In Praise of Normal

Normal. In a world where we’re all jockeying to stand out from the crowd, being normal gets a bad rap. We confuse normal with ordinary and boring.
 
Those of us that love, live with, and advocate for “pit bull” dogs naturally see our dogs as anything but ordinary. In our minds, “pit bull” dogs are uniquely adorable, lovable, and loyal. They’re extraordinary and the world needs to know it!
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Indiana Family. Photo credit: Humane Society for Hamilton County (Indiana) and Smiling Dog Photography
 

But here’s a secret: we don’t need anyone to view our dogs as special or different. In fact, seeing our dogs as different has led to all kinds of problems, like breed specific legislation.
 
Helping the public and policymakers understand that “pit bull” dogs are ordinary, normal dogs has always been the goal.
 
“Pit bull” dogs aren’t different or better than other dogs. They’re just dogs.
 
Equal. Average. Normal.
 
When you think about it, being normal is a huge compliment!
 
That’s the wonderful thing about dogs. Just being a normal dog is pretty awesome.
 
Dogs are our best friends. They’re good for our physical health. They reduce our isolation and help us connect with others. Some dogs don’t do much at all except sunbathe and drool – but even that makes our houses a little homier and our lives much richer.
New York Family
New York Family
As advocates, the best gift we can give “pit bull” dogs is to view them and talk about them as being normal dogs. That’s why we’re no longer granting to “pit bull” dog specific programs. We’ve shifted our grant funding to programs that are inclusive, but not exclusive, to “pit bull” dogs. That means we won’t fund programs that single “pit bull” dogs out by excluding them or focusing solely on them.
We insist they get fair treatment, which includes being treated equally.
 
Not better or different than other kinds of dogs.
 
Of course there are some pretty spectacular individual dogs out there doing things beyond the norm. For example, some dogs keep our communities safe. And others are our eyes, ears, and legs, helping us to navigate the world.  
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Individual dogs are all different. They fall all over the spectrum from heroes and helpers to dogs that are in trouble and in need of our help. But most dogs are hanging out in between the extremes. Just doing normal dogs stuff.
 
We created an entire campaign called The Majority Project that shows off how living with a “pit bull” dog is totally normal! Thousands and thousands of you shared a slice of your everyday lives with your dogs: watching TV, hanging out in the yard, cuddling with your kids, dressed up at the holidays, and all the other little ways “pit bull” dogs are a part of our normal lives. Nothing news-worthy, but the opportunity to be ordinary is really quite wonderful.
Nichelle and Boss Wayne from Mosley, NC.
North Carolina Family
 
Of course each one of us has a special dog that is, no question about it, the best dog that ever lived. But overall, there’s nothing unique about “pit bull” dogs.
 
The only thing that, for now, still separates “pit bull” dogs from all the other dogs is…people. People and the problems we create for them by insisting that they are different and need special regulations and treatment. That’s what continues to be unique to “pit bull” dogs.
 
But the “pit bull” dogs themselves? They’re just ordinary dogs. And they’re patiently waiting for us humans to catch up and recognize this.
 
“Pit bull” dogs deserve to be cared for and celebrated, not because they are different or special or better than others dogs, but simply because they’re dogs.
 
And normal, ordinary dogs RULE!  

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