Reviews | Don’t bully my race
See that pretty face pictured above? It’s my dog, River.
Like the impulsive that I am, I adopted a dog a month after moving out of my parent’s house in 2020. It was the first dog I owned, and when I was looking for one to adopt, I I had three criteria that must be met – it must be a rescue, adult and a pit bull.
I got River from a rescue in Brookfield, Ohio, who knew next to nothing about him. Before arriving to the rescue, he was transported from a shelter in Georgia – one of the Southern states teeming with animals and is home to many kill sheltersalthough things have started to improve the.
Due to his unknown history, the details about River’s past that I know are the ones I filled in – like this he came to me with heartworms, which means he probably lived outside for some time; has scars on his legs and back; is afraid of hairbrushes, shadows and sudden noises, which leads me to suspect he may have been abused. I cried when my dad told me that the mark on his behind looked like it was made by a cattle prod, because the thought of someone hurting a dog – let alone my dog - was enough to break my heart. heart.
Although River has definitely suffered in his past, he now leads a very privileged life filled with too much food, endless amounts of hugs, and the privilege of sleeping under the duvet every night. For a boy who once had to survive on the streets, he now relies on me for everything and, to be honest, that’s kinda pathetic. Still, it deserves every ounce of love it gets, because River never gave me a reason to draw any other conclusion.
Even with all of his quirks and mysteries derived from his unknown past, you would never know he suffered if you met him. River is truly the friendliest dog and loves everyone he meets – and that goes for every pit bull I’ve ever met. Despite this reality, it is banned or restricted in hundreds of cities across the country and many nations around the world. Things have to change because these policies are costing innocent lives – all because of people’s misconceptions.
Pit bulls are the most euthanized breed in US shelters, representing approximately 40% of all euthanized dogs. It probably has to do with race being one of the most abundant in shelters too – the exact reason why my first dog had to be a pittie.
There is too much of a feeling that pit bulls are dangerous and vicious dogs. The reality is, yes, some pit bulls are genetically predisposed to perform certain actions or have specific characteristics – including tenacity and fearlessness, which can make them better at fighting than other dogs – but they’re also protective, loving animals that have made great family pets for decades.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said that “…while a dog’s genetics may predispose it to certain behaviors, enormous variation in behavior exists between individuals of the same breed or breed type.” Therefore, basing all opinions of a race on sensational stories and horror tales is inaccurately biased.
The ASPCA also says pit bulls may be more prone to aggression towards other dogs, but this can be mitigated by proper training and handling, like any other breed of dog. It has also been found that pit bulls bred or trained to fight are not actually prone to aggression towards people.
The University of Pennsylvania conducted a one year study owners of dogs who “…use methods of confrontation or aversion” to train aggressive animals. Veterinary researchers have found that owner aggression is actually a far greater cause of aggression in dogs than anything inherent in the breed. A study from the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol came to the same conclusion for dogs in the UK.
I was out with my friend last week, and when we saw a beautiful pittie, we asked if we could pet her. She was a beautiful and horny girl, so her owner apologized for the jump. I replied saying no worries, since I have my own jumping dog. I started telling the man that my dog was a refuge, to which he replied that he had no life left in him and was too unpredictable. I was furious. He bragged about how his dog is a thoroughbred, saying that’s the only way to go with pit bulls.
It seems even pit bull owners are part of the problem. They continue to categorize the salvage pits as inferior, unpredictable, and therefore unlovable. People like this man help perpetuate the stigma that pit bulls are aggressive and unmanageable, and that comes from people who know the breed – so people take their opinions for the truth. In a place where so many pit bulls sit in shelters or rescues in need of loving homes, this story can prove deadly.
If you claim to be an animal lover or a person with pets, you should see merit in judging an animal based on its individual character, instead of an assumption based on its breed. All animals deserve to be loved and accepted, and that starts with lift breed-specific legislation.
One way I’m helping end the pit bull stigma is by taking River for walks in public places and taking her to as many places as possible. People can’t resist his smile, so he tends to make lots of friends wherever we go, which I enthusiastically encourage. People’s faces light up after these interactions, but I’m the one thanking them for stopping by. This small act of allowing or offering people to pet my dog hopefully helps people see how wonderful this breed is.
If you see anyone walking around campus with a big gray dog — maybe wearing a plaid vest or a blue raincoat — it’s River and me. Come say hello and see how valuable pit bulls really are.
And remember folks – adopt, don’t buy your pets. There are so many deserving companions waiting for their forever home. Rescue animals are just as awesome, if not better, than purebred animals. Hell, I got my best friend for $0, and who can beat it for free?
Grace DeLallo writes on social, environmental and political issues. Write to him at [email protected].