prepared financially? Beyond any adoption or purchase fees there’s also the long term to consider. When stocking up on the flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives and even food you’ll have to consider the extra costs. Also don’t forget the regular vet exams, vaccinations, and any other medical issues.

Sometimes dogs end up showing hostility towards their new friend later down the road. If a conflict does arise are you prepared? Are you familiar with a valuable tool known as “crate and rotate”? [Be on the watch for a future article about this topic.]

For more thoughts on multi Pit Bull homes I suggest you check out the article two pit bulls is a bad idea. It came from an outstanding website. The author has two females. (That’s often considered the worse combo.] He goes on to explain why he tells others not to get more then one. His reasons make a lot of sense. Some were covered here but he also brings up a few other points. It’d be very beneficial to check out what he and others - that have traveled down this road already - have to say.

One final note…

As a Pit Bull lover you’re already aware of the mixed views towards our beloved breed.  Sadly your own family and friends may not agree or approve of your choosing to add yet another “vicious beast” to your family.  Acquaintances and neighbors may also share in the disapproval.  It’s possible that you’ll hear horror stories, misconception, and myths. Though already being a pittie owner this reaction should be something you’re used to. Sadly it doesn’t get any easier.

The only way to combat this is being proactive. Prove that you’re a responsible Pit Bull owner and ambassador of the breed. Make sure your dogs are trained and socialized. Teach them to be confident and affection in every situation. This could go a long way to prove they are great dogs. No matter the reactions you get be calm and do try your best to educate. Teach the anti pit bull people why many of their preconceived notions don’t have any merit. Remind everyone why these beautiful, loving, and loyal dogs have the reputations that they do.  Explain what we pibble lovers mean when we say “blame the deed not the breed”

Whether you have one Pibble or many one thing is for certain you’ll have a best friend like no other.

Pit Bull Blues (by John Shipe)

Absolutely love this catchy song and video. Searched online and found not only the video but lyrics and chords as well.

Pit Bull Blues (by John Shipe)
People see me walking down the street, they all run and hide.
I used to take it personally, now I take it in stride.
I got nothing against no one, I wouldn’t hurt a fly.
But people seem to think I’m mean, and here’s why:
I’m a Pit Bull
A big brown, red-nosed pit bull.
A tooth-bearing, muscle-bound Pit Bull.
I look like I could tear the steel off a locomotive freight train.
People park three spaces when I’m waitin’ in the car.
All the kids in the neighborhood, they never walk through my yard.
There’s a rumor floating ‘round the county that I ate three cats.
But I swear from the bottom of my canine heart that I didn’t do that, no I didn’t do that.
But I’m a Pit Bull,
A tooth-bearing, muscle-bound Pit Bull.
A big brown red-nosed Pit Bull.
I looks like I could dig a hole through a concrete wall.
I got these Pit Bull Blues,
All I wanna do is sniff your shoes,
I ain’t no killer hound.
No, I’m the friendliest dog in town.
The sheer sound of my barking could break through arctic ice.
But deep down, I’m a pussy cat; I’m just trying to be nice.
In case you didn’t notice, I’m wagging my tail at the speed of light.
But no matter what I do, I’m accused of looking for a fight.
‘Cause I’m a Pit Bull,
A tooth-bearing, muscle-bound Pit Bull.
A big brown red-nosed Pit Bull.
I look like I could crush a cannonball in my jaws.
But I couldn’t do any of those things.

Note: On the record, I didn’t play the C on the second measure in the verses, but I do now, and it sounds better that way.
Verse: G-C-G-G (4x)
Chorus: C-D-C-D-C-D-Em-C——
Bridge: C-G-C-G-Am-D-Em-C——-

The dog in the video reminds of my Tango.
After all he is a brown red nosed Pibble.
(and at this rate will be big as well lol)
Sadly someone didn't inform his/her owner...
"Don't crop ears were made to flop!"

Powerful story about underdogs

Sometimes you just read an article that grabs you. This one brought tears to my eyes by the time I was finished reading it. Perhaps it's because we don't have enough of these types of stories for the world to see. Media needs to start working on sharing those feel good stories. Yeah I know they don't sell as easily as the horror stories - the myths.

