by Dave McKague
My Dog Teaches … About False information
Two and a half years ago, my son asked if he could get a dog. He had a specific dog in mind – one that had apparently been abandoned on a freezing cold day in February. Nearly full-grown but still a puppy, she had been found two weeks earlier, hungry and shivering from the bitter cold. Concerted efforts by the couple who had rescued her failed to find the owner. With two dogs already, they felt they couldn’t take in another, and they offered her to my son.
Then my son dropped the bombshell. "She’s a Pit-Bull."
I reacted with shock, "A Pit-Bull?!" After all, it was very difficult to avoid all the Pit-Bull attack stories reported in the media around that time.
To be honest, back then I would not have been able to pick out a Pit-Bull in a police line-up of dogs. It wasn’t that I was unfamiliar with dogs. We always had one in our family when I was growing up. But for over 30 years, I had not owned a dog and my familiarity with them had diminished along with my personal involvement. Hence my inability to identify what a "Pit-Bull" looked like.
Fortunately, I trusted my son’s judgment and "Hunny" came home with him. In the process, she taught me a very important lesson in unwittingly absorbing false and erroneous data and accepting it as fact.
Not knowing what a Pit-Bull looked like and fuelled by the media hysteria, in the dark recesses of my mind Hunny was going to be a huge dog with gnashing teeth, almost impossible to control. No doubt looking like a gargoyle on a Gothic cathedral. So I was surprised at how small (and cute) she actually was – she’s grown a bit since then, but full-grown she is still a medium sized dog at 55 lbs.
But the most startling thing was her temperament. From the moment Hunny entered our lives, she was very intent on doing whatever it took to please. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that she is by far the most obedient, intelligent, loving, playful and trustworthy dog I have ever known. I travel a lot in my work and she goes everywhere with me. She sleeps with me, usually snuggled up against my legs. And she plays – and plays, and plays, and plays. Throw a ball and she will enthusiastically bring it back, drop it at your feet and look expectantly for the next throw. And she is not shy about dropping the ball at the feet of complete strangers, inviting them to join in the game.
I have since learned that the term "Pit-Bull" is a very imprecise term that covers three or more different breeds; the larger American Pit-Bull Terrier which can top 100 lbs., the American Staffordshire Terrier, of which Hunny is one, and the still smaller Staffordshire Bull Terrier averaging about 35 lbs. And that a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Boxer can look very much like a Pit-Bull. And that some people call any big dog a Pit-Bull.
Hunny is now part of the family. Because of her constant desire to play, we have knick-named her "Eveready Hunny" or the "perpetual two-year-old". She is very loving and very loved.
Had my son’s desire to adopt a dog not been stronger than the false information I had quite unknowingly taken in, I would not now have the wonderful, loyal companion I do. And Hunny taught me a very valuable lesson; that any old dog, including me, can learn a new trick if he is only willing to look.
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