I own a “pitbull”
Well, American Staffordshire Terrier and Boxer mix, to be specific. “Pitbull” has become a word filled with vitriol in this day and age. Unfortunately, any dog with a big blocky head is suspect in America thanks to the media. There always seems to be one breed people focus on. In my memory, it’s been Dobermans, Rottweilers, and now pitbulls.
I have gotten dirty looks while walking Celia Mae. Sometimes people are scared, or they’ve crossed the street to avoid walking near me and my goofball of a dog. I am a proud pitbull owner, and I consider myself a pitbull advocate. More often than not, these dogs are amazingly goofy and sweet. I just wish more people would take the time to see that.
I am a big advocate for people judging dogs based on the individual dog and their individual temperament. There can be bad dogs in any breed, and judging based on physical characteristics is unfair. I’ve encountered more nasty small dogs than any other breed.
If someone is a “dog person” (or if they don’t believe the bad rep), they’re usually okay with Celia Mae. I often tell people “Oh yeah, she’s really vicious…she’s afraid of coffee cups rolling down the street!”
As someone with an anthropology degree, I’m always fascinated by people’s reactions to situations. Celia seems to be an excellent judge of character, and I tend to pay attention to how she reacts to people.
As a rescue, there are certain things that set her off still (mostly just tall guys). However, she’s getting better and braver each day. We’re fairly certain she was abused before we adopted her, so loud noises and sudden movement still scare her no matter what we do. She loves me, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend’s son — we are her people.
A different experience
Now, I went to visit a friend last weekend who happens to own a standard poodle. I went on a bunch of walks with Francesca and Sebastian while I was visiting. What a difference! People were friendly, interested, and asking questions about Sebastian. It was weird to walk a dog without being on the defensive the whole time. Granted, Sebastian is an interesting specimen. He’s a giant standard poodle, and he’s not the typical color people expect.
Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to walk a dog without worrying the whole time. But walking with Sebastian made me sad for Celia Mae. She’s such a good dog, and strangers often don’t give her a chance.
Here is a picture of me with Sebastian for reference…
So clearly, Sebastian is a striking dog. To be fair, people DO ask me questions and tell me Celia Mae is cute or pretty. It’s just more often that not it’s a mumbled “…pitbull” before they walk away.
Basically, I ask for grace. Please try not to make assumptions about a dog. If they have a blocky head, don’t judge. Try not to just assume the dog is a pitbull and they’re automatically vicious.
Please try and get to know dogs as individuals, just as I hope you do for people. Each dog has their own unique personality and quirks which set them apart from other dogs.
I understand that someone who is afraid of dogs for whatever reason may not want to be friends with my dog. I just ask that you keep an open mind and give dogs, especially pitbulls, a chance. If the dog is behaving and seems friendly, give them a shot. Assuming their owner is agreeable, of course — if there is training going on, or if the owner asks you to stay clear that is obviously a completely different situation.
I will leave you with a final photo of Celia Mae and my jerk cat Pippin. All I can say is it’s a good thing they’re cute most days!
If you’d like to see more of Celia Mae and Pippin, feel free to follow me on Instagram!