Pit Bull No More

I am a dog lover. I can't help it; they love you no matter what. I am very fond of Shetland Sheepdogs but almost any dog and I get a long really well. We are rescue friends and have housed over a dozen dogs and found homes for almost all of them. We love almost any dog.

Almost any.

My wife came home one night with a "lab mix" dog she found in the cold rain at Kroger in the parking lot. I took one look at the head and pronounced to my wife that she was nuts and had brought a Pitt Bull! That was in the late winter of 2004.

The Pitt Bull rescue was extremely helpful to us and gave us cash to have her fixed and posted her information on their adoption site. However they are still full from Katrina rescues and had no place to offer. We did try to place her with a lady, who-it turns out- sells Pitts to anyone with $100 and asks no questions. Fortunately we were able to find out she was bad news and got the Pitt back from her and kept her until this weekend.

This dog was a big slug. Her favorite pastime was laying in your lap or in an impossibly small ball next to you. So still and happy. So wonderfully nice and gentle for such a strong dog. She was so sweet except for two instances with one (of our three) cats whom she could not get along with. Twice she picked him up by his face and just held him in her jaws. Both times we were able to free the cat relatively unscathed. We thought it was the exception to the rule but it should have been the warning.

Yesterday I was walking our 3 dogs in the yard with the two Shelties running free and the Pitt on a leash when a strange car turned around in the cul-de-sac. When I got my youngest and most spastic Sheltie back from barking the car and calmed her, the Pitt (who I had on a retractable leash) jumped the just scolded-but then loved on and complimented Sheltie. It was, horribly scary and felt like an eternity, in hindsight it was like under 3 minutes.

Today I have a bandage over a gash in my thumb, multiple bruises and a few punctures and a teatnus shot. The Pitt is put down. The Sheltie is missing some fur but othewise unharmed because her thick fur protected her from the worst of it. Likely also because my thumb was in the Pitt's jaw when she chewed and shook at the neck. I'm quite sure the Pitt could have been more forceful; and that I was stupid in how I grabbed her mouth.

I should have remained calm and offered a treat. My wife should have grabbed the hose and sprayed. My wife did rub her chest and talk gently to the Pitt and that's when she released. Hindsight lessons. Scars are stupid tax.

Before today I would have said it's the owners. Now I know there really is a switch inside Pitt Bulls that can be triggered without warning. I have a 5 year old and did not hesitate to put that dog to sleep. Yet as I write this I have regrets and sorrow. Then common sense tells me that could have been my child and I fight back the lingering doubts about our choice.