Next time I hear another anti Pit Bull speech I'm going to think of this article. 'm going to remind myself that yes there all still those out there that will give a chance to ones in need. The underdogs so to speak. This is a inspiring story about fighting the odds...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fighting the Fighting

Yesterday it was brought to my attention that there is at least one Facebook page promoting the fighting of American Pit Bull Terriers and the Staffordshire Terrier. I, and numerous others have found such outrage and disgust at the thought that people are STILL promoting this horrendous practice.

The page I viewed, the lady running it claims she is an "artist" and sees it as an "art". I see it as abuse, cruelty, barbarity and the furthest form of art as it can be.

I have three APBT's and they do have their little arguements and immediately I put an end to the disagreement just as I would if it were children in the house. I in no way would promote kids fighting, knashing of teeth and biting and I don't allow it in my little household animal kingdom. Anyone with an ounce of humanity and intelligence would stop such behavior whether it be human or animal.

If the owner of this facebook page finds the barbarity of dog fighting as an art, then she is definitely living in the ancient ages and has never caught up with civilization. At one time, men were tossed into pits with lions while crowds cheered. I bet if she were in the audience, she'd cheer the loudest and find it artwork watching a man die viciously by a wild animal.

I understand people have different aspects of what is art, but anything having to do with the death, maiming and injury of another, be it animal or human is not artwork. It is cruelty and abuse and should be punishable to the fullest by law.

It was mentioned to me that it is possible that the person who made the Facebook page is not from the United States. That may be true, but dog fighting is illegal in many, many countries and therefore, Interpol has authority. Therefore, since Facebook is based in the United States, I did report the page, hoping to get it pulled and I also went ahead and reported it to Interpol.

If you have ever wondered why and how intentional dog fighting is wrong, let me enlighten you to a few things. You can teach a dog to sit, beg, heel, fetch, etc. but you can not teach a dog to think about consequences to his actions. They think on instinct and behavior taught to them. If you teach them not to get in the trash, they will learn to leave the trash alone to please you. If you teach them to fight, they will learn fighting is what pleases you.

Fighting dogs are treated and "prepared" much differently than your pooch on the sofa. Many times, their teeth are "shaved" into points, as well as their nails to inflict more damage to the "opponent". They are pumped full of steroids, they are "trained" on treadmills for hours for muscle bulk and endurance. They are "trained" with regular dogs called "bait dogs" to learn and practice, like a human boxer is placed in the ring to spar with another human, but unlike humans, the dogs don't stop short of injury. Injury and death is promoted and praised. The bait dog is discarded like trash, many times left to roam with horrid untreated injuries.

Dogs used for fighting don't go to the vet regularly. More often than not, they get "home treatments" for any injury they may receive. Cuts and lacerations anre sewed up by the owner or a make shift vet that is "in" on the fighting lifestyle. Rarely are they given anything for pain, especially since many of the humans who fight dogs STILL believe that animals can not feel pain, especially Pit Bulls. If one's dog is injured too badly or looses a fight, it is often bashed in the head, hung, beaten to death or near death, and discarded like a piece of trash.

Is this humane? Is this "artwork"? This is uncivilized barbarism. If you happen to see anywhere online someone promoting dog fighting, keep in mind, in most places it is illegal. Report the page to the proper authorities. If it is outside of the US, report it to Interpol. You can do that HERE.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fight The Stigma!

I have read many articles through the years about Pit Bulls. 99% of them were news reports of people being bit or even attacked by this "vicious" breed that is "trained to fight and kill". I was fearful. I had never seen one up close until one day we went to visit a friend we hadn't seen in a long time.

We pulled up and immediately this beast of a dog, a huge mass of muscle with that wide mouth full of teeth and tongue was clearly visible. My body went into fight or flight mode and I was scared to open my door to get out of the safety of my car. I saw the people in the yard urging us to get out and not be scared. I was in shock because there were tiny little children in the yard with this monster of a dog. One of these kids was barely able to walk. I feared this little girl would at any moment be killed by this vicious beast. But, my husband showed no fear and said "Come on", so I slowly opened my door and exited my safety zone. That dog would change my life forever that day.

We mingled and ate and chatted about old and current times with everyone but the whole afternoon I kept a close eye on that dog making sure I stayed just out of reach of his runner. The children didn't share my fear. They hugged and played with the dog as if it were a ten pound puppy. After a while, I had to do it. As an animal lover, I had to touch the dog. I wanted to pet him. I wanted to feel the fur and overcome this terrible fear I had been feeling.

