My name is Sammie, not Hannibal Lecter !

Staffordshire Bull Terriers Breed Specific LegislationDear Doris – It’s taken me a while to pluck up the courage to write into you about a subject that doesn’t sit too well with me.

You see I wouldn’t say that I’m the type of dog that is always in your face , I usually just like to take things nice & easy and I’m definitely not one to be making a big fuss over nothing.

The problem I have can be summed up in three words: Staffordshire Bull Terrier

You see that’s what I am, and based on all the rosettes that I have won, I must be a pretty decent specimen.

Those three words can strike the fear of dog into quite a few humans the likes of which if you gave them a penny for their thoughts, you’d get change.

And that’s even before they have laid eyes on me.

After that all hell breaks loose.

I’ve spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what the reason for this is, but can’t come up with anything that could justify the reaction I am sometimes met with.

If they only knew me, or even allowed me close enough to show them what a fantastic dog I am.

Maybe out of frustration I allow all of this to get on top of me as sometimes I try even harder to convince these “people” that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

I’m thinking it could also be something to do with this stupid head gear that my human is bound by law to put on me whenever I am in a public space.

Crikey, sometimes I catch a glimpse of me wearing it in a shop window reflection when out on one of my walks, and it even frightens the bejesus out of me.

Think of Hannibal Lecter in the film The Silence of the Lambs, and you’re not too far off the mark.

Why do I have to wear it, I haven’t harmed a fly in all of my life (Ok, I did roll over on the kitten once, but the cat & I remain the best of buds, & she will even tell you that she was partly to blame)

Doris, I’d love to hear from you, as people’s fear of me plus the headgear is something that affects me on a daily basis.

I’ll sign off now, as the mini humans that are somehow related to my humans are coming over for a visit & I need to save my energy for all the games we’ll play.

Before I go, I just want to say I think you’re doing a great job with your Agony Aunt column & I’m a big fan.

Looking forward to your words of wisdom

Sammy the Staffie

Hi Sammie

Great to hear from you, I know it can be difficult for us dogs to put our feelings down in words & thank you so much for the kind words at the end of your piece.

What I am going to say first is that like humans, ALL dogs are individuals so tarring all dogs of a certain breed with the one brush is ridiculous.

Take me for an example, how many other Dachshunds do you know of that run an agony aunt service on the world wide web ?

Congratulations by the way on all the rosettes you have won, you must indeed be a fine example of your breed, a breed who’s standard states under characteristics that you are highly intelligent and affectionate.

Now I think it was the human Nelson Mandela that stated that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” & like everything relating to us dogs, humans must first educate themselves BEFORE becoming our guardian.

An educated person will also understand that there is nothing to fear when coming face to face with the majority of dogs & that includes the breeds that happen to be unlucky enough to find themselves controlled by Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). As per my open letter to all humans recently that I titled Dangerous Dogs as a result of irresponsible owners  I stated that “No dog was ever born dangerous. We all start out with a blank canvas. Kind of like you humans.”

You see in the first few weeks of our lives it’s our mothers that take care of our needs, by feeding us and cleaning us, but as it’s humans that domesticated us they take over after about 4 weeks of age. The educated humans will then expose the young dog to all that life can possibly throw at them resulting in a very sociable canine & content human.

Nothing to fear in this situation and only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.

Anyway Sammie, even though the situation you are faced with on a daily basis must be very difficult to deal with, help is on the way.

Educational events such as the Dog Breed Village that is part of Pet Expo every year go a long way to educating humans about all dogs and in particular the ones that have ended up on the BSL list. It’s been great Sammie to have some of your relatives representing you at this great event over the last few years.

After one such event my human wrote the following “A couple of things stick out for me, the first being how well the public reacted to what they are lead to believe as “Dangerous Breeds” Huge numbers visited the Rottweiler’s, Mastiff’s, Ridgebacks, Dobermann’s,Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terrier, and they had a massive impact on reversing the visitors opinion of these breeds”

There’s also a campaign here in Ireland dedicated to having these laws abolished & I’d urge everybody reading this to head on over to the dedicated web site called Unmuzzle.ie and pledge your support. I know that the main human behind this campaign is meeting with government officials in the not too distant future to state the case for abolishing the laws and they have evidence from around the world that banning / muzzling what they call dangerous breeds doesn’t work and only adds fuel to the fire that is already burning out of control.

So my advice Sammie would be to go on living the life you are living, bringing endless amounts of joy to your educated owners and their mini humans, as you have more supporters in your corner than you might think.

As for the people that if you gave them a penny for their thoughts, you’d get change, I’d say to them “We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them”

Bye for now

Doris Dachshund

Email: [email protected]