Barking about #TheMajorityProject

This post is sponsored by The Animal Farm Foundation and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the The Majority Project, but Mayzie’s Dog Blog only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Animal Farm Foundation is not responsible for the content of this article.

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Hey, everybuddy! It’s me, Mayzie! And today my mom and I wanna tell you about something super cool and oh-so-impawtant that we’re pawticipating in.

Majority Logo

It’s a photo collection of regular, everyday “pit bull” dog owners called The Majority Project. Put together by The Animal Farm Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation, the purpose is to show that “pit bull” dog owners are just like most other dog owners… loving, responsible people who make sure their doggies get proper care, keep them in their homes, and don’t let them run around willy nilly.

“Pit bull” dog owners can join by visiting The Majority Project website, printing and personalizing an “I am the MAJORITY” sign and submitting a photo with their dog. HUNDREDS have already done it, including Mr. Jon Bernthal. (If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead TV show like my mom is, you’ll prolly recognize him right away.)

Okay, now that I’ve told you WHAT it is, I’ll let mom tell you WHY it’s impawtant to us. Take it away, mom!

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Thanks, Mayzie!

Once upon a time, I believed the hype. I believed “pit bull” dogs and their owners were somehow different. The dogs were violent and unpredictable. Their owners were thugs who participated in dog fighting and other crimes.

So convinced was I that one day six years ago, I told my husband there was NO WAY I would EVER adopt a “pit bull”-type dog.

The next day, I met Mayzie.

Brindle dog in sweater. mayziesdogblog.com

It was love at first sight and I knew, without a doubt, this dog was meant to be ours. The idea that she might have some “pit” in her scared me, but at this point, there was no turning back. I was smitten.

To be on the safe side, though, I decided to do some research in case this seemingly sweet dog suddenly tried to eat my face off.

What I learned surprised me:

  • There is no such breed as a “pit bull.” The term includes several purebreeds but it also refers to a type of dog, usually one with a big, blocky head, broad chest, short coat and muscular body.
  • Like Mayzie, most dogs referred to as “pit bulls” are mixes of various breeds.
  • “Pit bull” owners, like their dogs, are individuals. They are teachers, doctors, grandmothers, factory workers and much more.
  • Reckless dog owners are the problem, not the dogs, and they cannot be correlated with any particular breed or type of dog; the only factor they have in common is their problematic behavior resulting from a disregard of public safety and animal welfare.
  • Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) will not help us achieve safer communities. BSL has never been effective in reducing dog bites and enhancing public safety. It is expensive, time consuming, and nearly impossible to enforce.
  • Responsible Pet Ownership laws are the most effective path to building safe, humane communities.

As they say, knowledge is power. It took awhile but slowly I began to see how wrong I had been. I also  knew if my mind could be changed, others could be, too.

So that’s why, for almost five years on this blog and in person, Mayzie and I have been on a mission to open hearts and minds about “pit bull” dogs and owners by showing ourselves simply as who and what we are.

She is just a dog.

I am just a person.

Together, we are the majority.

#TheMajorityProject: showing "pit bull" dog owners in a positive light. mayziesdogblog.com

 

Are you a “pit bull” dog owner? If not, do you know or love one (even just virtually)? Then YOU are the majority, too! Tell us all about it in the comments!

It’s all in how you raise them

Hi everyone! Mayzie’s mom here. Mayzie and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday and I hope you don’t mind if I take over the blog for the day. (I promise I cleared it with Mayzie first.)

There’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s a phrase. One that I hear used over and over again in regard to pit bull-type dogs. Usually by well-meaning people who want to show that they’re not prejudiced against “pit bulls” or that they understand that not all “pit bulls” are mean.

It’s all in how you raise them.

To be honest, this phrase is starting to wear on me a bit. While I  believe that dog bites are almost always due to human failure, this phrase seems to somehow imply that if a “pit bull” (or any dog for that matter) is raised by a bad owner, it will be a bad dog. And conversely, if it’s raised by a good owner, it will be a good dog.

What it fails to take into account is that dogs, like people, are individuals. And like people, some dogs are just born with faulty wiring; and even the best owner may not be able to manage that dog safely. On the other hand, some dogs are born with such a solid temperament that no matter what you do to them, they will not become violent.

To say that “it’s all in how you raise them,” doesn’t explain a dog like sweet Shelby. One who was so obviously abused and yet continues to show an enormous capacity to love and trust people.

It doesn’t explain Mayzie, who grew up as a “resident dog.” Resident dogs are different from family dogs in that they never get to be part of the family. They’re often tethered in a yard, as Mayzie was, and they aren’t properly socialized or taught what is acceptable behavior. A large percentage of biters are resident dogs, for obvious reasons.  Yet Mayzie loves people and interacts beautifully with them (even when they make unreasonable and seemingly crazy requests).

It doesn’t explain Hector, a former Vick champion fighting dog. Even though he’s covered in scars, he shows no dog aggression and is now a registered therapy dog.

And it doesn’t explain Sarge.

For the first 14 years of his life, Sarge lived with an animal abuser. Let me repeat that – he suffered FOURTEEN years of abuse. He then spent 6 months in a shelter while his abuser was prosecuted. Happily for Sarge, he was adopted by two wonderful people and now lives the good life in Philadelphia. He is also a certified therapy dog and was named the “2010 Humane Educator of the Year” by Philadelphia’s mayor. This amazing dog will turn 16 years old on September 28th. (Be sure to visit Sarge’s blog and read about his story. The blog is very short – only 2 pages long – and you can’t leave a comment. But I promise, it’ll be well worth your time.)

The thing is, there are countless dogs like the ones I’ve mentioned here who, despite their circumstances or backgrounds, are shining examples of why it’s so important to judge dogs as individuals – not on how they look or on their breed. And they are the reason why Breed Specific Legislation is just plain wrong.

There are only a few days left to make a postcard for the “Campaign to End BSL in Denver.” If you haven’t already, please send one in. It’s easy and free. It doesn’t matter if you have a dog or a cat or no pets at all. It doesn’t matter if you live near Denver or across the ocean. What matters is that we all take a stand for what is right. Dogs like Shelby and Mayzie and Hector and Sarge don’t have a voice. But together we can give them one.

Thank you, thank you. From the bottom of my heart (and Mayzie’s)  – thank you!

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