I enjoyed reading your comment and appreciate you sharing it.
You know, as I continue to search the Internet, I'm stunned at the lame, tired excuses I keep hearing from pit bull advocates. I am the former pit bull owner from above that had to put the dog down, and this is our pit bull story.
My husband and I were young, healthy, didn't have kids yet, and both grew up with lots of family pets, and lots of dogs. We were finally in a home where we could have a dog, and we couldn't wait to get one. We were (and still are) committed to reducing the stray population, and supporting local animal shelters, and neither of us felt the need to insist on a purebred dog--for the purpose of a family pet, we felt a mixed breed was great.
And here is one thing that pit bull advocates have on their side--pit bull puppies are cute! They really are! With their kinda smooshy noses and their little triangle ears, they can totally grab a dog lover's heart at a glance. The pit bull mix puppy that we adopted did that to us, I know. Plus, she was that gorgeous brindle color that pits and bulldogs and some of those related dogs share. We talked to our vet about the temperament issue, and got the same, tired, "It's how you treat them," line that I've heard so often since.
So when reasonably kind, educated, animal- loving people hear that, you know what we think? We think, "Well, gee, obviously we have no intentions of training this dog to fight, nor are we going to abuse it in any way, including the fact that we do not intend to keep this dog on a chain. We plan on getting it spayed, appropriately vaccinated and wormed, and we will commit to exercising it every day." And we lived in the wide open spaces of high desert country in New Mexico, so we weren't in a highly populated area, although, we of course did have neighbors with children and dogs. "We will make a concerted effort to obedience train this dog, and we will socialize it with other people and dogs." And we did.
Now, the next time some pit bull fancier says that it's irresponsible, stupid, cruel, yada yada yada owners that are responsible for attacks, I am here to say that I believe that lots of those owners are well-intentioned suckers just like we were. Seduced by a pretty face and platitudes, we had no idea what we were bringing into our house.
The year we owned Maddie was insane. We introduced her to new adults and children all the time, and we were never sure how she would react to an individual. Sometimes she was just widdle puddle of doggy wuv who licked and wiggled when she met people, and sometimes she would just LOOK at someone and give this terrific WOOF!! (And it was one loud, scary-ass bark) and we knew we had to be uber careful. The same thing happened with dogs. Some she could and did play with for hours, and some we knew she would've swallowed whole if we'd let her.
I believe that because she was a mixed breed that was quite obviously crossed with something far away from the pit bull gene pool, we got a lot more advanced warning of aggression than a lot of owners get. The day she got loose, did NOT come back when called, and proceeded to chase a very pregnant neighbor down the street until she ran and shut herself into the house, was the last day we owned her. It scared the shit out of me. As soon as I got hold of Maddie and got back to my house with her, I had screaming death threats on my answering machine from the pregnant lady's husband. And who could blame the man? Maddie was put to sleep after that, and yes, it broke my heart, but I'd rather have my heart broken at losing a dog, than be haunted by the memories of someone getting severely hurt because of my stubborn pride.
I know this is long and rambling, but I hoped that it might make some reasonable people think before wading into this mess by adopting one of these pups.