"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When Grandma Doesn’t Know Best

Changing misperceptions often happens one person at a time

By Kirstyn Northrop Cobb  (Reprinted from StubbyDog.org)

We all know that there are misconceptions about pit bulls out there, and as people who love them we know that it is our job to change minds. But what if the critics are your own family members?

My grandmother is terrified of dogs. Not just dogs, all animals. Dogs, cats, bunnies, mice, you name it. I’ve seen her not go out into her yard because there was a squirrel in it. She was never pleased with the fact that I have dogs, and it just got worse when I rescued my first pit bull dog.
He was just a baby when I brought him home. A little guy who needed rescuing, and how could I turn him down? She knew that I brought a new puppy home. I wasn’t going to tell her that it was a pit bull. She didn’t know what one was anyway, all she knew is what she heard on the news. But someone told her. I still don’t know who, but one day, she confronted me. “Is that dog really a pit bull?” she asked. “Yes,” I said. And then she sat down and cried. Yep, cried. “But you have a daughter. How could you do that to her? What are you going to do when that dog rips her face off?” Those were her exact words. I said, “We’ll be fine”.

She didn’t let it go. She called and called and begged me to reconsider. She asked my husband how could he let me do this? (I would like to point out something here: “Let me do this”? Really? Anyone who knows me knows that there is no “let me do this.” I’m going to do what I’m going to do and that’s that.) She called my mom. Maybe my mom could convince me to change my mind. Maybe my mom would have my daughter stay with her, and then she would be safe. My poor 85-year-old grandmother was up at night worrying and was losing sleep.

Eventually, as time wore on, she must have realized that the dog was staying. The calls were less frequent and eventually stopped. After my little pit bull, Gus, lived with us for about four years, I figured that it was safe to bring it up again. So one day, I said to her, “You know, we’ve had this dog for about four years now and nothing bad has happened.” She replied, “Well, maybe your dog is OK.” And I responded with, “Well, then by default, they’re not all bad, huh?”

She conceded.

And that’s what it’s all about. Changing minds one at a time. And if we can change my grandmother’s stubborn mind, then one by one, we can repair a damaged reputation.


  1. Just an FYI, facebook gave me a warning that this site may be unsafe or spam and made me acknowledge it before putting me through to your blog. No idea what you can do about it though. LoneStarMelody

  2. I love taking my pit rescue, Milo, out in public to meet people. He is so warm & friendly & has been changing minds since the day he rescued us. I say that because I got him several months after putting my 12 year old Boer down & swearing that I would never open my heart & home to another animal. Seeing Milo's pictures & hearing his story changed my mind very quickly. Dealing with some pretty serious health problems this past year, it has been very reassuring to have my faithful friend by my side, loving me unconditionally. He is an ideal companion for me & a very important part of our family now.

  3. This is almost the exact same story as when I got out Pit Bull...no lie it almost sounds word for word the conversation I had with my grandma! Amazing how people are so close minded! We all need to be on the mission to change one mind at a time! :)

  4. Great story. When I take my Jasper out walking little kids love to pet him and play with him. He is a sweetheart and all he wants to do is play. He is a rescue and I don't know his past for the first 5 years of his life. But wonder how someone could have ever let him go. He is my sweetheart, my buddy for life. Rebecca McCoy. Fort Worth Tx.

  5. We took our female Pitt (rescue), and her foster sister-mix breed, to a large outdoor, performing arts festival on Saturday Night. People were surrounding us to pet Pebbles. There was only 2 families, both Asian, who pulled their children out of "harms" way. Amazing, 5 years ago, people would have totally avoided a Pitbull. We couldn't be more proud.

  6. My mother, whom is now 67 yrs old, comes over to my house and feeds and keeps my 3 Pits company when we leave for the weekend....about 10 yrs ago, she had the same misconseption about Pits too, now she has no problem.

  7. my grandfather has two pit's and he treats one better then the other dog. The male dog, who isn't treated as well as the female dog, he is the nicest dog i've ever met. one day while i was walking home from school a van was following me..so once i got home(to my grandfather's house) The male, Tiny was waiting for me like always, and when the guy asked me to come to the van..the dog stood in front of me and helped the guy to go away. he pretty much saved me from whatever that guy would have done since i was walking home alone. ever since that and another time this dog saved me i've loved pit bulls. i don't like how people believe they are bad dogs. that's like saying all people are bad. every dog and person is different.