Journalist, Bronwen Dickey shares insights about her book,

Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon

Pit Bulls are just dogs. Let's change the conversation. Read our review of Bronwen Dickey's, Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon and our interview with the author.

Franky Looking Dapper

Before we dive in, let me remind everyone that this website is a Pit Bull safe zone. No BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) here and while you are more than welcome to disagree with my review, please make sure that you have actually read the book first.  

Seriously! Buy it. Read it. Let’s discuss. It’s fine to have a differing experience or opinion but don’t go all hater here if you haven’t read Bronwen Dickey’s well researched, balanced and incredibly important work. 

***Disclosure: this is NOT a paid review. All opinions are my own and I am giving away a copy of the book at my own expense because I truly believe in the book and the author. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book (highly recommended) feel free to use one of the affiliate links in the post.***

Read our review and enter to win a copy of Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American IconPiper wants you to win a copy of Bronwen’s book! (Enter to win below)

When I reached out to Bronwen Dickey to interview her as part of my review of her current book, Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon, she graciously made time to chat with me on the phone. I was thrilled as I consider this book to be one of the most important journalistic endeavors in the area of Pit Bull awareness I’ve ever read and I am excited to share my review and excerpts from our conversation. (Also, if you read all the way through the post, there’s a giveaway at the end πŸ™‚ )

Ms. Dickey shares her seven years of research in this compelling and accessible book that, frankly, should be in every animal shelter, in the waiting room of every veterinarian’s office, and on the bookshelf of every animal welfare advocate. It’s that good! (Seriously! Buy a copy for all the Pit Bull owners and animal welfare advocates you know) 

Dog are dogs. Let's change the conversation about Pit Bulls. Review of Bronwen Dickey's Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon. Interview, review & Giveaway!

Turner (left) getting some love from one of his humans.

The incredible depth of Ms. Dickey’s research and the masterful way she ties together historical accounts, verified scientific data (something that is, sadly, missing from the anti-Pit Bull/pro-BSL arguments), and her own direct interviews and experiences while completing her research, culminate in a book that is informative, heart-breaking and hopeful. As she points out, “Looking at the issues facing Pit Bulls taught me about the issues facing all dogs.” 

To say that this book has had a profound impact on my volunteer work with ColoRADogs, my approach to this blog, as well as with how I now engage in the animal welfare conversation, would be an understatement. Ms. Dickey shares profound insights regarding the socio-economic realities informing much of the debate surrounding Pit Bulls and makes the scientific information approachable and easily understood. The book is a perfect blend of journalistic reporting and story-telling. 

 

Read our review of Brownen Dickey's Pit Bull: The Battle over an American IconBuy a copy today! 

Review of Bronwen Dickey's Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon. Interview, review & Giveaway!

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Read our review and enter to win a copy of Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon
Ella with her family, Aaron & Amanda
Rescued Pit Bull
Pearl, a senior Pit Bull rescued from a backyard breeder
Read our review and enter to win a copy of Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon
Lilo doing her best bumblebee impression

The Conversation

Sarcastic Dog (SD): Based on the reaction from the anti-Pit Bull faction, is it fair to say that you are being labeled a “Pit Bull advocate” and is that an accurate representation of who you are and why you wrote this book? 

Author, Bronwen Dickey shares insight into her new book, Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American IconBronwen Dickey (BD): As a journalist, I was intrigued by and wanted to explore the issue. I did not intend to be an advocate. I didn’t want to paint a sunny picture or simply counter the negative stereotypes. Believing the overly positive about Pit Bulls can do as much damage as buying into the myths and stereotypes. My intention was to be rigorous, fair and thorough. I wanted to see what the science said and the science is, in fact, favorable for these dogs. I am an advocate for critical thinking, science and humane communities.


SD: Why do you think the anti-Pit Bull sentiment continues to have such a stronghold despite the science-based facts and the history that journalists, such as yourself are uncovering and sharing? Why is there such a resistance to the truth?

