Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pooches: On Pitbulls and Families

 I'm always writing about how I never wanted a pitbull, but after meeting Miss M I was completely won over and I never looked back.
But that isn't where the story ends.
When we were just talking to our friends over at Two Kitties, One Pittie, we realized that in many cases while we love having pitbull-type dogs, our extended families might not understand our choices.
 Little known fact: I actually started this whole blog to prove to my parents we made the right choice adopting pitbull-type dogs.
My parents live in a city where there are always negative reports of pitbulls in the media, and they couldn't believe I actually made a conscious choice to own pitbulls. They weren't able to meet our dogs for 2 years. My mom was quickly won over, and calls Mr B the gentle giant. Though my Dad admits he is still wary of them.
At the same time, E's family never realized our dogs were pitbulls and at family events Mr B is always hanging out with E's little Korean grandfather.
 Just curious, what was everyone else's experiences when the family weighed in on your choice of dog? Were they automatically accepting? Did it take time to win them over? Were they never won over?

28 comments:

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

My mom still doesnt let us bring Havi to her house, for fear that she will eat her havanese! Its a struggle, especially with some new people we meet. "A pitbull - dont they eat babies?!" We hope our blog does the same...

Unknown said...

I'm really fortunate my mom was in total support of me rescuing a pit bull and commonly refers to Wednesday as her grandchild. My dad was a little weary but shes grown on him and now he calls to ask how she is doing. My friends were the hardest ones to convince and they thought I was nuts! Now two foster pit bulls, and constantly offer to give Wednesday a home or threaten to kidnap her ; )!

Heids said...

My sister still thinks that pits are killers and has said she thinks it's irresponsible to have them around children. She won't rescue a dog either because she wants to know everything about where it comes from. (Of course, she doesn't seem to like it when I remind her that one of her former dogs - a border collie - bit a child, but that's neither here nor there.) She hasn't ever met Pork Chop but is happy that I have a dog that I love so much, so I'm hopeful that my positive experience will educate her on what pits are actually like.

Neither of my parents are dog-lovers, but the last time they were in town, my mom took a nap with Pork Chop and makes him treats and clothes. She has never mentioned anything to me about his breed. My dad is pretty terrified of dogs, regardless of breed, but he does ok with Pork Chop as long as I'm around to keep an eye on both of them.

I'm grateful for blogs like yours (and Alexa's!) that paint pit bulls in such a positive light so that I can keep pointing to great examples of the breed to my family and friends who don't know that much about pits.

aheartbeatatmyfeet said...

My parents have been great, they're huge dog lovers and have never had anything negative or questioning about Oscar, or our decision to foster pit bull type dogs. My in-laws, on the other hand...

1) only Oscar is allowed to visit, no foster dogs
2) when we do visit, Oscar must be crated when we're not home - even if other people are home
3) by the end of this past Christmas visit, our 2-year old niece thought his name was "Oscar No" because that's all she heard all week. (never mind he was better behaved then their own dog)

When we first got Oscar, they wouldn't even think about coming to visit - and he was only 8 weeks old! At least now they can stand to be in the same room as him, and Oscar even showed "Grandpa" how he could 'sit' and 'wait' for a treat the last time we were home. It's been a struggle, but they have gotten better with time. Baby steps.

Heartbeat at my Feet - a foster blog
aheartbeatatmyfeet.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/heartbeatatmyfeet

Gin said...

With my mom's side of the family they love all dogs, even if they have some quirks. My uncle rescued/found and dog that we think has a bit of coyote in her or something... and she was pretty bad with other dogs, she's gotten much better though over the years. My dad and his side of the family, think that even though my dogs have proven to be good dogs, one day when I have kids they will hurt them. Even though one of my pitties was raised with children and the second wont leave any child's side when my friends come over with their kids. My dad has a dog that has started countless of fights, but from his point of view its not her fault beside if she bites she'll let go.... but not our pit bulls. And she has already bit my older cousin and has started to stalk the great-grand kids. But she is still a good dog. He lectures me so much about it I want to scream. But when he comes over or we go over there with out dogs, he can't stop playing with them.

sgcallah76 said...

My Mom screamed when I brought Hugo over to her house for the first time - she thought I would go to sleep and that he would eat me... I'm not kidding. But, over time things changed - for the better! Now when we go over he gets lots of treats, pats, overwhelming praise and gets to sit on the big couch next to "Grammie" - it's tough convincing him to go home ;0)

In Black and White said...

My family were completely shocked that I was adopting a dog at all, given that I was never much for exercise and I was kinda scared of them when I was younger. My mam has a serious phobia of dogs so she will probably never meet Billy (being on the other side of the ocean is a factor too!). Added to that, pitbulls are illegal in the UK so the fact that I'd adopted an ABD, which to them amounts to the same thing, makes it even more difficult for them to wrap their head around.
Although I can mostly get away with chatting about Billy now, my mam doesn't let me talk about volunteering with pitties at the shelter.

Lindsay said...

M's parents' disapproval and subsequent warnings of how they'd react if we EVER adopted a pit bull and it EVER bit one of their grandchildren was perhaps the biggest reason we didn't adopt a pit bull. Philadelphia (where we were living at the time) is full of abandoned and abused pitties that need a home but in our case the potential for family fallout was too high. We knew we would not adopt a dog that hadn't been tested "child friendly" and we would have worked very hard to socialize any pittie pup (just like we do now with our greyhound Dean) but the message was quite loud and I wasn't in the mood to fight with my in-laws...

Froggy said...

At first my Dad was convinced that Maize was going to eat my face off in the middle of the night. He liked her but didnt' trust her at all. When it came to the point where I wasnt sure I could keep her both of my parents were her biggest advocates. They rallied behind her and I am so glad they did. They pretend to not like dogs but they ADORE both Maize and Pug. The first time I met Matt's parents they asked me what kind of dogs I had. When I told them a Pug and Pit Bull mix they said "oh pit bulls are such great dogs, but they get the worst reputation it's so sad because they are so sweet" That's when I knew we would get along perfectly.

Luv My Rosie said...

I will be the first to admit that I never wanted a pit and had negative feelings as well. My older sister had 2 pits and a new born baby. I told her she was crazy until I met the 2 dogs. They were so gentle with the baby. She would put the baby in a bouncy chair on the floor and feed her and the pits would sit and wait for the food to drop. Over time I came to LOVE her dogs and when the opportunity came up for me to get a dog, I still didn't want a pit until I met Rosie. She stole my heart and I have never looked back. The rest of my friends and family told me I was nuts until they met Rosie. Now, everyone loves her!! The neighborhood loves her all my neighbors love her and my elderly aunt & uncle always look forward to babysitting! I always say to know a pit is to love a pit.

Sarah said...

I get a lot of "she doesn't look like a pitbull" or "but she's sweet, not like other pitbulls" from both family & friends. I answer each remark with a laundry list of why "pit bull type" is her dominant breed - from her sweet, loving nature, to her obedience and commitment to me, to her Excita-bull nature - while also being crystal clear with them that her issues with fear aggression were a result of the lack of socialization she received early in life and have nothing to do with any of the breeds she has in her. If their comment was really strong, I continue with the history of the pitbull as America's Dog. They're family - they have to listen to my soapbox. I don't get a lot of those comments anymore 'cause they all know the lecture that will follow. :)

SherBear said...

While my dad was more concerned about me being judged by other people for having a pitbull (although Lakeview is super pittie friendly) my mom still had hesitation from all the negative stereotypes. One my first vist home with her my dad immediately made Nala his tug of war buddy - he loved how "vicious" she sounds when she plays, which didn't necessarly help my mom's fear.

