Everyone and everything seems to have to worry about their reputation these days. The Seattle Humane Society is working on managing the reputation of pit bulls…the dogs that have a nasty reputation although are apparently wonderful family dogs. The Humane Society has a $50,000 grant from PetSmart Charities to spay and neuter pit bulls in the hopes of making them more attractive to dog-adopters. Interestingly, 30% of shelter dogs are pit bulls. The news media and probably word of mouth has depicted pit bulls as aggressive, temperamental dogs when in fact they are very good family dogs. Those images of pit bulls are the result of ill treatment! When I went to Google images to select a picture for this post, the majority of the first photos I saw of pitbulls were those with huge chain collars and tied to fences. In addition, there were some photos of pit bulls in the most aggressive poses imaginable. Contrast this with golden retrievers.
Kirstan Sanders of Recycle-A-Bull Rescue and Families Against Breed Bans says: “Typically, when a reporter talks of the ‘family pet’, they don’t know that it was a dog tied to a shed on a 4-foot chain, never fed or watered, left to the elements and never socialized. If it was any other breed with that fact pattern surrounding his or her living situation, the press would be talking about the horrific abuse the dog endured.” She has a good point. More dogs need help with their reputations. Dogs are very popular in my neighborhood since we all have access to Prospect Park. Reputations rise and fall each year according to how the dogs socialize every morning when they run free, including my well-behaved dog. In fact, as Sanders notes, dog breed reputations have more to do with the owners than people suspect.
Reputation handling for dogs is a whole new line of business I have never considered in this crazy upside down reputation-frenzied world. I learn something new every day.