January 27, 2011
After meeting Sting, an American Staffordshire terrier, I can fully appreciate why people are afraid of pit bulls. Technically, Sting is not a pit bull, but he sure looks like one.
He’s a solid mass of muscle. You get the impression that you could run into him at full speed and he wouldn’t budge. And he’s got a big face — placid, sure, but all the better to bite you with.
Then there are those tiger stripes. Sting’s short fur has a black-and-orange mottling that makes him look like he could be a jungle animal.
Topping things off are those awful words: “pit” and “bull.” Both have bad connotations. A pit is not a place where anyone wants to be — it’s dark, dangerous and down there. A bull, of course, reminds us of the bulls that matadors fight. Plus, if you add a “y” it becomes “bully,” and no one likes a bully.
So anyway, there was Sting — seeming to meet all of anyone’s preconceptions. It didn’t take long, though, before I realized he was one of the best behaved dogs I have ever met. He went wherever he was led. He stood still. He didn’t try to jump on people or slobber on them. And all this was taking place in our newsroom with a bunch of strangers around. Most dogs would be going crazy trying to figure out all the new scents. He even met another dog with a polite sniff exchange.
Sting was every inch the perfect gentleman.
The upshot of all this is that I can now better understand why so many people support the concept of banning the deed, not the breed. I’d sure hate to see a nice fellow like Sting kicked out of Kamloops.
He’s obviously been well trained and well cared for. He has good owners. Could he be turned into a ferocious, biting machine by bad owners? Maybe. But that would be the fault of those bad owners — not Sting.