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Veterinarian Technician May 2009 (Vol 30, No 5)

Editor's Letter — Congratulations on Your New Son

by Marianne Tear

    I have a new "son" — and no, he wasn't planned. Brosius (pronounced "Bro-shu-s"), named after the former Yankee third baseman, Scott Brosius, is an adorable, rambunctious 13-week-old puppy. Like any proud new mom, I tell everyone about my new addition: coworkers, friends, family, cashiers at the grocery store, total strangers, etc. Everyone's initial response is "Congratulations," followed by "What kind?" To my amazement, the happy, shared smile disappears from most faces when I reply, "He's a pit bull puppy."

    It wouldn't be so bad if the smile was just replaced by a frown. But perfect strangers and family members alike then feel the need to tell me every horrible story they have heard about pit bulls and what carnage they expect to befall my family. I realize I have opened myself up to their rants by announcing my new addition, but I wonder how many new Labrador or golden retriever moms are subjected to such hateful comments.

    Granted, pit bulls make the news a lot. They are involved in some horrific bites and used in dog fights through no fault of their own. As a technician with many years of emergency experience, I can tell you that it's not the injured pit that scares me — it's the injured "family dog." The pits were always the stoic ones — or at worse they were giving kisses while you tried not to manipulate their fractured leg. They can't change their stubborn, independent-yet-wanting-to-please personality anymore than border collies can change their need to work and herd.

    I'm not sure how things got so out of control for the bully breeds. I will admit a partial responsibility, though. I sat back and watched — upset mind you — and did nothing while communities passed ordinances against "vicious" dogs. I knew that bully breeds and the other so-labeled dogs were to some extent a product of their normal personality as well as their environment. I thought that other people would speak out — probably with more passion and education than I could.

    Doing nothing in the face of a bad situation is wrong, but having done nothing as a compassionate veterinary professional now makes me ashamed. So I'm going to do something for my new son — the one that has to be more perfect than all the other dogs in his puppy class. I am going to be a vocal and outspoken addition to the legions of responsible parents of "vicious" dogs. Look out world — there's no force quite like a veterinary technician on a mission.

    NEXT: FDA: Nutro Not Subject of Investigation