This is a letter that I just submitted to my local newspaper.
I would like to introduce you to my two dogs. Copper is a Boxer-Pit Bull cross who’s favorite thing is a soft couch, and who likes vegetables more than most people I know. Moose is a Mastiff, Sharpai, Pit Bull puppy whose tail is a deadly weapon, but only because she’s always so happy to see you it’s wagging a mile a minute. Both dogs were raised in a house full of children, and can be trampled on, pulled and pushed around, and sat on without batting an eye. One of their main motivators in life, besides dinner-time, is going on walks.
Unfortunately, in this self proclaimed “dog-friendly” town, my two dogs, who have never shown one ounce of aggression, either to other dogs or to people, are met with animosity and aggression by the majority of people we pass on trails and sidewalks, simply because they look like pit bulls. When two pit bulls have been shot and killed by local police this summer, I understand that there is a lot of fear and negativity surrounding these dogs, but I am sending out this missive: please give both my dogs and other bully breeds a chance. Aggressive pit bulls are, as all aggressive dogs are, victims of their environments. The majority of pit bulls you will see in this town, especially out on walks, are rescued dogs who have been given a second chance and are loved and cherished, and therefore probably pretty well trained.
As a proud, conscientious owner of these misunderstood dogs, I realize that I am also an ambassador for the breed, which is why my dogs are fully and thoroughly trained and leashed when in town or on busy trails, and why, when I am told that my puppy is going to get maced in the face, or when a mother cowers and shields her child from my harmless mutts, I am going to continue to respond with love and patience, instead of returning the hate and aggression that I meet on an almost daily basis.
My role in this community is just as important to me as my role as a dog owner, and when I feel unwelcome on whatever trail or sidewalk I am on just because my dogs have short hair and square heads, it makes me feel like an unwelcome part of this community that I am so proud to call my own.