In this picture Stella is worried. There are horses about and while both of my horses are kind, Stella has been bullied by some of the horses in the general pasture. Still, she comes with me when I ask her to - she shivers and shakes and quietly keeps far from any horse, yet she comes with me. She is courageous.
Tender is this girl. Her favorite pastime is cuddling. Her place is next to me on the bed. She loves her "softies" above all else. Stella has the greatest capacity for pure JOY of any dog I've been blessed to share the trail with. Her heart is endless, as is her desire to share it with all humans who can read the invisible "hug me" sign that rides above her head.
She loves to chew, sigh. I try to keep her supplied with abundent chewies. And pull? Wish I had a cart for her or the time to find sled pulling contests. She has never showed agression - unless I'm threatened. Once, along on an isolated beach a man (not a freindly type of guy) approached - Stella showed an assortment of growls and barks I didn't recognize. The man cut us a wide berth. Once a dog came onto our property and approached me. Stella approached the dog who growled at her. She responded. They became physical. Both dogs were uninjured.
Are these pitbull traits? Well, the joyousness and extreme hugability sure seem unique to Stella, of all my dear dogs. The bravery? I've known many brave dogs. The pulling? I hear this is a breed trait. The barking/growliness at the sleasoid man? I've had many dogs stand up for me. The jumping the trespassing dog who showed agression - same thing, other dogs have done the same, worse actually. But I have friends, I meet people all the time so see Stella and don't see the ginormous baby lovebug I know - they see a "pit bull" a "dangerous dog". This grieves me deeply and scares me to my core.
And so I am vigilant. Hyper-vigliant. We avoid other dogs when walking. Stella is ALWAYS on a leash when out in public. I don't like to leave her outside in my fenced backyard if I am not home. Actually, I prefer to have her with me always, but this is not possible. I am not worried about Stella waging harm on any part of the world. I am terrified of the world's prejudices regarding pit bulls harming Stella.
My most dangerous dog, ever? Here he is . . . my sweet Riley.
And him a golden retriever and possibly greyhound mix. Not a trace of pit bull. But Riley had to be watched every second the couple of years before his early and heartbreaking death by hit and run driver. Riley would, with great stealth, reach out and snap at passerbys. He once bit (while leashed and with no harm thank goodness) a little girl who passed us on the trail. Before he was killed, he bit three people (gratefully with minimal harm). He was unpredictable in his animosity and, I hate to say, a truely dangerous dog.
Regardless of beliefs, facts, preferences, opionions, or prejudices regarding dogs, breeds, and biting, knowing how to prevent bites is an essential responsiblity for all dog owners. Please visit this short and excellent blog entry on Dog Bite Prevention.