Mia Misconceptions

January 2, 2013  

A puppy opens the eyes of a rescuer and turns her into an advocate


By Jill Stafford

When I moved in with my previous roommate and she told me she owned an American Pit Bull Terrier, I did not think much of it. I thought, “Great, it’s some kind of terrier and I love dogs!” When my roommate announced a few months later that there were pit bull puppies in a neighborhood nearby and was going to get one I thought, “Great, a puppy!” The next day we went to get her a puppy. We came home with two.

The other puppy we came home with is my soul mate. Never have I felt such an attachment to an animal before. I literally do not know what I would do without her and it terrifies me to think of the day she will cross the Rainbow Bridge. I had no plans of getting Mia. When we got to the house where she was born, I found her in terrible conditions. Mia and her brother were the only two puppies left from the litter. Their mom became pregnant accidentally by a neighborhood dog. They were living outside in a wire pen. They had tons of fleas and fleabites. The pups were only 5 weeks old. There was no way I was going to let my roommate take one puppy and leave the other puppy behind. I did not have it in me to leave her there. I wasn’t even sure if I would keep her, I just couldn’t let her stay there. The people gave them to us for free so we went home with two puppies in hand.

Learning About the Struggle

Of course, I told people I got a puppy. I started realizing that people would respond strangely to the breed she was. When I would confidently tell people she was a pit bull mix, I would get a response like, “Ohhhh a pit bull,” or get a strange look thrown in my direction. I know all you bully lovers know the exact look I’m talking about. I was very curious to know what this was about so I turned to the Internet. One simple Google search of American Pit Bull Terrier gave me all the answers of why I was getting these looks and responses. I had no idea what these media clippings were about, though. My roommate’s pit bull wasn’t vicious or an attack dog. She had never bitten anyone. My little puppy is not vicious. I formed my opinion that many people must be uneducated and not have much experience with pit bulls. They must base their ideas and opinions on what information the media was providing them.

Since the day I Googled information about pit bulls it has been a never-ending battle. I find that people either love pit bulls or hate them. Some people will even be petting Mia and once I tell them she is a pit bull they will give me that look or even make negative comments about her breed. When someone is negative about Mia’s breed it is more than just a comment. It hurts part of me. I take it personally because I know my dog and so many other pit bulls do not deserve the bad name that the media has given them. When I have been told I can’t live somewhere because of Mia’s breed I get upset but later on think, “If they aren’t pit bull people then I don’t want to live there anyway.”

Being the voice for pit bulls and any breed that is affected by Breed Discriminatory Legislation is the best feeling. To stand up for something you believe in is the best feeling. There is no better fulfillment than knowing you are making a difference, even if that difference does not happen right away. To change one person’s perspective on bully breeds is an accomplishment. I think a lot of pit bull adopters and advocates get discouraged easily because there are so many people that are fighting against what we all do. Every day may be a struggle, but the struggle is worth it. To go home and have your best friend greet you with that big smile makes it all worth it.

Mia is one of the best things to ever happen to me. She loves me unconditionally. Mia is more than just a dog or just a pet. She is my family. Sometimes she is a goof, sometimes she is serious, and she is always accepting of cuddles. She has helped me get through many things and I have learned so many different things from her. I learned to not judge a book by its cover because of Mia. I have also learned the importance of adopting and rescuing dogs instead of buying from a pet store or a breeder.

Sometimes it is really hard to not scream at people for being outrageous about the breeds, but I somehow find it is easier to “kill them with kindness”. Factual information, experience, and interacting with an actual dog seem to be the best way to change a mind. There will always be that person who tries to bring you down, but I have learned to look past them. Most of all, I know my pit bull is a sweetheart and my best friend. I am glad Mia is a pit bull. I am glad that I am a pit bull person and I know many pit bull people. I swear we are the best kind of people. I am honored I get the opportunity to have Mia in my life and to educate people about her breed.

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