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I've fallen in love with a pit bull


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#1 of 181 Rain

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Posted November 24 2003 - 12:37 PM

A few weeks ago, I went down to the local animal shelter to look at dogs. Though I have two cats already, I have been thinking for some time of adding a dog to my little family.

I looked at the dogs that were up for adoption, but didn't really get any particular vibes from any of them. So I went to have a gander at the cats as well. While in the "cat room," I see through the window another dog--a very nice looking red pit bull.

I asked about him. His name is Red and he isn't up for adoption yet, as he has some rather severe anxiety, likely due to where he's ended up.

So I decided to volunteer my time at the shelter in the hopes of getting to know this dog better. They've let me hang out with him and today, for the first time, I was allowed to take him out for a walk.

He's a sweet boy. He pulls a little on the leash, but that's about it. I discovered today he can sit on command and shake a paw (things he didn't do last time I was hanging out with him) and if you give him a kiss on the cheek, he'll lick your face.

I never set out to get a pit bull or any particular breed for that matter, but as it happens, this is the dog that has struck my fancy. It's getting harder and harder to say "goodbye" to him when it's time for me to go home. I've been going down on Mondays, as I have the day off, but now I'm going to start going Thursday mornings at 8:30am as well, as I don't work until 11:00am.

I should mention that I'm pretty sure Red would be fine with cats (though it's not a situation I would put him in without extreme caution.) His pen is situated right by the "cat room." He can see all the cats and smell them when the windows are open, but has never made any attempt to get at them.

Now here's a problem: One of my coworkers, a rather disagreeable and argumentative woman--let's call her Sally--caught wind of the fact that this dog has struck my fancy. It happens that she also has a pitbull (her first, which she has had for a few years). Sally fancies herself the worlds greatest expert on pit bulls, of course. She met Red only once, for a matter of seconds, but has pronounced that I should not have this dog. Of course I know that the only reason she doesn't want me to have him is because I want him. The problem is that Sally is such a cow that she's going to do everything in her power to keep me from getting this dog, including badmouthing me to the shelter or trying to encourage one of her friends to try to adopt him instead.

Now I don't claim to be a dog expert by any means, but I ask you: Is this dog better off with some guy who just wants a pit bull for the sake of having a pit bull or with a guy who wants this particular dog, who just happens to be a pit bull?

I guess what I'm asking with this thread is for advice from people who have pit bulls or dogs in general. What can I do to convince the shelter that I'm the guy who should get this dog? Any specific tips on caring for this particular breed of dog? General input?

(Please keep this humane. I don't want to hear from dog owners who purposely make their dogs aggresive or who think pit bulls are some kind of "status" symbol or anything like that. Thanks.)

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#2 of 181 Mark Romero

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Posted November 24 2003 - 12:47 PM

Cool story. When can you take him home? Make it known you want that dog.

#3 of 181 Rain

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Posted November 24 2003 - 12:50 PM

It's not that easy.

They are very particular about who takes home each dog and there are a number of factors that are considered.

I have never had a dog of my own, so that is going to be an obstacle considering the dog I want is a breed with a bad reputation and does have some minor behavioural issues.

My plan was to work with him for a few weeks and then see about trying to convince them to let me take him home for a night.

Believe me, they know I want this dog.

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#4 of 181 Henry Gale

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Posted November 24 2003 - 01:20 PM

From your time as a volunteer you may have read or heard some of the questions they ask potential dog owners.
Some of those would be; "Do you have a fenced yard?" "How big is it?" "Are there children?" "Do you have time to walk/play/exercise with a medium sized dog?" "Choose a good name, Bane or Cuddles?" Well, they probably won't ask you that, but they should.
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#5 of 181 Seth--L

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Posted November 24 2003 - 01:31 PM

I guess what I'm asking with this thread is for advice from people who have pit bulls or dogs in general.


A lot of shelters have strict policies on pit bulls no just because people use them for fighting, but because people go as far as to steal them.

What can I do to convince the shelter that I'm the guy who should get this dog? Any specific tips on caring for this particular breed of dog? General input?


