Oh HI! It’s me, Morgan! How iz you doing? You may knows me from my Facebookie page Morgan the Pit Bull. I has lots of friends and furiends on da Facebookie and am truly blessed to have met so many wonderbull hoomans and doggies! Well, you were so kind to ask me to write a wittle bit about myself and da tings dat I consider important when it comes to the American Pit Bull Terrier. The main focus now should be to educate not discriminate to end BSL. And it can start with one, but more on dat later! You may notice on my Facebookie page dat I am an Ambassador for Change. Itz so easy to be an Ambassador and I believe I can help change minds of hoomans everywhere regarding the American Pit Bull Terrier! I lubbs people and itz fun meeting new hoomans and hearing “You’re a Pit Bull?? No way, you’re so nice!!” At dat point I say tank you and consider another mind changed, another perception erased! See how easy to be an Ambassador!! And I takes my responsibility berry seriously as changing minds and perceptions iz berry important with BSL in the spotligh I has enlisted da help of mommy to help me write my story. Here she is!
Thank you, Morgan. It’s amazing to think that one dog can bring so much joy to a home but that is the embodiment of Morgan. He came into our lives when we were very sad over the death of our beloved Haole-Boy, an American Staffordshire Terrier/Pit Bull mix. At the age of eight, we found out he had hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer in dogs. Within two months, he was gone. We were inconsolable but knew that life goes on, but realized something was missing. However, we were not really willing to risk so much pain by getting another dog. With time, the pain turns into memories and those wonderful times make you want to experience the joy of having a dog all over again. We wanted another Pit Bull and found Morgan on the internet, not a good place for Pit Bulls as they can easily get into the wrong hands. We went to visit and one look at his handsome puppy face was all it took! He had a brother and sister and we hope they both found wonderful homes too.
Morgan just turned two on August 26 and is the happiest dog we have ever met! He is full of life and eager to please and always ready to play! He is emerging from puppyhood with dignity and all the grace a 95 pound Pit Bull can possibly have! That’s not to say he’s an angel….he still gets time outs when he gets a little too rambunctious! He loves early morning walks and runs with me, going anywhere with daddy, playing in the snow, chewing on bones (and toys!) and meeting new people. It’s funny to see how people react to him….some come right over and ask to play with him while others will give “the look” and go about their business. This is where being a Pit Bull Ambassador comes in. With all dog ownership comes responsibility. With having a Pit Bull, the responsibility is magnified.
That brings us to the things I think are most important for Pit Bull owners. Here are a few:
1. People skills: Pit Bulls are the most loyal and loving dogs you will ever find. They are at their happiest when they are with you, the most important person in their world. They deserve to be in your home as a family member. Engaging with other people is a must, always mindful of the size of your dog as it relates to the size of the person. “In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog.” (Anonymous)
2. Training: Pit Bulls have amazing physical and mental characteristics which can make them sometimes challenging for the average dog owner. They take on the behaviors of their owners and their behavior is reflective of the care, training and socialization from their owners. It is essential for all dog owners to socialize and train their dogs, even more so with Pit Bulls.
3. Exercise: A tired dog is a happy dog! Pit Bulls have an enormous amount of energy that needs to be focused in the right areas. A rousing game of fetch, running or swimming does wonders for burning off excess energy.
4. Dog Park: Realize that you are under a microscope if you take your Pit Bull to the dog park. If an incident, no matter how small occurs, your dog will be at fault even if they are not in the wrong.
5. Involvement: As a Pit Bull owner, you probably have a wonderful tale to tell, just like Morgan’s story. That’s the kind of stories that need to be in the media, highlighting the true Ambassador spirit of the breed. The dogs that have passed their Canine Good Citizens test, are therapy and service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and certified companion dogs. You may think those things don’t apply to Pit Bulls but you would be wrong. Be involved in your community and show the good things about your dog. You will not be sorry!
Unfortunately, many things in the news have portrayed the Pit Bull in a negative light. Probably the most widely known is the Michael Vick story. But, if you have followed the “Vick Dogs” as they are called, you will see how remarkably resilient the breed is. They are able to forget the past and focus on the here and now, totally living in the moment. The dogs simply got the chance to be themselves and to prove their loving temperament. Those unfamiliar with the Pit Bull breed were shocked at what they saw; no “weapons of mass destruction”, “no ticking time bombs waiting to go off”, no aggression; instead what they found was just a poor misunderstood animal cowering for love and affection. These were dogs that had not been shown the slightest bit of love and kindness, but when given the chance the Pit Bulls showered their caregivers with affection. You may also notice stories attributing a dog bite to a Pit Bull, without facts to back it up. Once the story is investigated, and the dog in question was not a Pit Bull, the story is corrected. But how many people ever see that story, generally buried somewhere else in the news. The damage has, by then, already been done.
