Part Two – My Pit Bull Story
I get it. The stories about Pit Bulls are scary. The media representation of Pit Bulls could make you believe that they are unhinged monsters just waiting to pounce. Truth be told, I used to be afraid of Pit Bulls based solely on what I’d read and heard from the media. In fact, 14 years ago, when my niece was born, I questioned my brother’s decision to bring a rescue Pit Bull into his house. (I mean weren’t they afraid that she would eat the baby?!?) Then, I met Zipper and it was a love fest of the first order.
Yes, like many rescue dogs, Zipper had some quirks like being a little wary of strangers and, in her case, especially men. She was even shy with folks she’d met before but Zipper was a loyal, gentle spirit with soulful eyes and a serious Pit Bull wiggle butt.
Zipper, sporting a snazzy sun hat, the Pit Bull that changed my perceptions
Once I’d met Zipper, everything changed for me. I realized that, like many, I had allowed myself to be influenced by the negative media hype and broad stereotyping of these dogs. For those of you who know my story, you know that while I adopted my first rescue dog, a Yellow Lab named Simon, in 2007, it was in 2012 that my journey in the animal welfare/Pit Bull advocacy world really began when someone asked me about my “Pit Bull” while I was out with Simon one morning?!?! Simon is a purebred rescue lab (see his handsome picture below), so you can imagine my confusion (but that’s another story…).
That interaction launched a year of research about Pit Bulls, eventually leading me to ColoRADogs where I became a volunteer, then a board member and ultimately the Foster and Adoption Coordinator. Oh, yeah, and I became a foster failure through ColoRADogs when I adopted Piper in 2015. (a foster failure is one who sets out with the best of intentions to foster a dog to help get it ready for its forever home but then falls completely in love with their foster dog and realizes they are already home 😉 )
The process of learning about Pit Bulls has been eye opening for me and I continue to learn more each day. The most important thing I have come to understand from Zipper and Piper and all the other Pit Bull type dogs I have met over the years, and from my research and my work with ColoRADogs is:
Pit Bull type dogs are just dogs and we need to treat them as such by not villainizing OR idealizing them.
Pit Bull discrimination is a people problem
If I had allowed the negative stereo types about Pit Bulls I’d embraced to go unchecked, I would not have Piper in my life and I would be missing out on an amazing dog who is changing my world.
My girl Piper! Photo Credit: Emily Tronetti/Heal to Howl
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Pit Bull in America, I highly recommend: