Must Love Dogs

31 Jul

So, obviously dogs are a big part of my life. Not only do I live with two (one of which is always a temporary resident, but a resident nonetheless), but I see at least 10 others are a regular basis in training classes, several others on a daily basis in the neighborhood, and manage the lives of one or two others who are living in other Bully Project foster homes. So when I meet new people, I feel it’s only appropriate to start off with the fact that they “must love dogs.”

Lucy, Me & Lola

My dogs are a huge part of my life – I never imagined that the bonds I would form with all of them would transcend everything else I knew. So when new people (friends or otherwise) get added to the mix, I automatically think, “Will they like Lucy? How could they not? I love Lucy!”

Lucy

I don’t think I am the only dog owner who feels this way – and that’s not really my concern. The real question I think my mind is asking is: “Will they like my pit bull?” With all the sensationalism of pit bulls that happens, and the misconceptions and ignorance, and judgment, I start to get defensive about my pups. I feel the need to protect them from people who wont give them the respect and love that I know they so deserve.

Me & Paige

Of course, not everyone is a dog person – it’s not about my dogs, just dogs in general. And I understand that. But my life has dogs in it. I can’t help but think that I can’t have it both ways. So how do I maintain the human connections that we all depend on as social beings, avoid alienating new people in my life who might be uncomfortable with my dogs and remain as loyal to my dogs as I know they would be to me?

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8 Responses to “Must Love Dogs”

  1. pittiefullove July 31, 2012 at 10:18 AM #

    I have a few old friends that are not dog people. They never were, and they probably never will be. It’s not pitbulls they don’t like…it’s just dogs. They dont like shedding, slobber or jumping. They are just uncomfortable around dogs. I wish they would LOVE my dog, but at the end of the day i’ve learned not to force my dog on them. A few have come around with time…but they are friends that i’ll meet out for a few drinks, and not talk their ear off about dogs. I don’t expect them to cuddle on the couch with the dog, and that’s why I make sure my dog knows what “no” means… whether its for licking, jumping or not getting on the couch. That way, even though my friend doesn’t want slobbery kisses, they appreciate the fact that “yea…that pitbull is really well behaved”. And even if they DON’T LOVE dogs, maybe one day they will stand up and at least advocate for the breed… “I know a pitbull…he’s really well behaved”. I guess that’s the best we can ask for, right?

    • That Touch of Pit ... July 31, 2012 at 10:28 AM #

      Well, of course, I would never expect everyone to like them – but fact of the matter is, if you want to come over to my house, there are going to be dogs there. If someone isn’t ok, then I can’t have them over – and that’s frustrating to a point, no? Of course, I’d probably have chosen my dogs over them anyway, but still…

  2. peacelovefoster July 31, 2012 at 10:22 AM #

    I think you have to approach it softly. No one likes someone who says, “You HAVE to like my dogs and believe in all the same things I do.” (I’ve found that out the tricky way with my group of friends). I like to just bring my dog around and act like they’re just that: a DOG. I don’t emphasive that they’re a pit, or point out any of their differences – perceived or actual – and I let people interact with them who want to, and not if they don’t. If they’re real friends, they won’t hold your love for your dogs against you. They might not be your dog’s best friend, but they should realize that “Josh is the dog guy” and then move on. Plus, the more you hang out with them and bring your dogs around, I’m sure the more people will realize WHY you love them so much ; -) But yeah, I feel the same way a lot of time.. like I am the “crazy dog lady” cutting myself off from the real world. But then I realize the people I want in my life will appreciate what I do for my dogs and if they don’t, I don’t want to be around them much anyway. You’ll figure it out 🙂

    • That Touch of Pit ... July 31, 2012 at 10:26 AM #

      That’s exactly the thing! Sometimes I feel like I’ve cut myself off from the world, and that kind of sucks. As much as I love my dogs, I still need human interaction – I can’t TALK to my dogs (as much as I truly believe they understand english).

  3. Heartbeat-At-My-Feet July 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM #

    I hear you, big time…When people love my dogs, I tend to like them more than people who could take them or leave them. 🙂

  4. Rebelwerewolf July 31, 2012 at 11:42 AM #

    I hear you! I didn’t realize that so many of my friends preferred cats or small dogs until I got Badger and Mushroom. The Badgershrooms are not big by any stretch of the imagination, but they like their dogs cat-sized. Most of my social life involves leaving the dogs at home and going out with friends. This isn’t too bad, as I have an excuse to not drink too much and head home early. If I’m going to a cookout or other outdoors gathering, I always ask the host if I can bring the dogs. Depending on the situation (and how well the dog can handle it), I might also only bring one of the dogs. People don’t come over all that often because I live out in the sticks, but I’ve found that the easiest way to not force others to interact with my dogs is to keep them leashed, even in the house. Finally, something I’d like to do is attend more events geared toward medium/large dogs, and maybe make some new friends.

  5. amy August 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM #

    thank you so much for this post. i’ve been struggling with this issue lately. thankfully, most of the struggle is internal…but not all of it. as much as i appreciate and honor diversity in my friends, i can’t help but feel like georgia and i are a package deal: love me, love her. it doesn’t come up as an issue for friends who i rarely see when she’s with me, of course, but i try to be aware and conscious of any behaviors that might annoy or bother someone and encourage her to choose other approaches. alas, you can’t win them all. i recently had a friend express that while they like pit bulls, they don’t trust them. i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t hurt by that or that it didn’t significantly change how i value their opinion. it’s largely because i want people i love to love the dogs i love that i want to make sure my pooch is a good breed ambassador.

    again, thanks for this post and also thanks for all you do for our bully/canine pals!

  6. Melissa Victoria August 3, 2012 at 12:24 PM #

    I feel the same way. Ever since I adopted my puppy a year ago, all of my friends slowly cut me off. Ironically they all strongly supported the adoption! But they didn’t understand my need to go home earlier to walk Heart, feed her, give her medicine (she’s been sick since the I got her) or just give her attention. None of them wanted to come over and hang out at my place or have me bring her to theirs (even though she is well behaved, albeit over enthusiastic). Eventually my inability (lack of desire?) to be an NYC party animal in favor of a bottle of wine at home with Heart and Netflix became more preferable to me than the looks of annoyance if I ever mentioned a cute trick she learned or that I had to leave by 10 to walk her before bed. But I love my life now more for it because I feel the quality of the time I spend with heart training her and doing physical therapy (spinal surgery) is more valuable than the empty conversations where I was forbidden from bringing up her name. The way I see it, when I’m with Heart I can say her name as often as I like whenever I like and give her a treat for looking into my eyes with hers (recall training). She only gets annoyed if there is a bird she’s stalking and I’m interrupting. Can’t win them all.

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