Katie - I'll email it to you too.
There is a lot more to this, but being that this is a public forum, there is only so much I can say right now.
I just realized that I didn't mention that there were several other kids there too, but it was Jamal that stepped in and really went beyond what most would do in this situation.
Now I am going to hop up on my soap box for a minute here because right now, I'm so mad at a few people that I will probably never speak to them again.
My husband and few others are giving me so much garbage about this incident for reasons that just boil down to narrow minded bigotry.
When people express interest in Birdie, if I have a minute to stop and let them pet her, I will. If not I acknowledge their interest with a smile or nod or what ever seems appropriate. I don't give a rat's behind what friggin' color they are, what they are wearing or how they talk. All I see is a kid, not a black kid, not a hispanic kid, not a gang member - A KID!!! I treat them the same and talk to them the same way I would anybody else I meet.
I train at this park for many reasons, among them, the distractions. Small animals, a highway not to far away (you can hear the big trucks) lots of kids riding bikes and scooters, joggers, other dogs, several fields, basketball courts, a pond, birds etc.
So about a month ago when I was walking Birdie and I realized that these kids had paused their game to look at Birdie, I acknowledged their interest and asked them if they'd like to pet her. Of course they did and they asked me a ton of questions about her job and pit bulls, and I answered them as best as I could. Since they were interested in how I trained her, I asked them if they wanted to help me. Several said sure.
Since I was working on Birdie ignoring people unless I told her it was okay to visit, I explained what I was doing and why. So we worked on that for a few minutes, then I released her and let them pet her and play with her for a couple minutes before we left.
Then I saw them again a few weeks ago and waved. They stopped to come say hi. One kid was finishing up some chips and was going to throw the bag away, so I asked him to sprinkle the crumbs on the ground first. After Faire season, Birdie is really bad about snagging food on the ground and I had been working on putting a stop to it. So again, I explained what I was doing and why, including the correction that I used if she went for the chips and why I ended training sessions on a good note for her.
They played with her for a few minutes when we were done and then we were on our way.
Between both times, I'd say I spent maybe 25 - 30 minutes in all talking with these kids and letting them pet Birdie.
The next time I saw them was the day I got bit.
Now my husband and a few others tell me I'm stupid for spending the amount of time that I do answering questions and letting people interact with Birdie. In my mind, if I've planted just a seed of doubt about all the media BS they hear about this breed, it's worth it to me.
In this case, the 25 - 30 minutes that I "wasted" probably saved us both from being seriously injured. I'd say that was well worth the half hour I spent, wouldn't you??
Damn! People make me so mad sometimes. >>> Off my soap box now.
Someone had suggested basketball tickets on another forum, so I'm looking into getting several UCONN Husky Men's Basketball tickets for Jamal and a few of his friends.
I called his Probation officer this morning to find out if he had any restrictions and to see if he had any suggestions because I don't want to do something that will cause him more trouble. I ended up leaving a message for him.
BUT, I had an idea this morning. I remembered that the back boards and hoops where these kids play are shot. My next door neighbor is a cop in the city, so I went over and asked him what he thought of replacing them for the kids and what I'd need to do to get permission to have them replaced with new ones. He thought it was a great idea and said he'd help me buy them. He is going to call around at the city to find out for me.
One of our clients at work is a recreation store, so with permission from my boss, I called her about the back boards. She knows the whole story and will donate one and give us the other at the wholesale price. She's also giving me two nice basketballs for them.
So if the city gives us permission, I think this is a great gift for all of the kids.
Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men ~ General George S. Patton, Jr.
She taking all the stars down from her sky to hang them up someplace new, where there's better weather and the sky's a different blue. ~ Autumn Fields