Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On walking with a pit bull

Sometimes I think I'm walking a bear or maybe a little 40-lb alien whenever I drag Mina off on a walk. If people aren't giving me the stink eye, they're looking at Mina in sheer wonderment as if the idea of 40-lb, adorable-looking, non-eating-your-child pit bull is...shocking.

I'm always curious what people think of when they think pit bull. On more than 20 occasions, I have been told that a) Mina is not a pit bull; b) Mina is just a puppy; c) Mina is too small for a pit bull; d) Mina is too cute to be a pit bull (seriously, I've been told that); e) Mina is too friendly for a pit bull (she's actually not friendly enough!)

It must be that "pit bull" means rabid, frothing, 250-lb, old, ugly-ass dog. Maybe with two heads. And red-eyes. Also must have leg dangling from mouth.

The reality is thankfully less menacing than the myth.

I mean, I know she looks a little thugtastic in this picture with her tennis ball (that she doesn't actually chase or chew on or do much but lie next to). Not very threatening, though.

I was walking Mina and Celeste at the park with a friend. Celeste gets to be her rent-a-dog, being a dogless dog-lover at the moment (tragic!) We're approaching a mom with her two kids. As a pit bull owner/guardian, you are always on guard, judging the body language of the oncoming person. You look for the signs: whites of their eyes start to show, sometimes they just freeze in place, maybe a furtive glance across the street to see if they could make it in one leap, the jaw tightening, a general air of tenseness entering their body. I see those signs and I walk across the street - bad mojo, yo.

I didn't see those signs with the mom and kids. The mom stopped, relaxed, pulling her kids to one side and said, "Look at the dogs, kids. Those are nice dogs. That one, the pretty looking one on the left, that's a pit bull. And the dog on the right. Well, that's a...hmmm."

Okay, let me interrupt. I know Celeste is funny looking. I know she's leggy and weird and her ears don't match. Her tongue goes off in weird directions and she sometimes trips over herself. But come on! she's cute! Even if she isn't a pit bull. Plus, she's an attention whore!

So the lady has paused and her kids are looking up at her expectantly (I am too). So she finally says, "kids, that dog there is a mutt."

Mutt. I have to remember to smile. I prefer mixed breed or canine of unknown lineage. Never mutt - it doesn't roll off the tongue at all and the hard "t" sounds make it sound dirty. Mutt.

I'm a little bummed after that encounter.

As we are finishing the walk, we encounter the woman as she is about to drive off. She stops her car and rolls down her window.

"What I meant to say is that your dog is a handsome mixed breed."

That's right - handsome and all mixed up. I couldn't have said it better. Maybe she read my body language after the mutt comment or maybe she felt bad for saying Mina was nice looking and not offering a compliment to Celeste. Either way, the walk ended quite nicely.

Except for when Mina thought she could take on two Rottweilers and stared really hard at them, just willing them to look at her. Celeste thought she could take on a tree. The Rottweilers thought Mina was a silly chit and politely ignored her, which sent her into a fit of emo pit bull angst the world has never seen (she hates being ignored by dogs she wants to yell at). The tree, well, it just stood there, which really impressed Celeste.

Walking a pit bull is usually fun, if it's Mina we're talking about. And we're always talking about Mina, ergo walking a pit bull is always fun. Mina logic 101, folks.


Nicole said...

Adorable! I, too, get a wide variety of comments on walking pit bulls and also on walking a 3-legged dog. It is highly entertaining for me, actually.

PoochesForPeace said...

Im pretty sure everyone at my office is now wondering what is wrong with me as this blog entry just made me laugh out loud to myself. Very good post!

happypitbull said...

Isn't it the best feeling when you get nice comments about your pit bull on a walk? The last time I was at a pet store with Star, some lady turned her kid to face Star and said, "See, that dog is polite and well-behaved, and that's why it gets to come to the pet store." Thankfully, they walked away before Star discovered the meaty bone bins at face level.

susan said...

This is funny. I started laughing at the "walking a bear" reference. I feel the same way sometimes. I'm amazed how many people don't know what a pit bull really looks like either.