A bad reputation - or is it?
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 by Ron Cruger
       Big dogs have always frightened me. In fact, any animal with teeth bigger than mine frightens me. A few years ago, during a morning jog, I spied a large German Shepherd a full block away. The animal, which must have weighed seventy to eighty pounds, loose and without its owner, was standing still, eying me. My jog ended there. I turned and jogged (actually ran) home, not caring to tempt the animal fates. I’m sure the beast’s teeth were larger than mine.
       On an exercise walk up the street recently I found myself facing a cheerful looking woman being led by a large pit bull mix on a leash. As the woman and her pet neared me she smiled. The pit bull glared at me. I forced a puny grin (if there is such a thing as a “stinky-cowardly-puny-grin” that’s what I displayed).
       As we passed each other the pit bull strained on the leash, wanting to come closer to my left leg, presumably to bite it and wrench it apart from my body. The woman, tugging mightily on the leash, said, “Oh, don’t be afraid, he’s a sweet dear.”
       “Sweet dear,” indeed. The dark coated pit bull was still tugging at the leash, yanking the woman’s right arm. The pit bull either liked me and wanted me to pet it or, most likely was hungry and had his eyes set on making a snack out of my left leg.
       The Center for Disease Control reports that one third of all fatal dog attacks are caused by pit bull types. That’s proof enough for me to cross the street when I see of those “sweet dears” approaching.
       The next highest fatal dog attacks are perpetrated by Rottweilers. Add those hungry beasts to the list of animals with teeth bigger than mine who will find me crossing the street to avoid their angry, hungry glances.
       Many owners of these terrifying animals claim that they are nothing but “big babies.” They claim that their pet pit bulls and Rottweilers are “man’s best friends.” They offer that a pit bull or a Rottweiler is “The best friend a man could have.”
       Michael Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback didn’t choose pit bulls to habitat his dog fighting palace because they are “The best friend a man could have.” He chose pit bulls because, when thrown into a fighting arena they don’t quit biting until (a) they die, or (b) whatever happens to be lodged between their teeth dies.
       I read recently where some woman, whose pair of pit bulls attacked and nearly killed a neighbor lady, called her two dogs “big babies.” These “big babies,” along with Rottweilers are often not affected by dog repellent sprays – they just get angrier when they’re sprayed. Picture one of these dogs sniffing around you as you unleash the spray on them. Just gets them more liable to use your femur as a toothpick.
       Some fearless dog lover actually (for real) has the bright idea of mating a Great Dane with a Pit Bull Terrier. If the mating takes the guy could be creating everyman’s nightmare. I dare the owner to refer to the oversize creation as a “big baby” or a “sweet dear.”
       Seeing this creation up the block on my daily jog would motivate me to quickly run home and bar the doors and windows of the house. The Frankenstein monster would seem like your friendly Home Depot clerk compared to the new breed.
       German Shepherds, Rottweilers, pit bulls – they all strike fear in my heart. These aren’t pets, they’re enforcers – fear mongers, at least for me.
       Many countries, counties and cities have placed restrictions on the ownership of pit bulls and Rottweilers. I’d feel a lot safer if these animals could read the ordinances and abstain from aggressive behavior.
       If I wanted a dog to lie around my house I’d choose something like a lazy, lumpy Cocker Spaniel. I haven’t read about any Cocker Spaniels going wild, attacking children and old ladies in the neighborhood.
       As far as that guy who wants to mate a pit bull with a Great Dane, would somebody please stop him before the pup is born. I’m having nightmares already about walking down the street and seeing this huge, living hallucination coming towards me.
       I still don’t feel comfortable occupying the same acreage as any animal with teeth larger than mine. It’s just a thing I have.
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