The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) which is a national not-for-profit organization for the promotion of uniform temperament evaluation of dogs was established in 1977 and has tested (as of February 2012) 31,730 dogs. Each dog tested is evaluated in a 10 step process, after which the dog receives either a passing or failing grade. The result of over 20 years of temperament testing has shown some surprising and not so surprising results. The Labrador Retriever is the dog with the best temperament with a passing grade of 92.3%. The Pit Bull comes in second with a passing grade of 86.8%, consistently demonstrating an equal or better temperament than many of the most trusted breeds. Surprised? Don’t be….a Pit Bull is a people-loving dog full of compassion and intelligence.
The major challenge today for Pit Bull owners is Breed-Specific Legislation or BSL. They are charming and loving dogs but there is an anti-Pit Bull climate in the world today which can making having a Pit Bull difficult. The myths are widespread and we are constantly battling against hurtful biases and breed discrimination. The key is to educate not discriminate. You know the story of Lennox. You know the story of Wicca. You know the story of Dre. These are not isolated cases as this happens every day due to the actions of others. Over 650 cities in the United Sates and nine additional countries have some sort of breed-specific laws. If you have the opportunity, sign a petition, talk with your local representatives, write a letter, take action in the fight against BSL. Morgan has a friend on Facebook who is leading the charge against BSL. He is also an advocate for change. Please visit Milo at Milo’s World for more ways you can be an Ambassador for Change.
There is a saying attributable to Mahatma Gandhi that states “The greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” If you have been to Morgan’s Facebook page, you will see that he is an Ambassador for Change. You may think that one dog cannot change the world and you would be right. But now is the time to unite and be one voice together. One voice against BSL that affects dogs every day. One voice against the inexplicable acts that we see every day. One voice in the fight to change things in this world. It is up to us to make a difference and our one voice together can do that.
Petitions related to Pit Bulls:
Save Dre the pit bull petition-http://www.thepetitionsite.com/366/919/230/save-dre-a-pit-bull-in-brighton-co-who-has-never-hurt-anyone/
Petition to U.S. House of Representatives to end BSL – https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/us-representives-introduce-a-bill-to-ban-discrimination-of-pit-bullshttp://www.thepetitionsite.com/371/418/762/save-piggy/
Save Piggy a victim of BSL – http://chroniclesofhlstephens.blogspot.com/2012/07/lady-jasmine-beauty-of-pitbull-breed.html
Let Jim Gorant speak on CNN about Vick’s Pits- http://www.change.org/petitions/piers-morgan-and-cnn-let-vick-s-pits-voices-be-heard-invite-jim-gorant-author-of-the-lost-dogs-to-speak-for-the-dogs
Petition to bring back the Paws for Tales Program at Burlingame Public Library – http://www.cesarsway.com/PawsForTalesPetition
Further reading about BSL:
BSL (Breed Specific Legistation) what it is and why it’s wrong – http://stopbsl.org/bsloverview/
Understanding BSL – http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/Locations/USLocations.htm
More on BSL – http://pittiesplace.com/WhatisBSL.htm
A stop BSL Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-BSL/54038162966
Vick’s Pits (Michael Vick’s former pit bulls:
Parade Article from 8/15/2010-http://www.parade.com/news/2010/08/15-vicks-dogs.html
Huffington Post Article from 01/31/2011: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/31/michael-vick-dogs-pit-bulls_n_816246.html#s232910
Pilotonline.org Article from 01/26/2008- http://hamptonroads.com/2008/01/47-vicks-pit-bulls-still-are-alive-and-recovering-guardian-says
Cesar’s Way Article from 03/08/2012 – http://www.cesarsway.com/node/1483/
A great book about Lady Jasmine who overcomes her training to become what she really wants to be – http://chroniclesofhlstephens.blogspot.com/2012/07/lady-jasmine-beauty-of-pitbull-breed.html
Wallace the Book, a book about a pit bull by Jim Gorant who also wrote Lost Dogs – http://www.wallacethebook.com/
The Lost Dogs, a book about Michael Vick’s pit bulls – http://www.wallacethebook.com/lost-dogs-front-page/