“How could you say no to this face?” — probably one of the most dangerous sentences ever uttered in history by anyone who loves dogs and who also has a hard time saying no (present company included).
And in this particular case, it’s completely true: HOW could you say no to sweet little Jax’s face? That nose. Those eyes. That come-hither-and boop-my-nose stare. If ever there was living, breathing definition of a walking hug, Jax is it.
Unfortunately for Vancouver dog owner, Bronwyn, not everyone sees it that way.
Even though eight-month-old Jax is a gentle cuddle seeker with the heart of a thousand suns, he is a Pit Bull. And, according to Bronwyn, this means that most of the public only sees a “dangerous” or "unhinged" dogs, in no part thanks the media’s constant negative portrayal that fuels the stigma against Pit Bulls and Pitt Bull owners.
In fact, this Vancouver couple was once denied an application to an apartment, citing a “no large sized-dogs” rule — Jax is a small to medium-sized dog.
But together, Bronwyn and her partner are helping to break the stigma and create conversations around the need to end the stigma. And we couldn’t be more on board.
“Jax is a gentle soul. He just loves cuddles and to play with all his dog friends. He’s been socialized since he was three months old and people love him — he’s a sweetheart. But people feed into the myths — they believe that all Pitt Bulls are aggressive and big, mean dogs. The stereotype is ridiculous — any dog can turn out aggressive, depending on how you train or discipline them.”
“Unfortunately, because pit bulls are strong, people undesirable to society [like those who run illegal dog fighting rings] end up owning them.”
But it seems that knowledge hasn’t stopped the spread of misconceptions and passing of breed-specific legislatures.
Even in places as dog-friendly as Vancity, finding pet-friendly apartments in Vancouver is tricky, and for Brownyn and her partner, it gets complicated when landlords learn of Jax's breed.
“The hardest thing has been finding an apartment building that will allow us to live there with Jax. There are a lot of buildings in Vancouver that have restrictions specific to the breed. We were once denied an application to an apartment that cited a “no large breeds” rule of Jax. Jax is a small to medium sized Pitt Bull.”
"Besides looking for apartments, we haven’t been stopped or treated differently very much. I feel the stereotype has only started to affect us as he’s got older and looked more like a true pittie. Unfortunately, we do get the stink eye from some people and have watched them cross the street because of him.”
To them, we say: Keep walking. They don’t deserve you, Jax.
Speaking with Bronwyn reminds us that Pit Bulls, more than any other dogs, are lovers — not fighters.
With their love-you-to-the-moon-and-back personalities, you have a built-in friend for life whose insurmountable loyalty and need to be by your side will follow you to all kinds of places — the toilet, the other side of the room, the ends of the earth, etc.
Bronwyn still remembers the first day she met Jax:
“It was probably the day I picked him up. When I saw him I knew I had to take him home. All he wanted to do when we got home was play and cuddle. Seriously one of the best days I’ve ever had.”
So, what's a typical day for Jax and Bronwyn?
In a word: “Easy.”
“We wake up, go outside, and then have breakfast together. I’ll take him for a walk around the block before I head to work for a couple of hours. When I get home for lunch, he’s waiting for me on my bed, all curled up in my pillows. We head to the dog park so he can play with his friends for an hour. When I come home later in the day, there he is again — curled up on my bed. We head out again for a walk or to the park and then it’s food time! Right after dinner, he’s already snoozing on my bed again. I practically need to force him outside for one last pee before I move him to his crate for the night.”
We asked Bronwyn: what’s something you wish people that are prejudiced towards Pit Bulls (or any specific breeds) would know?
“It’s all on the owners! According to The National Canine Temperament Testing Association, Pit Bulls scored an average 95.2% on the tests compared to other breeds including Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, Poodles, and 100+ more only scored 77%.
Before Pit Bulls were used as fighting dogs in illegal fighting rings they were nanny dogs. They are known to be caring, sweet and loyal.
As a society, we deem stereotyping people unacceptable — so why do we allow that for dogs?
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