Preaching to the Choir

Forgive me in advance if I am not able to completely tie together the two ideas that are bouncing around my head in a coherent way that anyone other than myself can actually follow and understand.

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The always adorable (and adoptable!) Nala.

If you read my post yesterday, you know it was about on vs. off-leash dogs and liability.  Bren from Pibbles & Me commented and basically said despite leash laws, she fears that if something ever happened and her dog (while appropriately leashed) bit a dog that was off-leash, she would still be held liable because of the fact that he dog is a “bully” breed and asked for my opinion on that.  My response was:  I absolutely understand and share your fear. I don’t know where you live, so this is a general response, but normally if there were a dog bite and the “victim” (owner of unleashed dog) pursued you, it would go to a judge and/or jury to determine liability. In a perfect world, since your dog was leashed and following the law, they would find no damages against you. In the imperfect world we live in, it’s scary to say, but I think it would just come down to the individuals. We unfortunately know the kind of prejudice that is out there regarding our beloved “bullies” and it’s entirely possible that some or all of the fault could be assigned to you. Obviously this is sh!tty and I only hope and pray none of us ever find ourselves in this situation. In the mean time, I think the best thing we can do is continue trying to raise awareness about how GOOD our “bullies” are in hopes that if ever we found ourselves in front of a jury, the jury would be comprised of fellow “bully” lovers!

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How sad is it that any dog owner ever has to harbor this fear?  This fear that their dog, because of nothing more than his appearance, will be discriminated against whether or not they actually do something wrong.  It’s rare, but I have on occasion taken Maggie to the dog park because I believe that socialization (though it’s normally done in a very structured manner) is important for her.  It didn’t matter what she was doing, I was guaranteed to get at least one dirty look while we were there.  Sure, she plays a little rough sometimes, but so do 95% of all the other dogs there.  The difference is, she has a big blocky head, with a mouth big enough fit a small car in, and ripped muscles.  She’s not fluffy and (to some) friendly looking so when she pounces on a dog, the same way that adorable Lab mix just did, some people assume she must going in for the kill.

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The ONLY acceptable way to wear fur: giving your pooch a much needed break from a long walk.

So how do we fix this?  In my opinion, we do what I said in my response to Bren and continue trying to raise positive awareness about “bully” breeds and do everything we can to show them in a positive light.  Why?  Because I don’t know of a better way to change  minds than this.  But here is my problem:  I feel like I am preaching to the choir.  I can’t be certain, but I am pretty sure that my followers are already “bully” lovers.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome and certainly a community I am proud to be part of, but their minds don’t need to be changed.  I started Tallahassee WalkABulls (photos from our most recent walk throughout this post) to mainly help socialize dogs in a safe way, but also to show off “bully breeds” in a positive manner.  Sure, we occasionally turn a few heads, but for the most part we walk in rural areas and don’t really draw much attention to ourselves.  Plus, as you can see, some walks we have less “bullies” than anything else in attendance.  No complaints here though, I love me some mutts 🙂

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So I’m looking for suggestions.  How do we reach outside of our little circle and touch some people who’s minds really do need to be changed?  How do we preach beyond the choir?

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Look at Maggie! Happily letting a complete stranger walk her!

22 thoughts on “Preaching to the Choir

  1. Such a difficult issue. You are right, your readers do all, in most likelihood, all like and appreciate bullies. Changing the minds of those who have an inherent and illogical fear, is certainly a huge task. Prejudice of any kind is always the hardest to overcome and, unless the people are put in positions to constantly see and interact with lovable bullies, they will most likely remain as they are.

  2. I think you just have to KEEP preaching, and ask people to share your info! I know this might be expensive, but maybe the regular walkers could purchase “Tallahassee Walkabulls” shirts. Anything to promote the group, because that will eventually reach someone that wasn’t a previous bully lover. I am always seeing logos on shirts/bumper stickers/etc, and I look them up on my phone or when I get home, to see what that company is. You just have to keep promoting the positive. Also, maybe you could go on that website where you set up “meet ups”, and get more people involved that way. Keep up the good work, and preach on, lil lady! 🙂

  3. Thank you so very much for the the shout out and the special attention to this topic. I do fear it and can’t remember if I mentioned it but when I walk my boy, I walk with a pvc break stick AND I’m not afraid to use it if we are approached by unleashed dogs. I have to protect what’s mine and my priority is my “bully”. He is not an aggressive boy. He is loving and friendly, however, on HIS terms. He’s had a bad past and despite our efforts, is insecure to an extent and does not like to be approached quickly, thus me not allowing anyone to pet him unless I am totally sure of them.

