Valentine’s Day – the one day each year devoted to peace and harmony, where love flourishes and is raised to a higher level. My evening began with such promise. My wife Bridget and I would take our dog Maisy for the tranquil mile walk around the neighborhood, as we have done each night since adopting her in September.
Maisy is a sweetheart who is transitioning to a better life. Her past, though, has not been easy. She and her brother were found abandoned in a house in Terre Haute, Indiana, unbelievably left behind by the owners. Both dogs were rescued and Maisy joined our family as a beautiful but timid two-year old Aussie Shepherd mix, always offering love and slowly learning to trust and to accept love.
The walk began uneventfully as we traversed the familiar neighborhood sidewalks, the February cold stimulating the senses. Approximately one-quarter into the journey, though, I caught a peripheral flash of a charging dog perhaps fifteen to twenty yards away, and making a direct beeline for Maisy. This was no ordinary dog. Even though it was dark outside, I could tell that this was a Pit Bull.
My first inclination was to scoop up Maisy as quickly as I could. As I began to lift the perplexed Maisy, the charging Pit hit my back and I fell to the ground. I grabbed Maisy, lay on top of her, and covered her as best I could. The Pit was snarling to get at Maisy, and Maisy was squirming to get free and flee this entire menacing situation. Bridget was screaming at the top of her lungs for help while repeatedly activating an air horn she kept in case we encountered a coyote (how we would have gladly traded places with that scenario).
Maisy got free of my grasp and ran, leash attached, down the street. The determined Pit Bull followed. Three houses down, and before the Pit could attack Maisy, the owner of the Pit Bull called the dog, and it returned to the house. We were lucky. Upon closer examination when we got home - shaken up - we found that Maisy was bleeding and had indeed sustained a bite above her leg.
We went to the Emergency Vet where we received our Valentine’s Day present – the bite wasn’t deep enough to require sutures. Maisy was cleaned up and put on antibiotics. This incident was reported to the police, and the owner of the Pit Bull did make contact, apologizing and offering to pay the vet bills. The offer was declined.
The real request is for a return of the stolen peace of mind, the carefree feeling of being able to walk around your own neighborhood without fear. The real request is to return Maisy to the place where she had been – a place of escalating trust, joy, and outdoor anticipation. Upon further reflection, I truly realize how fortunate we were to escape this ordeal with minor scrapes and cuts. Many have fared much worse. St. Valentine (et. al.) bestowed a tremendous gift that night.
When will we realize, though, that dogs genetically engineered to inflict maximum pain and punishment, and who are aggressive by nature, are a menace to society? I am a dog lover but cannot tolerate these breeds, and will not accept anecdotal rubbish about how kind and docile these dogs are. The Pit Bull, American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier (whatever name you wish to provide to soften and defuse their nature) is genetically bred to be a killer, plain and simple. I have experienced the sheer terror they inflict, and unequivocally state that they have no place in any community, responsible dog owner or not.