Second visit home I went off to the Detroit Auto Show with my dad, leaving Nala home alone with my mom(with 3 other dogs). Nala of course spent the entire time cuddling with my mom on the couch. That night when my aunt and uncle brought over their 1 year old Nala could not get enough of the baby - and when my uncle dropped the baby's bottle cap she ran under the table to pick it up and give it to him. This beyond touched my mother's heart and she is now 100% pitbull. She now constantly talks about how wonderful the breed is to anyone who will listen.

On a side note - if anyone Pittie in the City readers live in the Ann Arbor area and are looking for someone to join the Pitbull love campaign just let my mom know :-)

Rebelwerewolf said...

My parents were immigrants and don't keep up much with news in the US, so it's unlikely that they're even familiar with the negative stereotypes about pitbulls. They haven't had a chance to meet our dogs yet, but my mom did comment on a picture of Badger that he had a big head. My mother-in-law met Badger last year (before we got Mushroom) and loved him. She refers to the dogs as her "grandpuppies". Our dogs are mutts that don't have a strong resemblance to pitbulls, though, so our parents' reaction may not be indicative of how they feel about pitbull-type dogs.

Debra said...

My sister has had pit bulls for a few years, some unsuccessfully and I was nervous telling my parents about my decision to adopt a pit bull pup. However, I also have committed to proper training and socialization, which is critical. While my parents haven't met Ray yet, my mom wants to donate to his rescue!

K-Koira said...

My mom thought I was crazy for bringing home a puppy, period. She didn't care at all, at least that I saw, what kind of dog it was (I was living in a tiny apartment away at college).

However, two days after bringing home 8 week old Koira, I went to my Mom's for a birthday dinner for me, with many of our family friends. One person spent some time loving up the puppy, then got around to asking the breed. When I said APBT, she flipped out, asked how I could dare bring such a dangerous creature into my mother's house, and stormed out.

Two years later, this same person apologized to me for her reaction back then, and told me that I had, with Koira, changed her mind about the breed entirely.

The rest of my family and friends either seem to not care in the least about the dog breeds I own, or have helped join the fight to show what amazing dogs APBTs can be. But then, I don't tend to be friends for very long with people who don't like my dog or who my dog doesn't like...

Erika, Blair and crew said...

I wonder if reactions will change when you do decide to have children? Do you think people will factor that in their opinion?

My family knows about mil one of pit bulls and how i plan on having one after they become legal again in ontario. I have a love of bigger blocky dogs.

Emily said...

Jay and I adopted our dogs here in AZ, and a lot of our family hasn't even come to visit us yet. My family didn't know much about pit bulls, but my sister is always telling me how her husband believes that pit bulls are just "more aggressive" than other dogs. It always hurts me so much-- especially because he works in law enforcement, I can only imagine the impact thinking like that has. Anyway, like I said a lot of my family didn't know much about pit bull type dogs versus any other dog but my mother, ever accepting of any choice I made is always quick to share with people all the amazing qualities pit bulls have with family members and friends who are skeptical when they hear about MY family in AZ. Overall I think we've been lucky with responses, but it might be different if we actually lived near family.

A&A Friese said...

My parents were accepting from day one, they love our pooches. Adam's parents have taken a lot more work to warm up, they love Molly but were nervous around all of our fosters and uber scared of Brodie. Just recently we had a break through when they joined us on a walk at the dog park where they saw how friendly and happy go lucky Brodie is, they were so surprised how well he behaved and have since been much more accepting, though they are still against pit bulls as a whole.

Jennifer said...

My mom likes dogs and isn't one for gossip, so when I explained to her that pits were gentle and the media hype was ridiculous, she got on board right away. She loves time with the doggies bc my dad doesn't like dogs, so my parents have two cats, which my mom is sort of "meh" about. My mom calls them her granddogs.

My dad on the other hand is sort of wary of them, but he'd be wary of any big dogs, not just pits. He just doesn't much like dogs and thinks they're smelly and too up in his space (especially our pits, who try to sit on him!). But, he calls them his granddogs, so it's cool.

