Bronx was a joy from the moment his paws landed on our floor. He is a happy, gentle dog. One of his favorite games is to let our Guinea hen chase him around the yard. He hangs out with me as I am writing.
Bronx entered obedience as soon as he was old enough; much of the time he would sit and study the other dogs. His expression was of curiosity and understanding.
My goal is to train Bronx for search & rescue (SAR), specifically for Alzheimer’s patients who wander away, in memory of my grandmother. As time went on I found this goal also helps me process my grandmother’s death, as I still cannot discuss it. Bronx is helping me though this process.
But my proudest moment as a pit bull “mom” happened yesterday. We took Bronx and our English bulldog to Nashville Pet Expo for a “dog day afternoon.” Our Bulldog became sick. He was rushed to the Nashville Pet Emergency Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Bronx sat in the waiting room with all of us, very quietly. He began what we now call his “Grief Counselor duties.” He was never obnoxious, pushy, or jumping ... his tail would wag very slowly and his eyes were full of worry. He took careful steps and eased up to people. Those people understood what he was doing:
A Chihuahua went into the examination room; Bronx worried about that dog. He would duck to look through the examination room door as people came and went. When the Chihuahua’s “parents” would come out for water, or just to breathe, Bronx would approach them with a little wag and soulful eyes. When the Chihuahua came out, legs bandaged, Bronx was very gentle and had to check on him. The parents had to let Bronx see this little dog to ease his worry. Bronx didn’t bite or bark; he just nuzzled and his tail wagged. He was genuinely happy!
It was a difficult place to be; people came in because their animals had to be euthanized. Bronx watched them, paying close attention. He would then walk gently to these bereaved people to "hug" them. When they looked at him, he would sit and offer a paw. People actually smiled through tears to pet him and shake paws. A few gathered him up and hugged him tightly. One of the vet techs said to Bronx, “You are very special.”
An elderly couple came in, crying, to have their cat euthanized; I started crying, listening to them say goodbye. Bronx clung to me. He did not jump up or whine, just leaned against me quietly.
Our English bulldog came out with a bandaged leg. Bronx usually jumps all over him and wrestles; this time, he only walked over and licked his buddy’s face. He stood close to him.
This is a “vicious, evil, killer pit bull.”
I was an Animal Control Warden when the “pit bull scare” was at its hype. My family continues to get lectured on what a dangerous animal we have, and people still react negatively when we talk about him or show pictures. Having a "pit bull" raises our home insurance and he is not allowed in many places. Sometimes I want to scream, “get educated, people!” Because...
There is no such thing as a “pit bull.” It is a common name for a dog type, not breed. The “pit” is usually a cross of Staffordshire Terriers, Bulldogs (American and English), sometimes cross-bred with Shepherds, Rottweilers, Mastiffs and other Molossers, and even Labrador Retrievers. They do not have “locking” jaws or an inborn instinct to fight. Any dog will fight or attack if abused, threatened, or taught. (Think about the practice of dog fighting: a dog is given drugs, taunted, and set in a ring that smells of blood, fear, death, anger, and anxiety. Shouting idiots on drugs and alcohol surround it. This dog has had a life of pain, anxiety, abuse, and mistreatment. It knows the biggest reward is to bite and scratch. It knows biting a human is punishable. There is so much fear welled up --- some call that “aggression” --- and such a reward for hurting another dog … of course it is going to fight.) Overbreeding and lack of care have hurt these dogs emotionally and physically -- as with any breed.
Pit bulls make excellent therapy, obedience, rescue, police, and assistance dogs because they are hypersensitive, loyal, and eager to please. Their bark and stature means they make good “visual” guard dogs (which is most important; I’d rather have the bad person just stay away from, than to enter, my house).
I am so lucky to have a pit bull in my life. We rescued Bronx, and he rescued us. I will defend him and the “pit” dog until my last breath. If you are scared of them, educate yourself. If you want one to fight or to guard, don’t get a dog, period. And if you still don’t like them or think they are going to slaughter your kid/puppy/chickens/etc., then come visit my house. Just be very careful coming in; you could trip over Bronx when he’s napping.