Addendum

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Going over what I wrote last night, I realize I've barely scratched the surface of what I wanted to say. That is what happens when I try to post with the television on and Mark yammering at me. :)

First, I don't know if I made my feelings about my dog clear. I do not think Chance is a person. He is an entirely different species, with completely different needs and capacities. He does not understand logic, he cannot be reasoned with, he has a prey drive, he will never be able to use a toilet...the list goes on and on. But even though I don't think of Chance as human or humanesque, his life is worth as much to me as a human life. Yes, you read that correctly. My dog's life is worth as much to me as a person's life.

I've never gotten involved in the debates about whether "parenting" a pet can be compared to parenting a child, mostly because I don't see what good it does to argue about it, and also because I don't have a child, so I don't think I'm a fair judge of what the similarities and differences between the two are. I also think it's very person-specific: some people do not feel the same way about their companion animals that I do about Chance (some people also don't love their kids). What I can say is this: I am more committed to my dog and love my dog more than I ever would have thought possible. The way I feel about him isn't really comparable to the way I feel about the human beings I am close to, because the relationships are a totally different sort, but if I'm forced to quantify, then I'd say that he is more important to me than most people. That's simply the way it is.

This is why I find the whole topic of breed specific legislation so very troubling. The idea that someone could take Chance away from me--break up my family--just because of generalizations that have been made (wrongly, in my opinion) about his breed(s) is both terrifying and infuriating. And it doesn't have to happen to me to make it wrong--why on earth would I assume that there are no people who love their pit bulls like I love Chance?

A friend of mine just told me that her dog, a half-Pyr, half-Chow, is officially a "Pyr mix." Why? Because she couldn't get home owner's insurance if her dog was listed as a Chow, a dangerous breed. If you can't get home owner's insurance, you can't buy a house. If you can't buy, you have to rent. If you are renting, it's going to be difficult to find somewhere that will let you live with your supposedly dangerous dog. And so you face a choice, basically, between homelessness and getting rid of your dog. That is not a fair position to put people in, especially when the supposed good that comes out of it really amounts to a false sense of safety for ignorant people.

6 Comments

I love my pit more than any person. Some people just don't get it. And it sucks that I have to hide the fact that she's a pit mix because of insurance. Some people just don't get it and never will.

I just want to say that Chance is one of my favorite dogs ever. You and Mark have done so much work with Chance's (and your) training and it really shows. He's a real sweetheart, and I have zero fear around him (other than being covered in drool) or having my toddler around him for that matter. I am so glad he wasn't put down.

I never had Chows down as dangerous, aren't they those tiny ones like Pekes?

not at all, they're huge. i have a german shepard/chow that's pretty damn vicious. well, she used to be until she started knocking on death's door, my poor puppy. but they're disgustingly loyal, the type that will beg you to let them lay down their life for you. you just need to make sure they're locked away when people come over.

Chows are mid-sized--it is the (shh) Chow in our Pyr mix (her mum was full Pyr) that kept her size down to 75 lbs. Chows are usually 45-60 lbs. Honestly, I can say that don't "know" that she is half Chow, because her mum was found as a stray and the folks that took her in didn't realize she was pregnant, because she was so gaunt. (When she went into labor in their bedroom after a week, they caught on.) But it is a little intellectual dishonesty, since even though the dad is unknown, Tosca's tongue is solid purple and her tail, though fringey like a Pyr's, arcs gracefully over onto her back, so there isn't much doubt. I also call her a Pyr mix to strangers because it changes how they react to her. When my SO would tell people she was a Chow-Pyr mix, you could see folks stiffen. (I recommended to him that he say the Pyr part first and see if that changed things. Sure enough, when he started saying "Pyr-Chow", they weren't as tense and more likely to approach her to pet her.) The problem with some Chows is that they are fiercely loyal and protective of their people (Tosca *is* a real mama bear when it comes to our child). And proper Chows have this foreshortened muzzle that hinders their peripheal vision--you should never approach an unknown Chow from the side, because they won't see you coming and the startle could cause a reaction. So, they have been known to bite, but Tosca is not aggressive at all. Her first instinct upon meeting people is to flop on her back for a belly pet--she goes submissive immediately. She also got a Pyr head from her mixture, so that helps with the vision issue. When you go to a Chow owner's home, don't be surprised to be hugged at the door--even if you aren't a hugger by nature. This signals to the dog that you are welcomed by the human. For us, with Tosca's mama bear routine, I've found going out on the porch with new arrivals and shutting the door, then entering with the guest calms her down immensely. p.s. Nella, I think you might be thinking of Pomeranians?

No Siobhan, it was much sillier than that. The pavillion in my local park was built on what had previously been a designated patch for dogs to do their business, a subject of much humour in the local paper. The pavillion had a kind of 'oriental' theme, which also got the piss taken. So the joke was they'd give pooing permits to 'pekinese and chows', which had always led me to lump the two together. *blushes* I'll stick to ducks in future.

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