My sister-in-law is totally cool with them bc she loves dogs. I can even forgive her that she has two mini-dogs (miniature schnauzers) bc she's so awesome around our dogkids.

My brother is fine with the fact that they're pits, but, like my dad, he's also wary of big dogs and has 3 cats himself, so he's sort of leary of them, especially the more hyper one. The calmer one has won his heart, though.

Basically, the women in my family are awesome, and the men are only dumb bc they don't like dogs, not bc they don't like pits.

Sarah Loves Life said...

I loved reading everyone's comments! I found it particularly interesting that a few people said their family was concerned that their dog would eat their face in the middle of the night!

My family was wary but fell in love with Summer. My little sister surprised me the most because shes vary wary of animals!

Vicki said...

I started featuring Makai on my blog more and more once I learned my dad was reading it religiously. I so badly want him to see what I see in my dog, and get past what he thinks about the breed because of all the stories he's heard on the news.

I did a post a while ago with a sneak peek of some stitches Makai had on his lip (without revealing that it was from getting a big nasty growth removed). My dad called me and said, "I can't wait to hear what the story is behind the stitches! I'm assuming he got into a fight or something." Guuuuuuuh.

Baby steps.

Claudia said...

Sadly we can't take Lola to visit half the family. They live in a place with BSL. They love her but only get to see her when they visit us.

Of Pit Bulls and Patience said...

Great post! My family is very afraid of Skye and openly tell me they wish I didn't have her. However, my Mom, Aunt, and other family members who have spent time with Skye realize now that she's just a dog with a cuddling addiction.
I think the hardest part for me is that I am a dog professional, and my family still trusts the media more than my opinion.

Stephani said...

My mom told my little sister to keep her face away from Schultz if she was going to pet him because he can tear it off. She was terrified of him. I brought him to their house one day and she was sitting on the floor and he charged towards her, jumped in her lap, and proceeded to lick her to death. She is completely won over. It was kind of strange because she is the only person besides my hubby and I that he is very comfortable with. My dad insists that I watch Schultz at every second so he doesn't start a fight with their dogs (which are old and cranky and have bit both my dogs on numerous occasions)

Lizzilla said...

I do not own a pitbull type yet, but I intend to adopt one as soon as I graduate from college. My mom was fervently against me getting a pitbull. I spent over half a year feeding her videos, stories, and other pitbull information trying to get her to relent. Finally, it took a conversation I had with my parent's "crazy dog loving" friends to win her over. When I told their friends that I am volunteering at a pitbull rescue they exclaimed "Oh, pitbulls are the best! We love them!" My mother's face was priceless.

After that my mom told me that I can have whatever type of dog I want, "just so long as it doesn't eat [their golden retriever puppy] Zinny."

livierules said...

When I got Petey and told my mother he was a pitbull she said "Give him back! Get a pug you can put in your handbag!". She quickly fell in love with him and worries about his every comfort. He doesn't like the rain and she told me to get him a Burberry rain coat :)

livierules said...

When I got Petey and told my mother he was a pitbull she said "Give him back! Get a pug you can put in your handbag!". She quickly fell in love with him and worries about his every comfort. He doesn't like the rain and she told me to get him a Burberry rain coat :)

j-schrec said...

We have too pit-mixes, our first one I like to call pit-light because she is only 1/4 pit at most. My parents were wary, even of her so I was nervous when we adopted our second puppy a few months later who was most likely 100% Staffordshire terrier. The day that I took him to neutered, my car broke down on my way back to pick him up and I had to call my parents and ask them to go and get him from the vet for me. By the time I got back to their house (late that evening) they were both IN LOVE with him. My mom had him all wrapped up in blanket on her lap and was feeding him bits of chicken (lol). I have since moved out of state and they insist that I bring their "grand-dogs" with me when I come home to visit and even take at least one of them to bed with them at night. My mom is now a complete pitbull advocate and will give anyone out there a verbal lashing if they say something stupid about the breed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...