Lately, I feel like all I hear/read/see in the press regarding pit bulls is bad news. It's always been the case to some extent, but recently it seems to have increased exponentially. Although there have been silver linings (like the community bonding together in peaceful and adorable photographic protest against that McDonald's radio commercial, Ohio HB 14 passing the Senate and the Buehrle family's potentially successful struggle against BSL in Miami), most of the press has been just plain bad. With so many people already ignorant and fearful when it comes to our beloved breed, the negative coverage as of late is sure to have some lasting effects and force us all to fight even harder when it comes to housing and public acceptance in general. I fear it is a battle we are losing.
Last night after work, I picked up Maisie from daycare and we drove to our new pet store to stock up on a couple weeks of her raw food, which thankfully I've been able to have special ordered since we moved to Massachusetts. While we were there, one of the clerks began mooning over Miss Maisie and mentioned that she had adopted a rescued pit mix as well. She then proceeded to tell me a story.
Apparently, the girl (she looked to be in her early 20s) was out walking her very friendly dog when a seemingly nice man approached and asked if he could pet the pup. The girl said yes without hesitation. As the man was petting the dog, he asked "what kind of dog is this?" The girl replied "a pit bull mix." The man immediately took a step backwards then with no warning, leaned forward and smacked the dog in the head, saying "these are horrible, aggressive dogs and you shouldn't have one." Again, this was the SAME dog who had been the happy recipient of this man's affection just moments ago...but now this dog was a pit bull. The girl was so shocked and frightened that she simply took her dog and walked away. In recounting the story, she expressed extreme regret at not speaking up or handling it differently. I tried to reassure her that she did the best thing she could...she removed herself and her dog from a potentially dangerous situation. But it got me thinking, what would I have done? I understand that there is a time and place to educate, but I also realize that when it comes to the welfare of my dog I tend to act first and think later. I hope that I would have been able to remain calm, but I can't say with confidence that I wouldn't have sunk to this man's level by screaming my head off or even shoving him away if he laid a hand on Maisie.
What would you do???
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