I have been writing this post in my head for a long time now. Years, even. And some of you may think you are going to read something very different by what the title suggests, but this blog is about two subjects that are very near and dear to my heart, and it is my hope that by reading this, some people come away with a new perspective.
This past week (May 13th - 19th) is National Police Week, and next week (May 20th - 26th) is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. It seemed only appropriate for me to FINALLY write this blog post now seeing as these two weeks are very important to me both personally and professionally.
I am a dog trainer married to a cop. This means I am bombarded daily with the stereotyping that is done by the media and the public on both pit bulls and police officers. Both parties suffer because of stereotyping and media portrayal and I wanted to take a moment to show the similarities between the two.
Pit bulls are constantly in the media for "attacking" or "mauling" people and police officers nowadays can do nothing right, their every move is video taped, analyzed and publicized by the media in sometimes a very dirty and unfair way. Both parties get little to any real justice when the truth is finally fully revealed, and people are left viewing or perceiving that pit bulls are unpredictable, dangerous creatures, and police officers are brutal, racist, and not to be trusted.
The result of all this misinformation being thrown around is a love-hate relationship with both parties. People either love pit bulls, or run away screaming at the sight of one, and the same goes for cops. Most people who love pit bulls do so because they own one, they've worked with one, or they just like standing up against ignorance and intolerance. People who love cops are usually related to one, know one personally, or are in a similar profession. The people who hate or dislike pit bulls and/or cops, usually have had a negative experience with one, or had a friend who had one, OR are gathering most of their information from what they see on T.V.
Am I saying that all pit bulls are wonderful and every cop is an angel? No. Of course not. But viewing one video of a dog or cop in a certain situation and then turning that into a stereotype that encompasses an entire BREED or PROFESSION is ignorant and cruel. The result is dogs dying and a war on the police profession. It gets us nowhere and ends tragically.
What I AM saying is that we need to educate ourselves and those around us. When we see those news stories, or those videos on social media, take a step back and forget the drama of it and the "band wagon" we all want to jump on. Keep an open mind, ask critical questions and look at the situation as a whole, not as one incident that has been cleverly edited to appear as something else.
Police officers risk their lives everyday protecting us. They miss holidays, birthdays and time with their loved ones to serve their community and keep us all safe. Tomorrow ends police week, and I ask that you take a moment to thank a local officer for his/her service. Trust me, it means more to them than you know.
Pit bulls are an absolutely wonderful, loving breed and they die every day because of our ignorance. So for dog bite prevention week, I ask that instead of continuing to attempt to ban breeds, we ask how we can prevent bites by educating ourselves on dog body language, communication and factual information to prevent tragedies from happening.