i finally know what it feels like to be a stereotype.
having been a quite clean cut white male who has not been
overweight and blessed with no birth defects that make me
look/act like a retard, i've had the bliss of blending in.
not anymore. my dog has become my scarlet letter.
he is 85 pounds. at least 40 of those are pit bull, no idea
what the rest of him is. probably german shepherd judging
by his coloration. also a good chance that he has
rottweiler in him as people apparently breed pit bulls
(notoriously volatile temparement around other dogs) with
rotties who have a very even temperament.
whatever he is, he looks like a pit bull and a bad-ass
motherfucker second. more than anything he feels like my
companion. before him i had a little west highland terrier,
i wrote one of my most emotional journal entries when toby
died. he was my true friend. but my current dog? he feels
like he's truly my companion. all things said and done toby
was my mom's responsibility, i was six when i first got him,
i would lose interest throughout the years and come back now
and then in the selfish manner that children do.
but now, he is my entire responsibility. i have trained
him, he spends his mornings on the cold hardwood floor while
i stress through bar studying, he walks by my side like a
true bodyguard when i walk past drunk vagrants, he is more
my companion than any other animal i have ever had.
he is also the source of a lot of ignorant hatred directed
towards me. i don't need to explain the stigma of pit
bulls. maybe i can explain the stigma that their owners
suffer. we are brash, machismo-absorbed assholes. to be
honest, most pit bull owners i know fit that description to
a T. they are my brazilian jujitsu compatriots. they are
the true walking image of pit bull owners. "tough guys."
MMA, don't give a fuck, get in a bar fight type of guys.
irresponsible guys who don't know how to handle their dogs,
the type to be weary of.
and so i am treated by people when i pass them with my dog.
people CROSS THE STREET when i walk towards them. they do
this regardless of whether or not they have a dog of their
own. people are just scared of my dog. he's big and black
(also a reason people see to be scared of humans with the
same characteristics) and he is on a chain leash that leads
to a guy who has a big ass scar on his right hand (yes, from
MMA) who normally wears a belt buckle and has disheveled hair.
i never cross away from people. not cos i'm an ass but
because i don't wnat my dog to think that there's some shit
going down. dogs are amazingly perceptive, if i were to
cross the street to get away from every person that comes
towards me as a courtesy to them, i would be engraining in
him that there is a different way to approach people.
so one day i'm walking towards a true all-american nuclear
family. white father dressed in button down t-shirt
(probably just came home from a managment position), pretty
wife in posh shoes, beautiful sun-dress. children, the son
about 2, and the daughter about 6 coming towards mme. the
little boy is of cousre incredibly engrossed by the mammoth
animal. he points towards it and makes a move for it.
the mother in the infinite grace that they seem to always
manage in the upper-middle class, swoops down and sequesters
her son before he is able to get too close. she drapes
herself lovingly over him and nods,
"yes, that's a dog." she looks at me with a smile...doesn't
seem to be bothered.
so i walk by her and the boy, my dog barely glancing at the
child with outstretched finger towards him, then i come up
to the daughter who seems genuinely disinterested in my dog,
my dog returns the favor. and then i come up to the father,
who has a look of hatred and contempt on his face that i
assume is normally reserved for solicitors.
"i'd appreciate it..." he said in a measured tone, one that
was apparently supposed to mask his true hatred in a 'don't
want to cause trouble with this asshole' facade, "if you
wouldn't walk your dog so close to my children."
i was completely taken aback. i looked at him and didn't
know what quite to say...."ok." i offered and shrugged. he
glared at me with utter contempt. and moved on.
jesus. so we made it to the tennis court where i usually
throw the ball to him (i don't trust him enough just yet to
let hiim run free in the field). and as he and i were
looking for a tennis ball in one corner of the court, the
people playing in the other court must have, unbeknownst to
myself and my dog, have knocked their ball into our court.
the guy apparently came to our court and didn't notice my
dog until he was boudning towards him. at first the guy
thought to run, but then tought better and instead turned
and let out a "gaghh!!!" type of scream.
i of course dindn't make matters any better by screaming my
dogs name in what must have surely sounded desperation.
really i just didn't want him freaking the guy out anymore
than he had already. what did my dog do? what he always
does. he sits politely and then, because he can't contain
his excitement moves his wagging butt (his tail wags so hard
when he approaches people that his butt moves with it) and
started licking the guy's hands.
the guy let me have it as well,
"you know these are only to be used for tennis."
i smiled, i loved that. he really didn't have anything to
be pissed about now (other than screaming like a little
bitch) so he has to go to my breaking some esoteric rules.
"i'm sorry i practically sang at him."
he huffed and puffed out.
but all in all it sucks. but don't get me wrong there are
people that LOVE my dog (especially kids). and i love that
my dog gets to show that he's really just filled with love.
it just is annoying to be stereotyped as i am, i can now
sympathize with others who have to alway deal with this
but i realize the responsibility i have with this dog. he
has to be absolutely on point with his manners. i have to
have complete control over him at all times. no problem,
but it's a pain to do. so if you want to get a pit bull
don't unless you know that they are very energetic!!! you
are doing ME and my dog a huge fucking disservice if you are
somme douche who doesn't want to put the time in to properly
train and exercise your dog.