About 1 year ago this month, I encountered an abused and starving dog, a pitbull. He was thin, with ribs protruding, had open wounds, and a make-shift “rope” which appeared to have been tethering him to his home. This animal despite outrageous cruelty and neglect had freed himself and someone how found our building. He sat outside on the ramp entering the building and barked, as if to notify us of his presence. My co-worker found him first and returned from outside in extreme distress over his condition. I quickly followed with a honey bun to offer the poor creature, the only thing I could find at that moment.
At that time I knew very little about pitbulls, and with some anxiety, I approached him carefully offering food. He accepted instantly and it was as if we were already bonded. He agreed to jump in my car and cuddled in a ball in the backseat as I drove him to my vet. Once there, he was friendly and made eye contact with all the vet technicians and also offered kisses to anyone willing to receive them.
Due to the circumstances of his escape from abuse, I chose to name him Kanoa meaning “Free One.” Kanoa has resided with me ever since and I have found myself welcomed into a community of animal lovers- especially those with a soft spot for the plight of the pitbull. Thinking I would be met with fear and intolerance, I have often been surprised by the outpouring of affection toward my dog.
There are those who live in fear and we have met them. Often the fear is so intense, it provokes a reaction in Kanoa and myself, it is at the least uncomfortable. It is because of this intense love and fear of this breed that I am writing today. People choose to categorize entire populations (man and animal) and attribute them with stereotypical characteristics. This attribution of negative (and inaccurate) qualities harms us all. This choice, and it is a choice to make assumptions–prevents connection, acceptance, and understanding among people and animals.
Awareness, education, and understanding can go a long way in reducing stigma and stereotypes and prejudice. I am sharing about Kanoa today, to attempt to begin a discussion on the true nature of these animals. It is ironic that Kanoa will have to find another forever home, due to the behavior of one of my other 2 dogs (NOT a Pitbull!) But he does need a home that can continue to help him adjust to life outside the world of dog-fighting, which was clearly a part of his daily existence prior to his escape. I have been honored to foster Kanoa for this past year, and will continue to do so for as long as I am able, there are so many out there needing help! If you are a lover of pitbulls- hooray- I feel connected to you already! If not, please take a moment to read some of the articles below as they may prove eye opening and educational.
Finally, I am so grateful I met Kanoa and began this journey. I have been connected with some Amazing people through Muscle Breed Alliance https://www.facebook.com/MuscleBreedAlliance, Bama Bully http://www.bamabully.org/, and Personal Dog Training http://personaldogtraining.org/ . Thank you for your help and guidance during this life-changing experiences! And Happy “Birthday” Kanoa, March 14th, the first day of your new life!