I never really understood just how evil Michael Vick was until I married a pitbull advocate. Sara volunteers most Saturdays at a shelter in NYC, and she LOVES their pitbulls. She’s always been one to rally for the underdog. Maybe that’s why she married a lanky Jewish redhead.
I just realized this is the one time where the term “underdog” can be used 100% literally.
Anyway, Sara loves pitbulls because they’re typically very loyal dogs, and even the ones that fight only fight because they are trying to please their humans. As I’ve learned from Victoria Stilwell, Cesar Milan and my wife, dogs are as individual as humans. And while a breed might have certain tendencies, there’s no such thing as a bad breed. Pitbulls that become aggressive do so because they’re trained to do so. If you tied me up and poked me with a stick all day, I’d bite your face off, too.
The most amazing thing is that most dogs can be re-trained, almost no matter what they’ve been through. There was only one animal from the Michael Vick incident that was beyond rehabilitation. Two, if you count Michael Vick.
I also like pitbulls because people are scared of them. Bill Burr has a fantastic joke about adopting one. “It’s like a gun you can pet.”
The breedism against pitbulls makes it difficult for us to adopt one, since we live in a high-rise in NYC. Most buildings here that allow dogs still have breed restrictions, and pits are on our building’s no-no list. Which is silly for three reasons:
1) Most “pitbulls” aren’t actually pitbulls, just hybrids of a bunch of terrier breeds that look like them.
2) There are plenty of little yippie dogs here that are WAY more aggressive than most pitbulls. A better way of deciding would be a temperament test.
3) If the way people park in our garage is any indication, the building has no problem with people that are assholes. Why worry about their dogs?
Breedism is logically equivalent to racism. Despite all statistics to the contrary, people are scared of pitbulls simply because of what they LOOK like. Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? Denver actually has a citywide ban on pitbulls and took a service dog away from a veteran in a wheelchair. Of course the disabled veteran could spend the money to fight it in court – conveniently located across the street and up the stairs.
A few weeks before we met the Italian Greyhound that wanted to pee on everything, we (i.e. Sara) found a pitbull online that was small enough to live comfortably in a New York apartment, and also looked enough like a mutt that we could get away with it. And her name was Cheeto – how great is that? Nothing like a seemingly tough dog with a hilariously adorable name.
We emailed the foster lady, who said she’d get back to us. We checked in occasionally and heard nothing. Finally we checked back with the rescue. The foster had decided to keep Cheeto – which is wonderful for Cheeto, but bad for us. Not just that we never got the chance to meet her, but because we could have spent those weeks looking for other dogs. I felt like I was back in college, being strung along by a girl that was not really interested in me. Jeez – just tell me you’re fucking someone else and let me move on. I think I’ve lost the metaphor here, but you get the idea: We were annoyed that we weren’t told Cheeto was off the table.
The good news was that the rescue felt bad for us, and made it a priority for us to meet another dog. When we told them of our couch potato ways, they suggested Essie, a 6-year-old Dachshund/Beagle mix from a shelter in Puerto Rico with all the energy of lawn furniture. She’d been fostered by a couple in Brooklyn for the last month, and was ready to be adopted out. We meet her on Monday. Maybe we will rename her “Cheeto.”