    Sad but true, we continue to spread the word however, bottom line is, it comes down to whomever is involved and the authorities. Sad again, most authorities would condemn my boy simply by looking at him. 😦

    Thank you again for this post! I truly appreciate it and the bully love!

    • Thank YOU for saying something I think most of us feel, but don’t actually speak about. I think you do exactly the right thing in putting your boy first! I think if we all continue doing the best we can, minds will (hopefully!) slowly change. Thank you for being such a great voice for “bullies”!

  4. Start preaching too much and no one but the choir will listen. A lot of people just need to fall in love with a pit mix to realize they’re just a dog. We had one family member warn us to be careful about our foster. When she met him, he just lazed around and enjoyed any pettings that came his way. I would be surprised if she changed her mind about bullies, but we never heard anything further about his danger.

  5. I know my car proudly sprouts Katelyn’s Pit Bull Worldwide sticker and I love what it says “education and not discrimination”. Several people have noticed it (including the cop who gave me a ticket- methinks it might have had something to do with him reducing the fine & penalty even). I love the T-shirt idea and I would wear one proudly. Let’s get some more people to also put those stickers on their cars.

    • T-shirts are an awesome idea! I have a pic of my boy on my messenger bag that I use as my purse. It says “Pit bulls leave paw prints on your heart.” I get soooo many compliments on it. I gotta get some decals on my Jeep!

      • I have a shirt that says “Jesus Loves Pit Bulls” that I am definitely going to have to start wearing more! And bumper stickers are a really good idea too!

      • Very cool! Yes, because I can dress casual to work, I’ve been rockin out hoodies and tshirts from Pit Bull Gear. They have some really fabulous stuff. My fav is “Ban Stupid People, Not Dogs”. 🙂

      • haha it is awesome! If you haven’t been to that site, I highly recommend it. Matter of fact, they have a sale going on right now! I keep on buying more and more pittie stuff! 🙂

  6. We had a situation about 3 years ago where a “yapper” that was unneutered came onto our property and attacked our scaredy cat American bulldog. Our bully responded by grabbing the yapper in his mouth and holding him there as the yappers owner repeatedly hit our bully on the head. When I ran over from across the yard and told him to “drop it” he promptly spat the yapper on the ground. Yapper had a couple punctures that happened mostly likely while his owner was hitting my guy but was otherwise fine. WE were not the instigator and WE were in our own yard. The yappers owner was screaming and causing a scene about how this quote “pit bull attacked her dog”. In this midst of this I actually volunteered to drive her to the vet so she could get her yapper checked out and the vet told her that is was her fault for allowing her dog off the leash and by not being neutered he was more territorial than his size afforded him. I was grateful to the vet for sticking up for us and no legal issues cropped up. It still upsets me to think about what might have happened.

  7. My suggestion would be to get a group of pet parents and their fury kids to do a walk through the city like the one Ann Greene, a dog trainer, and her husband Rick, also a dog trainer, put together last Saturday. People were coming over to ask about the dogs, and there were all types of dogs.

  8. Since session is in, we should have a “bully picnic” at the capitol and walk around/eat outside with the pups. It’d at least be a good way to get a feel for the attitudes towards them, and show everyone that they can be good!

  9. I definetly get the fear in this! I would be worried too if I had a “bully-breed” and was at my park, as there is always off-leashed dogs when there shouldn’t be and they are kinda the crazy ones if you ask me, jumping up and obedient only to a point.

  10. You know, I credit the blogging community and social media for turning my stubborn head around in regards to bully breeds. So, I think continuing to spread the word through these avenues is the best, most accessible way to go about it! If a person that has such a discrimination sees enough posts on Facebook about how it’s all about the human and not the dog, it might just change his mind. It did for me! 🙂

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