It was near dusk a few years ago when my parents noticed a car stopping outside their house. As they watched, a woman reached over to open the passenger door, pushed a dog out on the sidewalk, and drove away. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that we learned why.
When they went out to investigate, they were greeted with a happy dance from a friendly dog that seemed to have no idea that he had just been dumped by his owner. The dog was well fed, well cared for, and polite. When he was invited into the house, they found that he was housebroken.
My mother named him Dumbo; I think it was something with his ears. When some children who lived nearby met Dumbo, it was mutual love at first sight. They would come to the house and ask if Dumbo could come out to play. Soon they pooled their piggy bank money and even agreed to make monthly payments if they could have Dumbo. A deal was struck, not involving money,
A few weeks later my parents visited us over the Christmas season. We were looking through a dog encyclopedia showing pictures of all the purebred dogs recognized for showing.
“That’s Dumbo!” my mother exclaimed. ”That dog looks exactly like Dumbo!”
Dumbo, according to the book, was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a dog bred for dog fighting. In the media frenzy over pit bulls, I recognized this breed as one that had been branded with the label. Caught up in the mindless frenzy, it seemed clear that his owner must have panicked and dumped him.
My mother warned the children’s parents, but they just smiled and shook their heads. They had never heard of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They didn’t care if he was a purebred dog. They just knew that Dumbo was the most loving dog anyone could have for children.
He chases other dogs out of his yard. His ancestors were bred to fight dogs and genetics can never be totally disregarded. But through the years he has never showed the slightest aggression toward humans.