This blog has played many roles over the last year and a half I’ve been writing for it. It started as a way to share my fosters with the world, and now, during my fostering break, it includes stories about my own experiences in sheltering, my progress as an amateur photographer, stuff I learn about dog behavior and much more. It’s pretty well-rounded in terms of what kind of information I like to cover (in my opinion, at least?).
Someone once said to me, “When I listen to you and your pit bull friends talk about dog stuff I feel like I can’t relate to anything you’re saying,” implying that for some reason we talk about special issues relating to just pit bulls and that they, even as a dog owner, couldn’t relate. At first I stopped dead in my tracks and I thought to myself, “Crap, do I do that? Do I alienate myself from the rest of dog owners because of my love for pit bulls?”
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized very little on this blog or what I focus on in my dog work and volunteering relates specifically just to pit bulls. The more I considered what issues really matter to me, the more I realized they really don’t have anything to do with pit bulls at all.
When deciding what topics I’ve become hypersensitive about, I came up with the following: dog behavior, being able to communicate effectively with your dog, canine body language, enrichment, dog parks and play groups, keeping a dog happy and comfortable in a shelter, positive training methods, breed discrimination, keeping animals out of shelters, helping pet owners be the best they can be, preventing animal abuse and marketing adoptable animals – among other things.
All of those items I listed can be applied to any and all dogs. They’re dog issues, not pit bull issues. In the same way that you can apply them to any other dog, I sometimes speak about them in the context of my “pit bull” fosters or pit bulls I know at the shelter – but I would do the same if I happened to spend a lot of time with spaniels or huskies or MUTTS.
On that note, yes – I do have a very soft spot for dogs labeled as “pit bulls.” Therefore, I do surround myself with them and groups of people who also like them. When we’re together we talk about many of the topics I listed above. Sometimes specifically having to do with our dogs, and sometimes just in the context of all dogs.
I do hope this blog shows “pit bull” dogs in a positive light and maybe even changes some minds about them. But I think (hope) that almost happens naturally as people read my posts and realize that while yes, the dog I’m writing about happens to be labeled a pit bull, it is also just a dog living with a family doing family dog sort of things. I don’t want to be on here pointing out every negative stereotype about pit bulls and then trying to disprove them because I feel like my dogs speak for themselves through their photos and their stories and their personalities. No two of them have been the same, despite their matching “breed” label – probably because they’re all just DOGS.