Tag Archives: dogs

The Facts

Sometimes, it is good to review the statistics. These numbers come from the American Temperament Test Society, Inc.

Their methods can be found Here. They test a dog’s “ability to interact with humans, human situations and the environment.”

Their statistics are Here. The test is pass-fail, with the percentage being the number that pass. Pay close attention to the number  of animals tested in comparison with their score. Anything over 90% usually indicates a small testing pool. Exceptions to this are the Labrador Retriever, and two of the “pitbull” breeds: Staffordshire Bull Terrier and and the Bull Terrier.

Let’s take a quick look at some popular breeds and their attendant scores as compared to the popularly maligned “pit-bull” breeds. Not many people read this blog, and maybe the ones who do already know the mantra “punish the deed, not the breed.” Then again, I’ve been surprised before at how many educated and intelligent friends of mine have simply never been exposed to the truth about “pitbulls.”

“Non-pitbull” breeds:

Australian Shepard:  82.2%
Beagle: 80.0%
Border Collie: 81.5%
Boxer: 83.5%
Chihuahua: 69.8%
Cocker Spaniel: 82.1%
Collie: 80.3%
Dachsund (Standard Smooth): 68.8%
Dalmatian: 82.7%
German Shepherd: 84.8%
Golden Retriever: 85.2%
Jack Russell Terrier: 84.1%
Labrador Retriever: 92.0%
Mixed Breed: 86.6%
Rhodesian Ridgeback: 84.3%
Rottweiler: 84.1%
Saint Bernard: 84.6%
Siberian Husky: 87%
Standard Poodle: 86.6%
Weimeraner: 80.7%

Common “Pitbull” breeds:

American Pit Bull Terrier: 86.8%
American Staffordshire Terrier: 84.5%
Bull Terrier: 90.1%
Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 90.7%

Now, I’m not here to condemn any breed. Dogs are dogs, and every time humans are in contact with an animal, there are risks. For that matter, any time we interact with each-other there are risks. Personally, I’ve been bitten by one dog, a Dachshund, and almost attacked (a chain was all that saved me) by a Rhodesian Ridgeback. The first was a case of small child and small dog not mixing well. The second was a case of a dog that had been chained up all her life, which would make me crazy angry too.

I’ve been around pitbulls all my life, including one that was half-lab and very protective of his family. I have never felt threatened by any of them. Not once.

I hear stories from people I know, people I trust, about how dangerous pitbulls are. What seems to escape most people is the fact that there are extenuating circumstances. First off, even the experts cannot seem to identify a “pitbull” by sight. What makes us think we can? Any stocky, broad-headed, short-haired dog is assumed to be a “pit” and the media has been known to ignore little details like the fact that a dog involved in an attack is, say, a golden retriever, in favor of the more dramatic lie that it is a “pitbull.”

If you are curious, try your hand at “pit identification.”


Then there is the self-perpetuating problem. Pits are thought to be vicious. They are, therefore, sought out by people who want vicious dogs. People who want vicious dogs, make their dogs vicious, either intentionally or through neglect.

That Rhodesian Ridgeback who attacked me? If she had not been chained up alone outside for years, the chances of her charging me would have been slim.

I am ranting on this because some legislators in my state are trying to pass an amendment to an otherwise acceptable bill, to push through breed-specific legislation against pitbulls (by which they mean any dog someone thinks looks like a pitbull). Legislation of this sort has been proven, time and again, to be as ineffectual as it is blind. Most of my readers aren’t, I think, from Tennessee, but if you are, please make yourself heard: http://www.capwiz.com/bestfriends/issues/alert/?alertid=62506026#.UUMnGhSzRhM.twitter

No dog is 100% safe, but as the facts go, the maligned “pitbull” breeds are no more dangerous than any other dog their size. In fact, I would trust all the “pits” I know over my own dear Jack-Rat.

Manni post-surgery. Don't let the cuteness fool you!

Manni post-surgery. Don’t let the cuteness fool you!

The website linked in my sidebar, A Boy and His Dog, is very biased, but raises a lot of good points, like the fact that for most of U.S. history, “pitbulls” were our darlings, known for their loving nature and loyalty. If you are curious, please check it out.


Zombies vs. Bunnies

“Dream,” to me, does not have positive connotations. It does not have negative ones, either.

It is a neutral term.

I remember happy dreams from childhood, but since then even the dreams I enjoy are not really “good” dreams. I have had a few lucid dreams, always fun, but even they have deep shadows.

The dream I enjoyed most in the past decade involved a water-park and a hideous plague that turned its victims invisible as it killed them so that people were playing in water among corpses they couldn’t see.

You may wonder how I enjoyed such a dream. I didn’t enjoy all of it, obviously, but the overall experience was good due to some extenuating circumstances.

1. most of my nightmares, and some of my dreams, involve zombies. At least the invisible corpses didn’t get back up.

2. I am sure you have experienced dreams in which things that ought to have bothered you didn’t. I was once fine with being coated in spiders in a dream. I only freaked out when I woke up.

3. Instead of being a helpless victim, I had an objective Being active makes a big difference in fear.

4. In the dream I was a big, glowing dog who could run across water. I highly recommend being a quadruped in one’s dreams, especially a glowing one.

So I have dreams that I enjoy, and dreams that only perplex me, but none of them are truly positive.

Then, of course, there are the nightmares. I have already mentioned the zombie problem. That started before I really knew what zombies were. I was a child dreaming that I was in my back yard. My beloved dog looked at me, and she wasn’t behind her own eyes. Imagine a moment where you realize that your pet has died and been replaced by something malevolent that keeps her body moving.

From there, the zombie dreams have only gotten worse. The most distressing involved my brother and I trapped in a zombie-filled library. It ended with him becoming an undead and chasing me up an elevator shaft, but the worst part was my fear, throughout, that something would happen to him and then my utter horror when it did. Brotherbeast, if you are reading this, you had better not get bit on z-day.

Why all this morbid musing? Well, I am trying to process my completely un-morbid dream of last night.

It involved bunnies.

Baby bunnies.

For some reason I had three young rabbits in my care, each about the size of my fist. One was cotton-tail colored, another was spotted black and white and the third was albino. They were ludicrously cute.

They had not been handled much, or had been handled too roughly, for they were afraid of people. I was preparing food for them when someone (there were several non-identified persons in the room, as there often are in dreams) picked up the wee albino. The bunny escaped and proceeded to run around the room. Everyone tried to catch it, but I crouched down and waited patiently. I was aware, even in the dream, of being far more patient and much less panicky than I would normally be under such a circumstance. Several times the creature ran past me and I failed to catch it, but I waited. Then it came close enough and I got it.

I held it firmly but carefully to me, stroked it, and put it back in its box with the other two. Then I fed them. Somehow I was confident that I would be able to win their trust in time.

Then my cats woke me, wanting to be fed. It wasn’t until I woke up fully that I was struck by the unusual nature of this dream. There were no zombies, no plagues, no horrific injuries or deaths. Even the “threat” in the dream was mild. The bunnies didn’t bite me (I have been bitten by a hare before. I can’t recommend it). I might as well have been dreaming about unicorns and rainbows.

Baby rabbits, little balls of warm, soft, vitality.

For the first time in at least two decades, I had a truly good dream.

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