I am, by no means, one of those women that go crazy for animals. In fact, I'm really not much of an animal person at all. I do confess to getting squeally about baby animal nature shows - flash me a shot of twin baby polar bears, baby elephants or baby tiger cubs, and I'm your captive audience. My husband knows this about me, which is why he sent me the following email in late March:
Do you want to get a puppy? I found one that's cuter than a baby polar bear.
We've had dogs in the past, but our lifestyle then featured lots of weekend travel to whitewater rivers across the southeast US. It wasn't conducive to a great life for pets. We'd talked about it for a while. Since I stopped traveling as much, I realized that I got pretty lonely at home by myself on the weekends. I also started running and envied the runners I'd see out with their gorgeous four-legged running mates. I doubted my husband's ability to judge a mere puppy to be cuter than a baby polar bear so I demanded photographic evidence.
This little guy, who we later named Boof, came into the world as a rescue dog. His mother, pregnant with what we think was a planned litter of 13 puppies, was abandoned. She was picked up in Cincinnati, Ohio - the worst possible place for her. For a long time, our neighbors to the north were governed my a statewide ban on "bully" breeds. However, in early 2012, that ban was lifted. Pet owners could choose to own their choice of dog breeds. However, Cincinnati never overturned the citywide ban. It is still in effect. When Boof's mother was picked up by the Cincinnati Humane Society, she was scheduled for euthanization the following day. I don't know the details, but the Sharonville SPCA organization was able to take possession of her and place her in a home rescue situation. On a beautiful day in late March, we made the trip to meet and adopt little Boof.
Of course, the very first item I bought for him was a University of Kentucky dog collar. I’ve gotta hope he won’t remember his Buckeye roots!
As someone who doesn't consider herself an animal person, I've never felt strongly about dog legislation. I was never very informed. I've often held the opinion that responsible pet owners should spay and neuter their pets to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Besides Bob Barker telling me it's a good idea, it just makes common sense. Beyond that, though, I wasn't exposed to the world of bully breeds and the prejudice against them. I have a hard time believing that my sweet, adorable, all-he-wants-to-do-is-cuddle puppy could ever be vicious just because of his breeding. I can believe that he could be taught to be mean, just like the Dobermans I had a run-in with as a kid or just like any other individual vicious dog I've ever heard stories about. I think it just makes sense to blame an individual dog and hold that dog's owner responsible for vicious behavior rather than condemn that dog's entire breed.
If you're considering adopting a pet, consider adopting a bully breed. Be a responsible pet owner and disprove those who assume that viciousness is an inherited trait. Maybe we'll see you at Obediance Class!