Friday, April 18, 2008

HDNet: The Odyssey

The range of reactions we got from watching this HDNet piece made most of us feel schizophrenic: Proud of our wonderful dogs and their volunteer families, horrified at the language used by the reporter to suggest danger lurking, then a collective swing back to happiness when he admits to feeling fuzzy about the dogs, THEN right back to let-down with his carefully worded warnings planted 'just in case' those happy gut reactions betray and cause calamity further on down the line. Ohhh the pain of being so undecided.

"My eyes say dem dogs are fine...but my brain sez I'm in danger of being lured into a fuzzy stupor and murderous rampage by those sneaky, big headed sirens."

Photo from 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou'

Video PART 1.

Video PART 2.

Okay, we get it that reporters aren't supposed to buy into the sales pitch of their subjects, so we'd forgive Greg for keeping a professional distance from the dogs ....EXCEPT that he's so fearful that his objectivity is blown from minute one. You can't be afraid and objective at the same time - it doesn't work. And if I didn't like the guy so much (I do. He reminds me of a favorite uncle), I'd accuse him of wanking out Media Fear Tactics just to get an adrenalin buzz from bored viewers.

But - IMO anyway - I think he truly did try his best to give us a positive story from the lens of his old world, addicted-to-bad-news journalism style. He said so much in an email exchange today, and actually seemed hurt that we were slapping our foreheads over this piece.

On a happier note, we noticed that the Greg clearly wasn't afraid of the Non-Vick pit bulls in our circles. THEY were A-Okay. So - who knows - maybe there's hope yet.

Pssst: Here's the HDNet Feedback Page. Go easy on them. The world looks awful scary from their shoes.


Kirsten said...

Thanks for posting the vid, and for the link to their comments form. I've left my two cents, and referenced the ol' 'Pit Bull Placebo' by Karen Delise (thanks, Kim!). I wish every reporter would read that book before doing a report on Pit Bulls. Or just undertake something that resembles grounded research, y'know, facts n' stuff. It's almost as if in order to sound credible the media feel they have to re-hash some sensationalist drivel when it comes to Pit Bulls. But I agree, it did seem like Greg TRIED to do a fair report.
So mixed feelings here, too. hmmphy

Boris said...

Pit Bulls in HD, they look 'marvelous'. My family watched the show again last night saved on DVR (of course I watch). Everytime we see it we want to pass on THANKS to the Allen's.

Big 'Play Bow' to you folks for opening your home and hearts to the scrutiny. The reality of the HD picture matches the veracity of your words, saying 'you got it right'.

So, special lady and special boy keep kissing those well mannered dogs right on the head (save a couple for the special man in your life, and pass along a big wet one from me too).

If the HD exposure weights to much on you, just click on my head above to get to my blogs - you'll get a small reward for your good work, seeing one more of your foster Pit Bulls in a happy forever home.

So let's get after it, its Saturday morning, get-out to Pit-Ed. I'm remotivated to go walk a stray who needs rescue. I'll be thinking about all my friends who helped me and those who need help.

Allen's I'll always be,
Your Boris-Baby

Anonymous said...

I have very mixed feelings about this video. I liked how they tried to show that pit bulls are normal dogs just like any other dog. But the fact that he kept mentioning that they could be potential killers made me angry. Also they fact he said more than once "is this foster family CRAZY for keeping this dog near their kid?". I think he tried to be fair...but it was not so successful.

And why didn't that temperment assessor prove his assertion and get in the cage with the pit bull approved for adoption?? I think that would have had a lot more impact.

Breed prejudice pisses me off. I have been attacked by dogs off leash twice. They were chihuahuas and a bichon frise. Where's the rally against those "vicious" dogs? Meh. I liked that the foster parent interviewed emphasized RESPONSIBLE dog ownership. Your dog can be dangerous no matter what breed it is if it is not socialized, trained, and properly kept under control in public.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else want to say "um, Greg, excuse me, but it's TEDDLES!?!" I give him credit for doing the piece and for trying to be objective, though I certainly wish he hadn't started and ended the piece talking about them being 'killers'. Sigh. Bad Rap and the dogs and the foster families come off looking great though.

Anonymous said...

