Note: This is a guest post from John, the man behind the scenes.
Question: What kind of dog is that?
Honest Answer: He’s an American Pit Bull Terrier Mix (Cooper). He’s a Staffordshire Bull Terrier Mix (Emmett). He’s a Shepherd Mix (Lucas)
General Answer: He’s a mutt!
Depending on who’s asking me that question, as well as the context in which it’s asked, I can get incredibly different reactions based on how I answer the question of breed. Many people look at the square head, the wrinkled forehead, the broad chest, or the brindle coat, and they know before they ask. Lots of people know the general answer to the breed question before they ask it, but what’s the best way to respond? You say “pit bull” and you can get raised eyebrows, parents picking up their children, people crossing the street, or people saying how much they love the breed. You say “mutt” and you hear about how they’re so healthy because of a diverse gene pool.
Now I’m not one to shy away from many situations (ask Maggie! or Kim!), but when is being honest not exactly in your best interest? I mean, do you say, “A pit bull! Just like you hear about on the news!” and then go through explaining that the media just goes for shock value? That lots of dogs bite lots of people each year? That it depends on the situation, how the dog is treated, etc? Or do you just say “mutt” and go about your day? When is it worth putting up with being told that your dog is going to kill a kid one day, and being asked when you’re going to have your best friend euthanized? Is it worth getting that frustrated with someone who clearly doesn’t know the first thing about dogs, and bully breeds in general?
I’ll be the first person to give someone an earful if they EVER have a negative thing to say about Emmett, but at the same time I understand how and why people have the views that they do. There is no way anyone can ever convince me that pit bulls are dangerous dogs.
And I know that there are people who will never be convinced that they’re great dogs. I truly understand that, even though I don’t agree with it. So when faced with that opportunity, do you just avoid the frustration and save your effort for the person who asks you, “A pit bull? Are the rumors true?” Those are the people who I will gladly chat with. Those are the people who I can really have patience with. The others….well, I’m not the most patient person and will kindly advise them to [fill in the blank with something that Maggie would be mad if I actually said].