Staffordshire Bull Terriers & American Pit Bull Terriers....have been much maligned by the news media, to the point people go out of their way to avoid them on the street etc...to voicing an opinion that they should be outlawed.!

There are no bad dogs..only bad owners. If you had been mistreated..taught to attack other dogs or even, humans, just like a human child ..you would act upon what you have learned.

With the advent of popularity among certain atypical groups in human society..Pits are used for fighting..and for guard dogs...and are badly mistreated so that they will be more apt to attack and maim.

In truth Staffordshires were originally family dogs loving ...lively..intelligent..and yes..in some instances used in pit fighting.   But many species have been used in such manner, and again..cannot be held responsible for their actions.

I was fortunate enough to have an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier for 5 fun-filled years..sometimes exasperating..as they are energetic dogs..and need allot of attention and exercise.  Devin (originally known as Dopey) was a rescue..found by the loving people originally at Sonoma Veterinary Hospital, tied to a tree in the cold, pouring rain,in January.  He was in terrible shape and had mites and  open wounds. For 4 months the staff cared for him..loved him..and brought forth his original handsomeness..which was a brindle..red with black stripes..very outstanding in his coloring and stance. He was large  and weighed in at 75lbs. While visiting my friends at the Hospital, I came to know of him and then know him..and decided to take him home.

Some neighbors were flabbergasted..some afraid..some telling me I was asking for trouble..or fearful that I would be hurt by him. WRONG! Devin was gentle to the point of being too passive..thus it was determined he was used as a 'bait dog' to train other pits to attack, as his personality didn't support his being a fighting dog. His ears were 'home cropped'.

Now this mean, ferocious dog allowed the cats of the house to sleep on him..swat him..and he never tried to bite..would just jump away or look at me as if to say..help!!. He would climb into the bed...worm his way under the covers..and snore happily...it was a regular battle to not be pushed off the king-sized bed at night..as he wiggled and stretched. If he awoke before I did, he would stand by the bed and softly 'woof' until I awakened and then dance for joy and mush his muzzle against my lips, for the morning kiss. And that was the only time he would do that, in the mornings. His one great fault was his love for people, and given the chance, off he would go to visit at the local shelter..where the staff grew to know him..but the general public would usually run for cover seeing him running at them with his great jaws open...in the tall grass he looked more like a crocodile!!!  Many was the day we played hide-n-seek in the tall grass in the horse pasture.  Amazingly enough, the horses would just calmly stand as he tried to get them to run so he could chase them, and at one point got kicked in the head, paused, shook his head and galloped back to me unfazed.  He loved Pets Mart as the store allows dogs and cats in to 'shop' also..and soon as we'd turn onto the blvd. where the store is located..he knew, and began to bounce up and down impatiently, and rush in to get all the attention and dog biscuits he could mooch. He was great P.R. for his breed too. He loved the ocean as one knows from the Shark tale. Any ride to anywhere..life was an adventure...winters were hard on him, as we were basically house bound, and he would take off in the blink of an eye..despite repeated attempts at training him, professionally and home teaching. When I would run him through his paces, (and you only had to show him once what to do, and he would take it from there), after about five minutes would drop to the ground and play 'dead'  with his brown eyes dancing. How could one get mad? He retained a love for the folks who rescued him..one in particular who is also a friend of mine, and when we'd go by to visit ..all I'd have to say is "Auntie Lucinda" and he'd jump for joy...upon seeing her..and she and I relate the tale with laughter when he is mentioned..He saw her, jumped very high and came straight down on his head on the concrete  walkway. I'm sure he saw stars, but that didn't stop him...here was 'Auntie Lucinda! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!.. He was great at finding baby crows that had fallen from their nests and would come running back to me to "come and see what I found!" .So off we'd go to the bird refuge/rescue folks. One day he discovered a baby 'possum and was so protective of it. I raised it until it could be released. (a whole other story).

Sadly tho' one night as we took our walk under the stars and looming pine trees, he spotted a pal of mine across the road and bolted and met with a truck. As I ran through the darkness calling his name, I found him in the ditch, lying there wagging his tail, that 'mom' had found him. He never once cried out or tried to bite as I and good samaritans loaded him on a board and into the back of the truck for the run to the Emergency Hospital..and stalwartly put up with the probing and needles, He underwent surgery, but lost the fight due to a pulmonary embolism.   I lay on the floor next to him before surgery, telling him I loved him and what a good boy he was. I'm thankful for that. Needless to say the house was very empty..and I will miss him for all the years I'm in this world.

 

 

the scream of black tread

on worn asphalt,

breaks the star-studded night.

a few moments of

shared companionship,

strolling down country lane

................shattered.

not foreseen,

this stealthy advance of death,

whose power over each second

and breath,

lays in our path, jaws gaping

to steal away those we love.

i kneel in roadside ditch,

choking back tears.

looking up, your eyes meet mine,

sweet friend, i beg you to stay,

 

but the look in your eyes says

differently.

i cradle you.

crooning nonsense.

praying, begging..

but for naught.

you heed that timeless call,

give me final glance.

and i, left alone,

to crouch by prayer candle,

and rock, arms akimbo

with the wrenching pain

of companion lost,

and heart torn asunder.

c 1998

 

dedicated to Devin who left this earth June 18th, 1998

....    and now please, my rubber duckie and towel!  summer 97

 

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