BD: The anti-Pit Bull group is small but vocal. They appear to be bigger than they are because technology flattens the information giving equal weight where it shouldn’t. The culture of the Internet makes things more intractable. In reality, there are people who have been legitimately hurt but there is no space to talk about the impact without both sides jumping in. Also, the Pit Bull haters are looking for an issue. “Outrage theater” reigns on the Internet and there is a self-reinforcing loop of outrage being validated and reinforced without the science to back it up. Psychological research has verified that the more you debate, the more they dig in so without real societal changes, there is a back fire effect when you try to rationally engage.


SD: It seems that we, as a nation are really too scared to acknowledge and discuss the inherent racism and classism you outline in the book. How does this impact the conversation about Pit Bulls?

BD: This is a complicated issue. Whether we are ready to acknowledge it or not, the media bias in the Pit Bull debate is just lazy reporting sensationalized for ratings and many just buy in to the news bite. We hear about “thugs” and “criminals” and the focus is on lower-income areas that tend to reflect a certain stereotype of what a dog owner is. It’s unfair and inaccurate. We have to recognize that poverty and a lack of information does not automatically mean someone doesn’t care about their dogs. But, life is complicated and most of us do not have to choose between keeping the lights on, feeding our families or taking care of our pets. Which comes first? It raises the question:  “If the racial commentary is cloaked in language referencing the dogs, does the solution have to come through the dogs?” Perhaps it will lead to acknowledging race and poverty in a new way.


SD:  As a mom, I have seen a shift to “entitlement parenting” – the notion that “everyone/everything should shift around me and my child, thereby eliminating or dramatically undermining personal responsibility”. I see this same phenomenon in the pet parenting world. When we anthropomorphize our pets in that same vein, I think we take away from their ability to just be dogs and we forget our responsibility as dog owners.  Do you think the things we expect of our dogs in today’s world are realistic? Beneficial? Detrimental?

BD: As I said, we do not do dogs any good by expecting them to be anything other than dogs. The reality is that most dogs were once working dogs. We’ve gone from a working dog world to living in a pet dog world and that means that we have imposed new, and not totally appropriate, expectations on our dogs. For example, expecting a dog not to react like a dog to something they find frightening or concerning, is unfair to the dog and creates an environment where dogs will fail. How much have we tried to stop dogs from barking? Marking? Humping? Chewing? Scuffling? These are all natural dog behaviors that we have deemed “unacceptable” in today’s pet dog culture.


Read our review and enter to win a copy of Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon

Oscar, a survivor of the Michael Vick dog fighting bust, was adopted and is happily living out his senior years with a family of humans and other dogs.


SD:  What was most surprising as you conducted your research and traveled around the country to interview folks for the book?

BD: I think it was how few folks really had a truly negative response to Pit Bulls. Some people were neutral. Others were cautious. But, most were absolutely open to new information and understood that much of the negative stuff they’d heard was just hype. Pit Bulls are in the top five most popular dogs in 38 states so they are everywhere and the vast majority of folks understand that they are just dogs. Also, I found that, overwhelmingly, if given the resources, very few people wouldn’t want to do better for their dogs.


SD:  What can we do to help change the conversation about Pit Bulls? How do we talk to the folks who really seem to hate these dogs?

BD: Try to listen rather than trying to debate them out of the way they feel. Let me add that fear doesn’t respond to data. Be compassionate and listen to their concerns. The people who are most impacted by BSL and who are struggling the most are the ones typically left out of the conversation.

  • Share your dogs. Dogs are an incredible bridge, especially between people who would normally have nothing to talk about.
  • Open up the conversation to include all pets and all people and you see folks come out of the woodwork to help. 
  • Let go of the “breed framework” It’s so liberating!
  • Get involved. Find a rescue or shelter that is Pit Bull friendly and work with ALL dogs. 
  • Reach out to underserved communities with education and outreach initiatives and engage folks in the changes.