I stand just barely out of his reach and it seems the dog senses something about me. I reach out and the dog latched on. No, not to my arm, he latched onto my heart. This massive monster was nothing but a gentle giant. All my fear was for nothing. This dog was no fighter. He was no killer. He was a licker and a lover.

We visited the friend many, many times after that and I spent more time with the dog than the people. The dog would always be so excited to see me, not so much my husband. A bond had formed between me and this dog. He would immediately grab my hand in his mouth and walk me to the sofa in the living room and give me all the kisses I could handle. Of course his owner would command him to the floor but he wouldn't just get on the floor, it was the floor at my feet where he would lay and stay.

When we would have to leave, he would whine and cry and I would depress as well. I could spend day and night with that monster beast and not fear for a moment. In time, the friend moved away and I never saw my beloved beast again.

I began researching Pit Bulls and it happened to be around the time of the Michael Vick thing. I had to learn the truth about these dogs.

First thing, there ARE indeed reports of these dogs biting people. In fact just about any time these dogs bite someone, it makes headlines. What doesn't make headlines is how those lovable Labs and precious Chihuahuas are responsible for more bites and maulings than Pits.

The stigma of Pit Bulls are because they are simply victims of bad dog owners. Owners are torturing the animal such as cutting (cropping) their ears and tails (often with scissors) and even sharpening their teeth in an effort to make them look tougher. These vicious owners place heavy chains and weights around their necks forcing the animal to build up muscle mass.

Pitties are people friendly and very dedicated to their humans. Unfortunately, even bad owners. These dogs were originally bred to be bull fighters. They were used to bring down big game to feed and protect their owners. Of course this led to dog fighting for sport and entertainment in the 1800's. Thankfully, dog fighting was officially outlawed in the early 1900's but these fights just went underground where they unfortunately still continue.

  • Pitties do NOT have "locking jaws". Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia wrote: "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier."
  • Pitties are NOT "ticking time bombs". The American Temperament Test Society showed the American pit bull terrier scored an overall temperament rating of 83.9%, compared to the 77% score of the general dog population.
  • Pitties DO feel pain. There is no such thing as a dog (or any animal) that does not feel pain.

There are tons of links for more information on Pit Bulls here and with a general search on the internet. In closing, I must say, I am now the proud owner of a Pit Bull.

Their love is like no other; their heart is pure as gold.
Yet while going on a friendly walk, they're faced with stares of cold.
They're so very close to human, in how they act and what they do.
Unless you've known their devoted love, it's impossible to explain to you.
They are greatly more MISUNDERSTOOD than any other breed.
We tend to punish this loyal dog, instead of mankind's deeds.
They are always and forever clowns, with a wish for center stage.
Yet while displaying this sense of humor, most people disengage.
They, oh, so want to make new friends, and run and jump and play.
yet when they happily approach, most people shy away.
Often I've seen children poke, or hop on for a ride.
And when I felt they might get mad, they've only beamed with pride.
I've seen these children yank and pull, with nary a reaction.
Yet media's not interested, unless they've put someone in traction.
They love to snuggle up real close, to give lots of loves and kisses.
Yet they suffer more than any, from unfair prejudices.
What animal do I speak of, whose love is so unique?
If you've truly known one, you know of whom I speak.
There is no creature on this earth who will ever make you merrier.
The animal I do speak of, it's the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Author: Patty Letawsky

Some Famous Pit Bulls:

Popsicle is the number one US customs dog. She was found in a freezer during a drug raid by Buffalo police in 1997. They found Popsicle as a 5 month old puppy, who quickly became a favorite. He graduated his training at the Canine Enforcement Training Center in Front Royal, Virginia, and went to work with his handler, J.J., in Texas.

RCA is a certified hearing dog in Alaska

Tahoe, Cheyenne, and Dakota are all search and rescue dogs in Sacramento, California. The three pit bulls worked none stop at the World Trade Center and Pentagon after 9/11.

Bud was the first dog to travel cross country in 1903. His goggles are at the Smithsonian museum.

Sergeant Stubby died on March 16, 1926, as a hero, yet today, many people do not know who he is. Sergeant Stubby is the most decorated dog in military history, and the only dog to have been promoted during battle. He fought for 18 months in the trenches for France during WW1 for 17 battles. Stubby warned his fellow soldiers of gas attacks, located wounded soldiers in No Man's Land, and listened for oncoming artillery rounds. He was also responsible for the capture of a German spy at Argonne. After his time in the war, Stubby met Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding. He was, also, made a life member of the American Legion, the Red Cross, and the YMCA.

