On a day that seemed like a day from Bizarro World two very strange things happened and I learned something that I already knew.
First, Ray who doesn’t really get to interact much with other dogs got to take a very nice walk with Sugar.
Of course they know each other from when she was our foster, but well, we’re talking about Ray and his social skills are a bit slow. It took a couple of weeks of just looking at her before an intro and then once they met, we kept the interactions short and sweet.
The other thing? I didn’t want to write about it: The stigma! The embarrassment! but I think it’s important in the lesson that can be taught. Julius just finished a 10 day bite quarantine (in-home).
Oh my dawg,
it pains me hurts me embarrasses me to say that. My Julius, my ambassador of welcome, my little black pit bull, now has a record. While I would blissfully love nothing more than to sweep this under a rug and move on, I believe that in the long run it will be better to share this reminder and possibly even better that it was Julius, which makes it that much more unexpected and that much more impactful.
We’re fortunate that since it didn’t happen here at home, at least it happened in a place that he is known, loved and cared for and he wasn’t regarded as some rampaging black pit bull who suddenly snapped and got out of control (as they all eventually do, of course.) He hasn’t been banned but we are now going to limit his days to those in which there aren’t too many hyper puppies and keep him with his established group of friends. I must admit, that it took quite a while to not feel like my kid was the school bully and that I must have done something wrong for this to have happened, but it reminded me of something that in my proud-dog-mom-smugness have let slip from my mind. As I’m so often out in public with not only my own dogs but with various adoptable dogs from the Pit Bull Coalition as well as Allen County SPCA, people ask, “does it bite?” and my response is nearly always “every dog with a mouth can bite” but it is up to us to not put them in a situation where they might.
Not making excuses here, but Juli’s incident may be the most difficult one to predict or guard against. What can I do to help? Well, I can be thoughtful in the decision making process as to whether or not he should go to Day play on a certain day. Reports from that day were that he was being “off” and clingy with the girls, wanting lots of attention so maybe being more mindful of his mood at home. With Ray’s TTA rehab walks I might need to remember that a few minutes of clicker training or walking (both of which Julius enjoys) would go a long way toward stimulating his mind and tiring him. Remembering that even the happiest of dogs have off days just like humans is so important to maintaining that good balance and finally, remembering that all dogs could bite.
So, that’s our story.