Saturday, December 4, 2021

New Year, New Way of Thinking About Pitties and Each Other

By: Shannon Arner

Ready to snuggle, pittie client.

With every new year, we reflect on the past, but most importantly, what we want for the future. Often, those goals can be to better ourselves, the environment, the community, etc. This year, I have a few goals; I won’t call them resolutions because in the words of Jimmy Buffett, I decided this year, “I’ll make a resolution that I will never make another one” and just enjoy life to the best of my ability, living each day the fullest, being here now, in every moment. I want to enjoy my Trip Around the Sun. (You’re welcome for the awesome music break from Mr. Buffett) 🙂

Playful pittie client

All of that said, I still feel that when I leave this world, I want to have at least done what I can to make someone or something better, having no regrets. So, with that being said, I wanted to start off by tackling one of the betterments I desire for the world: the stereotypes of pitties and each other. Yes, they go hand in hand.

Those who know me, know that I have a fondness for pitties. You can call them whatever you want, pitties, pibbles, piggies, pit bulls, or love muffins…they all mean the same. They are the common name for a type of dog that many folks are scared of, and want nothing to do with. In fact, pit bills are not even a breed. The types of dogs that are referred to as pit bulls are American Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. So, in my world, and in this blog, I like to use the term, pittie.

Look! A pittie and a kid and he didn’t eat her! 🙂 This is a client, Nicodemus, my niece, Marleigh, and myself- riding the Pet ‘n Nanny float in the 2016 Wake Forest Christmas Parade.

As fortunate/unfortunate as it may be, we receive referrals from clients who say that they were worried they wouldn’t find anyone to care for their pittie, or another pet sitter told them they do not take pitties as clients, having never even met their furry child. Win for us as a business, but sad just the same. In almost 17 years in the pet care industry, in the veterinary setting, and professional pet sitting, we (owners and staff) have never been bit, attacked, nor growled at by a pittie. The list of bites are few for us, but they are never a characteristic of the breed doing the actual biting. I could count on one hand the times I have been bitten by a dog (or cat) in my life, and all but one were under 15 lbs. One bite was from a Great Dane that was suffering from bloat, so the bite was pain and fear driven and I just exacerbated the issue for him by being there.

Pharrell, our sweet-senior chi-bull

Over the past couple of years, the pittie has been the subject of many conversations amongst us as professional pet sitters with Pet ‘n Nanny, due to the fact that not only do we care for pitties as clients, but as pet parents: my own personal furry kids are mixed with the pittie type of dog. My Betty White is a rescue, mixed with American Bull Terrier, and my Pharrell is an American Staffordshire terrier/Chihuahua mix…AKA chi-bull. Like various genders,

Pittie-mix client, ready for a walk!

races, and ethnicities in this world, I alongside my husband have been judged by the kind of dogs we have. I have been asked questions like, “oh, do they bite you a lot”, “do you have to keep them muzzled in public”, “I bet your house has damage everywhere from them” or regarding Pharrell, “so being a mix of AmStaff and Chihuauha, he is basically a yippy-barking attack dog”…. I can’t make this stuff up folks. I proudly wear the owner of a pittie badge and shout it from the rooftops, but that can also create problems for me, which I recently experienced.

Our sweet, Betty White

Some of you know, Gerry and I sold our house at the end of 2016. While we are building our new home, we are renting during the transitional phase. I knew having pets would be an issue, but having pitties (or pittie mixes) was a giant challenge I had no idea we would have to conquer. I won’t give you the details on how we worked this out, just know it is on the up and up, legal, and we did not do anything wrong to acquire our rental property. Our location/owner knows exactly the type of dogs we have, but just know that it was a battle to prove that my dogs are not monsters, despite the type of dogs they are. It was scary for a few weeks, wondering if we would have a place to live. It worked out in the end, due to the help of folks in the community who know us, and our pets, but it was just another challenge that I knew the stereotype of pitties creates.

2016 was a tough one for stereotypes, and bullying. We all heard on tv, radio, social media, and in public, people being judged or stereotyped based upon their gender, race, ethnicity, color of hair, size, religion, etc. I feel that people are not inherently cruel; I feel that people just fear what is different, or perhaps fear comes from not understanding what they do not know.

Proud and handsome pittie client

Before wrapping this up, I want to answer some of the questions I told you about above:

  1. Do pitties (yours or clients’) bite you a lot? No, never.
  2. Do you have to keep them muzzled in public? Goodness, no. There are provinces in Canada that have Breed Banning Laws, some allow you to keep your pittie but they have to be muzzled in public. Beware, if you see my dogs in public they may attack you with their kisses and licks. No muzzle will be applied to stop that. If NC ever creates a law like this, Shannon, Gerry, and the pups will be moving elsewhere.
  3. I bet your house has damage everywhere from them. If you know me, I don’t have to answer this. If you aren’t privy to my habits or my home, I am a bit of a neat freak, so no, this is not an issue. Our clients’ homes with pitties, actually tend to also be very neat and tidy. Damage in the home doesn’t come from a type of dog, it comes from a bored dog who needs something: attention, exercise, care, or medical attention.
  4. Regarding Pharrell, “so being a mix of AmStaff and Chihuauha, he is basically a yippy-barking attack dog? Really? No, Pharrell is demanding and knows what he wants and knows how to tell me what he wants, but that is because he is a very spoiled little old man, that I would lasso the moon for. No attacks nor yippiness, here.

Pittie-puppy, client

I hope if this post leaves you with anything, it leaves you reflecting on how we treat each other as individuals, and as pet owners. Do not judge a pet by its breed/type, just as you do not judge a person by their nationality, race, gender, religion, nor anything else that makes us different. Besides, if you don’t judge my pets, I won’t judge your kids. (Settle down, it’s a joke…sorta) 😉

Pet ‘n Nanny is a Certified Professional Pet Sitting firm, serving the Wake Forest, Rolesville, and North Raleigh area since 2000. For more information, please visit Petnnanny.com

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