|Barked: Tue Dec 27, '05 9:47pm PST |
|The best way, other than supporting rescues and being involved in bully-positive community activities, is to relate what you know about how much these dogs have been through and how they deserve a better reputation than the one given to them by the media.
Give the people around you a different perspective on what these animals are. People are often surprised when they meet our dogs or when we relate our experiences to them. They do not expect our dogs to be loving and kind. They don't expect Cheesy to try very politely and persistently to shake their hand every two seconds. They don't expect Jodi to park her somewhat round behind in their lap as soon as they meet her.
These are the things that change minds because people suddenly understand that their perceptions had flaws. When peoples' minds are changed, policy changes. Pit rescues talk frequently about being an ambassador for the breed. Adopters are urged to be MORE responsible than every other dog owner, to go through MORE obedience classes, to be MORE polite to people you pass on the street.
Pit owners should be almost bending over backwards to make everyone around them more comfortable as they walk their dog down the street. Why? Because their dog is dangerous? No. To change perceptions. To show that their dog is not the beast it was made out to be by the media and politicians.
That's why we did the Pit Bull Walk in San Francisco last year. So that Cheesy could snuggle up to the stranger beside him on the bench and walk in line with a bunch of other pits without any problems whatsoever.
Okay, soap box. But it is what I do with pretty near all of my time, so I spend a fair bit of time formulating answers to "Why do you do this?" or "Why don't you rescue pomeranians instead?" or "Don't you think it's dangerous?"
The hardest part is watching the media report only part of a dog attack story or hearing about the dog in SF that was lit on fire by some heartless person. But you can work to change what goes on, on any level that you choose. You can write a letter to an official, donate to a shelter or rescue group, volunteer by transporting animals or walking dogs. I can tell you, it really does help that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you start to do something about it!
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