If it’s not clear, I love this book!

So much so that I am giving away a copy to one really lucky reader!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


Other installments in the Changing the Conversation series:

Educate, Advocate, Don’t Berate

My Pit Bull Story

Stop Asking Pit Bull Owners These 6 Questions

Myths About Pit Bulls: Let’s Dispel Some More


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70 Comments

  1. The Daily Pip August 29, 2016 at 8:05 am - Reply

    I haven’t read the book yet …but will be buying a copy this week. This is such a thoughtful and provocative post. I love the part about how “racial and economic privilege effect the lens by which we see animal welfare issues”. This is absolutely so true and not just within the pit bull rescue world but the entire animal rescue world and beyond into other social justice issues as well.

    Again, I haven’t read the book, but I’m impressed with the depth of the excerpts I have read so far. No issue is quite as simple as the extremists on either side make it out to be. I appreciate that this book and post seem to acknowledge that there is some complexity around this issue – as there is with most things.

    • SimonDawg August 29, 2016 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you liked the review and interview. I completely agree that the complexity of the issue calls for (really, requires) an honest open dialogue about the underlying issues and, as you point out, it extends to all kinds of social justice issues. I hope you entered the giveaway for the free copy of the book!

  2. Amanda B August 29, 2016 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Pit Bulls are the most loyal loving dogs. That’s why they’ve been able to be manipulated by people to fight so well. They will do anything for their owners. We need to bring back the nanny dog mentality and get rid of the horrible stereotypes these disgusting people have created.

    • SimonDawg August 29, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Pit bulls are indeed awesome and their history is definitely complicated and, often sad. The good news, I hope, is that if we can open the dialogue to really understand the root causes of all the misinformation and the associated myths (I’ll be talking about some of these in the rest of the series), we can have a positive impact in changing the conversation.

  3. Clifford Henderson August 29, 2016 at 9:45 am - Reply

    I have a pit bull and I swear he is the tamest dog I ever had.

    • SimonDawg August 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Piper is by far the snuggliest of my three and it’s one of my labs that has a harder time with being reactive. I think that much like people, all dogs have individual personalities and can’t be judged by their breed.

  4. Amy Lynn Herman August 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    This interview is damn refreshing to see. Keep writing content like this!! Love it. Best, Amy Lynn

    • SimonDawg August 30, 2016 at 8:43 am - Reply

      Thanks, Amy Lynn! I’m glad you liked the post. Hoping the rest of the series doesn’t disappoint!

  5. Grace Boyle August 29, 2016 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Makes me happy to read all of this! I always find those that misunderstand or judge pit bulls have NEVER owned one and definitely have never spent time around them. If they have, they would know how truly loyal, loving and wonderful they are. Thanks for always spreading the good word πŸ™‚ I love my pit bull! Also never read this book!

    • SimonDawg August 30, 2016 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Grace! I’m so glad that you liked the post. I think you’d love Bronwen’s book. It’s a really wonderful look at these dogs we love so much πŸ™‚

  6. hapi255 August 30, 2016 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Thank you for bringing awareness to the plight of Pit Bulls! I hope more eyes and hearts are opened with this interview and the book.

  7. Katie August 30, 2016 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Can’t wait to read this book! End BSL!

    • SimonDawg August 30, 2016 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Katie, the book is outstanding! Truly a wonderful book that all dog lovers should read. I hope you entered the giveaway πŸ™‚

  8. Cathy Armato August 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    This sounds like a wonderful book, based on real facts which so much about Pit Bulls isn’t! I was wary of the breed too until I started volunteering at the shelter and met so many loving, fun, incredible Pit Bulls, & dealing with the heartbreak of many being passed over due simply to fear. BSL is a sad thing, so ineffective and so hurtful to people as well as dogs. I’d love to read this book!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • SimonDawg August 30, 2016 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Cathy, I really believe one of the best ways to help open minds is for people to share our positive experiences and to share our pit bull type dogs so that people can see they are just dogs. BSL is such a destructive force, for the dogs and for their humans. The books is eye-opening and so well-written!

