I've been wanting to write something like this for a while... and there is still so much to say. I hope you guys enjoy it.
Please check out the link to get all the beautiful pictures and to visit some of the links on subjects mentioned in the article. What an Interest in Pit Bulls Has Taught Me http://www.thezoomies.com/what-an-inter ... taught-me/Don’t Focus on Things to Hate
It amazes and surprises me to see how much time and effort people put into hating something, and into expressing that hatred. I see people writing and responding to articles, organizing petitions, starting groups, and even creating entire websites dedicated to expressing their hatred towards a type of dog. I often see responses to articles about the dogs where people make sure to express their hatred for all pit bulls everywhere, as well as their owners. They take the time to share their negative opinions and spread hateful messages to those who disagree with them. It seems as though most people would rather focus on the things they dislike, rather than the things they do like. I also see it often through comments about politics, sports teams, celebrities, movies, and so on. Most of it has presented itself through the discussions about pit bulls, started by those who don’t have a real interest in the breed other than expressing hatred towards the animals. I can’t help but wonder why these people take the time and effort to write about a subject that not only are they not interested in, but that they dislike so much. Perhaps that effort would be better spent learning about and exploring subjects that they do enjoy and support.
I appreciate having this brought to my attention. It reminds me to be not so quick to look for things to dislike, but to instead switch my attention to finding things that I do like. Instead of complaining about something I do not enjoy, I should put more effort into doing things that I enjoy greatly. I feel life must be much better spent putting focus towards things that fulfill me, instead of on things that leave me feeling upset. Be Willing to Understand, and that Hatred May Disappear
Most, if not all, of the people who take the time to express their hatred for pit bulls in a public manner are inexperienced with the dogs themselves. The reason I feel confident in saying this, is because the comments expressed are based on ignorance and a lack of personal experience. Most comments are read straight from bad news articles or repeated from ignorant myths. Sometimes there is a story about a single bad personal experience, which although unfortunate, does not make one knowledgeable on the subject. I am happy to read thoughtful and insightful debates, however most of the comments regarding pit bulls are one-sided and based on opinions, with little openness to hearing from those who have real knowledge and experience. Any positive mentions from those who have not only years of pit bull experience, but those who a deep knowledge of dogs in general, are quickly written off as lies or biases by those who do not want to believe them. I firmly believe that if those who express such a strong hatred towards the breed would meet some of the dogs from a responsible rescue or breeder, they would promptly change their minds. Most of my experience with pit bulls comes from volunteering at the shelter, where I would get love and kisses from dogs that come from unknown, or even abusive and neglectful, backgrounds. Experiences like that should change anyone’s mind that is open to seeing the other side of the dogs they are so used to hating. Not everyone has to love every breed of dog, but if you are going to express so much hatred towards one in particular, you should have some more experience with real breed representatives.
Why would people choose to remain in ignorance, and why do we hate things we don’t understand? I believe the choice is made to remain ignorant because it is easier to do so. No effort is required in learning, or experiencing new things. There is also an addiction to the hate, and to the fear. You get used to that feeling of hatred or disgust that rises whenever that subject gets brought up, and would like to keep it that way to stay in your (dis)comfort zone. Anything that challenges your beliefs is quickly put off as false, so you don’t upset the reality you have created for yourself. It is hard to admit you could be wrong in what you had previously believed, but it is necessary to learn the truth of things. It is a good lesson for me, to remember to learn about the other side of something that I may have been previously quick to judge. I may be surprised by what I unveil. Don’t believe everything you read
Although this cliché is well known, it never truly hit me as so appropriate as when I began seeing so many articles about pit bulls. I’ve seen how often things are taken out of context, omitted, or based on rumors and myths… yet printed as fact, and taken as fact, because it is in newspaper format. The articles will have you believe that a family pet can just “snap”, that roaming packs of pit bulls are looking for people to attack, and that certain dogs have a mechanism that locks their jaws or a special enzyme that causes them to go crazy. I have seen articles mention the dog is a pit bull mix, when they look nothing like one. I have seen articles address the dog as a pit bull, then retract this later when the real breed is addressed. Beyond misidentification and printing myth as fact, the choices made when printing articles show an obvious bias. An article about a pit bull attacking a cat (something that most dogs will do when prey drive kicks in) will be published nationally, where an article about another breed attacking a child will get a small local mention. I do understand why they do all of the above however; as I mentioned earlier, people love something to hate. They love to read articles that bring up anger (how can those pit bull owners live with these vicious dogs?!). People like to see things that reaffirm their preconceived notions, and those who believe all pit bulls are dangerous are happy to see more articles that “prove” this to them. Unfortunately, the newspapers do not have to print fact. They print what they heard, or what they assume. They purposefully use sensational words that bring up emotions, whether or not they are the most appropriate word to use in that circumstance, because it sounds more exciting.
After seeing all of this through my “pit bull education”, I can now read articles in a whole different light. I can see what words are used to invoke emotion, what storylines are created for sensationalism, and what is being left out to create a more interesting article. I see how easy it is to be sucked into these articles, to believe the writer because it sounds so real. I am grateful to be able to see this now, and now read from a whole different point of view. Pay attention to the truly wonderful, tough, and selfless people who are willing to go above and beyond for others.
Through an interest in pit bulls, I have found that there are thousands of dedicated people, who go above and beyond to help others. When the ban was enacted in Denver, where any dog that looked like a “pit bull” would be killed, a group of people formed an “underground railroad” to bring dogs to safety. These people would spend their own time, money, and resources to transport others’ dogs. The owner of the sanctuary where many were transported to, spent even more to keep these dogs safe and happy. People will organize groups that fight against BSL, rescue dogs from shelters, send letters and write articles in support of pit bulls… even if they do not own (or even care for) the breed themselves. They just do what they believe is right, to help innocent animals and the families who love them. That takes a lot of dedication and selflessness, and I am glad to have seen this.
Rescues like BadRap go above and beyond in helping the dogs: working with the shelter system, organizing events to get vet care for those who can’t afford it, rescuing dogs from around the country, and even organizing a giant conference event on pit bull issues. Individual owners who care about making a positive impression with their dogs train them to become therapy or service dogs, get them certified as canine good citizens and with the American temperament test society. The pit bull community will support others with donations, transport, foster homes, and any emotional or financial support they need. Responsible owners truly bond together to represent their dogs in the best light possible. Like any breed owners, they have a passion for their dogs. The only difference is that they have to defend this passion to those who believe they should suffer for their choice. These owners sacrifice often for this love: dealing with negative comments from friends, family, and even strangers, as well as dealing with limits on their life – such as where they can live, or where they can visit with their dog. All pit bull owners want is to enjoy the breed of dog they like, without all of the trouble. They want people to look at their dogs as just another dog, who can be dangerous or safe, depending on who’s on the other end of the leash.
These dedicated pit bull lovers and owners who follow and support their passion to help dogs in general, or take the best care of their own pets, really prove how much people can really give and care in such a selfless manner. These people have proved to be an inspiration to me, and I am grateful to have learned from them.
There is much more I have learned, and perhaps another article will follow soon. Thank you to all those who have brought these things to light for me, whether seemingly negative or positive, it has all been something to learn from and add to my life.
…and of course, thank you to these beautiful dogs!