At three months old, our son decided he wanted to roll off the bed. In barrel like fashion, he began his gleeful lemming journey to the edge of the bed. Ever the alert parent, I sat there tending to something else.
This story is supposed to end with a baby on the ground and me spending the day trying to find the right cap to hide the bump on his head while feeling like an awful parent, right?
Before my son made his first foray into professional diving, our dog, Stella, moved into action. Jumping from her sunbathing spot next to the window, she positioned herself on the edge of the bed. Sighing, she shoved the baby back towards the middle of the bed with her snout. Then she looked at me, as if to say, “Where is my damn treat, I saved the furless one’s life.”
Similar moments have filled the three years of my children’s lives. My kids heading towards what can only be a hospital visit, Stella swooping in and guiding her furless pups away from imminent danger.
Protecting her furless babies, asking only snuggles and scraps of breakfast. The bond built between my kids and her is palpable.
There is one problem.
Stella is a Pit Bull. They aren’t supposed to be nice, gentle, loving creatures. Since the birth of my children, we have dealt with the unsolicited advice on how we need to protect our children from our vicious dog lying lazily in the sun. The same dog who keeps one eye firmly on the kids, their safety becoming a top priority for her.
The problem isn’t our dog, who was rescued from under a dumpster when she was no bigger than the palm of my hand. It is owners who don’t know how to take care of pets. Just like there are bad children out there, whose only fault is having parents who suck.
Because of the stigma against Pit Bulls, I would spend every morning after work preparing my dog for the imminent arrival of children. Whether it was reading on how to introduce her to the new additions or working on her “tricks” to promote listening and obedience, I took the time to make sure she would be a family friendly pet.
It wasn’t hard.
What is hard is dealing with ignorant people. People who spend about as much time learning about Pit Bulls as they do posting how the breed(s) are killers. People who get a dog and don’t spend the time preparing said dog for situations in which it might feel uncomfortable.
When the boys, now three, become too much for our dog, she knows she has a zone in the house they aren’t allowed to bother her in. As they get more rambunctious and she gets a little more tired every day, she will make her way to the bedroom to rest without toddlers trying to use her as a pillow.
Stella, my rescue baby, was found under a dumpster. Left for dead. From there, she found her way to my family and came alive, nurturing and loving our children since the moment I sat their carseats in the kitchen and brought her to meet them.
I trust my dog with my kids more than I trust you with them.