Back from a quick midwest trip where BR’s Pit Ed & CGC classes earned the 2006 Best Practices Award for Behavior and Training at the AHA Conference (Yay!) .... and (Boooo!) the only pit bulls we saw were chained in the yard of a Detroit area backyard breeder. Now I know* there are plenty of great pit bull owners in the Chicago and Detroit area, but they must've all been in hiding this week. Feeling the need for a bully fix, we searched over miles of Chicago sidewalks during our flashback tour of old haunts and counted well-loved greyhounds, goldens and every kind of small dog –- but no pit bulls.
Like strangers in a lonely land, we decided to search the city shelters. The Anti-Cruelty people turned their noses up when we mentioned the breed and sent us to Chicago Animal Control. But after heading to the south side and sharing our IDs with security, we were turned away – We couldn't see them there since they don’t adopt the breed out either. Unclaimed pets are rarely rescued and usually destroyed. We could sense their wide smiles just steps away from us, but slipping through all our fingertips. When questioned ‘Why?’ the tired employees just shrugged and suggested that someone might want to “write a letter.” Sigh. Tim and I used to live in Chicago, and we were feeling pretty disappointed in our old stomping grounds at that point. Onto Detroit, we were desperate enough to stop by a neighborhood breeder just so we could get a fix and compare notes with the dogs' welcoming, albeit not-so-responsible owners. Sadly, we were warned not to step too close – The chained breeding pair was willing to bite. Greeeat. Apparently, lacking good shelter resources for quality adoptions, the couple's puppies were selling like hotcakes - intact and just weeks from their first mating adventures, of course..
I must say, the bay area never looked so good when we finally landed. We still have our problems — Many of our shelters are still struggling over the best ways to adopt pit bulls out and lord knows we have way too many being born. But despite our challenges, home sweet home is full of breed supporters, viable adoption programs, accessible spay/neuter programs and responsible owners. And thankfully, it's never hard to spot some of the most well loved pit bulls in the country strutting their stuff down our city streets with their proud owners in tow. We’re oh so happy to be back home.