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You can’t judge a bark by its cover.

January 14, 2010

Human beings selected a race they automatically win. We are the most advanced species of animal on the planet. We are the most intelligent. Without a doubt, we are on the top of the food chain. But is it really fair, based on all the qualities of every animal on the planet, to say that a human is the best animal on the planet, just because we can claim that we win? Put a human in a cage with a hungry lion and leave out the weapons of mass destruction (which is what the spear turned into). See who’s on the top of the food chain, then.

Humans have this ego that we are unique unto ourselves because we “acknowledge our existence.” But how do we know that an animal like a wolf isn’t aware of itself? Have we been able to ask? Obviously not, since we don’t speak Lupinese. The simple fact that there is a communication breakdown prevents us from discerning beyond a reasonable doubt that animals can be conscious. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t, either. We’re left with that uncomfortable feeling of “we don’t know.” And humans don’t like to “not know,” so we invent stories and write books to fill in the holes. But when the stories are peeled away and revealed as fiction, we have no more answers than we began with.

Is my dog thinking right now?

So now that we have established the possibility (even as remote or unbelievable as it may still be to people) that animals might have a consciousness, we can continue.

Dogs came from wolves. Wolves are highly social creatures that have packs resembling our own human way of life. Don’t believe me? Why do you think someone is “Top Dog” or “leader of the pack.”

After the legendary domestication where human animals learned they could practice “selective breeding” and enhance certain traits (intelligent, strength, size, coat color) and, likewise, weed more undesirable traits out (aggression, dominance, prey instinct). We then began shaping and molding canis lupus familiaris.

Pit bulls get a bad reputation. People see a pit bull (or any other large breed for that matter) and their blood pressure goes up. Especially when children are involved. I’m certainly not advocating leaving your children alone with any dog of any size (parent’s fault!), but I feel the negative image of big dogs has gotten out of hand.

The pit bull has its roots buried in the bloodline of the Staffordshire terrier, a breed born of the Mastiff and the bulldog – two breeds used for bull- and bear-baiting.  These dogs, though not aggressive by their nature (it was bred out of them because humans don’t like “aggressive” animals), were trained to fight creatures many times their size at the behest of their masters. Out of love for their human companions, these hugely strong dogs would kill bears.

This is why pit bulls are used in vicious dog fights. They’re super-strong, have a high pain tolerance, and don’t stop. They were used to fight friggin’ bears, for Pete’s sake! Another pit bull is hardly a contender. Humans have taken the purpose of the dog and twisted it and warped it into something violent and wicked, slapped a label on it, and now all we see are foaming jowls, dogs lunging on a taut lease, and snapping teeth.

Truly terrifying.

If you are looking for a low-maintenance dog with a huge heart and more desire to please you than you’ll know what to do with, you need look no farther than a pit bull. Go here for awesome information on some of the best ways to welcome a pit bull into your home.

I have trained large breeds. In my opinion, the bigger the dog, the bigger the heart.

Dogs are not scary. It’s the people on the other end of that leash that frighten me.

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