In honor of Corbin’s birthday, we are participating in the Blogville Pitty Post Day today. I’ve been contemplating what I should write about for several days now, especially since we don’t currently have a foster and both Turk and I have posted about his “gotcha” story. After much reflection, I decided to write about what I’ve learned from owning a pit bull (mix).
I explained in my post about Turk’s “gotcha day” that we did not learn that Turk was most likely part pit bull until we’d had him for several years. To make a long story short, the shelter had him listed as a corgi mix, and although it became abundantly clear that he was not a corgi as he grew from a puppy to an adult, it was not until we switched vets that we were told Turk was most likely a pit bull mix. Here is “Turk the Corgi” when we first brought him home from the shelter…
As soon as the word “pit bull” was uttered by the vet, I experienced a combination of shock, dismay, and fear. My understanding of pit bulls was that they were vicious creatures who lived to fight, and only the most unsavory of humans would own one. I looked down at my sweet, goofy pooch and could not believe that he could have any semblance of a vicious pit bull in his lineage. But I decided then and there that if Turk was part pit bull, he was going to be the best pit bull imaginable. I researched the breed endlessly, worked on Turk’s manners, and started following a couple of pit bull blogs. In fact, I read every single blog post by Two Pitties in the City over the course of a week.
The more I researched about pit bulls, the more I came to realize how many of Turk’s quirks were really relatively common behaviors of the breed. Certain physical characteristics began to stand out to me. And another thing happened…I began to see pit bulls EVERYWHERE. On walks in the neighborhood, at the farmer’s market and the park. The more I researched, the more I began to hone in on every pit bull within a 5 mile radius of me. And I found a kinship with the pittie owners I encountered. Then when I started blogging about Turk, I found that a lot of people started to comment on my posts and tell me about their pitties. It was fantastic!
When I was finally able to fulfill my lifelong dream to foster dogs, it was my goal to foster pitties and spread the love and knowledge of pits that I had gained through Turk. Ginger Rogers, my first foster, helped to break down pit bull misconceptions everywhere she went with her laid back attitude, sweet pittie smiles, and of course, her fairy costumes.
I’ll admit it, I’ve had some bad experiences with people saying mean things about Turk or my past fosters, but 99% of the time, people have been very receptive to them and leave with a positive pit bull experience. Since Turk’s pittie background was revealed to us, I went from a passive pet owner to an active animal advocate – volunteering, fostering, blogging about pittie issues, and organizing structured pack walks for the KC Pittie Pack. I’ve been pleased to see my friends become pit bull advocates in their own right from their experience with Turk and my fosters. I think with any breed that is discriminated against (Rotties, Dobermans, Akitas, Pitties, etc), there is a strong community of supporters who are there for each other and want to educate the public about that breed. I am proud to be part of a great pit bull community! My life is forever changed for the better because of it.