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.