  9. sadieandco August 30, 2016 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this book. And, for the opportunity to win a copy. I live in a Province where Bulls are banned! Things need to change. People need to realize it’s the person at the other end of the leash that makes forms the dog.

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 8:46 am - Reply

      The book is incredibly well-researched and well-written. I know that Canada is dealing with a lot of BSL issues right now. You are not alone in advocating for pit bulls and if you can get the book into the hands of politicians and community activists, hopefully it will facilitate change. Good luck in the giveaway!

  10. Rebecca Sanchez August 31, 2016 at 4:50 am - Reply

    Excellent interview on a topic that is often cloaked in emotion versus fact. We have small dogs and we have always welcomed encounters with Pitties – never had one issue, and they are always friendly (a few disinterested). We’ll read this book to help strengthen our knowledge about this great breed. Thanks for sharing!

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad you liked the interview. It was truly a wonderful conversation with the author. I’m also glad that your experiences with Pit Bulls have been positive. πŸ™‚

  11. Montecristo Travels (Sonja) August 31, 2016 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Most interesting to me is the social and economic part. Although not a pitty owner (just not my kind of dog) I have in general loved the ones I have met. They are often gentle with my tiny 3.5 pound Chihuahua and a lot less aggressive than his tiny counterparts. I’ll share this book with my pitty owning 9hate that word) friends and rescue folks. Thoughtful interview.

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      I too find that part fascinating. The issue is so much deeper than the dogs. My only concern about letting Piper play with little dogs is that she weighs 50 pounds and is a solid, sturdy and not altogether graceful girl – I’d be worried that she’d trip and fall on a 3.5lb dog! Thank you for sharing. The more we can talk about it, the better πŸ™‚

  12. Valerie Desmet August 31, 2016 at 8:54 am - Reply

    It’s SO awesome that you raise awareness about Pitbulls! I saw the sweetest Pitbull a few weeks ago!! I don’t even understand how a breed can be ‘banned’, that’s just awful!

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Valerie! I hope that this post and the rest of the series contribute to an open and honest dialogue. Sadly, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is ineffective as a community safety tool and I believe that if we put the money and resources that go into enforcing breed bans/restrictions into community outreach and education, we would have a much more positive impact.

  13. FiveSibesMom August 31, 2016 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Thank you for this great review and interview. My best friend has adopted two and they are just amazing. One had been abused and they really have a darling now. They recently welcomed a Pit-mixed pup into their home and just adore these dogs! Thanks for the chance at the giveaway, too! What a great book to have!
    FiveSibesMom recently posted…The Groomer Man Cometh and Goeth, Leaving Us With “Fluffy,” a Siberian Husky, of Sorts…My Profile

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      You are most welcome! I’m glad you liked the post and I love hearing about rescue pits πŸ™‚ The book is really terrific! Good luck in the giveaway!

  14. Beth August 31, 2016 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Wow, this does seem like an incredibly thoughtful and well-researched book. I am adding it to my wishlist for this holiday season.
    Beth recently posted…bluestem Oral Care for Dogs #bluestempetsMy Profile

  15. Christina Berry | The Lazy Pit Bull August 31, 2016 at 9:56 am - Reply

    This is a really great book, and I highly encourage everyone – Pit Bull lover or not – to take the time to read it! Thanks for the giveaway!

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      Agreed! It’s a fantastic book for everyone!

  16. Sherri August 31, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Is the BSL legislation really about bites? Or fights?
    There’s no doubt these dogs can make good pets in the hands of the right owners. But like all dogs, they should be fixed. I know BSL is controversial and has a lot of collateral damage in the effort to eliminating dog fighting as a practice. But what’s better? That’s the question we need to ask.
    What tools do we give animal control officers and how can we help them? The truth is, criminals are not running dog fighting rings with poodles. If we only allow officers to confiscate dogs during an actual fight, there are going to be less dogs rescued from horrific fates.

