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Stereotypes of Both Man and Beast, are Mostly Misunderstood
pit bulls and their reputation
There are various breeds of dogs that have been labeled as vicious. There have been stories on the news, in newspapers, and worse yet I have read about whole counties that have made owning these dogs illegal, and the authorities have actually gone door to door, collecting up these dogs, and put them to sleep. This is an example of just how badly these dogs reputation have suffered.
If you haven't guessed what breed of dog I am referring to by now, it is the pit bull. Lately I have heard one story after the next about how bad these dogs, they said due to inbreeding, have for no reason whatsoever turned on their owners, bitten people and scarring them so badly that they have had to have reconstructive surgeries for years afterward.
I have owned several pit bulls and actually raised one with my kids when they were just little guys. I never had any problems, nor do I ever recall ever having any of these problems of over aggressiveness, or any type of bad behavior. As a matter of fact, TJ, and brindle colored female was so loving to my boys, that she would let me know when it was time to go out and meet their school bus. She would wake me up if I was sleeping and the bus was due. She went to the store with us when we walked, and would not leave the front door of the store until she had something to carry home too. If my kids went outside to play, she went with them,, and if I went out for a walk at night, she came with me. There was one time when I was followed by some man, it had been around ten thirty or so at night. I crossed the street because he was catching up to me, and he crossed the street right behind me. I crossed the street again, and turned a corner just to see if he was really following me, and he did. TJ turned to face the man, and held him off of me long enough for me to get both of us safely into the house, without any prompting from me.
I believe that part of the misunderstanding of this breed of dog, is due to the illegal fights that people engage them in, making them very fierce. I also think that another part of the reason that they have bad reputations is because the street gangs tend to own them, also using them for illegal fighting. It is these dogs that are seen in the streets with these young gang members, selling drugs, fighting dogs, and raising hell. Pit Bulls have taken some of the heat from that situation, and rather unfairly, for it is not their fault that they are made mean by their owners.
The pit bull is a terrier, and are very very intelligent. They can be taught to do almost anything. If they can figure out what you want of them, they will do it. TJ learned the obvious and easy sit, come, down commands in one lesson. She learned to shake, play dead, retrieve anything, lead the horses if we walked them, herding, and she learned to do everything to hand signals. She learned to open the refridgerator and bring a can of whatever was in the door, if we left a towel on the door so she could open it. She could shut the door, look for shoes, and was very gentle with our other inside pets, which were another dog, a cat, and a parakeet, which she would allow to land on her head and ride her around the house. She was the most faithful and loyal dog I ever owned.
A Human Equivalent
If I were to try to come up with the human equivalent to the misunderstood stereotyped aforesaid dog, it would probably bring me to recognize the parolee, or ex-convict who has already done his time, paying his debt to society done.
It would seem to me that if one group of people fit this same bill, it would be him. This is a person who, for whatever reason did something that he should not have. The stereotype pictures him as a short tempered person who will chose violence and crime over hard work and patience. He has the reputation of running amok in the streets, fighting, and living a very violent lifestyle. He is given the rep of being not very educated, and unable to even find a job because of his history.
Statistics show us that between 15 to 25 percent of the people who are presently living within our prison systems right now are innocent. Just those numbers would eliminate a good potion of those within that stereotype. Above and beyond this, there are those who have been given prison sentences for non violent crimes, like white collar crime. Let us just say that out of pure logical elimination of those who were not violent to begin with and did non violent crimes to get there, they would then probably come back to our communities as a non violent personality.
We need to remember that stereotyping is not only wrong, but it places labels unfairly. We need to give each of God's creatures a chance to prove themselves for not every pit bull bites, and not every convict continues a life of the criminal. Sometimes the dog just wants a good home, and the human wants a good job, and they both need to be given the opportunity to live a good life, and be happy. Judge not, lest you also be judged.