Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pit Bull Encounter

Monday morning was the sort of morning when one remembers why, absent Santa Anas, Fall is the best season in San Diego County. Anne and I were sitting at a table outside Starbuck's when we saw a couple with a dog. The woman had a Pit Bull on a leash. Since neither Anne nor I shrieked and ran from the scene, the woman brought the dog over to greet us while her companion found a table and went for coffee.

Calm is too "busy" a descriptor for this dog--his name, we discovered is Bear. Bear was more than just calm. He was Perfectly Placid. Supremely Stoic. A warm, dark-honey fawn, he ambled over to me, and sniffed my proffered hand politely. He looked up at me to let me know he was available for pats and ear scratches.

Bear is one lucky dog. He was purchased as a puppy--he is an American Staffordshire--by a neighbor of his present owner. When he was about a year old, his first owner decided that he was more responsibility than she wanted and was prepared to dump him at the nearest Animal Control Shelter. Fortunately for Bear, his winning ways had charmed the couple next door, and he was spared days in a cage, followed by euthanasia.

The amiable, neutered--I checked--dog at Starbuck's was as unlike the terrifyingly aggressive dog who attacked Chantal as he could be, and still be the same breed. Bear is a living reminder of why, not too long ago, Pit Bulls were America's Dog, the first choice for children's movies and advertisements.

He also reminded me why, in spite of widespread misuse and abuse of Pit Bulls and the consequent havoc wrecked on both dogs and humans, I do not support breed specific dog legislation. Dogs--any breed--are not the problem. People are the problem

I have lived long enough to remember a number of breeds considered to be Inherently Dangerous Dogs. Eventually, the Weak-Ego Nasties of the World will find another breed to exploit, to use as a weapon.

Meanwhile, I thank Bear, and especially his rescuers, for a particularly charming encounter on a beautiful Autumn morning.

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