Monday, January 2, 2012

Pit Bulls as Therapy Dogs

This article was spotted by a friend on Twitter. It's worth sharing. We've moved toward being a culture that is afraid of certain kinds of dogs and forget that by in large, the problem is with how people train and treat dogs. Check out this story about pit bulls as therapy dogs and keep it in mind the next time you encounter breed specific legislation in your local communities. (read more about BSLs here and here.
Of particular interest, by the way, is that breed specific legislation in Bermuda would make me a restricted dog. Can you imagine someone wanting to restrict Magnolia Wigglesworth? That's ridiculous. Check it out here.
AUSTIN (KXAN) - In the gymnasium at north Austin's Gullett Elementary School, a young boy sits on the floor with a book in his lap. The child is trying to sharpen his reading skills and he has a helper. Actually, he has two helpers: a woman who is volunteering her time and her dog.
Across the room, Patti Brauss, a 14-year veteran physical education teacher, watches with a grin on her face.
"There are kids who absolutely light up when they see a dog and that builds bridges sometimes if there's a stressful situation in the classroom," said Brauss, "or a skill the child can't do, and by being able to share that with a dog or be motivated by the dog, we can't do that as humans. It's the power of the petting."
On the gym floor another dog rolls over on her back and accepts some of that petting from another student.
"I think she's precious," the child said. "She's precious; she's a precious dog."
Nearby, another girl bends down and kisses a dog on the head.
Nearby, another girl bends down and kisses a dog on the head.
It's not just the kids that are getting into it all. Owner Ashley Arkin brought her dog to the gym.
"It's that emotional connection that just breaks you down and brings you back to your primal self," she said. "I love it; I love helping other people and the best thing I can do is help others with my dog."
The thing is, though, Arkin's dog is not just any dog. He's a pit bull dog! That's right, the breed that many people condemn as vicious and uncontrollable. Type "pit bull attacks" into Google and you'll be deluged with over 2,000,000 hits. Pit bull owner Lydia Zaidman begs to differ.
"They love people; they're extremely tolerant of people." Zaidman said. "Of course, each individual one has to be temperament tested and each one is an individual like any other dog. But in general, they temperament test very high. They really love people; they like to be around people and so they do really well."
Click here for the rest of the article

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