Monday, June 1, 2009

What's love got to do with it?

So after a recent conversation with yet another breeder whose love for his dogs and the APBT seems to manifest itself in a need to breed them, I had to stop and wonder what exactly makes people believe that love for Pit Bulls means they have to produce more of them.

Are these people unaware of all the dogs in shelters, themselves having been produced by people who 'loved' them? Do they mistakenly believe that there is a shortage of Pit Bulls and that the breed is in danger of dying out? Doubtful, since I have yet to come across one such breeder who denied 'caring about' homeless Pit Bulls and admitting there are lots of careless breeders 'littering' shelters all across the country. When love of the breed for me translates into saving homeless and abused Pit Bulls, teaching responsible guardianship, and educating on the importance of spaying and neutering, it is difficult for me to understand when others breed their underage, unproven, un-health tested dogs in the name of 'love'.

Love for me means looking past oneself and considering fully the life and well being of the loved one. Love is about making decisions after considering long and hard the impact those decisions will have on the welfare and future of a loved one. When you do something in the name of love, ask yourself if that love translates ultimately into a better life for the one you love; and whether they would choose for themselves what you are choosing for them.

Dogs are at our mercy. We make decisions every day for our dogs that they cannot make for themselves. Dogs can't say they don't want to go through the stress of producing puppies, or expose themselves to the health risks. They can't tell you they are worried sick about where their babies will ultimately end up, or that they think too many of their kind are already dying in shelters. Our dogs don't know about BSL and how Pit Bulls in the wrong hands put them all at risk every day. And thank doG they cannot see or dwell on the horrific abuse suffered by their brethren, the carelessly produced dogs of breeders and those who thought it would be ok to 'have just one litter'.

And it is because our dogs cannot make decisions about their own lives, can't give us input about what THEY want, that we owe it to them to look deep within ourselves each time we make decisions that could seriously effect their lives, and the lives of other Pit Bulls.

Love is a tricky thing - it's not so much a word as a concept with actions balanced on top of it. Anyone can use the word, but it is action that demonstrates the essence of what love is. And while I do believe that many breeders DO love their dogs, I think they have a misguided understand of how that love should translate into action. And when every action a breed guardian makes ultimately affects all of us and our dogs, it's a desperate hope on my part that someday, very soon, those breeders will come to understand what love truly is.



Suzi Riot said...

Wonderful post, Mary! I could not have said it better. When I encounter another pit lover at the vet or pet store and they tell me that they got their dog from a breeder, I have such a hard time biting my tongue and not ranting at them! And they typically don't plan on spaying/neutering their own dogs either. I usually try to gently engage them in a respectful discussion about rescuing and the importance of spay/neuter, but I doubt I ever change anyone's mind in these short encounters. Makes me crazy.

Mary said...

Such a great post! I will never forget a woman and her daughter at the shelter one night. The woman wanted an un-altered animal so she could witness the "miracle" of birth. Her daughter snorted at her..."MOM you had ME...get real..why do you think there are so many dogs in the shelter??? Too many people that had to witness the miracle and there weren't enough good homes to take in their miracle babies" such a wise young lady.

Our Pack said...

Amen sista!

I don't get it. Some folks just think that dogs are like the dinosaur - that they're going into extinction.
The dogs really suffer because of this.

Thanks for writing this blog!

Anonymous said...

well...I'm not really getting your point, since I know you love and admire the purebred APBT.

Let's say you have a purebred dog that is sound of mind and body and with proven capabilities in various arenas that display intelligence, physical soundness and exemplary temperament. Let's say you know someone with a similar bitch, and let's say the lineages of these 2 animals show other dogs/bitches with such qualities.

And lets say that such qualities are RARE in a breed.

If you care about the future of the breed, wouldn't you actually HAVE to perpetuate the characteristics of these dogs by breeding them?

If you don't, you leave the breeding to people who care less about the breed and who don't hesitate to put any 2 dogs together to make beautiful (or not) puppies.

And then you truly lose the essence of the purebred APBT. Which is what is happening.

It's not that they will go "extinct". It's that poorly bred APBTs or randomly bred shelter dogs of unknown heritage (or breed for that matter) can NOT perpetuate the true purebred APBT.


The REAL Pit Bull said...

Emily...RPB is not anti-breeder. It is actually very much FOR ethical breeding, for all the reasons you state. What I personally can't comprehend are the people who claim to 'love' the breed but then breed untested, unproven dogs who don't fit the standard, and don't necessarily even have the temperamental qualities that make the APBT what it is. The person who prompted the above post had two pups that had NO health tests and zero titles and a litter by these dogs planned for the summer - in fact, this person told me that the bitch (who was 11 mos old, btw), was a rescue (I guess that was supposed to be the 'proof' that they cared for the breed).

Good, truly ethical breeders are few and far between - I cherish those breeders and wish we had a few more of those, and a whole LOT less of the unethical kind mentioned above. RPB is FOR the APBT and because of that, we do support truly ethical breeding, like those who are guided by similar standards as those posed by the Code of Ethics for Breeders.