Today I would like to share with two very different experiences from yesterday’s walks with my own eroneously labeled dog Nakita.
I had stopped walking Nakita in public, tired of the muzzle and the reception she often receives, we preferred to walk her late at night or simply run with her in our big back yard. However, Niki has gained far too much weight, so out of necessity the walks have begun again. Yesterday, when I took her for her afternoon walk I noticed that a woman approaching us crossed to the other side of the street to avoid Niki.
Now Niki is a very docile dog, has been since she was a puppy, but she is big she is black and to some, she looks like a pit bull. So most people avoid her without ever getting to know her, as was the case with this woman. She feared Niki because of her looks, which to my way of thinking, is a direct result of BSL.
Niki and I continued on, but I couldn’t help wondering to myself, “how can you be afraid of a dog without ever meeting her?” Now I know I am biased, Niki is after all my baby, I have had her since she was a puppy that someone didn’t want because they decided she was going to be too much of a handful to raise. Niki has never been a problem. As a matter of fact she teaches our rescues proper manners, and has been doing so since she was two years old! She is a very smart and lovable dog, and all she wants is a pat on the head and to be told she is a good girl. Niki lives to please. Niki is also NOT a pit bull. BSL affects her because of the broad and vague definition of pitbull which exists under Ontario law. Niki is one of those dogs McGuinty calls “significantly similar.” Niki is one of those dogs McGuinty has labeled “vicious” sight unseen.
So as you can see our afternoon walk was discouraging, but undaunted, we set off again after the dog’s evening snack. This time my husband came along bringing his Dane cross Phoenix along for the walk. What a sight we must of presented walking down the beach with our two large black dogs! I noticed a few people moved over to give us plenty of space as we passed. As we walked down the beach, we came upon a very tiny woman walking a very large Dane and a little Shih Tzu. We fell into step beside her and she remarked how well behaved our dogs were, and introduced us to hers. Louis, the Dane was huge and dwarfed our 120lb. Phoenix who is usually the biggest dog in any bunch we come across. Louis and Phoenix checked each other out and decided they were friends. In the meantime Bacardi, the Shih Tzu was checking out our girl Niki.
Now Niki can usually take or leave little dogs. Truth be told I think they annoy her, but true to her nature she stood still and allowed Bacardi to sniff her out. Bacardi decided she was an acceptable walking buddy and fell into step beside her. It was then that I reaized, this woman had shown no fear of Niki. As a matter of fact, she was walking right beside my girl and there was no negative reaction at all! A few seconds later I realized why. This responsible dog owner began to talk to me about the fact that there are no bad dogs, but there are some colossally bad owners! “It’s all in how you raise ’em” she said. “Wow!” I thought. “Finally someone who gets it! How I wish more people would understand that!”
So, if you see me out walking my pibble down the beach (and you will) please don’t run away from her, it hurts her feelings. She just wants to say hello, maybe get a little pat on the head, and told she is a pretty dog, but she isn’t going to eat you! Get to know her, who knows you might just decide you like pit bull type dogs after all! (Even though Niki is a Husky/Lab cross.)
Look at that face! How could anyone be afraid of such a smiley dog?
These are the dogs BSL targets, these are the dogs whose owners walk around in constant fear. These are the dogs the world will try to tell you are inherently vicious. Take a GOOD look, does she look like a killer to you? Of course not, she is just a dog. MY dog, and I love her!
Peace, Love & Freedom for Pit Bulls