Christie Keith, of the SF Gate, wrote an interesting article on the myths and misconceptions of two well-known breeds. She discusses why people avoid adopting both greyhounds and pit bulls because of all the misleading information that’s out there.
Pit bulls and pit bull mixes are in shelters in overwhelming numbers. They are the most common dog to be killed because no one will adopt them.
People now view them as “killer dogs” because of all the negative stories in the news, preventing potential adopters from seeing the dog in front of them. Couple that with new breed specific legislation (BSL) and the likelihood of these dogs getting adopted is almost nil.
There’s no more maligned type of dog than the vast and diverse group of dogs known, rightly or wrongly, as “pit bulls.” I say “type of dog” rather than breed because the pit bull is not a single breed of dog, but a group of breeds and mixed breeds favored by dog fighters for their toughness, scrappiness, muscular bodies and willingness to fight with other dogs.
So, just who is the real pit bull? Good question. “These dogs have such a wide range of personality types, from couch potato to ones who want to run around all day — as long as it’s with you — and everything in between,” she said. “People need to look at each dog as an individual, not a breed.”
The “classic” or “real” American pit bull terrier is an outgoing, confident, people-loving dog that puts his heart and soul into everything he does.
Pit bulls, like any dog, need to be judged on an individual basis. Many fighting dogs have been rehabilitated and gone on to be loving family pets. That’s not to say all pit bulls can be saved, there are some that are too far gone to ever be safe in anyone’s hands. The bottom line is the dog shouldn’t be judged by appearance only, there is a lot more that needs to be taken into consideration. Pit Bull Rescue Central is an invaluable resource for information on all things related to pit bulls, including dogs that are looking for a home.
Greyhounds, on the other hand, are not rejected because of a bad reputation but the worry they are so high-energy they aren’t good in the house. This is totally untrue, they actually make very good couch buddies.
Sure, they’ll get up off the couch and go for a walk with you. They’ll race around happily if let off-leash in a safely fenced area. They might even deign to go jogging with you, if it’s not raining.
But they’re just as happy to cuddle on the couch and join you in watching “Project Runway” every night. A quick turn around the block or trip to the backyard twice a day for a potty break can be plenty of exercise for a retired racer.
“People worry they’ll be wild and crazy dogs that are going to be flying all over the place, and need to be taken several times a day to a big field where they can run in order to be happy,” said Barbara Judson of Greyhound Friends for Life, a Bay Area organization dedicated to finding homes for retired racing greyhounds. “The reality is that they’re couch potatoes.”
Retired greyhounds make wonderful pets, they are loving and affectionate, and they shed very little. A friend in our neighborhood recently adopted a greyhound, he did need a little training (all dogs do) but he’s a great addition to their family.
If you’re interested in adopting a greyhound there are many rescue groups across the country. You can “meet and greet” at one the many Greyhound Friends For Life events.
I think Keith sums it up best with this advice, “Just be sure to ask yourself, as you wander the aisles of the local shelter or click around the Web looking for a dog, if you’re choosing or rejecting a particular dog not because of who he is, but who you think he is.”
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