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Bet you never thought you would hear me say those words!  I have been against breed legislation from the get go, but today, what has been a laughing matter (the evil chihuahua stories) hit home. One of our Chihuahuas, Bessie, waited in line at the town sponsored Rabies vaccine and licensing clinic. While there she never made a sound, behaved impeccably amid much larger (she was the only Chi there) dogs who barked and lunged, pulling their owners around the parking lot dispite their prong collars. And what did she tell me when she came home? Most of the conversations around her were about dogs, of course, and she kept hearing, “Chihuahuas bite, even if they seem nice don’t trust them”.  “All Chihuahuas are evil” etc. Now, I was highly offended. Here is my favorite breed being labeled as vicious dogs. Now, let me remind you that BOTH our Chihuahuas are graduates of a Pet Assisted Therapy program, and are working in a nursing home. I know that sometimes there are issues with their big egos and hearts but it seems terribly unfair that a dog is not judged as an individual.

I do understand that some Chi’s do not have the temperament to do what our girls do, but most often comes from poor socialization or allowing them to get away with things because they are “cute”. However, it just seems to me that judging a dog, and in the case of breed legislation such as “Pitbull” owners experience is so unfair. I have never met a bad Pit, and have met many Chi’s that are great little dogs.

Unfortunately people breed certain traits into a dog, fail to teach basic manners or to socialize and or exercise their dogs, and then punish the dogs and responsible pet owners for the failings of a few. Even most disturbing is the Facebook and youtube postings of children hopping on dogs or otherwise tormenting a dog, while the dog lays there with whale eyes..and the parents are filming and encouraging the child. We should be teaching children to respect animals, learning about dogs and their behaviors, and giving them all a fair chance in life….lots of socialization as a youngster,  setting expectations, learning about the dogs we bring into our homes and hearts;these can make a huge difference in the quality of the bond we share with our animals, and can be far more important than labeling a breed.

And as for Bessie..she will get through this…with support from her loving family. And for those of you with dogs with “bad reputations”….be sure your dog is an ambassador for their breed, and EDUCATE, EDUCATE,EDUCATE…after all, most dogs that are in the news because of bad behaviors are not in the news because of their genes!

And by the way, I do realize that Bessie is just a dog…or is she?