Ways to love, train, educate, share information, and revel in being a Pitbull Parent.

Monday, August 4, 2014

An Inspiring Story

Whenever a person is involved in any advocacy type of program, there's usually more sad and terrible stories than good. This is a depressing reality of fighting for a cause.

However, every once in a while an uplifting story comes along that reminds us all why we keep on going against seemingly insurmountable odds.

As I was paging through my Readers Digest issue from June, I came across a story titled, "I Carried Him Down the Mountain", written by Melody Warnick (2014).  Since the picture included with the article featured a woman hugging a pit bull, I quickly began to read.

The heroine of the story, Andi Davis, was hiking one day and came across an injured pit bull slightly off the trail. Andi described herself as, "a sucker for strays" (RD June.2014) but, having recognized the dog as a pit bull, she was hesitant to approach it because her families German Shepherd had been attacked by two pit bulls recently.

But Andi just couldn't leave a dog there to die, so she gathered her courage and carried the injured animal all the way down the mountain. Carrying the fifty pound dog, it took her an hour to reach the bottom, where her husband and daughter were waiting for her. From there they rushed to do in for treatment, where they discovered it had been shot and left there to die.

Andi and her family adopted that pit bull, and he's become a loving, vital part of their household.

This story made me cry for a few different reasons. Thinking about what that poor dog must have went through made me very sad, but the biggest reasons I turned on the waterworks was because; one, I was touched beyond belief at the kindness this family showed towards an injured and abandoned dog. It would have been easy for them to say, it's a pit bull, our dog was attacked by that breed, so we want nothing to do with it. Instead, they opened their hearts and home and brought the dog into their family.

And two, Andi and her family once believed pit bulls were dangerous dogs who could attack viciously for no reason. I'm happy to say that this experience changed their perception radically. The Davis family is now all too happy to correct those who buy into all the negative stereotypes about pit bulls, and help spread the message that it's not the breed that is dangerous, but the humans who manipulate these dogs into displaying aggressive behaviors.

Included is a link to a YouTube video that features a brief interview with Andi and her daughter talking about what happened that day, and how things have gone since then. I urge you to take a few minutes and watch it. I would also suggest you to find the article in the Readers Digest June issue and read it for yourself.

For me, I know anytime I'm feeling overwhelmed by the odds pit bull advocates face, I'll remember Andi and her family. By doing so, I can remind myself that progress IS being made and that there are many, many people out there who care. It also serves as one of the best examples of how people can change their minds about pit bulls once they are able to have a positive interaction with one. 

This is how we'll make a difference. One dog, one family at a time. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

An Award? Really? Wow.....

In the second week of July I received an amazing email saying that this blog had been nominated for an award.


Okay, that was my first response. I seriously couldn't believe it!! As I continued to read, I learned that the award I had been nominated for is called the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I had been nominated to receive it by a wonderful writer and pit bull lover named Sabrina, who not only helped to found the organization Pits4Peace, but also runs a blog titled Books and Bark over at WordPress. 

Needless to say, I'm honored beyond words that Sabrina thinks this blog is not only award worthy, but inspiring as well. I started this blog with a very specific goal, which was to have a dedicated place of information, resources, training tips, all with a little bit of fun thrown in, for pit bull owners and admirers. Above all, I wanted this blog to be seen in a positive, happy, and friendly light, which is why I do not feature abuse, rescue, or adoption stories.

Being nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award tells me that I've achieved that goal, and that means more to me than words can say.

Now, this nomination did come with a few rules. And here they are!

  • The nominee shall display the Very Inspiring Blogger logo on his/her blog, and link to the blog they got nominated from.
  • The nominee shall nominate fifteen (15) he/she admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it. 
Sadly, I do not follow anywhere close to fifteen (15) different blogs, I just don't have the time to do so. Therefore, I am going to nominate the blogs I do follow that I believe are inspiring. This may disqualify me, but it's the best I can do!

