As the pit bull population rises, more human fatalities ensue. During the last eight-year period (1991-98) that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied fatal attacks by breed, pit bulls were estimated at 1 percent of the U.S. dog population. Pit bulls killed an average of three people per year.
If the current rate of fatalities inflicted by pit bulls continues, 33 Americans will lose their lives to pit bulls by the end of 2013.
How do these statistics make you feel about Pit Bulls?
Does it change your mind about the breed of dog? It probably doesn’t make you want to adopt a pit bull or even encounter one. And reviewing these statistics, we can easily develop a fear towards that specific breed of dog.
Sure, we can use these statistics and raise awareness about how aggressive the breed can be and see their potential in harming a human being, however we can’t base this statistic on every single pit bull.
What is does do though is give us the idea or image that ALL pit bulls are aggressive, vicious, relentless, or “killers”. And this type of portrayal induces fear. We now have knowledge of something we should fear.
What you may not know is that I’m actually the proud owner of two Pit Bulls. One of my dog’s name is Macy. I adopted her from a shelter where she had previously been used as a “Bait” dog. That’s when they tie a dog up to a tree and let other pit bulls attack them for “practice”. She is older, very shy, carries scars on her face and mostly keeps to herself. My other dog is a gladiator we call “Leviticus” (or “Levi” for short). He is a 90-pound, brindle haired, hazel eyed pit bull. The type you would typically imagine a pit bull would look like, made of pure muscle and a head the size of a professional NFL football.
So your question to me then based on the way they look and background would be “Are they aggressive? Are they fighters???” The answer? Nope. Protective over their owners? Sure, just like every other dog. So what’s their one big flaw then you ask?
Gluttony. They love to eat, and they will do anything to get a crumb of food.
Every morning I wake up and feed my two gluttonous pit bulls. And every morning when I present Levi with his bowl of food, he jumps as high as he can in the air trying to pop the food bowl out of my hand. He then sits and stares me down, waiting for my command, as he foams from the mouth with anticipation. First, I will usually tell him to sit. Then I will tell him to “stay”. Finally, I put the bowl down and tell him to “wait.” I usually make him sit there for about 5 whole seconds (which is decades in a dig’s mind) until I say “OK!” Only then can he run over to the bowl and do his dirty deed of inhaling small pebbles of Nutro.
Now, my question is this. Imagine I invited you over, sat you down and proceeded to tell you horrible statistics about pit bulls killing children, dogs, and small animals and then asked you to feed Levi (who looks like he can digest a small human), would you?
First, do you know him and his personality? The information I presented you with about this particular breed probably has you convinced he’s a bad one.
When Levi growls and barks because of excitement would you know how to handle it or assume he’s going to bite you? Dogs can sense fear on people, so your feelings would be quite clear to Levi and just like meeting someone you have a preconceived opinion about, it might not be the best time to begin that relationship.
The truth is, you aren’t prepared to feed Levi, don’t know where his food is, how he’s going to act, know his personality, and the information you’ve got is just that. Information. It’s not the actual dog.[hr]
A person recently wrote into HeartSupport saying they were going to school to be a nurse but “feared that they wouldn’t be good enough for the job.”
This is a fear of the unknown. Something you haven’t even been exposed to. And the information told to most nurses is that it’s “hard” and they “won’t all make it”. And it’s exactly what it would be like if you received the information about my pit bull and was then told to feed him. Your fear begins to control your actions.
And that fear of my dog or really the circumstances and not knowing where to start, is a fear that will hold you from committing to something. Each of us has to to start taking chances, chasing risks, believing in ourselves, and knowing that fear is usually the reason why people don’t commit. And our thought processes about that which we haven’t experienced often betray us: “I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to get hurt. How am I suppose to get there when I don’t even know where to start!”.
Fear is often the reason why we don’t take the plunge into the unknown and scary. “But what if I die alone?” “That would means I’d have to give up my life here in this safe environment” And we rationalize it and tell ourselves “I don’t think I could live like that, its just not me”.
We let fear speak for our lives rather than facing them and stepping out in faith. This is why so many in our generation have “dreams” but don’t have lives.
We tell ourselves we aren’t prepared and maybe we’re right. Maybe we aren’t prepared…yet….but that does not give us an excuse to walk away from something we feel burning within us and is a part of the way we’re wired. There is no journey or adventure in having something handed to you. The journey and adventure is working to get there, and fear tries to detour us from truly living.
So, are you gonna come over and feed my dog Levi? Are you going to chase your goals and aspirations? Or will fear once again have you saying “NO”.