I have had countless experiences with people that dislike pit bulls. I always try to provide them with a well thought out, educated response to whatever comment they may have made, in hopes that I might plant the seed to change their mind. I generally don’t let people’s ignorance get under my skin too much, because I am self aware enough to realize that if I did, it would cause me to say something that would probably perpetuate the stereotypes of pit bulls and their owners that some people subscribe to, but after the “incident” I was dangerously close to doing just that.
For the first time ever, I was personally offended by a couple of comments–because for the first time ever they were directed right at my dog. While we were waiting at the vet for news on how the girls were doing, I left our room to go to the restroom, and started chatting with the girls up front. I have always loved the vet I go to and genuinely like every single person that works there. As we were talking, one of the girls made the comment,”Well, Maggie is dog aggressive, right? So she probably started it?” I stopped dead in my tracks. What? At this point, we really hadn’t pieced together exactly what happened but I was still shocked by the immediate assumption that it was Maggie’s fault. I mean, if you looked at the two of them, Maggie was in MUCH worse shape than Tag. I said, “Um, no she isn’t?” and went into the restroom pissed but asking myself if maybe I was just being hypersensitive?
When the vet came back to update us she made a comment about Maggie being aggressive. Again, I was angry and said, “No, she’s not?!” to which the vet kind of back pedaled. I let go it, confused, but more concerned about hearing what she had to say about what was going on with the girls. Later that day when we came to pick them up a vet tech made the third comment of the day about Maggie being the cause of the fight. “So, we are assuming Maggie started the fight, right?” No, we most certainly were not assuming that. We got the girls in the car and I was fuming. “I didn’t just make that up, right?” I asked Rich. “Everyone was blaming Maggie because she is a pit bull!” I just couldn’t come up with an explanation for why they would assume Maggie was the cause of the fight, other than the fact that she is a pit bull and Tag is a lab. I was incensed.
Over the next few days as people started to hear about the fight, multiple people would said, always in a sad tone, “Oh, so Maggie started the fight?” like they were really sorry to hear that the pit bull attacked the lab. By this point, though we really will never know exactly what happened, we had pretty much determined that it was in fact Tag (the lab) that attacked Maggie (the pit bull.) It was excruciatingly obviously when you looked at the two dogs, that Maggie barely even defended herself. (Which breaks my heart and furthers my belief that she was a bait dog–not fighting back is a sought after trait for bait dogs.) I did my best to maturely explain to everyone that we believed it was in fact the opposite of what they were assuming. Tag attacked Maggie. In my head, I screamed and yelled, and called all these people prejudiced. That is what they were being after all. They were jumping to the conclusion that Maggie started the fight with zero evidence or facts to support their hypothesis–just the assumption that if two dogs got in a fight and one was a pit bull then surely that was the one that started the fight.
I’ve always spoken out again BSL and done my best to positively promote pit bulls but it really is different when you are actually experiencing the prejudice firsthand. I couldn’t even articulate a good response to the people at the vet’s office. I am fortunate to live in an area without BSL but this experience has furthered by resolve to do my best to speak out against it and to continue doing my best to positively promote pit bulls. Maggie and I will continue to walk the walk and show people what amazing, loving, and forgiving dogs pit bulls are. Prejudice is the pits and I for one will do my part to put an end to it.