Prejudice By Pitbull?

January 22, 2007 at 11:12 am 5 comments

Yesterday at the height of our “winter event”, an unfamiliar dog was wandering in the neighborhood.  My neighbor Cherie and I spotted it at the same time.  It certainly was no time for a dog to be lost, so when it came to my yard, I tried to check its tags.  The dog was a pitbull, a beautiful animal, but it may have revealed a dark side of my perception. 

I was somewhat fearful of getting bit, but that wasn’t because of the dog’s breed.  He was skitish.  He seemed friendly enough, but when you got close he’d retreat.  A skitish dog, regardless of breed, can easily become a biter.  This dance continued on my slick slanted yard for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, Cherie’s two boys were cheering from across the street.  They believed I was trying to catch my brand new pet, so it was a celebration to them.

My prejudice came when I could get close enough to read the phone number.  Before I even dialed the number, I knew, “This is a trailer park dog.”

In this particular case, my assumption turned out the be correct– The dog did indeed originate from the trailer park.  But, still, I really don’t know why I thought that.  All the pitbulls I’ve known in the past were from the more upper scale homes or belonged to college students.  This dog was neutered and a lot of the male trailer park dogs I’ve seen are not.  The dog had his 2007 Montgomery County registration tag which the trailer park dogs do tend to be missing.  Was it the dog’s spiked collar?  Was it the fact that this was a dog roaming at large?  Was it the fact that I already know every dog in our neighborhood? I just don’t know.  Is it worse, that I’m saying I should not have thought it was trailer park dog because he was neutered and registered?  Does that reveal more prejudice than my original suspicion?  That’s quite possible.

This story does have a happy ending.  The dedicated owner had been walking out in the winter weather for an hour looking for the dog.  “I’m so cold,” the owner said, “I can’t move my face.”  He was overjoyed and relieved that “Maximus” had been located.  He and I both walked in the wintery mix to meet up halfway between our two homes (Carolyn, does this remind you of the rescue mission we performed in the Blizzard of 96?).  With a couple of clicks Maximus was transferred from my leash to his.  The owner thanked me profusely numerous times and offered me money (I declined– The outing was a good excuse for exercise).

I did note, however, that he never once used the word “miracle” to describe my efforts.  😉

Entry filed under: Cherie C, Pitbulls, prejudice.

Jasper “J.B.” Bowman Super Bowl Side

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  January 22, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with having **prejudice**; your brain SHOULD operate as an array of Bayesian probability tables each of which get adjusted everytime you make a correlated observation. It doesn’t become a problem until you **discriminate**, which is acting unfairly based on your prejudices.

    semi-interesting, semi-related:
    http://www.overcomingbias.com

    I’ve had prejudice save me at least once. It would not be politically correct to recount the anecdote.

    Reply
  • 2. tgaw  |  January 22, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    I suspected you would have a statement that would make my thought process sound solid. Thanks!

    Reply
  • 3. Dev  |  January 27, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    As you think, the pit bulls are not so vicious dog unless otherwise you’ve provoked it. It is really a curse of cute…

    Reply
  • 4. tgaw  |  January 27, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Hey thanks for posting! I know their reputation, but so far all my pit bulls experiences have been positive.

    I think the meanest dogs I’ve known are the small breeds– chihuahuas, fox terriers and an old, cranky beagle. I still have scars on my left hand from a beagle bite when I was a child (Carolyn– did you know that?)

    I have no such scars from the irreputable breeds (pit bulls, doberman pinchers, rotweillers, Chow Chows, German Shepards)

    Reply
  • 5. Carolyn  |  January 28, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    Vicky, I did not know you have scars on your left hand, but I’m not surprised. I have a scar on my left arm from that beagle.

    I also used to have a scar right by my right eyebrow from one time when our German Shepard, NoTrump, jumped up on me in glee and accidentally hit me with his tooth. He was excited because I was bringing his dinner.

    Reply

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