I stumbled across this article today -- in a magazine I honestly had never heard of until recently. In the December/January issue of "Garden and Gun" Magazine (yes, that's the real title, more on it in a second) has an editorial entitled "Licked to Death by a Pit Bull".
I think it's a story that many readers of this blog will identify with -- as the author tells her story about meeting a friend's pit bull. Her reaction was somewhat typical, though open-minded. When the time came for her to get another dog, she adopted a pit bull of her own that she named NOLA.
She then briefly discusses some of the history around pit bulls and the reactions she received from others about her dog. And some conclusions:
"In a hundred years, the pit bull has gone from national hero to unpredictable monster, and the dogs are still the same. We’re the ones who have changed. Despite the variances in their size and shape and traditional uses, all breeds of the domesticated dog trace their genes back to one species: Canis lupus familiaris. The strongest element in their DNA is that they want to be with us, that they want to do what we ask of them. That is both the blessing and the burden of their loyalty."
And then ends with her own, new, stereotype of people who own pit bulls:
"So I will end with this:
I now make certain assumptions about people who own pit bulls, too. I assume they are independent thinkers, they have transcended a long-standing prejudice, and, more important, they know a damn good dog when they see one."
I have to say I enjoyed reading the article, and the magazine, as both came as a surprise. It's also refreshing to see an outsider's perspective on pit bull ownership - -and it's great to see this in a magazine like Garden and Gun. Garden and Gun is a fairly new publication (started in 2007) and has a circulation of about 250,000 (most of it in the Southeast). It also targets a very upscale outdoorsman audience -- that has an estimated $1.5 million in net worth. The magazine has also won quite a few editorial awards (including making Advertising Age's 2011 Hot List which is a major nod).
It's great to see more and more people exposed to the good that 'pit bulls' bring to the world -- from a perspective of someone who once had the same perceptions that many reading the article also have.
Because, indeed, the author's story is similar to my own story - -and I suspect many who read this blog. And I think that more people would have the same story of love and respect for these types of dogs if they approached the idea of pit bulls with an open mind and open heart.
So please go check out the story to let them know that positive articles drive web traffic too.
Update: I'm bringing this up from the comments -- but apparently the writer of the article, Bronwen Dickey saw several comments on Andrew Sullivan's blog, and posted a very lengthy response on her own blog.
I really like many of her comments -- but this segment really struck me because it really mirrors my own experience: