While driving through a sketchy part of Baltimore in May, I saw a puppy on the side of the road. I’ve been out here for two years, and he was the fourth stray I’d seen. I hadn’t been able to get a hold of any of the others; they’d either run off when I approached, or by the time I turned the car around, they had wandered off.
Since I was on a one-way street, I had to make a few turns to get back to him, but he was still there, slowly wandering down a narrow strip of grass by the street. I pulled my car over and turned on my flashers, and crossed the street to coax him over. Instead of running further down the street away from me or coming towards me, he ran into the street, but traffic had already stopped for us. He was curious, and almost came to me, but was too nervous. Two nice men from a work truck got out and helped me corral him, and one of them lifted him into the back of my car. He jumped around in the back seat a bit, looking out the windows, then settled down and fell asleep in the sun.
When I got home, the first thing I noticed about him was that he was obviously a pit bull, which the vet would later confirm. I love dogs and don’t like to stereotype any breed, but some of the horror stories involving pit bulls did pop into my head. I planned on lifting him out of the car with a towel, since he had no collar and I wasn’t sure if he would try to bite or not; I wanted something between his mouth and my arms if he did, even if it was only a towel. But wrapping him up in a towel was impossible. He wouldn’t stop wiggling and licking me. After I took him to the vet and purchased a crate, I brought him into the house. He immediately curled up in my lap and went to sleep.
That weekend I took him with me to my parents’ house, and we introduced him to all the dogs and cats. He showed no aggression and was well-behaved with the other animals.
I tried to find him a home with someone I knew, but Maryland isn’t very kind towards pit bulls. Most landlords and home owners’ associations don’t allow you to have them. The Maryland court system has also singled out pit bulls and labeled them “inherently dangerous,” in addition to making it easier for victims of pit bull attacks to press charges against their owners. (Not necessarily a bad thing, but to single out one breed and further reinforce the stereotype?) Luckily my family fell in love with him and kept him. I couldn’t stand the thought of taking him to a shelter and knowing he would most likely be put down just because of what he is.
I only have one picture of Mac, as my family named him, from shortly after I found him that shows just how thin he was.
He’s since put on well over 12 pounds, and rolling in the grass in the backyard and stretching out on the deck in the sun are two of his favorite things.
His sweet temperament, happiness, and love of life have opened my eyes to just how unfairly stereotyped pit bulls truly are.