I had a really intense experience with Gunny last night. He and I went to a dog-friendly wine bar with friend and the only open couch was across from a couple with a dog. We got a few looks, and even with Gunny wagging wildly, were asked repeatedly if “he was OK” despite the fact that their pup was very reserved and sort of frozen. I was honestly more worried that she would react negatively, but I don’t interfere with Gunny’s interactions. He can read a dog better than any dog specialist, and he would not have stayed with her if their was a chance she’d get upset. With the other two dogs, I do the reading and controlling, but Gunny has special skills. I attribute them to being able to stay alive in the Pits Of Hell for so long. He visited and we chatted. The couple asked if he lost his leg to cancer and we told the story. They were appalled. They began to laugh at his antics, which included diving on top of the coffee table to belly crawl across to love them when they smiled at him. After only 10 minutes, the wife looked at me and said she had to make a confession. Said that with the two recent tragedies involving kids and pitbulls in our area, she had been for the idea of banning the breed. But she said that spending just that little bit of time with Gunny had changed her mind, that if Gunny could be so sweet even after what he had been through, how could it possibly be a breed issue? She said that she remembered the news mentioning the conditions the dogs “lived” in and the criminal history of the owner and she put it all together. She saw that it was not the breed, it was their owner and it was what the dogs went through that killed that little girl. I was on Cloud Nine and thanked her for telling me that/realizing that. I gave her a mini-PB-tutorial, emphasizing that the dogs and owners hurt by breed bans are just like me & Gunny, and it really clicked for her. Then she was mad that Gunny was in danger. Gunny has changed minds before, but this was his first time making such an impact after such a horrible, preventable tragedy in our own “back yard” so to speak. Way to go Big Guy! And this is why I am so RABID about pitbull owners being doubly-responsible with their dogs, training them to the hilt, and taking them OUT in public with them ALL THE TIME where they can be good ambassadors. I NEVER would have changed these peoples’ mind with my words and statistics but my dogs do things I can’t.
January 30, 2011