Pitbulls, to me, are an American tragedy.
Up until about 4 months ago I was a die-hard advocate for pitties and a proud mother of two of my own pitties , one beautiful male that I named Chappie , and a gorgeous little red-nosed female named Winnie. I have known and owned many pitties since childhood , and they USED to be my absolute favorite breed of dog. They are usually loving and loyal, and just about all of the good things you can say about a dog , so much so that they deserve to have a following of devoted advocates fighting for their rights and wellbeing. I was one of those extremely judgemental snobby pitbull advocates that would shame and think and say horrible things about the people involved whenever I’d hear of a pitbull attacking or killing something or someone. I used to spend way too much of my spare time arguing on feeds and threads that “”it must be how the owners raised them” “you can’t judge a dog by its breed” and all that other crap… Until I witnessed and experienced how ridiculous and illogical those things are first hand. Pitbulls can be amazing dogs, but sometimes, they can be dangerous. Before I elaborate , let me ask you a question…
How would it make sense that breeders of other types of dogs to spent hundreds of years breeding OUT certain personality traits, and not make sense that the opposite can be done?
My dog Chappie, was a beautiful blue purebred American pitbull Terrier. I acquired him at 6 weeks old through a rescue I foster for, along with his sister , after they had been purchased by a teenager out of the back of a pickup truck. The teens dad would not allow her to keep the dogs, so she surrendered them to our rescue, and I was more than happy to foster them. My Chappie was the sweetest pup in the world, never growled or was mean to anyone. He was very loving and tolerant of my children, which includes an infant, 2year old, 4 year old and a teen. I fell in love with him immediately and adopted him without a second thought when he was available. He was so sweet in fact, that he was training to be a therapy dog, he worked with multiple trainers to earn his Canine Good Citizen Certificate so he could go to hospitals and cuddle sick or sad people. Everyone who met Chappie loved him, and he loved everyone. No trainer ever would’ve imagined that HE , my Chappie, the socialized , trained , and raised with nothing but love dog could be capable of what he did.
Chappie was nuetered before sexual maturity, and was raised with 4 older dogs, including Winnie , my female pittie, my two boxer/pittie/Shepard mixes, and his buddy brother, a husky/heeler mix named Hatí. Hatí was only a few months older than him; they were best friends and cuddle buddies, practically inseparable. They chose to sleep together despite having their own space.
One night, I was outside with my dogs, smoking a cigarette after my kids had gone to sleep. This was our nightly routine, another normal boring day. Chappie was splayed out about 5 feet to the left of me, showing off his finest frog pose and soaking up the moonlight. The girls were off at the far end of the yard sniffing, or peeing , or relaxing , and Hatí was about 15 feet in front of me just sniffing around and standing out in the nice warm air.
For no reason at all, Chappie sat up. As I watched he charged across the yard and grabbed Hatí by the throat and began to violently thrash him! Hatí couldnt have defended himself if he tried. I tried for a few moments to get Chappie to let go of him, before getting a pooper scooper to use as a break stick to release his hold on Hatí.
I was able to get him off and literally threw Hatí inside, as Chappie was visciously trying to rip him from my arms. Now, you should understand that I am not a large person, Chappie weighed about 70lbs, Hati about 40lbs. Chappie just wouldn’t stop, and I didnt know what else to do to keep him off of Hati . Luckily I had the adrenaline and experience with dog fights to know that I needed to get Hatí completely out of the equation. I never would’ve thought Chappie would do what he did next.. As soon as he realized Hatí was unattainable, Chappie grabbed my leg and started thrashing. I had on pretty high boots that took most of the bite , but I was still forced to FIGHT MY DOG . I was able to get him to the ground and sit on him, as he still kept trying to bite whatever he could, luckily but traumatically my three girls had realized what was happening and came to my aid . They began going after his face, which allowed me to catch my breath, and stopped as soon as I was able to yell. I sat on Chappie for almost 20 minutes until he was calm enough to get up. when he did so, it was like he didn’t know anything had happened.
I was in shock for a few days , Hatí survived , but cost me a pretty penny for his vet bill. He had punctures and lacerations on his neck and throat, and had swelling for months . I kept them separated, and alternated their time, so that the boys were never around eachother, while I desperately tried to find help, training, advice… Anything that could save Chappie .
Trying to find someone willing to work with a pitbull that has attacked unprovoked is pretty much pointless. To make matters worse, I was now afraid of him and he knew it. He fed off it. For about two weeks of our new separation routine I slowly started seeing a change in him. it was like he just decided, in that moment , that Hatí needed to die. He would not rest until he accomplished that goal. One day, while I was filling the water bowls for the day Chappie quietly busted out of his kennel and attempted to attack Hatí again. Luckily I was right there and able to grab him. He ripped up Hatí’s front legs pretty good, while I was slipping all over the tile that was soaked in a few gallons of their spilled water that I dropped . Hatí just screamed and shot piss straight in the air. I tore my groin in the process of trying to get Chappie confined again, all the while my girl dogs had begun fighting and moved right outside the door. This second incident left all but two dogs severely injured.
Dogs fighting just because other dogs are fighting is pretty common. But for my girls to get to the point of injuring eachother was not normal, and that was the last straw. There’s no place in this world for an aggressive pitbull. I had to say goodbye to Chappie, and make the hardest most responsible decision I’ve ever had to, and put him down. My kids and I got him a dozen cheeseburgers and ice cream from Mcdonalds before we took him to his final vet appointment. I almost backed out, but while waiting outside for the vet to clear the lobby so Chappie could go to his room without endangering other dogs, I had a moment of clarity and reassurance. Chappie attempted to attack his own reflection in the vets window. My sweet Chappie , had turned…
Now before I get the inevitable backlash of comments from people like my former self, I feel you should know that I understand. I understand that many pitbull lovers don’t want to believe what I now know to be the truth, and they won’t until they experience it first hand. With that , I hope they never do know the truth like I do now. I hope they never have to go through what I did. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Chappie turned my world, that revolves around dogs in every way, upside down, inside out, and into another dimension. Everything I’ve whole heartedly believed about dogs was wrong, I was wrong, I was ignorant , and I could’ve killed one of my kids or other dogs with my negligence had they been in the way when Chappie displaced his aggression. I want pitbull advocates that are reading this to understand that I sought the advice of numerous professionals , including a local pit lady, who is the best of the best when it comes to dealing with aggression. The decision to put Chappie down was the only responsible choice. You cannot rehabilitate unprovoked , unpredictable aggression, especially in a dog that will displace on a human, especially in a dog that will displace on their own human. It is not common, and it is not the dogs fault. But for any knowledgable dog person to say that aggression in pitbulls is not a possible trait is very ignorant. How can anyone believe that a breed of dog bred specifically to attack, fight and kill other dogs for hundreds of years can simply have that trait loved or bred out of them? You would have to discredit the breeding of every responsible breeder for the last few thousand years, the breeding that they’ve done to selectively remove certain traits from their lines , just as pitbulls have had aggression selectively bred in. How could I have ever ignored that? How was I ever so ignorant?
I will always love pitbulls. But I will never own another. I will never judge or shame the owners of dogs who have done bad things. I don’t know them, I don’t know if that dog came from a long line of fighting champions . I honestly can’t even argue BSL anymore, most pitbull breeders are idiots who do it for the wrong reasons, and until responsible breeders take on the task of spending a few hundred years removing aggression from the breed , I can never defend them indefinitely like I ignorantly used to. I will always understand that dogs are indeed individuals. But just as I have my moms green eyes, it is a fact, that some pitbulls will have their ancestors aggression.
I will always love you, My Chappie, and I will always remember you as my good boy