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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Happy Pit Bull Awareness Month!

Yes, in addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is also the month designated to bring awareness to the pit bull breed.
I've posted before about this, but being a bully-breed owner makes me a little bit, well, passionate about the subject.

In case you forgot, here's my pit mix:



Luna

She's about one year old now, been living with us since March, and was the first dog I've ever owned.
So, not only did I have to learn how to be a dog owner, I had to learn to be a an owner to a strong, larger, misrepresented breed.

When I went to the shelter there were a few dogs there: young and old, big and small. Luna was the only one I wanted, and she loved the boy. Critical to living in a house with a toddler.
So we paid her adoption fee and brought her home.

Let's talk about some of the stereotypes.

1.) Pit Bulls Fight Other Dogs

Let's think about this, compare your personality to your spouse or your best friend. My guess is, one of you is the most passive, one is the most aggressive. You are both human beings, but you are not going to react the same way in any given situation.
The same would go for any dog. So, if a dog is encouraged, trained, and forced to go head to head with another dog that has been encouraged to be aggressive, then of course that dog is going to fight. If a dog is well-socialized and has the personality to like other dogs, then that dog probably isn't ever going to pick a fight.
I'd like to be very clear that dog-aggressive does not mean human-aggressive. All the pits I've met aren't stupid, they know the difference between a human and a dog, and they love people. I firmly believe the most dangerous part of Luna is her tail: it wags viciously at the sight of a new friend. And basically any human that enters our home is a friend (she does have reservations with tall men at first, we think she may have been abused or mistreated before we got her).
Personally, I would call Luna dog-tolerant.She avoids dogs that bark aggressively and stays close to me, acts submissive to a dog larger than her (like the giant dog at the end of the block) and usually seems curious about the tiny dogs living two doors down.

2.) Pit Bulls Do Not Feel Pain
     This is a moronic justification for using them as fighting dogs. THEY FEEL PAIN. When Luna got home from surgery she curled up in her blanket and let out the occasional whimper, because she was IN PAIN.

3.) Pit Bulls Cannot Be Controlled or Trained.
     Really? Then how come Luna can sit, lay down, shake, knows to back off when I clap my hands and say "No" and knows she isn't allowed on the couches? She's still a puppy, so she's still learning, but with patience and time, she is going to be a well-trained dog.
      What I've noticed is that pit bulls are people pleasers. They want to make their human happy and love rewards. That makes them a little easier to train because if sitting makes you say "Good Girl" and give her a belly rub, then she is going to want to obey.



Luna is the best first dog I could have gotten, and the same goes for Jace. Luna loves, protects, and plays with Jace. She is a true, loyal family dog.

But, here's the really sad part, pit bulls have been over bred, and because of their reputation, get put down in shelters with hardly a chance.

So, because we want this problem to get better, not worse, we took Luna to get her spayed.

Even if your dog isn't a bully breed, I would still implore you to consider spaying and neutering, because the reality is that there are more dogs than there are homes that want them.

The surgery can be expensive, but for those that are struggling with money (and who isn't really?) here are some programs around Kentucky to help with the cost.

1.) Spay's the Way- low cost spay and neuter surgeries for dogs, cats, and rabbits.
2.) Spay our Strays- this program is for stray and feral cats that can help prevent litters of unwanted kittens outside you home come springtime
3.) Woodstock Animal Foundation- low cost spay and neuter
4.) Caring Heart Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic
5.) Go to your vet for recommendations.

We've used Spay's the Way for our cats and for Luna, and each time it worked out without issue, and we have healthier animals in the end.
Nathan and I are both huge animal advocates, which is why we have fostered animals, we adopt, and we make sure our pets aren't going to create more pets that we wouldn't be able to handle.