Please help put an end to breed bans in Northeast Ohio and around the country. For those of you in Northeast Ohio, the following cities currently ban these amazing dogs because of the way they look.

Lakewood, Parma, Garfield Heights & Warrensville Heights. Many other cities don't ban them but deem them dangerous.

When I was doing a book signing recently, a lady named Dina sat down at the table and in a quite and sneaky voice said, "I need to talk to you." I got nervous for a second. It's funny looking back at it. Dina said that her daughter Kayla has a best friend that's changed her life. And it's a pit-mix rescue dog named Roxy. I immediately asked Dina when I could come over to meet them. I live for sharing stories like this.

Dina has never been fond of dogs. That is until one of her sons foster-failed with a boxer/pit mix named Liberty. Kayla fell in love with Liberty and it was heartbreaking for Dina to see her disappointment each time she saw Liberty then had to part ways. Kayla has always loved dogs from the time she was very young but never had a dog of her own. Seeing how Liberty opened up Kayla's communication and built her self-confidence were some of the factors that contributed to adopting Roxy.

Kayla and Roxy love to go for walks, play fetch, watch movies and go on car rides together. She loves to teach Roxy new tricks. According to Dina, Roxy puts up with Kayla's high performance standards. I can attest to this as I saw it many times during my visit with them last week. Kayla is very persistent and doesn't settle until Roxy completes the task. Roxy always plays along patiently knowing there's a treat in store for her in the end. Kayla loves to feed Roxy. In her world this is associated with love and nurturing.

Dina says that they are so good for each other because Roxy brings out a sense acceptance, importance and need in Kayla. Kayla and Roxy have a symbiotic relationship and they are both learning and growing from each other every day. She understands that Roxy loves and needs her and misses her when she is away. Kayla has never experienced that before and she now looks forward to it. She takes this time to play, love, train and bond with Roxy.

Outside of family and work, Kayla doesn't really have any friends and therefore doesn't have many opportunities to socialize with others. Roxy has given Kayla a reason to get out and do things like going for walks and playing together. These things are so important for Kayla since she is prone to be overweight due to having Down Syndrome. Prior to Roxy, Dina struggled to get Kayla to leave the house.

Roxy has brought so many positive changes in Kayla from speech advancements to overall happiness. Dina says that Kayla has confidence when she is with Roxy. Kayla is forcing herself to communicate in order to connect with and train Roxy.

Speech is by far the greatest deficit that Kayla faces in her everyday life. Receptively, Kayla understands about 85% of when you tell her. Expressively, Kayla is only able to communicate about 20% of her thoughts into words. Roxy responds to Kayla when Kayla gives her a command. The positive responses from Roxy only encourage Kayla. She continues to push herself further and Dina has heard Kayla's vocabulary grow in the time that her and Roxy have been together.

Dina loves Roxy for what she brings to their family. Roxy has caused their home to become the center of attention once again. It's something that they drifted away from a long time ago with all of our lives being so busy and going in different directions. Dina says that Roxy has centered them once again and that there is something so incredibly therapeutic about just sitting next to her on the couch at night with the family all together. She is such a positive spirit according to Dina.

Dina says that she doesn't agree with the stereotype of pit bulls being vicious, dangerous, overly aggressive and non-family friendly. If a dog is loved she says, it will show love in return. True that Dina! "It is the ignorant people that create and continue to feed into the myths of this sweet dog. I love my child more than I love life itself. There is nothing or no one that I would ever sacrifice or compromise her safety for. I would never put her in harms way. It's my job as a mother to protect her for the rest of her life. And that is why I have Roxy."

If you support breed bans, I'm sorry. I encourage you to do research and not just go off a news story. I encourage you to look at websites and articles that aren't one sided like the ones on the pro-breed ban website that doesn't deserve to be mentioned here.

Would you want to be judged based on a news story or one negative experience? Then lumped into a category and given a stereotype? Seems wrong doesn't it?

I encourage you to spend time with someone that has a resuce pit-mix. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, police officers, fireman, white, black, gay straight, high, middle and low income. Many have children. Yes, they're your neighbors. They're your coworkers. They're normal people who saved a life by adopting a dog in need of a home.

Pit-mixes are police. They're service and therapy professionals. They're family members and best friends to many. They're dogs....

 

Love all the dogs. Advocate, educate and rescue. If you live in a city with a breed ban, call and email your councilperson, mayor and other leaders.

-Greg