Monday, April 20, 2009

It's in our Nature

So here we are in beautiful, gentle Ontario Canada. Having grown up in the U.S., with friends and family who hunt and target shoot, having guns around seems the norm. Although I admit, I prefer the underlying softness of the culture here, and am much more comfortable knowing that there are far fewer weapons being carried by the general public. American news reports are filled with such violence that a number of years ago I made the decision to stop watching and reading it, not feeling the need to have yesterday's shootings broadcast into my brain in lurid detail. It's odd then, that yesterday at the park where we walk our golden retriever Porter, we ran into a pack of some of the world's most aggressive dog breeds. This young man (luckily, a very strong Alpha type) had two Argentinian Mastiffs (huge short haired white dogs, one with his ears cropped), two cane corsos, also known as the Italian Mastiff, a German Shepherd and an American pit bull terrier. I had read when moving here that pit bulls weren't allowed in Ontario, however it seems there is a grandfather clause. We approached the pack as we do all, asking whether the dogs were friendly. Yes, as long as Porter wasn't aggressive. They circled around, all seemingly fine, sniffing and getting to know each other as dogs do. We spoke with the owners for a little bit, learning about these powerful dogs, keeping a close eye on them all. Next thing you know, the pit bull -- smallest of the pack -- started a fight with Porter and the owner jumped in, grabbed his dog by the neck and lifted him off the ground, hanging his dog, its back to his chest. Terrifying. Porter was fine, as it was quick and mostly noise, typical of a "I'm higher in the pecking order than you" dog tussle. The difference was, this was with a very scary looking pit bull. Once the pit calmed down (how could he not, hanging from his neck like that?) the owner put him in a "sit" and leaned over him, intimidating, keeping him there. Porter came immediately to me, then danced around, sniffed somemore, went over to the young man almost as if to thank him, giving deference to the Alpha, and we went on our way. It made me wonder... why would this young man choose these breeds of dogs? And thank God he did, but, knowing how often people get bit in dog fights, why would he step right into that one and haul his dog off? Is risking getting bit the only way he could stop his dog from hurting or killing another? What is it that attracted this person to owning and being able to control these large, muscular, loyally protective beasts? Especially here. In gentle non-aggressive Canada....

No comments: