“Bite the hand that feeds. Tap the vein that bleeds.”
I was reading, and enjoying, DARK LOVER by JR Ward. The vampires were dark and dangerous and, being a paranormal romance, I knew there would be steamy scenes too. What I wasn’t expecting, and what took me out of my suspension of disbelief, was Mr. X and his pit bulls.
Oh yes, I do believe that Pit Bulls that are isolated and fed raw meat only every other day can be vicious. Oh yes, I believe that people do things like that to dogs that otherwise wouldn’t bite a flea on their tails. But, please, Ward, try to understand the negative reputation this breed has to face on a daily basis. Playing off of this encourages towns to make laws prohibiting pet Pits, and allows the average citizen to cringe at the sight of an otherwise lovable breed.
Michael Vick went to jail when it finally came out that he was fighting dogs. Pits are a common breed for people who find sick amusement in this activity. Pits are also popular among drug dealers and other creeps who want to protect their “business” or themselves from the competition and the cops.
We hear of these things too often.
What we don’t hear is that such things are not inherent to that breed. An example of the story that is told less often, but that is just as common, if not moreso, is that of a wiggly, happy Pit who adopted abandoned kitten, mothering them and raising them, in a Southern NH vet clinic. Yes, same breed.
We also hear half as much about what happened after Vick was arrested than before. Did you know most of his fighting dogs were rehabilitated and placed in “normal” homes with real families? They are a resilient breed, more than willing to have a happy, family pet kind of life.
What else don’t you hear?
It was a dog half the size of a Pit Bull that chewed up my wrist one day. I had it when its owner couldn’t leave it at home or it would destroy furniture. I couldn’t let it play with other dogs. It was a mess. It wasn’t a Pit; it was an eighteen pound Basinji.
When I groomed dogs, I was bit more often by Shih Tzus and mini Poodles than by Rotts, Pitts, and Shepherds put together. Spoiled dogs are more likely to bite than a well-trained one, and the owners of big dogs know that they need to make a better impression than yippy little dogs because of the misconstrued reputation created by the likes of drug dogs, dog fighters, and the generally ignorant. Big dogs get the training more often, while little dogs get spoiled or man-handled. Yes, a Min-Pin needs an Alpha too.
When I trained dogs, Pits were a pleasure to work with. Smart and eager to please the Alpha, they were often teacher’s pet while the smaller, more reputable breeds would bark and nip and outright refuse to cooperate.
Now, I’m not a small dog hater either. In defense of those little brats, it is often the owner, who refuses to or doesn’t understand how to take the Alpha role in the relationship that creates the spazzing, misbehaving pet. That, however, is a rant for another day, Dear Readers. I can go on about that worse than about misunderstood breeds.
I’m not giving up on DARK LOVER, or on JR Ward. It’s not that story’s fault that people still do not understand that the Pit Bull is a beautiful breed. Ward did use the reference correctly. Sadly, there are people who do exactly what Mr. X did. What I’d prefer to see from people who reach so many with their words, is a loving Pit and a vicious anything-else. Show the world that it’s not the breed, but the owner that creates the monster, and show the world that there’s more to the dog than his or her stereotype. That is, after all, what writers must strive for – an original idea.
Break stride and pat a Pit Bull today, but be careful, he might lick you, or knock you over when his whole body wiggles with the wagging of his tail.
Disclaimer: With Pits, or any dog, always ask the owner if it is okay to touch. Rescued dogs often remain skittish for years after they’ve left a bad home, and some dogs are shy around strangers. It doesn’t make them bad dogs. We people can be just the same. I’d bite you if you touched me before we officially met too.