Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Thank you, Bronwen Dickey, for writing this book.

This is my first post on pit bulls.  I've purposefully stayed away from this polarizing topic because of the intense love or hate infused in many people's opinions.  While I feel for the breed and have long thought them the victims of unfair judgement, I've also been skeptical of the claims of both side of the argument.  Skepticism, of course, is something my science background has ingrained in me, and I've daydreamed for years about doing hard-core research on the pit bull question both to satisfy my own curiosity and to be able to have complete confidence in the factoids I spout to haters and lovers alike.  But who has time to do that kind of research??

Bronwen Dickey made time.
And I am so grateful to her for spending years meticulously investigating the pit bull question and laying out both the facts, the missing facts, and speculation in a way that is logical, non-biased (or at least less-biased...), and very well researched.  Remember my post about looking for references when you do your research?  This book has 35 pages of references in the back under the heading "Notes" and " Selected Bibliography.  She did her homework.

Her book, Pitbull: The Battle over an American Icon, is the best comprehensive look at pit bulls and their role in our society that I've seen.  It is a fascinating and illuminating book that at first seems like the story of pit bulls, but is actually the story of people.  The history and fate of dogs is so intertwined with the going-ons of humans that I didn't even notice.  In a lot of ways, dogs are the result of ourselves as a species.  They are the result of our fears, of our needs, of our hopes.  They exist the way they do because we made them that way.  They are a part of our quest to better ourselves and live a happy and good life.  And their history as a species is a reflection of our own.

The author looks at the pit bull question from many angles: the pit bull's history as a breed, a fighting dog, a beloved pet, and as a scapegoat. And always right there with the dog and all it's histories stands mankind.  It's not really a "pit bull question" then.  It's a "human question".  And that is an important distinction.

The pit bull has been painted as a demon by some and as an angel by others, but really, it's just a dog.  Don't believe me?  Then you should read this book.  I highly recommend this book to anyone, the lover, the haters, the skeptics, and everyone in between.  Chances are you'll learn that at least some of what you thought you knew isn't true.  And besides engaging in pit bull enlightenment, it's a good read.

Check out your local library for a copy, or you can always purchase Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon from amazon.com.

"Pit bulls are not dangerous or safe.  Pit bulls aren't saints or sinners. They are no more or less deserving than other dogs of love and compassion, no more or less deserving of good homes. They didn't cause society's ills, nor can their redemption--real or imagined--solve them. There is nothing that needs to be redeemed, anyway; they were never to blame in the first place. To frame anything in such narrow terms is to look at human-animal relationships through the wrong end of the telescope.  More important, there never was a 'pit bull problem.' What happened to these animals was a byproduct of human fears, and what humans feared most was on another."
~ Bronwen Dickey, Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon

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