Today, as I was absentmindedly taking the garbage cans to the curb for tomorrow’s pickup, I was suddenly and unexpectedly greeted by what looked to be a relatively large pit bull terrier rapidly trotting toward me. By the time I’d turned around from tending to the can, he was already upon me and I hardly had time to react. I remember seeing the dog, realizing how close he was to me, freezing in place and blurting out the first thing that came to mind.
Not only could I not I believe that I was face to face with an apparently stray pit bull but I also couldn’t believe that he was so friendly. The usual stereotype of pit bulls is that they are insanely aggressive and will attack anyone and anything that breathes and is not their master. Apparently, this stereotype isn’t as true as I thought it was (as I learned from Wikipedia just moments ago). As I looked at it and its demeanor toward me, I knew it wouldn’t attack me. In fact, he looked at me as if I was a friend, someone he’d known for years. I wanted to pet him and hug him and take him into my home and treat him with love and care for years to come. But, I was still wary of his temperament so I didn’t make any sudden moves and as soon as it turned its back on me, I darted into my backyard and closed the gate.
I hated to do this, as I discovered that the dog was following me. Closing the gate in his face made me feel this horrible sensation of guilt in the pit of my stomach, guilt that’s still there as I write this. But, being safe (or at least, somewhat safe) allowed me to pull out my phone and take a couple pictures. They admittedly aren’t the best pictures in the world seeing as I couldn’t follow him around to command his attention but they allow you to see just how lovable this dog looks. I wish I could’ve gotten a picture with him facing the camera so you could see how friendly he seemed but, I didn’t. I did, however, capture a brief video that I have uploaded to YouTube.
As you can see, the dog is gorgeous. Obviously well fed, he was large, playful and full of energy. His coat was clean and he appeared to be well groomed. This makes me think that perhaps he wasn’t a stray. Maybe his owner accidentally left the gate open and he got out and was wandering about looking for home. Maybe he escaped from an owner that wasn’t treating him right and that he didn’t like but was nonetheless loyal enough not to attack him. I don’t know. Whatever the case may be, without a collar of any kind, there was no way I could’ve perhaps contacted his owner to let them know that I’d found his or her dog, if there was an owner at all.
After I managed to get the garbage cans to the curb without the dog mauling me, I regrettably had to leave and go to a family get-together so, with the dog following me around the car as I got into it; I hated closing the door on him once again and driving off, his big brown eyes following me as I left. I really wish I could’ve taken him in, even if only for a short time until his owner had been located but it wasn’t my decision and making spur of the moment decision to take in a dog, especially a Pit Bull, doesn’t seem like the best idea. He just had this warm, inviting look about him that said “I’ll be your best friend for as long as I’m here” and as much as I love dogs, it was tough walking away from him.
This experience resonates particularly strongly with me because it reminds me of a story my father told me years ago. When I was young, no older than two or three, I suddenly became very, very ill. Prior to my illness, a stray dog had started showing up outside our home and just sat there, staring up at my room. At night, while I was sick, the dog would howl incessantly until my father went outside to chase him away. Each subsequent night after until I was well again, the dog would return and sit in the same spot and howl. When I did recover, the dog disappeared, seemingly because it no longer had to look after me. I was far too young at the time to remember this occurring but the story has always stayed with me and has likely fueled my love of dogs.
I now wonder where the dog is now because he wasn’t around when I got home this evening but I know that I shouldn’t worry about it too much. He’ll be alright and so will I. Someday, I know that I will be a dog owner. Whether or not I own an American Pit Bull Terrier remains to be seen but this experience has definitely caused me to grow fond of them.