October 28, 2016

Jazz


Happy Halloween!
Did you know that October was #PitBullAwarenessMonth?
6 months ago that wouldn't have mattered to me at all, since I had no affiliation with the breed and didn't really give them much thought. Since adopting Jazz however, that's changed considerably and I'm now much more aware of how this breed is misjudged.
Today I'm sharing the story of our fur baby, Jazz, who's a pitbull/jack russel mix to help raise awareness about this lovable and loyal breed. I never saw myself as the "pitbull type", but the moment I met Jazz I fell in love.



J and I were house hunting and this little ball of love was at one of the houses we viewed. As soon as we walked in, she greeted us with kisses and rolled over on to her back for belly rubs. The house wasn't great, but I (jokingly) asked whether she came as part of the package, to which the landlord responded "Actually, the tenants want to get rid of her...they're down sizing and can't take her." 

I told him I would be in touch, as we were looking for a companion for our labrador, but we couldn't take Jazz until we found a new place. I couldn't get my mind off of this sweet girl and kept thinking about her after that first meeting. She seemed like the perfect, docile companion for our Alpha female labrador, J'ouvert.

A week later we finally found our current home, and I excitedly called the landlord to ask about adopting the pitbull, only to be told that they had already "gotten rid of her" and the landlord had no idea where she was.

Not only that, but he refused to give me the contact information of the tenants so that I could get in touch with them!

I frantically started calling every shelter and vet in Barbados and almost pulling my hair out. 

After 2 days, I finally found her.

She had been given back to the shelter where her previous owners had originally adopted her from, and she was still looking for a home.

I called the shelter and spoke with a volunteer to find out a little bit about her before coming to see her. 

This was our conversation:

"Hi there! I'm calling about a cute pit bull mix who recently came to your shelter. I'd like to hear a little bit about her story and if there is anything I need to know about her before adopting her."

"Oh you mean Princess! Let me tell you a little bit about Princess..." He said.

I spent the next 20 minutes learning of her history of killing two small dogs, and hatred of other dogs. I couldn't believe what this person was telling me over the phone....the dog I met was so gentle and affectionate! but then again, she was a pitbull mix and that was to be expected, right? People had warned me when I told them about this lovely pit mix I had fallen in love with. Shit.

My heart sank as I listened to him explain the circumstances:

"Poor girl is not to be blamed for these killings, as the little dogs had literally been thrown into her territory and she was merely defending herself in both cases. She's a lovely dog. It was poor ownership! She can't be with other dogs right now though. As a 60lb American pit...."

My ears perked up.

"Wait a second. I don't think that this dog is 60lbs. I don't know what kind of pit she is, but she seemed smaller and was super friendly! Are you sure that we're talking about the same dog who lived in a blue house in Fort George?"

The phone went silent.

"oh! You mean Jazz! Sorry about that. Jazz is lovely, such an amazing dog. She hasn't killed anything, she wouldn't hurt a fly. Her owners got rid of her because they were downsizing and couldn't take her to their new house."

I knew it!

With that, I went straight to the shelter to pick her up, and when I saw her it was as though we were old friends being reunited. She immediately hopped on my lap for cuddles.

(I did go and see Princess as well, and she was indeed a beautiful, friendly American Pit Bull who just needed the right home)


My landlord came by recently and saw the dogs in our yard. She pointed at Jazz and said "You gotta be careful with those aggressive ones..." As if on cue, Jazz rolled over on her back for a belly rub, while J'ouvert started barking furiously at my landlord (who she had met before).

I corrected my landlord and told her that the lab was the one to watch out for.

Jazz is (we think) a mix between a pitbull and jack russell and she has the most loving temperament. She's a complete sop, loves cuddling, walks and attention. 



As I said before, I never saw myself as the 'pitbull type', I always assumed they were aggressive and untrustworthy, but I know realise how silly it is to make broad statements about a particular breed. 

In Barbados, animal welfare is an ongoing issue (especially when it comes to how people perceive dogs as 'property' and not as 'pets' - but that's another issue) and as a proud new pit mom, I feel responsible for correcting false information and changing the perception of these incredible dogs. 

As pit family owners, we are their voice, and they are depending on us to educate the public: not only about the breed in general, but with respect to responsible ownership practices, to dispel the false information out there, and to restore their reputation as a great pet and companion. 

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