Friday, December 19, 2008
Just My Opinion
It's another snow day and I have plenty of time on my hands. My camera is on it's way but isn't here yet so my post today will be a subject that is something I want to write about. You could label it a rant and there will be very little funny in it. But remember it's just my opinion......
My mom and I were talking the other day about the weather and how hard it is on homeless people. They had a few heartbreaking photos in the local paper that would just wrench your heart. With this cold weather they have also been talking about your pets and how to care for them in the cold weather. Anyway we got around to the subject of when did people cross the line of caring more for animals than they do people. Now if you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I love my animals and take the best of care of them but to me they are still animals and when push comes to shove people are more important. I enjoy my animals, I give them the best of care possible and I cry a good cry when they die but I do put it into perspective and will not put them before the people in my life. They are animals and we do them a great disservice when we try to humanize them.
With this in mind I will tell you about a recent encounter on another blog. This blog is written by a veterinarian (not Vet on the Edge) and one of her recent posts was about the movie by Disney starring a Chihuahua. She talked about how she hoped that the movie would not encourage people to get Chihuahuas when they weren't the breed for them due to the fact that they have health problems and behavior problems because people treat them like babies. Not unlike other breeds that have seen the rush to get them when they get a lot of publicity in movies or when a certain breed wins Westminster. My comments started out benignly enough. Saying that I had the most wonderful little Chihuahua that was like a black Lab in a 6 pound body, that my vet loved. Well people started to get nasty about Chihuahuas, and never being one to back down from a good argument, I just stated that why get up in arms over a dog that even if it is raised wrong and babied is no real danger to the general public. Who cares if people want to baby and hold their little dog. Then I made the mistake and said the "P" word. I said, with my usual sarcasm and tongue in cheek, That why get all up in arms over a dog that can't do much harm, I save my breed biases for Pit Bulls that can and do, in my area, harm people and livestock almost every day. Well you'd have thought I said, "Your mother wears army boots." People came unglued about my breed bias toward pit bulls. I heard the usual argument about blame the owner not the dog. I was told how wrong I was that most pit bulls were perfectly nice dogs. I didn't know what I was talking about. I was even accused of "drinking the kool-aid"-there is that stupid saying again. It implies that I'm not smart enough to think for myself.
Believe me I've thought a lot about this. Let me explain. Our area is a fairly rural area that meanders along Puget Sound with many bays and inlets. With all this water, we have multi-million dollar homes and then we have travel trailers in the woods with most of the population somewhere in between. We have a fairly large portion that the pit bull seems to be the dog of choice. Now these people have them for all the wrong reasons and generally don't socialize them or take them to obedience classes. They are usually not confined to the owners yard and if they are they seem to get out at all the worse times. We have had many attacks in the last few years. For example, A disabled woman was sleeping in her bed when two pit bulls entered her doggy door and attacked her. Her service dog tried to help but was helpless so hid under the bed. The neighboring Jack Russell that was there visiting tried his best to protect her and was killed for his effort. The woman made it out the door and into her car where she called the police. When they entered her house there was blood and body parts of the little dog everywhere. She was badly injured and spent many days in the hospital. Her neighbors got together and cleaned her house and fixed all the damage. Now you tell me if that woman cared one bit if it was the owner or the dogs' fault. And if she would rather it had been an unsocialized Chihuahua that entered her doggy door that morning.
Example 2- A grandma dropped her grand kids off at the bus stop and was heading home. Just as she entered her yard she was attacked by 2 pit bulls. They grabbed on and drug her around her yard. They bit her ears off. She was able to get her arm around the porch rail and held on for dear life. Upon hearing her screams a neighbor ran to help but was unsuccessful in getting the dogs to release her which they did only after the police came and shot them. I'm positive that she cared not one wit who's fault it was.
I have many more local incidents in my memory banks that include Hubby coming home from his usual bike ride bloodied and bruised from being knocked off his bike by an attacking pit bull. Luckily he is dog savvy and was able to get away before too much harm was done. But what if it was a child? Hubby didn't care who's fault it was. He hated the dog...and the owner.
I was told that most people couldn't pick out a pit bull in a line-up. Well I have trained and showed dogs all my life. I have taught obedience classes where people paid me a lot of money to help them train their dog. I have taught 4H dog training for many years. Many of my good friends are very accomplished dog trainers. I can pick out a pit bull or pit bull mix in any line-up.
Don't get me wrong I know there are many nice Pits out there. I have had several in my classes. But these people come to class and socialize their dogs.
I hate the argument...blame the owner not the dog...and that is after the dog has done all the damage. And it seems that large breed dog owners are the most defensive. I was even told by a dog trainer that, I, as a dog trainer should know that any dog can be retrained to not be aggressive...well I don't know that. Temperament has a lot to do with heredity and poor breeding. I know many examples of puppies that were raised right and socialized properly that had trouble with aggression, and these being raised by experienced dog trainers. No wonder the general public has problems. My friend that has English Springer Spaniels has no problem admitting that there are aggression problems in her breed. I have no problem with breed biases toward my Shelties. You don't know how many people say that Shelties are yappy and hyper. I agree they can be, some are, some aren't. Border collie people have no problem admitting that bad breeding and what the BC was bred to do can cause problems for the general public.
I was even told that just as many Chihuahuas bite people but they don't get reported because they are not as news worthy. Well excuse me....of course not because small dogs can do very little damage.
The last comment geared toward me was a lengthy explanation about properly socializing dogs that had no place in the real world. You see my friends, I, as a dog trainer try to deal in the real world, where most people don't properly socialize their dogs, where yes maybe some do get the wrong dog for them. Where most people would rather worry about a dog that could kill their child than one that could give them a few puncture wounds.
So you see I have over the years thought a lot about this. People have asked me from time to time what I think about Pit Bulls and I state that yes there are some very nice ones but with all the breeds out there why chose a dog that has the potential of harming someone, that can cause you problems with your insurance and your neighbors. And if you have a well mannered Pit Bull then more power to you. You shouldn't be so defensive or stick your head in the sand about the problems with the breed you chose.
Once again my whole point was...Why worry about small dogs that don't do much harm...save your worry for something that can and apparently does. And no matter how much you love your dog, people are more important. Just keepin' it real.
Just my opinion.
Next on "Just My Opinion"- Dog Breeders verses Puppy Mills, it might surprise you.