this weekend was a great one. first of all, thanks again to andrew a., for providing a roof over my head. the main reason for my going back this weekend was to attend kara + jeff’s ring dunk, which included more than a few acts of wheeled bi-pedal showmanship, and to catch up with my dear friends in college station – to capture the event on film .jpeg was an added bonus. check out the photo set on Flickr**. congrats to everyone else who got their rings this weekend, including alex s.!
the fact that i only spent one night in college station certainly did not affect the amount of nonsense that took place. as most of you know, i take my dog jenga with me wherever i go whenever i can. the fact that she is so well-behaved makes it such an easy task – i feel it’s her job as well as mine to represent the breed. in any case, during the party (which was held outdoors, in between three duplexes) a young woman accompanied by a young man came by and asked to borrow a bathroom. after they thanked us, the woman caught sight of jenga, and began petting and cooing at her. at this, the man began telling us how he bred pit bulls in his backyard, and that he was selling them if any of us wanted one. these two had very apparently just come from northgate, and i assumed they were students/fellow aggies, but this sudden confession left me bristling. i took possession of jenga, informing them she was mine, and that she had been bred before, but i had her fixed first thing. i asked the man if he was selling his dogs with papers, and other pertinent questions, and he undeniably faltered in his answers. i seriously doubt if he was providing his animals with the proper medication, such as de-worming, flea and heartworm prevention, and rabies vaccinations. these are all things that responsible breeders will make sure are taken care of. responsible breeders are also educated breeders, and will know things such as selling a puppy before it is 10 weeks old is extremely unwise. puppies learn important socialization skills from their mother and litter mates, and puppies separated too soon may develop serious socialization issues, such as nipping/biting, and not understanding how to react, resulting in over- or under-reaction to certain stimuli or situations. for example, a puppy who nips his litter mates too hard will be told its bite caused pain when the other puppy yelps or retaliates. without this crucial feedback during this just as crucial time, a puppy taken from his litter too soon may never learn to curb the problem. lesson learned? if you are in the market for a puppy, any puppy, MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT BUYING FROM A BACKYARD BREEDER. these people are just one step down from a puppy mill. i know i’ve “soapboxed” about this numerous times, but please consider adoption first. if you decide it’s just not for you, then please at least ask a lot of questions and make sure your puppy is coming from a good place and good people, and that your hard-earned money isn’t lining the pockets of heartless bastards that pump puppies out of their dogs for cash. one glaring clue: a reputable, respectable breeder will not “hunt down” buyers. i don’t mean someone on the side of the road with puppies and a sign (i understand that sometimes the family dog unexpectedly has puppies) – but if someone approaches you unprovoked, and advertises they have puppies for sale, you should be on your guard. a respectable breeder will be confident of their own reputation – they want responsible owners, both out of love for the dog and the breed, as well as for the protection of their reputation. they should want to make sure you will be a good owner just as much as you want to make sure they are a good breeder. if you decide to purchase from a breeder, which is many times the only and best option for many purebred dogs, don’t let them come to you – do your own research, and seek them out.
only adding to my annoyance were the drunk northgate-goers i and jenga were forced to pass on our way to my car in the northgate garage. one guy mumbled, “ooh man, that’s a pit right there…“, two girls swaying unsteadily were herded off the sidewalk and into the bike lane by the guy in their group to avoid walking by jenga, and a third man drunkenly announced, “don’t touch that dog, it’s a staffie!” he was in more danger of my sewing his mouth shut than jenga being too dangerous to touch. i’m certain my photos of her free-roaming at the party, where there were no shortage of strangers, serves as just proof. i was more concerned with her meeting other off-leash dogs than encountering a stranger. in fact, my mom was reading a book on dog breeds last week at barnes and noble, and under “american staffordshire terrier (american pit bull terrier)“, it stated clearly that the breed was very people-oriented/friendly, but could be relentless toward other dogs. yes, pit bulls were historically bred as fighting dogs, but the consequence is their tendency to be dog-aggressive; not human-aggressive. so, do me a favor: if you hear stupid, baseless comments about pit bulls being vicious towards humans, set them straight. which reminds me…
important side note: pit bulls DO NOT have “lockjaw”. the closest examples to such a thing in nature are the bite of a crocodile/alligator (for similar reasons behind the fantasy that pit bulls can lock their jaws – it only seems so due to sheer strength), and the ability of snakes to swallow their prey/eggs whole (snakes can unhinge and re-hinge their jaws to accommodate large dinners). finally, i’d like to take a moment to thank PBS, who made the programs “Nature” and “NOVA” available to me as a child. call today and become a member of your local PBS station and support quality, educational programming = save the world from the uninformed, uncultured mob one person at a time.
to end on cheerier news – i’ve always enjoyed the drive to and from college station thanks to the great views of the country. i’ve always preferred the beauty of an open field, a tightly packed forest, and an organized stretch of corn or wheat to a city-scape or snow-capped mountains. i saw several photo opportunities, but the perils of making u-turns and parking on the shoulder of a relatively remote and hilly highway proved too much for me; i only managed one pull-over. i’ve watched my hometown overdevelop over the years – i remember being excited to see the 10+ horses on a large swath of land on the corner of highway 59 and highway 6 on my way home from middle school – it is now smothered by a monstrous whole foods with strip mall tentacles. nature taken over by an organic foods grocer…the irony is almost too much to bear. note to those whose families own land: if it’s within your power, don’t sell and don’t develop. please.
*photos property of g.cheng & imunlisted.wordpress.com
**please remember my photo sharing policy.