Monday, February 18, 2013

"MOM, I'M GETTING A PIT BULL."

Many of us have been there, but how did this conversation go for you? I can't really pinpoint how my interest in pit bulls started. My first dog might have been a pit mix, but I never thought about it, read about it or talked about it. Then I moved to London and many of my friends had pitties, staffies and big mastiff type mixes. And I took care of a slightly nutty but adorable and lovable staffie pup for a month one winter. When I returned home to the States I spent a year living with friends and family while caring for my parents' dog, so I had a lot of time to research and mull over what type of dog I would get next.

Little Staffy girl I took care of in London.

Before I knew it, I was drawn to the many rescue sites featuring these adorable block-heads and I knew I had to have one. I loved the way they looked for one, with their big heads, short hair and fun color patterns, their floppy ears and giant grins. I also loved their playful attitude, their intelligence, eagerness to please and most of all, their loving and cuddly nature. I also became intrigued by their hard luck story and realized that both in person and through so many stories online, I had yet to meet a pit bull I didn't like. Even the ones who got in trouble, as far as I could tell, were set up to fail and never given a fair chance.

Kinky the cuddle bug.

So when I started the hunt for my very own pit bull type dog, I told me mom about it with pride. Her reaction was not horrible, but definitely fear-driven. "Of all the dogs out there, why do you have to get one of those?" I chose not to get into it with her. That's the beauty of being almost 30 years old, having my own place and spending the past decade in different states or continents from each other. I told her something like, "You'll just have to see for yourself after I get one."

My mom with Kaya soon after I adopted her.

So when I brought Kaya to see her, just after adopting her, my mom was smitten and that was that. It was a bit different with Norman. It was not so much why are you getting a pit bull, but just why are you getting another dog period. They argued that I lived in such a small space and I was on a limited income. No one in our family had ever owned 2 dogs at once and it clearly sounded insane to them. And I replied, "Yeah, but you haven't met Norman." And like myself and everyone else that meets him, they melted the second they saw him. By the end of their 3 day visit, my mom was ready to smuggle him home in her suitcase. Then their pit bull appreciation really flew through the roof. My dad proudly marched Norman all over, telling everyone he met that he's a pit bull. I kept telling my dad that he is really a mix, but he was hearing none of it.

Proud pittie grandma.

Now my mom has regular conversations like this... To her friends from the 'burbs, when they told her, "When those dogs grow up, they're going to end up right back in the shelter because they'll turn aggressive." My mom replied, "Well, you obviously haven't met her dogs or any other pit bulls for that matter." My mom also hired a dog sitter for Zoey who has 5 pit bulls. They are of the few dogs on the planet that my parents can trust Zoey with because she has serious dog aggression. And when my mom's friend hired her to water her outdoor plants, she freaked out because she brought some of the dogs with her and a neighbor told her about it. My mom said, "So what? They're great dogs. Have you met them yet?" But her friend had reservations about the merit of someone who owns 5 pit bulls. My mom's response was, "I trust her. My dog adores her and she has a great group of dogs that she loves to death. Don't see a problem with that."

Zoey with 2 of her pittie buds in Maryland.

And now they are constantly sending me paparazzi style photos of pit bulls they spot when they're out and about. They also tell me many, many stories about random people they meet and how they tell them about my pit bulls and what great dogs they are in general. They love to tell the story of Shaka and how sweet and loving she was, being just a random dog off the street who most people would not have trusted or given a chance. Just over a year ago, they would have had me committed if I told them I was coming to visit with my 3 pit bulls.

First time in 8 years that Zoey has shared her house with other dogs:)

My dad with Norman at last summer.

There is one thing my mom always says about pit bulls now, "I'll never own one. They are too cuddly for me."

How can you not love them?

Related Posts:
For the Love of Pit Bulls
A Thing or Two I Learned from Shaka
Shaka: aka Honeybeee

32 comments:

  1. This is AWESOME! I have been working to win my family over to pit bulls since I adopted Turk (and subsequently found out his pit-mixiness)! It is so cool to see how people's attitudes change and they become advocates once they actually MEET a pittie. Very, very cool!

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    1. Thanks...does your family love pitties now too?

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  2. That's such a nice post and so good how open people are after they actually meet them. Loved hearing your story!

    Oink oink,
    Katie and Coccolino the mini pig

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  3. Nice work! It's always great changing another mind, but even better to make an advocate!!

    My mom had a "why the heck did you get a dog?!" reaction, and then wasn't too sure about a pitbull. But all it took was one meeting, now she loves her. She even likes Ed (even though he gets a bit rambunctious!

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  4. I love that story and how your mom says Pit Bulls are "too cuddly." :-) Ray is constantly in my lap and the funniest part is he comes up to me leans as hard as he can on my chest then sort of slides down my torso to end up in my lap. I guess he needs to make sure seal is tight. :-)

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    1. Ray sounds like an awesome cuddler! Norman does this thing where he sort of collapses his front end on me and then the hind end follows. I love it!

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  5. Great story! I plan to adopt a second dog within the next 6 months or so, and I want it to be a pitbull mix. Although, I will be open to the right dog. I don't want to be stuck on a certain type.