Having worked in a shelter with pretty strict adoption criteria, here's my advice:

- Think of the dog as a helpless child and that you need to prove to the shelter that you're fit to be a parent and will be able to meet all the needs of the dog.
- Show that you have a home big enough for the dog to comfortably live in (big dogs and small apartments don't mix).
- If you have a landlord ask them to write a letter or recommendation saying that they approve of you owning a dog and that in general you are a good responsible tenant.
- Have your employer write a recommendation say that you are a responsible individual.
- Explain to the shelter that your work hours will allow you to give the dog at least two full walks a day and spend quality time with the dog. Don't tell them you plan on just letting the dog out into the yard twice a day to do its business or just plan on leaving him out in a yard all day.
- Find a vet now to show the shelter that you're already thinking ahead to such important matters.
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#6 of 181 Pamela

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Posted November 24 2003 - 01:37 PM

I have a friend who rescued a pit bull from a shelter. The poor dog only has three legs, but is quite active despite her physical limitations. She runs and romps with the rest of the critters in the house (another dog and 4 cats). She is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known. She is so full of love and affection.

"Sally" sounds like she needs a swift kick in the arse. I really don't have any advice for winning over the shelter, but I hope things work out for you. I think you'd make a terrific "dad" to Red.

#7 of 181 Rain

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Posted November 24 2003 - 02:16 PM

Thanks for the helpful advice so far.

Alas, I do have a rather small apartment. Fortunately, Red isn't the running about and playing type. He's pretty sedate. Even so, a few blocks away, I have good friends who do have a fenced yard, which would be at my disposal pretty much 24-7.

A letter from my employer is a great idea, especially considering I work in a pet supply shop and am interacting with dogs constantly.

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#8 of 181 Seth--L

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Posted November 24 2003 - 02:39 PM

Alas, I do have a rather small apartment.


How much does he weigh?

Be sure to emphasize then that you plan on giving him lots of exercise through walks (in general figure that Red should at least get two full walks a day, before and after work).

Though I have two cats already, I have been thinking for some time of adding a dog to my little family.


Have your vet also write a rec.
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#9 of 181 Rain

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Posted November 24 2003 - 03:14 PM

He's not that big a dog.

I was thinking more like 3-4 walks per day.

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#10 of 181 Seth--L

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Posted November 24 2003 - 03:17 PM

I was thinking more like 3-4 walks per day.


I guess it comes down to how long of a walk you're going to give him.
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#11 of 181 Rain

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Posted November 24 2003 - 03:45 PM

I have time in the morning before work.

I work 2 blocks from home so could walk him for almost an hour at lunch.

My evenings are pretty much totally free, since I have no life. Posted Image

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#12 of 181 Philip_G

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Posted November 24 2003 - 04:54 PM

Have you checked with your landlord? around here I've noticed many apartments will not allow rotties or pit bulls. Also, it might raise your renter's insurance a little bit..

#13 of 181 Rain

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Posted November 24 2003 - 05:45 PM

Given the vacancies in my building, I don't think I'd have a problem convincing my landlord. Besides, I don't intend to tell her I'm getting a pit bull, just that I'm getting a dog. And that seed has already been planted. Posted Image
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#14 of 181 Robert_Gaither

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Posted November 24 2003 - 09:15 PM

As an owner of a Pitbull (my "baby girl" is almost 10 years old), there are some things that might stand in your way:

1) insurance, or lack of, my home owner's insurance was cancelled and I wasn't allowed to even be considered to have a "rider" on it.

2) yard reinforcement, my dog ran thru my privacy fence like it was a cartoon wall, now I have a fence that is buried along the perimeter about 1 1/2' deep and stapled to the wood fence (keeps her from digging or running thru it)

3) neighbors, because of the dog's reputation you may have some problems with some neighbors (I've had people insinuate that they'd poison her because they thought she looked at them "wrong").

4) chew toys, buy a rope (my dog loves tug-a-war) and "tuffy" toys and hope your dog doesn't like anything expensive (I went thru about 2 thousand dollars worth of stuff the first two years).

5) animal aggression, though it seems your dog (thinking positive) seems friendly to other cats, dogs, etc there might be other animals it may not like (my dog only likes people and other small dogs, heaven forbid the poor gophers she keeps getting) which can cause a problem.

6) theft, I know this may sound funny but pitbulls are the most stolen dogs in America for pretty much each year (contrary to most myths, the dog is usually very people friendly except for those that are the most abused) due to the fact that the people who fight them do not want to buy them.

Personally I only met one pitbull I didn't like (after meeting the owner, I can tell he didn't deserve to own any dogs) but for the most part the breed is a very easy going, people friendly, and that really isn't much different from other breeds other than the fact it has one of the strongest jaw strength seems to attract some of the worst owners (thus when Fluffy the poodle bites someone it may hurt and scare while Butch the pitbull bites someone it may break a bone as well). Ironically the some of the more dangerous breed of dogs by statistics (dalmations) of common occurance is usually ignored by society.