I love the Allens. They exemplify smart, responsible, caring people. They obviously aren't crazy people who would endanger their look at the evidence, Greg.... the dogs are well mannered, in a responsible environment. Relax. At least the media attention is getting broader, rather than the usual pitbull horror tragedy story, we now see stories on nice people with nice dogs. Thanks BADRAP and Monterey County SPCA for the great job you've done with the Vicktory dogs and all the other pibbles.

From another pibble-lovin' Allen....
Susi and her pibble Bunny (adopted from Berkeley Animal Care Services)

Christine said...

Thanks for the props, guys. After initially feeling pretty defensive of my family, I ended up feeling most protective of Teddles when we finished watching that segment. Ted, who looks and acts as if he's been a part of our family for years.

We really did enjoy meeting Greg and crew while they were here. And I felt that they were indeed positively affected by spending time with all of the BADRAP crew. I honestly think they tried to put out a positive piece.

Regardless, it was a great opportunity to get these dogs out there and let the public see who and where they are. As always, the dogs speak volumes more powerfully than we ever could. The more that people can see these guys living as normal, family pets, over time, the less "crazy" and radical it will seem.

The Foster Lady said...

I agree with Dee above; we all need to remember to tell people in the media that NO DOG SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE WITH A CHILD UNDER 5! and that woman from HSUS...excuse me? prey drive? Do ONLY pitbulls have it??? No, they are dogs and they have prey drive as well as golden retrievers and every other dog alive!! Perhaps the terrier breed may have more prey drive than the hunting breed, I don't know, but I'm just so tired of the 'pitbull as monster' dog even when the evidence is out there to the contrary. These reporters have NOT done their homework on the history of the breed and why it is that APBTs are prediposed to humans and not to other dogs....that history is so important and explains everything about the genetics of the dog.

My foster dog Leni (you can link to Leni's diary from here), a dog who lived garbage can to garbage can in North Philly and was someone's breeding machine, is a perfect example of a dog-selective Pibble....and will make someone a wonderful pet.

Unknown said...

I <3 Jean Donaldson, I'm glad she got her two cents in. :)

Anonymous said...

ok I tried to be objective but that reporter and the behavior expert were like 9 minutes of listening to one of those newspaper tabloid shows!

I also really want to give a shout out to Christina and the foster family... You were very brave to share your candid story. Ithought he did everything possible to discredit you and bless you for your gentleness and heart. Your son has a tremendous advantage to grow up in such a nurturing and loving home.

I do take umbrage with the behaviorist that was profiled. My pittie and I am sure many others will have similar answers that her Prey drive does not make her scoop up children in her jaws and devour them... usually she is too busy falling that their feet for a belly scratch... jeesh.. the little doggie was so friendly she could not even let it out of the cage for 30 seconds.. I hope she changes careers soon.

Roxie and Jonesey

Anonymous said...

I was a tad disappointed at his spin but I could also see his pure fear....and I guess the "press" on pits just got to him. I was also afraid until my unplanned adoption of my pit Zelda. Now I am totally IN LOVE with pit's.

I suggested he do some volunteer work at a shelter to help him with his fear....LOL

Donna said...

hey roxie and jonesy

it's not often that we find the right occasion to use the word's such a good word. I'm glad you used it for your comments on this piece.

the woman in the shelter with the dogs is not a behaviorist ... not even a trainer. she's the shelter manager, which affords her a seasoned viewpoint into kenneling dogs from all situations and backgrounds.

none of Greg's experts shown in this piece have ever really worked* with fight bust dogs in a real world setting (except for Tim, who was given a nod for being a trainer).

the media is one tricky weasel. I give them credit for understanding human nature well enough to know how push a perspective while feigning objectivity. it's truly an art..

Anonymous said...

I hate how people will believe the media and "experts" who work in kennels, but not people who actually have long term experience with dogs such as trainers, groomers, handlers, foster parents, and worst of all, vets. I worked at a vet and every pit we had come in was awesome. We had one come in with a neglected neck injury that had spread into necrotic flesh covering an entire side of his neck. The vet tech spent an hour scouring the wound, and all he did was look around the room like "Why am I here?" We had tons of cockers and chihuahuas all the time, just for boarding, nothing horrible like that poor pitty had to go through, and they were nasty dogs. Some couldn't go in kennels above the ground because they would bite if picked up. One chihuahua latched onto an oven mitt I had to pick him up with and didn't want to let go, so I left it in the kennel with him. But o, pits are the bad ones. Nope, I'll take a pit any day.