Kissed by a Pit Bull

Fannie in sun and shadow

Oh, the lessons life teaches us!  One after another, the lessons arrive and teach us.

This morning, Life kissed me on the cheek.

And dissolved yet another pre-conceived idea, another pre-conceived prejudice.  Here’s what happened:

I sat on my friend Jan’s couch.  We held cups of steaming coffee between us and shared stories of our lives.  Her dog, Sasha, and her guest-dog, Fannie, frolicked at our feet.

Fannie leaped on my lap and kissed my cheek, licking voraciously.  I have loved Fannie (yep, you too, Sasha!) since last summer when we met.

Here is a picture from last August, which appeared in the Opening the door, Walking Outside blog:

Fannie...isn't she a sweetheart??

Fannie is a Love.  A sweetheart.  A licky-lovey-wonderful dog.  One of the sweetest dogs I have ever encountered.

I lazily asked Jan (after the sixth lick and kiss):  “What kind of breed is this dog anyway?  I have never known a sweeter dog.”

Jan answered, “A pit bull.”

I thought I would fall off the couch.

A PIT BULL?  Fannie?  One of the most evil nasty breeds of dogs known to mankind?  My heart stopped.  A pit bull?  How could the sweetest dog I have ever known be a pit bull?

That was the moment when a pre-conceived idea met with a reality and realized that any overall labels we place on dogs or humans or nature…might not be entirely accurate.

How many times have we labeled people, places or things based on a pre-conceived idea?  How many times have we allowed fear to direct our lives, without realizing that a culture is made up of many, many individuals, all with different thoughts, ideas, beliefs, challenges, desires?

How many times in our lives have we labeled someone a “pit bull” just because our culture told us a pit bull was dangerous?

I met my pre-conceived judgments today and they fell apart.

My friend suggested I research pit-bulls and discover more about them.  Click here for one article called The Truth about Pit bulls.  Fascinating reading.

Did you know that the American pit bull terrier was the most popular family dog during the first part of the twentieth century?   Did you know that, according to the American Canine Temperament Testing Association, 85.3% of  American  Pit Bull Terriers passed the temperament test, compared to  81.9% of all breeds on the average.  The first sign of aggression or panic is a failure of the test.  Pit bulls achieved the fourth highest rate of 122 breeds tested.  No kidding.

Furthermore, Petey of the Little Rascals fame was a Pit bull.

Helen Keller owned a pit bull, for goodness sakes.

So why do pit bulls have such a bad reputation?  Why do we hear stories about pit bulls mauling and killing children?

I really don’t know the whole scoop. But several on-line articles suggest that the very endearing qualities of pit bulls –loyalty, intelligence, trainability and courage–attract folks to teach the breed  methods which increase their aggressiveness and loyalty.  The dogs are often trained by people to increase vicious behavioral responses.  They are also often trained to fight other dogs as a sport.

Other on-line articles suggest the opposite, indicating that Pit Bulls do have a higher tendency toward aggression than other breeds.    Click here to read a Wikipedia article.

We probably would not choose to buy a pit bull dog–but then again, we are not in the market for ANY animals at this stage of our life.  I also do not know how I would feel if I had witnessed child mauled by a pitt bull.

I do feel, however, that Fannie is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever had the opportunity to meet.  It was an honor to be kissed by her.  And she can have the other cheek next time we meet.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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14 Responses to Kissed by a Pit Bull

  1. I’m so glad that you embraced this loving experience. We are a family of companion animals — all rescues. Irish Wolfhound (ginormous), Standard Poodle (large), and West Highland White Terrier (small).

    I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.”

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful, heartwarming story.

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, glad that you enjoyed. Your companions sound wonderful. From ginormous to small! I suspect you are very very wonderful companions for your crew.

  2. Cathy says:

    What a wonderful story. My sister has fostered and/or adopted mixed pit bulls for the past ten years. They have been wonderful companions and very loving. She has one right now and his name is Petey. Petey will give you all the kisses you will allow him to! He just loves to cuddle in my lap with me! I can walk into their home at any given time and will be greeted with nothing but love. Thanks for a great story!

    • Kathy says:

      Cathy, what a loving story about your sister. What a gift she is giving these dogs…and it sounds like they are giving her wonderful gifts as well. It’s odd; I would have said I have few prejudices at all…and to think that one snuck in just because of an unquestioned mind. Love the image of Petey cuddling in your lap.

  3. Dawn says:

    I agree. Almost 100% of issues that a dog might have were caused by it’s human.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, I’ll bet you know more about dogs than most people these days. Given the obedience classes you and Katie are taking. Too bad all dogs couldn’t have loving human “parents” to guide them along.

  4. Gerry says:

    I remember that photo of Fannie from last year. I thought then that she looked the absolute epitome of contentment. And, um, I knew she was a pit bull.

    Miss Sadie is a terrier of indeterminate heritage, possibly part boxer, probably part pit bull, definitely sweet-tempered. (Now the Cowboy, the fluffy little spaniel, you want to watch the Cowboy.) When Miss Sadie adopted me, I was very cautious. I knew all about the uses to which evil people have put these dogs, and I had no idea what her life had been like before she found me. It’s been six years now, and I can’t imagine our household without my good, good dog.

    Every dog is an individual, and caution around any strange dog is a very good idea. Even a black lab can be nasty-tempered, though it’s hard to believe. And even a brindle pit bull can be a sweetie-pie.

    • Kathy says:

      First of all, Gerry, please give my apologies to Miss Sadie. I remember her as a lovely little girl. Indeed kissable. BOTH of your dogs seemed like they could be good canine friends. And you have told so many stories about them, they already do feel like friends.

      My grandmother, bless her heart, told us to get rid of our half-coyote (we think) dog named Tasha whom we rescued after she had been pitchforked back in the early 1980’s. She was scared to death that Tasha would hurt our baby, even though Tasha couldn’t hurt a flea. OK, maybe a flea. I remember being so indignant that Grandma would suggest such a thing. Because we felt the heart of sweet Tasha and knew she wouldn’t even nip. However, a friend in L’Anse had to give away their dog (maybe a lab) because the dog nipped the baby last week. So hard to say, or to know.

  5. Cindy Lou says:

    Lovely story, sweetie….and a good reminder to look past the outer layer of things and people and dogs to the inner soul.

  6. Annie says:

    What a sweetheart and a beauty!! I think pits get a bad rap due to the way some owners treat them. I know some towns have laws that ban ownership of pit bulls. Sad… Loved this post.

    • Kathy says:

      Annie, really, have some towns banned the ownership of pit bulls? I didn’t know this. Glad you enjoyed this story. (On another note, a retired mail carrier friend just told us that he had been bitted twice by pit bulls during his mail-carrying years. He had been bitten by many other kinds of dogs, as well.) I wonder if the pit bulls who bit him were mistreated by their owners.

  7. Jane says:

    Fannie is quite a photogenic girl, a real sun dog.

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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