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Sherri. You raise a really interesting question. The main issue with BSL is that ultimately it targets the dogs and not the dog fighters. Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is a law that bans or restricts certain types of dogs based on their appearance, usually because they are perceived as β€œdangerous” breeds or types of dogs. There is rarely, if ever, any direct reference to dog fighting in the legislation and the laws that are in place to punish dog fighters are woefully inadequate. Several major studies and reputable organizations, including the ASPCA and HSUS and the American Veterinary Association, have found that BSL does nothing to increase community safety and too many of our animal control officers are operating with extremely limited resources and/or funding. I think the answer lies in really understanding the root cause of the stereotypes (“only thugs and criminals have pit bulls”, “pit bulls have locking jaws and are inherently vicious” etc.), acknowledging the socio-economic/racial realities fueling the misinformation, creating and funding real community outreach and education programs and providing access to resources (training, medical care etc.) where they are needed most. BSL, sadly has impacted and continues to impact good dogs and their families and I believe we can do better.

  17. Luna C. Lupus August 31, 2016 at 11:44 am - Reply

    I am definitely adding this book to my must-read list!!! It breaks my heart when I see the fear and hatred towards pit bulls. In fact, I used to be one of those people! Not the hatred part, but definitely the fear part. They were presented to me as a dangerous breed, my grandma would tell me horror stories about them and urge me to avoid them at all cost. One of our neighbors had one and kept him off leash (he was very well behaved), but when I saw him I was in sheer panic. I was sure he’s going to bite me. If I saw him from far away, I would change the direction and I never passed their house.
    It wasn’t until I started owning dogs myself and reading good books, as well being in contact with more breeds, that I realized how stupid my misconceptions were. How my fear was completely unjustified and how little it takes to pass it on! Since then, I really pay attention to this topic and I’m so glad I’ve just found out about this book. Let’s all make a better world for the pitties! <3
    Luna C. Lupus recently posted…Book Club: Riley Carson And The Cherokee Caves by Megan WargulaMy Profile

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your honesty. I completely understand the initial fear and will be talking about a similar experience in one of the follow up posts in this series. I hope it continues to foster open discussion and encourages more folks to share and learn from one another. πŸ™‚

  18. Nichole August 31, 2016 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Thank you for raising awareness about this! I’ve always loved pitties and am happy to see more people stand up for them.
    Nichole recently posted…Weruva Caloric Harmony #ChewyInfluencerMy Profile

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Nichole! Hopefully, we can continue to open the conversation, address concerns, and work together to create a meaningful and positive dialogue.

  19. Maureen August 31, 2016 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    I really look forward to reading this book. I don’t understand why Pit Bulls can’t get a break. It makes me so mad that I live in the Denver area and these beautiful, majestic dogs are not allowed. Great post and interview!!!! I love the pictures!

    • SimonDawg August 31, 2016 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      I’m still amazed that given how progressive and forward-thinking Denver is, we are still fighting to overturn BSL. I think it will happen eventually but, as far as I’m concerned it can’t happen soon enough. Glad you liked the post πŸ™‚

  20. Bryn Nowell August 31, 2016 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I’m only a third of the way into the book, but I am looking forward to reading further. There are so many facets that need investigating, holistic conversation, and an open mind to really understand this complex issue. I’m refreshed to see there’s a reading resource that, as you stated, should be mandatory reading for anyone who is in the world of animal rescue or (in my opinion) any person who dares open their mouth to share an opinion regarding pit bulls and having one (or eight million as I would prefer) as a family member. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to your future posts.

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

      Thanks, Bryn! I completely agree that it is a complex, layered issue and I wish more people were open to reading the book and having the hard conversations. Let me know what you think of the rest of the book!

