Seven years into the fight against BSL, seven years of saying “it is not the breed it’s the owner,” and still so many people don’t get it! Just the other day while I was walking with my “significantly similar” dog Miss Niki “Pibble” Hamilton, I was confronted by a woman walking her dog the other way on the waterfront. This woman had picked up her yapping Shihtzu, and holding it (just barely) in her arms rounded on me saying “That’s a pitbull isn’t it? Of course it is! Why else would you have it muzzled?” (Notice she did not pause in her tirade to await an answer to her question) She then went on to say “I think it is just disgusting that people like YOU are allowed to keep dogs like HER! They should have confiscated them all and killed ’em!”
Now a lot of you would be shocked at the vehemence in this woman’s voice as she spoke to me, but I am used to it, this is nothing new. Niki has been mistaken for a pitbull more than once, but this is the first time I have been spoken to in this fashion, and lumped in as “bad” along with my dog. Normally, people pass to the other side of the street when they see us coming. I don’t like it, but I’ve learned to ignore it. Sometimes people will say things like “how can you own a pitbull, they are vicious you know!” When that happens I educate them as best I can and move on. This time however, I had no intention of walking away, and the question of educating this woman’s ignorance was obviously a mute point.
“People like ME? Really? And just exactly, what do you mean by ‘people like me’?” I snapped. “Do you mean a female business owner, who volunteers her time to charity, trains unwanted dogs to live in the average dog ignorant home, and is a responsible owner of eight dogs, and the founder of an all breed dog rescue organization?” She said nothing.
“Dogs like HER?” I said pointing at Niki. “By that do you mean? A dog who is trained to train other dogs? A dog who, right now while your out of control Shihtzu snaps, barks, and growls, doing everything it can think of to escape your grasp and bite me, is calmly laying in the down stay position I put her in when I saw you approaching? A dog that is so well controlled by her owner that she refuses to react to the unbalanced behavior of your “safe” breed? Hmmmm, how interesting. No Ma’am going on behavior right at this moment, perhaps it is YOUR dogs breed which should of been banned!”
Well! You would think I had suggested that the ground open up and swallow her whole! She let out with a tirade! Niki and I, having had quite enough of both dog and owners irrational behavior turned and walked away, leaving the ranting woman and her out of control Shihtzu to their own devices. We talked it over on the way home, and we decided that it’s true, you can’t fix STUPID, we also agreed that won’t stop us from trying! We are now in the process of introducing my “vicious” dog to the local merchants. One person at a time we will make Barrie, Ontario understand and love pitbulls, or die trying!
Have a great week everybody!