Jack Brutus was another famous military dog. Although, he did not get nearly the publicity as Stubby, Jack Brutus was the the official mascot of Company K, First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. He was much larger than Stubby and was never smuggled anywhere with his troops (as Stubby had been). Jack Brutus died in 1898 of spinal troubles and constipation. He was much larger than the famous Sergeant Stubby but was definitely a pit bull type dog.

There was also.......

Petey from The Little Rascals

Tige- Buster Brown Shoe advertisements

Life magazine- Many people don't realize the the American pit bull terrier is the only breed that has been on the cover of Times for three issues.

In poster image for the U.S. during the 1900's the American pit bull was the image people saw on various war posters, representing the country's strength and dignity.

Sallie - the regimental mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. She followed the men into battle numerous times, showing her bravery, loyalty and love for her men. During a battle in 1865 she was struck in the head by a bullet and killed instantly. The men buried her there, on the battlefield under heavy fire. In 1890 a monument was dedicated to her on the Gettysburg battleground.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Tearing Apart The Pit Bull

Recently, there was a study released by doctors in Texas stating that the "Pit Bull" was the most lethal dog and it's bite victims needing more hospitalizations. Now, as if we haven't heard enough bad news about the breeds that make up the "pit bull", here we go with another. As an owner of three American Pit Bull Terriers I can honestly say, I have more trouble from my Chihuahua than any of my Pitties.

But, let's take a look at this study. Dr. Stephen Cohn, professor of surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center, states “I think this is a public health hazard, this particular dog.”... now, which dog would that be? The dog that was responsible for the attack or the entire group of dog breeds that are defined as "Pit Bulls"? It just might be the dog (or monster) at the other end of the leash, or should I say, the one that WASN'T at the end of the leash! I am referring to the owner.

Where are these responsible owners when these dog attacks happen? Have they been responsible enough to have their dog taken to obedience class or have they just let them run wild in the street or worse, in the fighting ring? Now don't get me wrong, I am in no way saying that there aren't any unprovoked attacks, but they can happen with ANY breed at ANY time. We all have relatives, friends, and coworkers who are the same way, should we ban them? The Toyota Camry is the lead vehicle for auto accident claims, should we ban Toyota?

Fifteen years of records for the hospital produced 228 attacks leading to admissions and/or deaths according to this study. Of those 228 attacks, only 82 reported the breed of dog responsible for the attack. Of those reported, only 29 were reported as "Pit Bull" related. That's 35%. So what breed(s) have the rest of the tabulation? No one knows because there are no studies that I have found on this.

The American Kennel Club has states that the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed on it's records, I am more than sure that there are quite a few bites by them, they just don't gain the spotlight like the Pit Bull breeds. Also, isn't it quite logical to assume that the size of the dogs mouth is also going to be a factor in this? A Chihuahua can not possibly do the same damage during a bite as a Pit Bull or even a Great Dane. Their mouths are much smaller. That doesn't mean that damage isn't going to be done, but no one is going to waste the gas running out to do a report on a Chihuahua bite like they will on such a highly volatile subject like the "Pit Bull".

The Pit Bull breeds have gotten such a bad rap because face it, it's the fad right now. All dogs go trough their fazes of popularity. In the 80's, it was the Doberman and Chow Chow. There was the Chihuahua explosion and the Pug and the SharPei. It's just so unfortunate that these gangs and bad, bad owners have used and abused the Pit Bull in fighting rings and media has grabbed a hold of them and turned all the Pit Bull breeds into monsters, which they are far, far from being.

If you look through history, Pit Bulls have been a favorite and even the face of this country. Sgt. Stubby and Jack Brutus were two war hero Pit Bulls. There are several working right now to protect our borders from drug runners and dealers that are killing our kids at an alarming rate. There are countless service Pitties working right now from helping someone cross a busy intersection to bringing a smile to someone's face in a nursing home. Let's not forget about RCA, the certified hearing service dog. There are just so many to mention, but perhaps the media needs to jump on THAT bandwagon and stop reporting bad news and start having a few feel good stories.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pittie links