    I imagine some of my relatives will react negatively to me getting a "pitbull" and that, to me, is a reason why I should get one. I know I can offer a great home to a great dog and help change people's minds about these dogs.

    Your dogs are so sweet!

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    1. Unfortunately I have some relatives on the east coast who are skeptical and they will likely never meet them. I think there is a perception of sure they're nice until you accidentally piss them off or that they would "snap" over something another dog wouldn't, which is obviously crazy!

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  6. Oh, I just love this story so much!

    My mom's dad was a little nervous about me at first and that actually made me a little nervous about him (I don't have Kaya and Norman's confidence). But mom helped her dad to feel comfortable about me and now we are good buddies :)

    PS - Can there really be such a thing as too cuddly? ;)

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    1. That's great that you became buddies:) Although I do not believe there is such a thing as too cuddly, my parents very much like their dog to give them and kiss and then lie down nearby...NOT in their lap. I don't get it but hey...

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  7. Great post! My mom's first reaction was "Take him back! He's a pitbull" and then she COMPLETELY fell in love with Petey's sweet eyes and love sponge personality. After I'd had him about a month she told me "Get him a Burberry rain coat! He hates the rain". Now she's always telling me about all the pit bulls she sees with dog walkers on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. And how Petey is "the best dog we ever had"

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    1. That's so sweet! Parents are too funny sometimes:D

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  8. I love this post... sometimes it takes people a while to warm up but once they do they love the breed for life!

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  9. Great post! I still have some work to do with my folks and in-laws. They're still in the "but she's not like most" stage with Sadie and her pitbull heritage.

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  10. Fantastic post and oh so true!! It's all a matter of education. On a similar note, it's like our pack of special needs. Once people "get over" the fact that a dog is blind, they see that it's just a dog. Like pittie is still just a dog. The more people that know, hopefully the less judgement.

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  11. My in-laws are big pit bull lovers. They were a little sad, in fact, that Silas turned out to be much less pit bull than people expected. My parents are unduly terrified of the free-range pit bull in their neighborhood, who seems to be a sweet enough dog.

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    1. It's so odd that people think wandering pit bull = vicious beast! Poor Silas...he looks pittie enough to me:)

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  12. Ok so that last line about pitties being too cuddly? That's totally my line! Your mom and I should hang out ;) Even though I adore pitties in all shapes and sizes, all of the ones I know are far too clingy for me. I prefer my independent hound mix. That being said, I have a feelilng Kaya has an independent side.

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    1. Haha...I do get it, but I love the cuddly. Kaya is no exception to the rule. She is a full-on oversized lap dog...preferable under the covers:)

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  13. Eddie is clearly a lab mix, but we suspect that he's part staffie. When my husband told a family member this, he was told to be careful because they are dangerous dogs. Some people want to believe that news reports mislabeling so many dog breeds are infallible. Guess it's a good thing we never mentioned that we think two of our previous fosters had some pit in them as well! One got to meet lots of people, and absolutely everyone fell in love with her.

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    1. But isn't it sad that we feel we should not mention it in some circumstances?

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  14. What a sweet story! Your parents sound like lovely people. My mom often laments how her dog doesn't cuddle with her or kiss her enough; I think we all know a perfect solution to THAT problem!:)

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  15. Oddly enough I can't remember if my parents cared that I was adopting a pit bull. I think they were shocked in general I was getting a dog since I had not been a dog person growing up, nor is anyone in my family. My family too was horrified I adopted a second dog as well. Now they are very accustomed to me as the crazy dog lady. I know my sister often told me her husband believed that pit bulls were "just more aggressive" and that bothered me a lot but I've become less defensive and just let my dogs speak for themselves.

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  16. I love this post because it really strikes a chord with me. I have a Rottweiler called Del. He is the most loving dog I've ever met, and that's not me being biased. Anyone who spends time with him ends up adoring him.

    It's strangers that get me down. Sometimes people cross the street when they see Del coming. He'd just give them a kiss. Dog owners have been known to put their dogs back on their leads when he's around, or even pick their dogs up so Del can't get to them- he just wants to play. He's never been aggressive to anything, but people seem to have a fear instilled in them from somewhere.

    It's right that it's all about education. I feel that rottweilers, staffies and pit bulls are picked on in the media. I doubt many people at all have had bad experiences with them.

    Kaya and Norman are gorgeous dogs, and I'm glad that they've found a family that are as proud of them as you are :)

    Rach

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    1. Someone on facebook once wrote, if one more person screams and picks up their small dog when they see us, I'm going to pick up mine(pit bull) and scream too. It made me laugh so much, I might do that one day.

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    2. Jay had to pick up Hades once because a stray dog came after us! HAHAHA it looked pretty ridiculous. Hades was wigging out and it was provoking the dog so Jay just picked him up and Hades shut right up but looked totally confused. It was an odd method but it deescalated the situation so hey, it worked!

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  17. awe! Love this. My mom's reaction was similar, "I don't know if I could ever trust one...". Well - ask her now. Lola and my mom have one of the closest bonds ever and Rio is in a close second. <3

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