So, on to the blogs I find inspiring!
Pits4Peace Logo

  • Pits4Peace: This organization served as the main influence in creating my blog. Their dedication to pit bulls, and pit bull type breeds, is beyond amazing. Their mission to educate, and advocate, for the breed is inspirational indeed. 
  • Bad Rap: This blog is one of the best resources for pit bull lovers out there. They have some of the best information available, if you have a question, they probably have the answer! They actually have two different blogs, each one with it's own focus. Each blog is worthy of this nomination, so I'm not going pick just one! Bad Rap is very active in their community which is crucial in the quest for spreading the word about pit bulls. Way to go, Bad Rap, you've created an amazing place for pit bull fans!
  • Reflections of a Book Addict: This is a blog I recently started following, but as an enormous book lover, it quickly became a much visited site. The writer of the blog, Kimberly Denny-Ryder, does an excellent job of not only providing detailed, dead on book reviews, she keeps her readers interested with witty, fun language. I've always been the type of reader who sticks to a small list of known authors, but after discovering Ms. Denny-Ryder's blog, I've branched out and stumbled upon some wonderful new authors. 
As I said, nowhere near fifteen! Either way, Sabrina at Books and Bark has made my year just by nominating me for this award. The blogs I mention above are truly inspiring, and hopefully you will all think so, as well. 

Thank you, everyone, for reading! I will continue to use my voice in advocacy of pit bulls, and as long as I have one reader, I'll keep on posting. 

Live happy and love dogs!  

July: The Month of Terror

For those of us that live with my pittie, Concobar, July is a distressing month. For those of you who are wondering why, two words sum up the answer; thunder and fireworks. 

Ever since Con was a pup, thunderstorms have scared her. She shakes, sometimes uncontrollably, whines, follows me everywhere, getting underfoot and making me trip, and finally squeezes herself into a half sitting, half laying position in between my feet. 

As I'm sure you can imagine, or have experienced yourself, that situation is bad enough. Then along came the month of July, and with it, the festivity of fireworks. 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy fireworks as much as the next American. Or I did. Now, I spend the entire month of July running on two or three hours of sleep per day, with a pit bull perpetually glued to my feet. It makes for interesting dinner conversation. Especially if we try and eat out. 

But really, this is a huge problem. And sadly, one I don't know how to solve. 

The first dog expert I asked, a man named Frank who owns and operates Rock's Positive K-9 Training in my town, told me I was the problem. That my coddling of Con made her too vulnerable to outside stimuli, and I was turning her into a scardy-pit. Since Frank is an expert dog trainer who's dealt with thousands of dogs, and because I couldn't have that, I took his advice and began to ignore Con whenever she displayed signs of fear. No petting, cooing, or reassurances whatsoever. This seemed to work fairly well, so I enrolled my entire family in the "No Comfort" plan, and soon Con became more accustomed to thunderstorms.  

All was well in McCormack land for a time. Then I made a fatal mistake. I took Con for a walk. 

The fatal walk began as an ordinary stroll around the neighborhood. Con was trotting happily along on her Weiss Walkie, I had my plastic poop baggie and a pair of headphones. I certainly wasn't expecting the neighborhood children to begin throwing firecrackers into the street directly in front of us. As I'm sure you can imagine, neither was Con.

I'll admit, I don't remember every detail of that horrible walk. I remember the incredibly loud popping of the fireworks, and Con's instant and terrified reaction to that popping. She turned and bolted for home. Now, when I say bolted, I mean she almost ripped my arm out of it's socket. I don't believe that's an exaggeration. It felt like my arm was being ripped off. Somehow I managed to hang onto the Walkie, though my wrist was red and swollen for a couple of days afterwards. 

That innocent walk set the tone for Con's reaction to fireworks to this day. Sadly, the progress we had made during thunderstorms was lost, as well. I still abstain from comforting Concobar during thunderstorms or fireworks, although sometimes it's pretty hard to maintain that tough position. But I know it's for her own good, so I stay strong. 

In my neighborhood, fireworks begin the first week of July and continue pretty much through the whole month. I've come to dread July even though it's full of family birthdays, including my own and my twin daughters' (which is on the same day!). 

So, dear readers, I'm turning the tables with this post and asking all of you for some advice. I'm open to any and all suggestions with the exception of the thunder shirt. We've tried that with very poor results. I'm hoping with all of your combined experiences and insights I can begin to give Con a little peace when thunder strikes and July comes around. Her human friends could use a little of that peace, as well!