Fear can be a powerful thing and as any pit bull owner knows, oftentimes people fear our dogs even if the dogs have done nothing to warrant it. One of the great lessons I took out of last week’s interview with Mitzi Bolanos of StubbyDog was her comment about how we as pit bull parents can make a difference simply by taking our dogs out in public, “showing everyone that pit bulls are ordinary, loving family dogs.”
It sounds straightforward enough but sometimes it also helps to have an ice-breaker. Case in point - last Thursday, while picking up some dog food with Mickey, on a whim I bought him a stars and stripes bandana instead of his usual cookie. He wore it over the weekend and we received some pleasant surprises.
Friday morning was a perfect day for a walk so we began the day with a three mile jaunt around the neighborhood. Not far from home we spotted a woman coming from the opposite direction. When she saw us, she approached very cautiously and appeared to be afraid. There were no sidewalks on the other side of the busy street so she really had little choice but to walk past us. A funny thing happened as we got closer though. She noticed Mickey was wearing his bandana. You could see her relax and a smile came over her face. “Happy Independence Day,“ she said, and continued on her way. We met her again on our way back home. There was no fear this time, just a smile and a “hi.”
Two brief encounters and two positive reactions. It may not seem like much but it’s a start. Freedom from fear….one person at a time. Way to go Mickey, GOOD BOY!