What is a stereotypical Pit Bull and is it true about all of them? That depends on who you ask and which side of the argument you agree with.
There Are Always Two Sides to Every Story
The public’s definition of a stereotypical Pit Bull can be summed up as follows: “an aggression crazed killing machine on four legs that will and can strike at any moment without provocation or reason. No one is safe around them.”
An advocate’s definition of a stereotypical Pit Bull is as follows: “a sweet and loyal breed. One that is a loving family member that you could trust with your life. You cannot find a more devoted, intelligent, or lovable pet.”
You could not find a starker contrast in the definition of the same thing even if you were to try.
Are These Stereotypes Based on Truth or Perception?
By definition, a stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified idea of a particular type of person or thing.
As you know, this extends to dogs as well. With this in mind, there are actual laws being passed based on these assumptions. However, it should be noted that no group of anything can be described as “all.”
So, to support this side of the debate, I have compiled a few examples.
An Example is the Epitome of Truth
Let’s take, for instance, Dozer. Dozer is a former rescue dog and current Pit Bull. Dozer is also the first K9 officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police Department, which is located in Louisiana.
Despite the fact that in Louisiana, more than 30 cities and parishes have passed breed-specific legislation against dogs, like Pit Bulls.
Dozer is considered one of the Chitimacha Tribal Police’s most valuable assets. He has been trained for narcotics busts and tracking. At this time, Dozer is the partner of Officer Picard.
Shining Example of Why the Stereotype Does Not Apply
“It’s normal police work, nothing big and different. It’s just like having a partner. He can just do things that most of us can’t,” said Picard.
“I mean, I love him to death. He’s my baby; that’s my boy,” Picard explains.
Officer Picard says Dozer is a testament to that. “He’s sweet. I mean, he’s just a big baby. He does his job, and he’s very good at what he does, but on a personal level, I go in the police station with all the other officers in there, and I take him off leash, and he says ‘hi’ to everyone,” said Picard.
Further Proof That the Stereotype is Unfounded
Drea Broussard, Adoption Coordinator of Acadiana Animal Aid had this to say:
“Pit bulls used to be an American nanny dog, you know, in the Little Rascals, Pete watched out for those kids. Unfortunately, those are our hardest dogs to adopt out, and a lot of the times, they are some of our favorite sweetest dogs. Unfortunately, 50% of the dogs we see in municipal shelters are pit bulls in this area, and they are who get euthanized,” said Drea.
Just like the point The Majority Project is trying to make, these types of scenarios are the majority of what one can expect from owning a Pit Bull.
More Awareness is Key to Debunking Stereotypes
Public opinion is slowly making strides towards the fair and equal treatment of Pit Bulls. Even though we have a long way to go, we are constantly making progress.
This next example is the type of scenario needed to fuel this change.
Meet Twinkie, a former shelter dog and a Pit Bull. Twinkie has an amazing story and an even more amazing job. Twinkie is now a service dog.
Maybe the Narrative of This Stereotype Needs to Change
It did not start out this way for Twinkie but Twinkie has found her calling.
It was reported that Twinkie was found wandering the streets after Tropical Storm Irma in 2017. When Twinkie was first found, she had visible bite marks covering her head and body. It was now confirmed that Twinkie had been forced into dog fighting prior to her rescue.
This story of Twinkie almost seems like destiny due to the fact that while she was having issues when a girl in 11th grade was too.
They both were experiencing turmoil, though separate, but equally as devastating.
Sometimes, Things are just Destined
Meet Naomi Gosdin, an 11th-grade student at Hilton Head High who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her parents stated her PTSD is the result of a number of factors, including bullying at school.
Naomi had been suffering from PTSD for about a year, according to her mother Patty. Naomi’s parents were desperate to get their daughter help. In their search for answers, they came across the idea of a service dog. They found out that service dogs can also be therapy dogs as well.
Naomi’s parents believed that they had finally found a way to help their daughter. This new-found relief was tempered by the discovered cost of a service dog.
All Hope Was Not Lost
“I found out that a service dog can be $20,000 to $40,000, and there can be a two-year waiting period,” said Patty.
This was far more than Naomi’s parents could afford and they also did not want to wait two years. They knew their daughter needed help as soon as humanly possible. So as any good parent would, they exhausted every option.
Then they had an idea to reach out to a family friend in an effort to procure a service dog for their daughter.
How a Chance Meeting Changed Two Lives
Their family friend was Gudrun Kaiser. He is one of the co-owners of Leader of the Pack HHI, which provides service training and general obedience training for dogs.
It was his suggestion that maybe they should consider a shelter dog as a candidate for Naomi’s service dog. He explained that he could provide the training and the cost of a shelter dog would be minimal.
They made the suggestion to Naomi and she was ecstatic. As they say, the rest is history.
“It was a total change,” said the 17-year-old Naomi. “It was like my life finally had a meaning again, and Twinkie was just a little savior.”
A World Where a Dog is Judged by His or Her Own Actions is the Goal.
I did not bother to give examples to support the stereotype the public adheres to. Simply because the internet and airways are always flooded with them anyway. It seems to be the only reporting a Pit Bull can receive.
The two examples I have provided is proof that the one-size-fits-all mantra does not fit. Of course, there have been some horrible acts of violence committed by Pit Bulls. However, those acts are not the majority, they are the exception.
To summarize, the truth of the matter is that Pit Bulls are the product of their owners and the conditions they expose them to.