I have spent the last week and a half endlessly repeating to my close personal friends what is absolutely the best title/author sequence: Bully: It’s the Pits by Paul 107 (né Labonté [blog]). Great cover, tons of moxie, attitude out the arse, more fonts than you can shake a pirate CD at. And it’s all about pit bulls.
I am not a dog person. I am a cat person. I have been bitten three times by four dogs, the last time by two mastiffs at once. (Charges were filed. The owners and the dogs mysteriously disappeared. I don’t know what happened beyond that.) I am not afraid of dogs; I merely evaluate every single one of them walking toward me, along with their owners.
Pit bulls, and all dogs vaguely resembling them, are now proscribed in Ontario. You can’t breed any more of them, and your dog has to wear a muzzle in public. And, I’m sorry, I am totally in favour of that based on my own experience. A pit bull didn’t bite me, but they growl at me and run at me, and their owners are the lowest scum this side of New Brunswick.
When evaluating the combination of dog and owner, the phrase welfare dog comes in handy. Why, just last week I was trying to leave my house and had to stop cold because a woman (not uncommon) was walking her giant white carnivore right past my path. The highly sentient creature, the one wearing the muzzle, looked at me, started to turn its snout forward, then decided she had enough time and license to turn back at me and growl. It was a premeditated, luxurious attempt to bully a human being. It is indeed the pits.
(“That woman’s welfare dog growled at me,” I loudly said within earshot of the owner.)
The problem with pit bulls isn’t the dogs. It’s the gestalt of the dogs and the arseholes who buy them. Of course there are responsible owners of benign, loving pit bulls. I saw such a pair on the subway two weeks ago. But there are gay Republicans and blind photographers and albino blacks, too; exceptions do not prove rules. I have suffered too many times at the hands of wiggers – one of them the loudest and most aggressive homophobe ever (and a girl!) – decked out with fashionable macho dogs as an external id.
I noted whilst reading Bully: It’s the Pits by Paul 107 that discussion of the temperament of “pits” (and “Staffys” and the like) often mentioned that, yes, if you cross them, you’ll get what’s coming to you. The opponents’ point is thus confirmed. Benign dogs don’t need their own “scrapbooks.” And dogs this muscular and underpadded – the heads look like exorbital skulls – do not necessarily benefit from the book’s wall-to-wall photography. About a third of the photos make the dogs look as scary and alien as they so often are.
Shall we look at some signature passages?
- “The breakstick is used to separate dogs once one has gripped onto another. It’s a tool dogmen use. But it’s a tool that any responsible bulldog owner should carry, as it will open a dog’s jowls even if it is unwilling to release”
- “On why she loves this particular breed, she listed off heart, smarts, loyalty, and the fact that the dogs don’t look for trouble, but that they won’t let themselves be pushed around”
- “Dread never bit anyone…. e wasn’t unsound; he was just too defensive. You couldn’t reach in the car with him if you didn’t know him. That, to me, is not correct pit-bull temperament, and in the hands of foolish people, it’s getting the breed in trouble”
And I certainly found some of the unexplained terminology confusing. Try this: “I could throw Dirk in with three pit bulls that were cur, and he would be a champion…. A dog who may have heartworm, be dysplasic, be a cur, or be sick and worn down from a poor keep. Richard Stratton makes the comment that he absolutely can’t tell if a dog is game or not unless he fights it.” Pardon?
Love the book, fear the subject.