I haven’t written a blog post in a long time. Like a really fucking long time. I want to say that I don’t know why I stopped writing, but I think, to be honest, I do. I got happy. It seems strange, but when I started the blog, I wasn’t loving life. I had just been “dumped” (although the jury’s still out about whether or not me and the dude were even dating/talking/hooking up long enough to warrant an actual “dumping), I was getting ready to settle down in a city that I wasn’t thrilled about, I was starting a new job that just had a lot of unknowns and I was in a pretty massive fight with my best friend. Writing about girls sucking (Ah, enter the phrase that ensures this blog comes up in Google searches for amateur porn) was easy and therapeutic and made me feel less like the walls around me were just crumbling down. I could be snarky and a little bitchy and analyze the actions of others and escape from the insecurity and self-doubt and fear that I was feeling every day.
And then, gradually, I got happy. I ended up living with a roommate who was fab, really enjoying my job, meeting a guy who has managed to stick with me for two years…and I got a dog. Enter today’s blog post. Please don’t stop reading.
Ah, my dog. In the midst of my depression, my parents offered to buy me a pooch, thinking that having a four-legged friend would force me to get out of bed every day, interact with two-legged (potential) friends, and provide me with unconditional love and support and face licking. Although we never discussed what kind of dog I wanted, I’m sure we all expected that I would end up with some cute puppy that would grow up to be no bigger than 30 pounds and would immediately heal all my emotional wounds. That’s not really how things turned out.
To make a long story short, on a whim one day in May 2012, I went to my local Animal Control facility and fell in love with an 18 month old pit bull named Tyson. I promptly went to PetSmart, loaded up my car with an array of “new mommy” items (ew, I hate that phrase, especially when it refers to women and their dogs, but just go with it), took the next day off work, signed a few papers, popped Tyson in my car, drove home…and had a panic attack.
I knew nothing about raising or training a dog, let alone one that had been on the Urgent List (read: Kill List, aka Doggy Death Row). Tyson, whose name was shortly changed to Brew in honor of my two favorite beverages – coffee and beer, had been held in Animal Control for over a month, and because of the high turnover and massive numbers of stray and abandoned dogs being brought in, was in imminent danger of being put down to make room for other pups looking for new homes. So, like, I totally saved his life. After a few weeks of being late for work, stumbling into my office with dog-eared (literally) shoes and tears drying on my face because Brew refused to go into his crate, or couldn’t stop running around my bedroom, I enlisted the help of a professional and over the next few months, watched my scared and slightly emotionally bruised dog transform into a well-behaved, polite and endlessly loving animal.
There were lots of things I never anticipated about having a dog. They can’t eat grapes?! Some food brands make them poop eight times a day?! They are terrified of skateboards and want to eat the heads off any rider who goes by them?! They love to eat leather bags and shoes and belts, especially ones that have been recently bought and cost more than $100?! But the biggest shock to me was, and has continued to be, how people react to the fact that Brew is a pit bull. When we walk down the street, moms clutch their children tighter and other dog owners move out of our path. At the dog park, we get dirty looks and we’ve even had a neighbor threaten to shoot us – yes, commit double homicide – if we approached him again. The discrimination that Brew faces is mind-blowing, and although he might not understand it, I certainly do, and it is real and painful and unfair.
This post doesn’t include any research or quotes from experts or citations from studies about dogs and what breeds are dangerous and how many children are killed or not killed by Chihuahuas and Rottweilers every year. It does include, however, a story about how this slightly damaged dog saved this slightly damaged girl. Over the past two years, Brew has become my best friend. He is the only person in my life who is constantly excited to see me, who loves me without judgment, who never asks me how my day was or why I feel the need to eat a pound of cheese while standing the kitchen or why I still wear a shirt that belonged to my ex boyfriend from four years ago. He never calls me fat, or tells me I have ugly cry face, and he will watch endless hours of Scandal or Say Yes to the Dress with me and never questions my taste in TV shows or wants to change the channel. He is not perfect and sometimes he pees on the rug or eats some mysterious item that tears up his insides and ends up costing me hundreds of dollars in vet bills and probably some ulcers, but at the end of the day, he is mine and he is awesome and he is not a killer.
On some level, I do understand peoples’ fears about Brew and pit bulls in general. He is big and strong and his jaws could do some serious damage if they wanted to and I suppose if you were to encounter him on a dark alley he would be scary. But without ever taking the time to meet me or meet him, these fears are unfounded and prejudiced. I live for the people who do approach us and ask if they can pet Brew and share their stories of wonderful pits with me. Recently, an older couple came up to us with their very young granddaughter and did a photo shoot with Brew, an ice cream cone and some sunglasses. I fought the urge to steal their camera and blast the pictures all over the Internet and stop everyone else on the street to make sure they were witnessing this kind interaction between my loaded gun of a dog and this toddler.
Brew is not one in a million. I mean, he is, of course, but he is not even close to being the only friendly, cuddly, comforting bully breed dog out there. If you want to prove that pit bulls are killers, there are articles for that; if you want to prove that pit bulls are lovers, there are articles for that, too. At the end of the day, all we can do is share the love that we get from our dogs with others and advocate for our pooches and count every new person who meets our pits and says “Holy shit he is so fucking cute I love him!” as a small victory. And those add up. Just like all the money I’ve spent replacing the shoes that Brew has eaten over the past 24 months of our relationship.