Letters to the Editor

Why choose a pit bull?

Have you ever thought about why people choose the dog they do? After an incident during a visit to the Elk Valley this past weekend I had cause to ponder this question.

Why did I choose a Portuguese Water Dog? The obvious answer is because we live on the side of Kootenay Lake and we thought a water dog was an obvious choice. They are hypo allergenic, also a key feature for our choice. After meeting the breeder and all the dogs she had, we were convinced that these comical, fun loving, active dogs were the right choice for us. In the four years we have had our dog he has proved to us repeatedly that we made the right choice. He loves life, people and all other friendly dogs. So, I am left wondering, why do people choose Pit Bulls?

We (five adults, two children and four dogs) were just at the end of a beautiful walk near Elkford when quite unexpectedly we were surrounded by four very large dogs, their owners too far from them to retrieve them either by voice or hand. All seemed fine as the dogs checked each other and the happy little Portuguese Water Dog invited play to which he received a growl from the Pit Bull. I called my dog in order to leash him, my friend held the Pit Bull while my dog made a beeline for me as he hates aggression. Once the aggressor was released, he headed right for us and before I knew it my dog was in the grip of the Pit Bull. Thank goodness my friend is strong for he was able to pry the dogʼs mouth open, releasing my bewildered dog. Unfortunately both my friend and my dog sustained puncture wounds. By this time the owner was beside us and she was apologetic and concerned for our situation. What followed was not pleasant though as we were blamed for the attack. The Pit Bull had never done such a thing before and so of course it was the fault of our dog. How can this be when the research I have done since returning home tells me the Pit Bull tops the vicious dog list and the Portuguese Water Dog doesnʼt even make the list? I understand this was someoneʼs pet but do they not know what these dogs have been bred for? Just in case they donʼt, it is fighting, go for the throat, hang on until death behaviour! It is in them whether a pet or not. My suggestion for owners of these unpredictable dogs is to always keep them on a leash if there is any chance of meeting others. My dog was lucky only because one of our party had the knowledge and strength to release the grip of the dog. Had I been on my own, my dog may well have died as neither the owner nor I would have been able to get the release. And, of course the inevitable question has to be, “What if this dog is provoked by a child?” Why do people choose Pit Bulls?

My friendʼs thumb is healing as is my dogʼs wound. He was back to chasing snowballs today, making us laugh as he dug down through the snow to emerge with the snowball in his mouth. We are happy with our choice of companion and his fun loving nature. At least I know what to expect from him.

 

Heather Dean

Nelson

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