Since very recently taking over the Mid Florida APBTA profile this is the first of hopefully many informative and thought provoking blogs. To kick things off, we would like to address a few topics as they relate to Mid Florida APBTA fun shows and various other events. Before we get into that allow us to share with you the foundation of our mission. First and foremost we are here for the dogs. Over the past 8-10 years things have drastically changed for our dogs. BSL is rampant all across our country. Where BSL has failed or is being challenged, mandatory dog laws (spay/neuter, micro-chipping, anti-tethering) are passing with break-neck speed. Close your eyes and visualize the mushroomed effects of an atomic explosion. You can liken that to the overly exaggerated media hype as it overtakes our breed of choice; soon to be swallowed up entirely. The animal rights activists have such a stronghold on John Q. Public, you are looked at as if you have a third eye at the mere mention of kenneling your dogs outside. We would expect a visit from the Nazi police at the mere mentioning of the fact that we consider our dogs to be property, rather than our being the guardians of our dogs. (We can save that topic for a future blog of its own.) We are an American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) sanctioned club. That certainly does not mean we must stop there and only there. The sky is the limit if we are as tenacious as our dogs.
The ADBA was established in 1909. If the changes that we have felt over the last 8-10 years have been so stifling to us can you begin to imagine what Guy McCord must feel if watching from above? So times have changed and so must we. It is well past time to have circled the wagons. And, it is much too far into the game to have not outlined our offensive plays. One of the very biggest changes that must NOW occur is breaking the divide; imaginary or real. We have a responsibility to our dogs. We must openly embrace all who love this breed. We must encourage every owner and every potential owner to join forces with us in this battle to save our dogs. And in order to do that we must be open, educational, respectful, encouraging and uplifting to all. We must be eager to see the beauty in every dog; spayed or neutered, living in a show home or living the very special life of a rescue who was hand picked by someone with a heart as big as the world when others walked by to leave him to die. We must open our doors and welcome those that come with their beautiful house pets and find creative ways for them to feel an important part of our mission to preserve the American Pit Bull Terrier…..because they are. Not only that, we must uplift one another.
With that being said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Although I personally am not thrilled with our current US government administration, last time I check this was still America; home of the free. Free to form our own opinions, free to train our dogs as we please, and free to present our show dogs as we each individually wish. If you want to bring your dog in the show ring and stack him and have him stay that way till next month that is your personal right. If you want to bring your dog in the show ring and allow him to act out his breed type dog aggression that, as well, is your right. Know and accept the consequences of either decision because either does, in fact, have their own individual consequences. It is the mere theory of relativity.
Judging is an interpretation of the written conformation standard. It may cost you $3 or $5 at a fun show, or $18 at a sanctioned point show. That doesn’t matter. You’re still going to win some and you’re going to lose some. That’s just the way it goes. What one judge interprets as conforming to standard, the next may very well not. So, if interpretation makes you uncomfortable, might I suggest competition on the weight pull track where it is your dog, the weights, and the stopwatch? Either way it is your responsibility to your dog to represent him with class, dignity and graciousness. What our dogs cannot withstand, given their current unstable position in our country, is any display poor sportsmanship.
In any organization there is ALWAYS room for healthy constructive debate. Each and every one of us can learn more about these dogs. And, we, the officers of Mid Florida APBTA, would appreciate and encourage you to come to us with your suggestions and opinions on how we can better showcase our dogs and our organization. How we can better educate. How we can better encourage others into the sanctioned show ring or weight pull track. How we can better reach the media about what our dogs really are. We can be all things needed for our dogs and dog owners. It is only when non-communication occurs that problems develop and fester. We should be here to encourage and uplift all dog owners, be it the papered dog, non-papered dog, the unaltered dog or the spayed dog, the couch potato pet, the stacked dog or the dog showing dog aggression. At our monthly fun shows we are all equal; no one person, style of showing or personal opinion is better than another. We should be thankful to have one another and positively embrace our differences. We should discuss them and learn from them for our own educational purposes as well as the education we attempt to perform in our community. Furthermore, any pit bull organization should have zero tolerance for harmful public negativity.
Mid Florida APBTA has come a very far cry from where we were even five years ago. We have worked very, very hard to move away from only having one or two guest judges and the remainder of the season’s shows being judged by one officer or another. To successfully bringing in sanctioned ADBA judges or experienced and successful breeders and show exhibitors; individuals who have a yard with numerous titled champions or a well established bloodline. We have taken great measures to move in a positive direction and will continue to do so. Sometimes we hit a homerun; sometimes we strikeout. One thing is for sure, we won’t quit stepping up to the plate.
So, when we all gather at a Mid Florida APBTA fun show, sanctioned show or a Mid Florida APBTA community event, we are there for the dogs, and we are there for each other. Differences of philosophies, unless debated constructively and with respect, need to be left at the curb. If your personal opinions are so strong that you cannot set them aside we respect you to the fullest extent should you choose to move on. Maybe the next organization you affiliate yourself with will meet your every expectation. Wherever you decide to land, be there for the dogs.
For now there is much work to do with limited resources and minimal manpower. Yes, each and every one of you is important to us because you are importance to your dog. We must create a venue to educate, and we must educate on all levels. Responsible owners must educate the irresponsible. Seasoned judges must mentor the new. Experienced show or weight pull participants must take the time to light that same fire within the inexperienced. And, we must educate the media so they quit destroying. We must also create a venue for laughter, camaraderie, lifelong friends and special memories. We are more than a fraternity; we are family. Let something tragic happen to one of us and see how quickly we all come together despite any differences. Anyone who attended the ADBA ’08 point show in Louisiana fully understands this. We must also create a venue to preserve the many facets of our dogs that were served in our country’s history as well as the history of the dog itself.
To wrap this thing up, this club can be, and actually is, what each and every one of you wants it to be or makes it. It is whatever you personally want to pull from it. It can be all things to everyone. Seasoned show exhibitors can practice their personal handling skills while giving their dogs experience in a show ring. All the while getting excited about the thrill the person next to you is feeling because you too remember that feeling when you received your first little trophy. People may be there to decide if this is the breed for them, or to locate a reputable breeder for a show or pull dog, rather than a $100 pup out of the newspaper. Rescued dogs can seek out their forever homes. The list goes on and on. But, it will take creativity, balance, and unselfishness. Make this club what you want it to be for you, others, the community and more importantly for the dogs.
And, yes, we can do all this and more.