Currently, I’m caring for two rescued animals. I know the history of the Pitbull, but not the history of the Cairn, but I love both dogs as though they are my own. The Pit was rescued as a puppy when he was thrown out of the back of a truck in New Mexico, and then run over. He suffered a broken back, hip, pelvis and legs. Today, 9 years later, he is the sweetest most lovable dog ever. He is also very timid, and afraid of his own shadow. His rear legs are bowed from his abuse, and he suffers from arthritis but has boxes upon boxes of stuffed babies he cares for. When we share a bed, he prefers to lay side by side with me. He is pure pit, as far as I’m concerned, with the tiny ears and the boxy head.
It’s only when I walk him through the neighborhood that people run from him as though he’s going to suddenly lunge at them and tear out their throats. Maybe down in Baltimore city where Pits are trained to fight and kill in dog fighting rings or used for protection by drug dealers than Pits are mean. But they only become mean when treated meanly. They’re starved, beaten, hung, and while fighting, they wounds lay open exposed to germs. They are a commodity in the dog fighting world, but the minute they lose a fight, they’re either abused to death, or thrown back in the ring as bait for other, meaner dogs. To write about this makes me physically ill.
Think of prejudice. We are not born prejudiced. It’s a learned behavior. If your parents dislike Asians, Blacks, or Latinos, what they say against them that you hear is what you believe to be true as you grow up. Pits are born the same way all other puppies are born. Innocent and needy. If they’re raised in a loving household, they too are loving. If they’re raised in a tenement or alley, they are more needy, and if they’re starved, they soon learn to become aggressive and top dog. It is very hard to die. A person, or animal must go through all sorts of hoops to die because the will to live is so strong.
Pits can run incredibly fast, as their back ends are muscular. Their jaws are also muscular, which is why their bite can be disastrous. They were bred to hunt, and you cannot take that yearning from them, just like a Cairn cannot stop hunting through bushes to find mice, chipmunks or birds, just like a Springer loves the water, and has incredible hunting skills, even as he’s become a house dog instead.
So far in my dogsitting business, the majority of the dogs I’ve sat for are Pitbulls. I’m not afraid of any breed, although I know enough not to stick my face in any dog’s until we get to know each other. But I like the Pits I’ve sat for so far, and it’s incredibly sad that most of the animal rescue sheltters are filled to the brim with abandoned, abused and tossed out Pits the same way an old car is traded in for a new one. While I wouldn’t recommend a young family to take in an abused Pit, it’s certainly fine if the Pit is adopted by an older family, whose children are well behaved around the dog, and know no prejudice against breeds of dogs.