#15 of 181 Grant B

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Posted November 24 2003 - 09:24 PM

There was just the worst pit bull attack in golden gate park on Saturday. A lady had the dog off lesh. When a mounted officer said something the dog started attacking the hose ripping up it's leg. The horse threw the policeman and when the owner tried to pull it away the horse kicked the lady in the head. The horse started running and the damn dog was following behind. Another policeman ended putting 3 shots into the dog and it's still alive.
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#16 of 181 Steve_Tk

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Posted November 25 2003 - 05:52 AM

Personally I would never ever trust a pit bull. I don't care how well they are raised. That's a liability on a leash and a lawsuit just waiting to happen. Any dog can potentially wig out and attack someone at any time, but it's not just a fluke that it's always rotties and pits, and don't assume that the only ones that attack grew up in 'bad environments'.

#17 of 181 Malcolm R

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Posted November 25 2003 - 06:25 AM

Local problem here, as well:

A five-year-old girl from Barre Town was treated at Fletcher Allen Health Care after the family dog, a pit bull, ripped off her ear and fractured her skull at her home Saturday. Gianna Somarriba is expected to make a full recovery. Doctors re-attached her ear and she's scheduled to go home later today. Her mother was also treated for lacerations to her forearm. The dog is currently being held at the local animal shelter, and the family has requested that it be destroyed.
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#18 of 181 Jack Shappa

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Posted November 25 2003 - 06:41 AM

The problem with Pit Bulls in general is not that they are "mean" dogs, or that they attack more often than other dogs, the problem is when they DO attack, they can be devestating. A Pit Bull can kill a child or small person in nothing flat. Even a full grown man will get a serious ass-whooping from one, if not worse.

I would rather be attacked by a Dalmation 10 times than by a Pit Bull once. They are aggressive dogs BY NATURE. This can be repressed through proper training, but it only takes one time in the "right" circumstance for the dog to go off for it to destroy lives. Because you've had the dog for 5 years and it's never hurt anyone doesn't mean its instinct won't kick in one day and it won't.

My friend owns a kennel and does dog obedience work, and has seen many "docile and loving" animals of aggressive breeds (like Rottweillers and PitBulls) suddenly become killing machines under the right circumstances, like for instance a child falling down and screaming etc.

I love dogs, I've had them all my life of various breeds. There are so many breeds of dogs, there is no reason for people to own large aggressive breeds.

#19 of 181 David Ebbert

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Posted November 25 2003 - 07:31 AM

I have a Rottweiler/Lab mix. He's going to be nine years old next year. I have had him since he was three months old. He has never hurt anyone in his nine years.

A lot of what a dog is or isn't going to do comes down to training. Any animal that has teeth also has the ability to bite. Rotties and Pittbulls get a bad rap and I don't like it.

Think about the millions of dogs on this planet. How often do you hear of the family Cocker Spaniel, or Golden Retriever mauling some kids? You don't, because it's not sensationalistic, although it happens frequently.

With the love and proper training that you can offer this dog, I would say go ahead and try to adopt. I'd rather see a person like you owning the dog than someone who wants it as a guard dog or status symbol.

Go for it!

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#20 of 181 Lance Nichols

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Posted November 25 2003 - 07:57 AM

Pit bulls, Staffies, and Amstaffs (the "real name" of Pittbulls) or NOT aggressive by nature. They will try and test you, just like other intelligent dog, and really do need to be properly trained and cared for. Remember, these are dogs that were originally beard for bull baiting/hunting. When that was outlawed, unsavory types started trying to breed them/provoke them into fighting other dogs. They had to be strong, and independent (like most terriers). The unfortunate link with dog fighting is the basis for the undeserved reputation they have today. Historically they have been known as very loyal, loving and stalwart pets.

Properly socialized, they are sweet, and lovable animals. In truth, the only dogs that are "bad" are ones that have bad owners. Because of the breed's (newly acquired) reputation, you have to ensure that your Staffie/pit bull is the best ambassador for all dogs.

Statistically, these dogs are no more prone to attacking others then toy poodles. I do not have problems with insurance, anyone in my neighborhood who knows Major thinks he is the biggest suck around, and in fact Major has become something of a "rescue" dog in the area, taking in strays or loose dogs until we can find their owners.

Rain, Go for it! Most of them LOVE playing tug, and get a kong or two as well.

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