Across the world, tens and thousands of people have pets living within their home, but how many people feel like their pet is part of their home? Probably every person who owns a pet would say that their pet is considered family. Animals, just like us, belong to a family, whether it be out in the wild or pets in a human home. Across the United States, pitbulls are given a bad rap for how they look and act. Common stereotypes range from their aggressiveness to their looks to how they were used in the late 1800’s for fighting. These stereotypes are the excuses that people give as justification for mistreating their pitbulls or making foul comments against them. Plenty of people have pets that they love unconditionally, despite what people may think, or say about them. Daily, people react to pitbulls by running the other way when they see them or giving nasty looks. I come into contact with this more often than not in my neighborhood in Queens, New York. I get extremely offended when I’m doing ordinary activities such as walking my dog down the street and people that pass either move around us by going on the street or cross the street before they get the opportunity to come anywhere near my pitbull. I used to feel the same about big dogs, not specifically pitbulls but I used to look at them weird too. I believe I feel this way because when I was a child, the guinea pig I had along with the few goldfish I had over the years were just animals that I had to feed to keep them alive. I never had a dog or knew what it was like to love a pet.
There came a time in my life where my family decided on a new addition to the family. My family wanted a dog, preferably a pit bull. Everyone but me wanted to let a dog into our home. No part of me wanted a dog and it was unclear why. My feelings were neutral for them; no more and no less. Being that there was a majority, my parents and my sister went to the shelter to see which dog they wanted to bring home and yet I stayed. They came home ecstatic that they found a dog they wanted; a pitbull named Red. Red was an orange dog with big brown eyes and a white patch on his chest; he was cute but at the same time he was just going to be a pet that will live with me. A week later, he came home with my mother. He was curious, sniffing me and everything else he saw in sight. Then before I knew it, first night with him came to an end and I still wasn’t feeling anything towards him. A month went by, he was slowly starting to become a part of my life. He had so much energy and he was so happy all the time but especially when I came home after a long day at school. Playing fetch with him in my house wasn’t always easy due to the amount of space we had but it never stopped him from running around and sliding on the hardwood floors into a wall. It wasn’t until I started to enjoy his presence for me to realize that Red was more than just a dog living in my home. Daily, I played with him, fed him and made sure he went to sleep after I said goodnight to him. Slowly but surely, I began to feel a difference in my moods when I was with him. The nights I cried would be the nights he was there next to me licking my tears away, the nights where I needed company, he was there to give me that. As time passed, he became the motivation to get me through my day and what made me feel safe at night while I’m sleeping.
Red is a character, he may just only sleep, eat and go to the bathroom since he’s getting older, but he still has a heart of gold. That heart of gold within him gets separation anxiety when we now leave the house. That heart of gold decides not to eat until every single one of us is home from our day. On a bad day, he is the one to revive the house of its positive vibes. Red has changed our household from the start. Through the phases I’ve had with him in my life, I could not have been happier now. Due to his old age, his body is changing and every day that passes is another day I’m grateful to be in his life. My pitbull is one of a kind and fits into my family like a glove. He’s a spunky dog with so much life and happiness in his heart. My family hasn’t been the same since he stepped foot into our lives. He’s protected both my sister and I and made sure we knew he was always there. We try and take him as many places as we could, we worry about him all the time. He made an mark on my family that no other dog would be able to.
However, most importantly, he proved my thoughts as a kid completely wrong. Red is not just a dog, he’s my dog. The love my family and I have for him is unconditional and he shows his love back unconditionally as well. The more my eyes widen to the harmful things people do and say to pitbulls like mine, the more my family counteracts every negative act said about them. When others hear that I have a pitbull or see him, they run the other way. However, it is now 2018 and the one thing everyone else fails to understand is each dog, no matter the breed, has their own personality and each one of their personalities can be changed due to how they’re raised. Red was raised to be what a loving dog should be and it influenced his outstanding personality. He made my family what it is today and made me who I am today. The love I have for my pitbull inspires me to raise awareness for the fact that each dog should be loved despite the type of dog they are. My family and I have grown as people and accepted our pitbull into our family despite his looks or what other people tell us. . Yet, people still believe these harmful actions that people like me take offense to, like crossing the street at the sight of my dog or telling me to control him when he’s doing nothing wrong. Love should be unconditional for all dogs, despite the rumors and stereotypes on a breed. Each dog deserves a loving home and nonetheless, to be loved everywhere else by everyone else as well.