My husband and I love to attend dog events. We love to show off our fur babies. But, no matter which event we attend, we always run into the same issue: breedism.
Yes, I have created my own word for this horrible act. Breedism is the act of judging a dog based solely upon the dog’s breed. Often, the basis for this judgment stems from a stereotype about that specific breed.
Case in point, we own three Chihuahuas. When we bring our dogs to events, like Bark in the Park, people always ask us the breed of our dogs. When we tell them “Chihuahua,” we hear, “I could never have one of those. Aren’t they always yapping?” Or my personal favorite, “They like to bite ankles, don’t they?”
Matt and I have trained our dogs to not bark excessively. And Theo, Adriel and Domino have never bitten a single ankle. So, why do Chihuahuas get such a bad rap?
Perhaps, people have seen too many video clips on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Maybe they have come to know a Chihuahua who is “yappy.” But, this does not mean that ALL Chihuahuas behave in such a manner.
But, Chihuahuas get off easy. I truly feel sorry for the Pit Bulls. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say, “You know those Pit Bulls.” And honestly, I just want to punch these people in the face.
Dogs are born into this world as creatures that are set to do one thing: love unconditionally. Unfortunately, some dogs are often born into abusive homes, raised by cruel breeders or adopted out to a less than desirable person. None of this has anything to do with the dog’s actual breed.
Pit Bulls tend to be viewed as guard dogs. Countless movies have shown them to be the protection of mob bosses and gang leaders. Not a proper portrait of the breed. Is it any wonder that people have such a distorted perception of these poor pooches?
So, ignorant people who refuse to do research and learn base their judgments upon these stereotypes. Whether Hollywood creates these or not, we are more than happy to pass them on. To our family, our community, our children.
Is it any wonder that some children are absolutely terrified of dogs? While I am not suggesting that children be raised to think that every dog is a sweet puppy (we have had children try to stick their hands in our dog stroller), but they should not be made to believe that all dogs are evil and out to eat them.
The deplorable conditions that Pit Bulls have faced are the very reason why some have become aggressive. This actually happened to my Chihuahua, Theo. He was abused by his previous owners to the point where no one in animal control could handle him. He was placed in his “cell” where he snarled and snapped at anyone who came near him. Needless to say, he was quickly scheduled to be euthanized. He was seen as “dangerous.”
But, one woman had the courage to see behind the barred teeth and constant growling. She saw what no one else could see: Theo’s pain. So, this woman sat with Theo for 2 hours, talking calmly to him, trying to gain his trust. Within that time, Theo allowed the woman to pet him. The staff at the Humane Society were amazed.
Theo’s life was saved all because one woman took the time to get to know Theo. He was not a bad dog. He had just been the victim of an abusive family. And now, he is the best trained dog that I own. He knows how to sit, stay, leave it, and shake with both paws (he’ll switch paws when you say, “Switch!”). Theo loves his other fur siblings and meeting new people. Unfortunately, he is still not a fan of children (I wonder why).
Dogs will adapt to their environment. If they are being threatened or beaten on a daily basis, chances are pretty high that they will become aggressive. This is purely a defense mechanism. If you were being abused every day, would you just sit there and take it or would you eventually find the strength to fight back? How can people blame these creatures for fighting for their lives?
How many Pit Bulls and other dogs have died needlessly because of sweeping generalizations? Too many than I care to think about. This cycle cannot continue.
What if one human being served as the representation for all human kind? Would this person place humans in a positive or negative light? How can we be judged based upon the actions of one person?
It is bad enough that racism still exists in 2013, but to extend this cruel behavior to defenseless dogs? Something needs to be done to erase these damaging stereotypes from existence. People need to use the technology that runs rampant throughout the nation to educate themselves about dogs and their behaviors instead of playing Candy Crush.