Every time I bring it up, I always get the same reaction. People’s eyes twitch, their mouths turn from a smile into a thin line or an uncomfortable cheshire-cat smile. I get asked whenever I meet new people or start a job. It generally starts out positive but by the time that I get to the crucial last part, my audience’s attitude goes from interested to disgusted in about three seconds. The quandary is the same with all but only those with negative, preconceived notions are the ones who truly do not understand. I’m talking of course, about pit bulls.
For a second there, you may have thought that I was going to say something along the lines of more negative hunter perception, and you would be correct, partially at least. Pit bulls suffer the same sort of negative connotation as hunters in the 21st century. Funnily enough, the pair also are only working from the natural instructions that predated them far before people began being dumb enough to leave 7-day old babies alone with wild animals. Those who do not see the ritualistic beauty of hunting see hunters as deadly, malicious, mean, and bloodthirsty trophy seekers (especially by PETA and the like). In the same token, pit bulls are seen as nasty, baby-eating, monsters who love to fight to the death. Of course, just like the majority of senseless stereotypes, both are untrue.
Hunting, as we’re all well aware, began early. In order to live, people had to hunt and kill what was around them in order to sustain their family. There were hunters, and there were gatherers. Sometime in the past, there was a divergence between the two and hunters began being seen as the monsters perceived above. This might be around the time PETA began propaganda against fishermen, telling children that the poor fishies don’t like being dinner, but I digress. But, there has always been a natural instinct that calls to a hunter or huntress, telling them that home is in the woods, by a pond, or in the ocean; searching for food that God’s hands produced. Hence, when someone cannot understand why I hunt, the answer is easy, it’s in my DNA.
Pit bulls, like hunters, are a product of their upbringing. The canine was used in times of yore as hog hunters. With their aggressive personalities and tough hide, the dogs were perfect for bringing large beasts down. However, just like with hunters, there became a time when people began taking advantage of this and making the dogs so mean that they would rip one another apart without a backward glance. Before we knew it, pit bulls were being put down for acting how they were raised to act while the people who instructed them in their destructive ways are allowed to walk free, making millions in football. These sort of instances disgust me, that dogs who had a hard upbringing are abused simply because they did what their nature told them to do.
Fortunately, for pit bulls and the humans that adore them, times are looking better. I’ve noticed so many “My Pit Bull is Smarter Than Your Honor Student” stickers on cars and even more charities to help abused pit-bills. But, while some people are open to thinking that pit bulls are just like any other dog, the negative perception remains.
Oscar, a fantastic 9-year old albino pit bull came into my life unexpectedly. When DU and I went on our first date, I met Oscar and immediately fell in love with him. DU had warned me before I stepped into his house that Oscar smiled, and that his smile looks like he’s trying to bite your face off, but he’s just extremely happy. My future beloved informed me that Oscar had vet-diagnosed OCD; that the canine cannot help but smile. Normal dogs wag their tails when they get excited; Oscar smiles. Ever since that day, I’ve told anyone who asks that I’m a proud mother to three fantastic pooches, a black lab, a pit-boxer mix, and an albino pit bull. Sure, Oscar has his little natural tendencies, he barks at deer in our back yard and has an aversion to some people he doesn’t know (as he was brutally beaten when a robber decided to break into DU's home). But he’s loyal as they come, especially when it comes to his momma. He has been known to sit three centimeters from me at any given time and refuse to leave the bedroom when I lay myself down for my 9pm bedtime.
For those of you who have been curious about Oscar’s smiling tendencies, I took this quick video this morning. Every dawn without fail, at least 2 of the dogs wait outside the bedroom door. They absolutely flip out with happiness when I come into view, as if they were taking bets as to when I would appear. Oscar waits, smiles, snarfs then smiles again as much as he can in order gain access to the bedroom and his sleeping father therein. I have to apologize quickly for the quality of the video. The black smudge is on the lens and given that it was 6am, I forgot that I have no idea how to rotate video. So, get ready to tilt.
If you aren’t aware of the natural tendencies of hunters and pit bulls, then you may be unaware that peanut butter is crack for dogs. The mere mention of the nutty stuff causes our brood to battle one another over the first morsel. Oscar, upon hearing the container of homemade peanut butter being unhinged, (yes, it is home made. My mother has made our peanut butter for as long as I can remember, store-bought stuff tastes like cardboard.) will do anything and everything to get just a little taste.
When I become Queen of the world, I will incarcerate for life any who force dogs to fight or maltreat them in anyway. I will pull all meat from the shelves of stores, supply every man, woman, and child with weapons, and tell them they must live off the land. Then, maybe we’ll all understand one another a little bit better.