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

Friday, January 16, 2015

Turning the Tide

Before I begin chatting away about today's topic, I'd like to get something out of the way.

Sadly, it's been a while since I've posted any meaningful articles. For that, I am sorry. But it means that I have LOTS of new things to share with all of you wonderful readers, so expect several new posts in the next few weeks or so. 

A couple days ago I opened my email and spent several minutes scrolling through the muck that builds up if I don't check in every 5 minutes. One of the emails was from Goggle+, and it listed some of the posts I've missed since I last checked in. One of those posts was shared by a wonderful Google+ member named The Blueminator and it included a link to an online article. 

Roscoe, one of the dogs featured in Madden's article
Roscoe, one of the dogs featured in Madden's article
The article, written by Emily Madden and titled, "Pit bull owners share the softer side of 'bully breeds'", shares the account of different pit bull owners who live in a town called Newark (not sure if that's Jersey or not, it wasn't specific!) which imposes strict restrictions on the owners of "bully breeds". Most of the dog owners choose to keep their dogs regardless of those restrictions, which I find to be wonderful and terrible at the same time. Wonderful because the owners are refusing to give up their cherished pets, and terrible that they are required to maneuver through so much bureaucracy in order to do so. 

I found myself having a great deal of mixed feeling over this article. The reporting, in itself, was wonderful. Ms. Madden does an excellent job of describing the breed, from their origins in the old country to their eventual stigmatizing use as fighting dogs. I wanted to stand up and cheer when Ms. Madden mentions how critical the negative media hype has been in demonizing our beloved breed of dog. 

A member of the media declaring the media has played a large role in misrepresenting pit bulls? Can you say, "Score for Team Pit Bull?"!!! Whooo-Hooo!!

But back to my mixed feelings. I most definitely felt angry and sad for those dog owners in Newark (and in every county that has enacted BSL) who are forced to spend time, money, and an overt amount of effort to own the type of dog they want to own. But at the same time, I started getting this burning feeling of hope and victory in the pit of my stomach.

Hope? Victory? Many of you are probably wondering how in the world I could possibly feel these things when I was reading yet another story about pit bull owners being punished for owning pit bulls. 

The reason is simple, really. Overall, this article was about how loving pit bulls are, and what great pets they make.

WE ARE TURNING THE TIDE!!! The voices, like ours, that are telling the world all the wonderful things about the breed known as pit bulls are being heard!! Want proof? Google pit bulls. The amount of articles, websites. and blogs in support of the breed are beginning to out-number the negative websites and articles. Pit bull lovers are everywhere. Each time I try and use PitbullMama or PitbullParent as a username somewhere, it's taken. (Along with just about every other pit bull related name I could think of!). Celebrities are speaking out and sharing their personal stories of pit bull ownership. And more importantly, everyday people like you and me are spreading the word. 

Granted, we in the pit bull community have a long way to go. There are still far too many close minded individuals out there who believe that pit bulls are dangerous and vicious dogs. But minds and hearts are being changed every day. The data keeps coming in that proves the BSL isn't an effective way to manage dog attacks and more and more communities will continue to vote No on BSL. 

So keep on spreading the word! Use your Breed Ambassador to change those hearts and minds. And use your knowledge and experience to educate someone who may have only heard negative things about pit bulls. I'm often surprised by how easy it is to change someone's mind about pit bulls when they have no personal experience with the dogs and have gotten all of their "information" from media hype. A few minutes of petting Con, a few facts from me, and usually those individuals leave our encounter bewildered, wondering why they ever thought pit bulls were dangerous. 

Let's keep on fighting the good fight for our four legged best friends. Let's keep turning the tide.