  21. Tonya Wilhelm August 31, 2016 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Great interview. I’ve worked with many pit bull clients in my career. As a general rule, they have been very devoted, smart and caring dogs. Good luck with the book launch.

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Thanks, Tonya! Interviewing Ms. Dickey was a real honor.

  22. Dash Kitten Crew August 31, 2016 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    I like the bit about taking responsibility for being part of the issue – the Human on the end of the lead! This is SO important. People think its all about what everyone ELSE does – not THEM. It’s the same with ferals ‘destroy the ferals!!!!’ Who put the ferals there? We did! It is vital to take a calm and reasoned approach to the issue in hand and, as you say, let them be dogs.

    I remember an issue with Rotweillers in the UK, years ago. There was real fearmongering but my Mum had a Rottie living close by and always said he was a real softie. A dog is as good as it’s owner – we need to work with dogs in a positive way!
    Dash Kitten Crew recently posted…Let’s Show Everyone We Are #PurrfectTogether for Happy Healthy Cat MonthMy Profile

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Great point about feral cats. We humans really do seem to struggle with personal responsibility at times. If we can come together and really examine animal welfare issues, I know there are solutions that keep animals and communities safe. We just have to be willing to do the work, as you said, in a positive way.

  23. Kristian August 31, 2016 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed your comprehensive post on this topic. I think any animal can be aggressive if treated and trained incorrectly. Maybe we should have more awareness for owners on how to train and socialise their dogs to prevent fights and bites?

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I completely agree about creating more accessible opportunities for owners on training and socialization. Access to resources and education are critical in preventing injuries and in creating happy dogs, homes and communities.

  24. Talent Hounds August 31, 2016 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    I admit that when I started research on Talent Hounds a few years ago, I did not have a great impression of Pit Bulls and certain other dog breeds because of the media hype around a few attacks on humans and dogs and because of their big strong jaws and teeth, muscles and fighting ability. They scared me a little and their appearance still can in some cases. Since then, I have met some of the sweetest Pit Bulls ever- several of them therapy dogs – and I rescued a very reactive Pug, the breed least likely to bite – Ha. Luckily if Kilo did land a bite, the damage would be minimal as his teeth are so tiny and his jaw is not so strong and he is so little.
    Sounds like this book is a great step in the right direction at breaking stereotypes and generalizations.

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:23 am - Reply

      In one of the follow up posts, I will be talking about my first impressions of Pit Bulls based on the media hype before I had any direct interaction with a Pit Bull. Like you, it wasn’t until I’d met a Pit Bull that I realized something didn’t add up in terms of what I had heard and the total marshmallow of a dog that was my first introduction and the many Pits I’ve met since. I hope you are right about Bronwen’s book being a good step towards changing public opinion. πŸ™‚

  25. Tami August 31, 2016 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    LOVE that this book is out there… we’ll be checking it out! I’ve done a lot of work in animal rescue and have seen firsthand the challenges that arise in the rescue world by both the true and fictitious information floating around. Thanks for such a great review!

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:36 am - Reply

      It is such a well-researched and well-written book. I highly recommend it to anyone in the animal world. I hope you enjoy it!

  26. Sweet Purrfections August 31, 2016 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    I haven’t read the book yet, but am very interested. I commented on your FB page (I think) that German Shepherds and Dobermans were the breeds everyone feared when I was growing up. I think we have more of a stereotype of the pit bulls in the South, because unfortunately, that’s where most of the dog fighting occurs. I’ve heard the horror stories, so I admit, I’m one of those who is cautious. I am open minded, so I am very interested in reading more about the breed.

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      It does seem like the breed to be feared does change over time. Unfortunately, I think the Pit Bull has become tied to all kinds of social, racial and economic issues that compound the problem. The South is definitely hard hit with dog fighting and, unfortunately, we are seeing pockets pop up all over the country. I completely understand being cautious and really appreciate your openness and willingness to learn more about Pit Bulls and the underlying issues facing all dogs. I hope you will find the book to informative.

