There has always been a trend of people deeming certain dog breeds as “aggressive” than others. Growing up, I remember hearing that German Sheppards, Rottweilers, and even Chows were aggressive dogs. Now, the focus shifts to the Bully breeds (Pit bulls, Staffordshire bull terriers, Bull dogs, etc). I hate that people already form nasty opinions of my “block-head” when they don’t even know him, his temperment, nor his personality. To them, they just see the big, blocky head, which a muscular build (its really fat) which means he’s no good. If only they were to give him a chance, they would find out that he’s really a sweetheart that loves to eat. So, with that, I’d like to share Jameson’s story.
We have always been content with our one dog, Stella Artois. I adopted her when I was stationed in Germany and brought her over to the states when I moved to Arizona. We have never thought about getting a second dog until we watched my best friend’s Belgain Malinois and realized that, maybe, it might do Stella some good since I worked full-time and my husband was a full-time student as well. At the time, we lived in a 2-bedroom apartment, so a full-sized pit bull is probably not something we would want at that time (watching a Malinois was hard enough! She was way taller compared to Stella, and lean, so we nicknamed her “the deer”). Also, I was only accostumed to little dogs and I wasn’t so sure how I’d do training a do that could potentially be my size if it were to stand on it’s hindlegs. Another problem was the many restrictions that followed Pit Bulls and bully breeds, which could potentially make moving as a military family that much harder… I’m also not the type of pet owner that is okay with putting up my furbabies up for adoption whenever I move.
So during work one day, I decided to do a little research on the Bully breed family and try to find a breed that my husband and I could agree on adopting. There were at least 20 different breeds that came up during my search, to include the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I was intrigued by the way they looked like midget Pit Bulls, meaning we could possibly get away with misidentifying our future pup with another breed. I also found a number of rescue groups within Arizona that we could talk to if we were interested in adopting. Mind you, I was only researching breeds and rescue groups without the intentions of adopting but, I came across Jameson’s photo (then, Zuko) in a shelter that was located in Phoenix. When I got home that night, I told my husband about him and we decided that we were going to go see him the next day.
I had already known that “going to go see him” was more than likely going to be “going to go get him;” however, a part of me was also worried that he might not be there anymore since his online photos were so cute and I was sure many other families, like us, were going to look at him. The only deal-breaker we had was if he didn’t do well with Stella. When we arrived the shelter and asked for him, we were a bit concerned that he had to be kept in the back. Would he be a good match for Stella? Is he actually aggressive? Then, he came out and bee-lined straight to us, as if he had known that we were there to get him.
For the most part, he and Stella initially got a lot. A lot of butt-sniffing and following each other around. At this point, it wasn’t a question of whether or not we should adopt him. We were there to take him home with us, and we weren’t going to leave until then. So then I had to leave to withdraw cash (their card machine was down at the time), and while I was gone my husband was filling out the paperwork for adoption. When I got back, he said that Jameson had jumped on his lap and started licking his face.
Bringing him home was quite interesting for us, because we had to drive about an hour and a half back. Before we made our way home with our new furbaby, we stopped by the nearest PetSmart to pick up a food bowl for him (we weren’t as prepared as we should’ve been lol). It was a struggle for me to handle him because he was way stronger than Stella and I wasn’t used to losing at “tug-of-leash” with a dog that I own. So my husband had to wrangle him. Jameson was not aggressive to other dogs, he wasn’t trying to pick fights with anyone but, he definitely had his mind made to sniff out the treats section. When we finally got home, he started marking his territory in the apartment despite being neutered… THAT was fun! After a while, he started to calm down and become acclimated to living with us.
Him and Stella used to sleep with us on the bed, until we realized that Jameson is like a big child (or baby) and he likes his space. So, if you were in his way, he had NO PROBLEM kicking you with his hind legs. He also snored really loud like an adult male. Unfortunately, him and Stella no longer sleep in the bed with us anymore due to having our younger son, but he still tries to find ways to sneak on the bed or sneak a little cuddle in with you. Mainly, Jameson is a big-time baby who’s always hungry and misunderstood.
Regarding our children and Jameson, I like to call him Nanny McJameson even though he does a TERRIBLE job at nannying. He’s protective over our baby boy, but we think its because the baby likes to feed him as well. He is also a great informant if there’s somthing wrong with the children. If they’re crying, he thinks that sitting next to them will comfort them, but then he starts to stare at you as if you are the worst parent in the world and you’re neglectng your children (lol).
He also HATES the cold! Unfortunately, we’re now at a place where it snows and he is just not the type to enjoy it. He would rather stay indoors in the warmth, which makes potty time a little difficult. Sometimes, we have to kicking him outside for a bit in order to do his business. And now that I think of it, I don’t believe that Jameson is all that into nature, which is unfortunate for my adeventurous husband. Our backyard typically has a herd of deer pass through on a weekly basis, and of course, Jameson growls and barks at them. However, given the opportunity to confront him, he’d rather not.
We were very lucky to have such a well-behaved and gentle dog as Jameson because we know that there’s not a lot of dogs like him in his breed group that can walk out of an adoption shelter with no problem. We realize that a majority of bully breed dogs found in pounds and shelters can be shy, scared, frightened, and timid, which could be confused with aggression… but really, take it from us, they all are a bunch of big-headed babies, which matching big hearts. And our pets are literally like children, so if they have a history of abuse, they will probably be a little more aggressive than others, but does not need to be less-loved.
Screw all the anti-bully breed nonsense that’s out there, and learn from actual owners about their dog’s. We were always taught to not judge a book by its cover, and we should certain not do that to our dogs. All dogs deserve a chance at love and a home.