Open Letter to My Pitbull-Owning Neighbor

Monday morning Gala and I set off on a run, well, with my sore hamstring more a runnish.

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We’d gone about a mile and ¼ when we came to a lone farm house that sits nearly on the road. Most of the old farmhouses in Pennsylvania do, since the roads are really paved cow paths and mail routes.

A young brown dog with a friendly face lives at this house chained in the side yard on a wire that allows him to nearly meet the road. On the days when he is outside early, he charges down the hill at us until the chain hangs him and his feet are yanked into a skidding stop. He barks ferociously, but his tail is usually wagging.

One time he was loose, about a year ago, he was still mostly a puppy. It was a rare day when I was running dogless. He leapt at me, nipping at my elbows, desperately wanting attention. I tried to pet him, but he dove at my face, most likely in the hopes of licking it. I continued on and he followed for a dozen yards or so before a voice from the porch called him back.

The dog is fullgrown now. A pitbull/bulldog mix of some sort – broad and squat and muscled with an enormous head. His regular charge always makes Gala nervous and she’ll bark back at him a time or two before pulling hard to get away from the house and his noise as we run past.

Monday, I heard the dog but didn’t see him as we approached the house. Odd, I thought, since by now he would usually be halfway down the short slope after us. We were nearly to the house when he came charging across the grass; a few inches of broken chain hung from his collar. I pulled Gala to the opposite side of the road, but he ran across the road after us, lunging at her. I yelled, she returned fire and he backed off, only to come at us again and again and again. Continue reading Open Letter to My Pitbull-Owning Neighbor

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With Gala the party never ends

Gala, Gala, Gala. There is never a dull moment with this dog.

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On Friday, we sat on the deck having snacks and a glass of wine with the five grandparents who had arrived for the graduation of my middle child. Gala worked the crowd, slurping faces, giving full body hugs, gladly accepting the dropped slice of cheese. I kept her on a leash so that I’d be able to restrict her enthusiasm if necessary. It was all going nicely. Gala sat sweetly next to me on the couch for a picture.

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And then a moment later, she was up and over the deck railing. Her leash was looped around my wrist, as it always is since I’m well acquainted with her sudden movements. I felt the tug and then nothing. Had she slipped her collar or worse yet, had she inadvertently hung herself? Continue reading With Gala the party never ends

Whoopi Finds Her Family (and Ginger Claims Ours)

DSC_4109Whoop! Whoop! Whoopi found her forever family!

She left early Sunday morning for the 6 1/2 hour drive to her new home in Rhode Island!

We’re already hearing how well she is fitting in and how much she is loved! She has a big fenced yard near the seashore, two kids of her very own, and two fursiblings (weiner dogs! Can you imagine the trio they make?). It’s a great story that makes my heart very happy. Continue reading Whoopi Finds Her Family (and Ginger Claims Ours)

Pit Bulls – the Good, the Good, and the also Good

We had friends over for dinner and drinks on Saturday. Food was fabulous, wine was flowing, kids were enjoying themselves (always iffy when we’re talking about teenagers thrown together for the sake of their parents’ social life). Gingersnap greeted them in her you-are-the-most-exciting-guests-we’ve-ever-had way. She eventually settled down and observed us from her perch on my favorite lounge chair, but I let it slide because GS barely sheds (a VERY nice change after a run of hairy black labs at this house).

It was all going swimmingly until someone commented on the fact that GS was a pit bull. I don’t think it was meant as a slight, but I took it as one. I said, “She’s listed as lab mix” on the website.

“I’d bet that dog is 90% pit bull,” my guest replied.

I didn’t think too much of it, but then I did. So what if she’s a pit bull? Is that a really bad thing?

All the next day while I gardened, I thought about my own feelings about pit bulls. Not Gingersnap, but pit bulls. I don’t know anything about pit bulls. Not really. When I hear the term, I think ‘fighting dog’. I suppose my feelings about them are influenced by the bad associations. I know when we toured a few shelters before we decided to foster, I was astounded at the number of pit bulls. I didn’t want one, but it wasn’t because of some personal experience, it was simply their bad rap.

Gingersnap is the first pit bull I’ve come to know and love. And I mean love. She reminds me of my most beloved dog, Lucy, who was a foxhound and not the least bit pit. But she adored me as Ginger does. She was nothing but love, like Ginger is. And she always had a big smile for me, just like Ginger.

(This is where the picture of Ginger’s dog smile is supposed to be, but every time I try to capture it, it comes out blurry because she is in motion racing towards me. No Mona Lisa is this pup. The one below is the sort of forced smile that kids give just so they can get it over with – in this one, Ginger is much too preoccupied with a cat crossing the hillside.)

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I decided I should learn more about pit bulls and stop wandering around blindly ignorant. So I looked them up. Here’s a few things, I learned – Continue reading Pit Bulls – the Good, the Good, and the also Good