  27. Ruth Epstein August 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Great article and I firmly believe that educating people about Pit Bulls will in time change their attitudes

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Agreed! I think the more people meet and interact with Pit Bulls and really educate themselves about dog behavior and body language the better it will be for all dogs.

  28. Spencer the Goldendoodle August 31, 2016 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    This books sounds great! Education is so important! Paws are crossed!

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:59 am - Reply

      The books is absolutely worth the read! Education and outreach are key to changing the conversation πŸ™‚

  29. Tenacious Little Terrier August 31, 2016 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Entered the giveaway! Looking forward to reading rest of the book. I guess I should put it on hold again at the library as well.

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:33 am - Reply

      Absolutely worth the read! Good luck in the giveaway!

  30. Pawesome Cats September 1, 2016 at 3:50 am - Reply

    It sounds like a great read! Every Pit Bull dog I’ve ever know has been kind, loving and a family member – it’s a shame the stereotypes continue to perpetuate the myth.

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 9:30 am - Reply

      It is indeed a shame that he stereotypes persist. The media doesn’t help and there is a small but very loud and vocal anti-pit bull group that is reluctant to embrace facts, which, in my opinion, stalls any progress. It is my hope that Bronwen’s book helps to change the conversation.

  31. Noni Stearns September 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    This is a thoughtful, well written and balanced book review and interview. Obviously this is a topic that continues to be debated and deserves thoughtful discussion. I learned a lot from reading this and understand the concern of many people but I have yet to meet a pit bull who exhibited aggressive behavior. We need to respect each other’s opinions and experiences and keep the dialogue open.
    The authors of both the book and the interview have definitely given us a place to start.

    • SimonDawg September 1, 2016 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for reading the post and sharing your thoughts. I couldn’t agree more about needing to respect one another’s opinions and experiences in an effort to move the conversation forward.

  32. Kacie September 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    I just finished the book a couple days ago and it was easily the best book I’ve read in a while. Having a dog that people are always asking me if she’s a Pit Bull mix (she’s an American Bulldog) made me read this book. Now after having read it I think everyone interested in dogs and social justice should read this book.

    • SimonDawg September 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      Kacie – I couldn’t agree more. As I said in the post, I think it should be required reading for anyone in animal welfare. In one of the follow up posts in the series, I talk about the questions we get as owners of bully breeds. I’ve gotten some doozies as I’m sure you have πŸ˜‰ If you have a particularly interesting/weird comment or question you’ve been asked, please let me know. I may add it in to the post!

  33. Lindsey September 6, 2016 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Great interview. Looking forward to reading this book even if I don’t win the free copy. πŸ˜‰

    • SimonDawg September 6, 2016 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks for reading the interview! Good luck in the giveaway and definitely grab a copy even if don’t win. It’s one of the best books I’ve read on the subject πŸ™‚

  34. Beth Van Allen September 6, 2016 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Looks like a great book. Almost every pit or pit mix I have met in the profession has been a typical dog. Any dog can have issues, and I wish people would realize that. I look forward to the day when breed restrictions leave my area as I’m cautious enough with my dog even though she is not restricted. She has her issues. But it’s also my responsibility to be sure that I keep up with her training and keep her safe and show others that she is safe – and to know when she is not going to be able to play with your dog for example because she is not in the right mindset. It’s 99 percent owner responsibility and persistence, and I can certainly tell when I am slacking:).

    • SimonDawg September 7, 2016 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      Beth- It’s truly a wonderful book. We have so much to learn still and I completely agree that we need to do more to help owners be better owners. I too have a reactive dog (one of my labs – go figure) and it is totally my responsibility to set him (and me) up for success by staying on top of training, as you said, and making sure that I remember his limitations and never put him situations that are too much for him. Thanks for stopping by the blog! πŸ™‚

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