Why I Started The Bark Side

I get it. People love their dogs and think they can do no wrong, but I’m here to tell you that they can. I was like you once, living in ignorance, making excuses for my dog’s bad behavior. I’ll admit that we weren’t the perfect owners as far as training goes and our Pitbull puppy, Sheila, was pretty rambunctious. We wrote it off as hyper puppy energy like most people do, but it was really a lack of training and discipline.

I’ve been through the whole pain in the ass process of getting an apartment with a restricted breed. It is frustrating but there are ways around anything if you know what to do. A doctor’s recommendation later and our hyper, untrained puppy was an emotional support animal. Discriminate that apartment complex! At the time we thought it was awesome I could have my dog with me, but I soon found out that some rules are their for a reason.

It was the weekend before the fourth of July, back in 2012. Sheila was at the door signaling to me that she was ready to go out and do her business. She has been super hyper the past few days, she was definitely cooped up. I told myself I would take her out and bring her to the dog park as often as possible now that I was in a tiny apartment, but you get busy and they get cabin fever. I leashed her up and made my way towards the grass outside my door. As we were walking down the hallway between the buildings towards the grass a mother and her child were coming towards us, headed to the parking lot.

Being the weekend before the 4th, there were a lot of fireworks being sold and you could occasionally hear them going off throughout the day. Right when we were walking by the mother and her little boy, he decided it would be a good idea to throw a few poppers on the ground right under Sheila. Shelia must have been extremely scared because she snapped like I had never seen. Before I even really knew what was going on, Sheila had clamped her jaws on the top of the little boys upper arm and shoulder, thrashed him around a bit and then threw him to the ground.

The little boy ended up being ok, but he has to have shoulder surgery to repair the muscle tearing that resulted from the bite. I was then sued by the family, and Sheilas documents were in question. The apartment complex, in fear of being sued themselves, left me a notice saying that I had “falsified documents” and I was evicted. This all happened very fast and I was pretty much in shock the whole time.

With that eviction of my rental history in became very difficult to find a place to live, and even harder to bring Sheila. I ended up having to give her away to a family friend and found a lot less nice apartment to live in that would take me. Getting sued was a horrible experience, because my renters insurance claimed that they were not responsible because my Emotional Support Animal documents didn’t hold up. I’m still making monthly payments to the family in question.

While my situation is one of the more extreme cases, it really opened my eyes to why their were laws in place and restricted breed policies in apartment communities. Before Sheila snapped I was one of those people that said “my dog would never do that”. People still tell me I’ve got it all wrong and try to tell me things to do down to the type of dog food I should have been feeding her, but the fact remains that these animals are capable of inflicting serious harm and should be kept away from potentially dangerous situations when they are under trained or too young. My goal is to push for more guidelines and restrictions to protect people from things like this happening to someone’s child ever again. It’s not a popular opinion, but it is a logical one. Come to The Bark Side.

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