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Hi to everyone on this lovely Pit Bull Awareness Day!
I ran this over and over trying to find a start that was suitable for a group or breed of dog responsible, in part, for the woman I have become. How do I talk about awareness of an animal and subsequent awareness of a subject I’ve been living with, fighting for, crying over, laughing over, fostering, adopting out, and worrying about the state of for 20+ years? Gotta start somewhere…
Some of the hardest struggles and most intense conversations have been because of, or over, pit bulls. Some of the most stoic, sick and beat up dogs I’ve ever met and had hands on were pit bulls… also, unequivocally, the most resilient dogs EVER. Categorize “pit bulls” how you want, as a breed, as a group, however it works for you. Protectiveness is part of my makeup because of what I’ve seen as far as what humans can do to a dog. Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for these dogs.
I met LIX’s co founder and my dear and trusted friend, Erin, because of pit bulls. The situation leading up? A neglected pit bull… who turned into a great Mom about a week after being liberated from her unfortunate living situation. We ‘cheeseburgered’ her into a car and off she went to find a great home with the people who fostered her… but out of her litter came our LIX mascot, Diesel. Erin and I formed a true friendship and respect for each other, joined forces in the PNW and ran our own rescue for a number of years. We have been frontline at council meetings, fighting legislation, adopting out dogs, pulling from shelter, trying, trying and trying for a breed of dog who had become part of each of our souls.
Some of my closest friends have been made through adopting a dog out of our rescue group. To this day, they’re the people I know will be there if I need them and they know, I hope, I’ll be there if and when they need. There is something about fighting city and state legislation, hate, bias and uneducated opinion to simply live with a dog. There is something that changes that part of you who wants to be non confrontational when a dog (or human) is suffering and these dogs, specifically, taught me a whole other level of commitment and fight. Frontline is where you are when you have these dogs… if you have them in your life for the spectacular animals they are, you understand. If you don’t and you think they aren’t the breed choice for you, and you still hold space and grace for those of us who DO choose them, thank you. I can’t say that enough.
They are phenomenal dogs. Funny, silly, strong, quiet, loud, stoic and always at our side are a few of the traits we all know and love. ALWAYS. It’s interesting that a number of people over the years have found these dogs and learned to fight for them. Every day it’s something for them. Every day we see how many sit in shelter due to neglect or due to a family being faced with losing their home because of the breed of dog they chose to live with and, before anyone jumps to conclusions, it’s NOT widely known that you can’t have a breed of dog when choose to live somewhere. It’s just not…at least not to anyone outside the people who have lived the fight. There are cities who have council stating and voting to end the breed specific legislation and a corresponding state law prohibiting legislation only to have the mayor decide he’d like to keep the legislation (DENVER) despite hundreds of experts refuting.
More about the dogs – this is, and has been, a practical working breed and there are reasons! They’re low maintenance, they’re happy and silly and safe with kids. They’re an easy house dog who is equally as adept at helping by trotting around a house or farm as they are at sleeping in bed or on the couch with the kids. What else is interesting is that the breed legislation is more targeted at areas/neighborhoods with less resources to fight the legislation. Lucky for us, we had my husband as our attorney and his attorney friends as backup. Information I needed to discuss and deter or eliminate breed legislation came with women and men who saw the injustice to the people choosing this dog as their family pet and also to the dogs who were sent to shelter and euthanized because they had a stocky muscular body, a slick coat and a square head. We all know how to love our dogs, how to end bias in people and council. We continue to educate on and for this amazing breed or group of dogs.
What is the takeaway in all this? We want to have everyone aware of these amazing dogs. How funny, and cute they are and what great family pets they make in many situations. We’d love you to join the fight against breed legislation because, be sure of this, there are 14-20 breeds (and counting) who make the ‘list’ in apartment complexes, condos, neighborhoods and CITIES around the US. We’d love you to understand the dogs and their people and, even if they aren’t your choice as a pet, realize they are loveable and happy house pets in so many homes. They work and run and play with their families all in the same day. Like any other dog. They’re part of our world and we’d like to live in peace without the threat of breed legislation over their cute square heads. We love our dogs, this breed and we’d like to live in peace with them… we’ll fight the legislation and bias against any breed of dog at every step. We will offer education, trainer references and other resources so you can keep your pet happy and healthy. That’s a promise.
I sit here writing this with my 15 year old pit bull laying on the rug (or maybe she’s moved to the couch now) with her toy and my 14 year old pit bull/dane mix whining for me to play ball – he had a hard day yesterday at the vet getting rads and he’s sore today but still wants to sit next to me and play. It’s not lost on me, at all, that my time with them is quite limited… it’s with this in mind that I ask you to please be aware of all the positive, light shining, peaceful, gleeful and exquisite traits these dogs have and offer. If you know, you know.