Experience as a pit bull "foster"

This is where to talk about Pit Bulls!

Postby katiek0417 » March 27th, 2006, 8:36 pm

There's a saying that you don't know what it's like to be someone until you've lived a day walking in their shoes. Now I know that's true:

Since the end of February, I have been taking care of a friend's 6-year old pit bull, Rusty. Because this was a dog I didn't know, I tried to be responsible, when I picked Rusty up from my friend's house, I asked him certain things about his temperament. I knew that he had male dog aggression, but asked how he was with female dogs, guests in the house, children, etc. I was told that other than the male dog aggression, Rusty was great with everyone else (but to also use my judgment). I also looked into my county Gov't to make sure there was no BSL (my neighboring county has BSL agains pits, and there they actually have the right to go into someone's home and take the pit, even if there's been no complaint lodged against it. Because Rusty wasn't my dog, I really didn't want someone coming into my home to take him). Since I also live in a townhome community, I also let the board of directors (of which I am the VP) and the mgmt company know that I would have him in my house. I just didn't want them to get complaints, and have the same prejudices that other people would have: I offered to have them come over and meet him for themselves (so they could see what a sweetheart he is). Well, there was no BSL, and my board of directors had no issues. I figured "No problem." Right?

Rusty immediately won a place in my heart, and we started to go running every day (2 miles), we would go for walks, I'd take him to practice my tennis serves, etc. Immediately, I noticed that people would cross the street when I would run with him. Understand that I don't live in the worst neighborhood, but we have our share of problems over here, so in some ways I liked the extra "protection" that Rusty brought. I didn't think anything of people crossing the street...I didn't realize why they were doing it...I think I forgot that Rusty was a pit bull....

Well, last week, I took Rusty for a nice long walk. We have a playground in my neighborhood, there were 5 or 6 neighborhood girls playing on the playground (between the ages of ~8 and ~12). When I walked past with Rusty, one of the girls asked if they could pet him. I didn't feel that he was "on alert" so I said sure. I put him in a down-stay, and instructed each girl to put their hands out so that he could sniff them before they reached to pet him (I didn't know how much they knew about dogs, which is why I told them to do that). I also asked that one girl go at a time. Well, each girl got to pet Rusty, and he just loved the attention. When they were done, I released him. Because I had no treats with me, I let him jump on me for "love" as his reward. When Rusty jumps on me, he jumps straight up so that he's eye level with me, then lands on his hind legs with his front legs on me (standing up). I was loving on him, he had "wiggle butt," and he was smiling up at me. At that point, a lady came out of her house (from across the street), came running over and said "How could you let children pet such a vicious dog?"

My reaction: "huh?" I had no idea what do she was talking about. Rusty is by NO MEANS vicious...he's a love bug (just don't break into my house). Also, keep in mind that this is not an "untrained" dog. He belongs to a trainer, and is a PSA-titled dog...his obedience is INCREDIBLE.

I have since learned that several homeowners have called the mgmt company and other board directors to complain about my "vicious" dog. When asked what evidence they had as to why they deemed my dog "vicious," not one of them had an answer...

Anyway, my point to this long-winded post is that I just don't get people. I NEVER realized that people could be this prejudiced towards a breed of dog....a breed that, in my opinion, doesn't deserve to be prejudiced against.

Rusty:
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Postby cheekymunkee » March 27th, 2006, 8:50 pm

He certainly is a cutie!1 And yes, we deal with it quite often. You have to become very thicked skinnned or you will lose your mind.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » March 27th, 2006, 8:51 pm

He is gorgeous. It is bigotry, just like racism. I forget people are like that until I walk down the street with a black person and see the reactions. I don't see the black, I see a friend. But there are a$$holes out there where color is all they see.

I am sorry you have to deal with this. Thank goodnes you are being so responsible, and you just helped those little girls see the other side of the story. Maybe they will grow up not being bigots.
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Postby Purple » March 27th, 2006, 9:05 pm

Thank You for being responsible with Rusty.
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Postby satanscheerleader » March 27th, 2006, 9:10 pm

Welcome to the world of so many responsible pit bull owners who face this everyday. When you let a pit bull into your heart and see how truely great they are, all the prejudice is a small price to pay, even if it is beyond rediculous some days.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » March 27th, 2006, 10:07 pm

He is a cutie! Inara and I experienced our first hostility this past Saturday at puppy school - we were exiting the training ring and some woman smiled and asked what Inara was. I proudly told her and she got this nasty look on her face and said, "OH." I immediately got affronted by just smiled and said "they're not killers." She just sneered and said, "mmm-hmmmm." I was so mad! We've never gotten a reaction like that before. Everybody else loves her. Grrr. People are so ignorant.
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Postby SisMorphine » March 27th, 2006, 10:28 pm

I hate that :( It just breaks your heart.

I love to walk my pit bull fosters with my Greyhound. Most people don't find a Greyhound very initimidating (unless he yawns or they're afraid of tall dogs) so to see him hanging out with this other dog definitely gives the other dog a safe air to it.
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Postby Malli » March 27th, 2006, 10:39 pm

welcome to my world.
I can't even recall the number of times we've experienced this crap, the number is that high.

Its like its not acceptable (in most places) to show your prejudice or fear against different people so we've switched to witch hunting animals.

Every time you get one of those bad experiences, you just gotta remember the awesome ones. They aren't as many, but they change minds and hearts and show that there are still good, reasonable people out there.

Honestly, its hard for me to not avoid people in general with him because of this, I just get so mad.

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Postby bullygrrl » March 27th, 2006, 11:06 pm

I love that beautiful bully smile :D
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Postby mnp13 » March 27th, 2006, 11:35 pm

Thanks Katrina! It's interesting to see the difference in people's attitude when you have a Lab or Malinois (people who don't know better just think it is some sort of GSD mix) on the leash vs. a Pit Bull.

People who have never owned a Pit don't usually get that experience....

Rusty sure is a honey!
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Postby Fear_the_Sheeple » March 28th, 2006, 12:30 am

What a cutie pie! Sorry about the bad experience, it's crazy how people can be so scared of something for no reason at all. I don't trust my dog around kids (he scared of them and might bark and scare them), but he's a mutt so it's okay? It's so wrong that people judge so much, and truly have no idea why they think the way they do.
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