A seven year old runs up into an unfamiliar yard where a Pit Bull awaits him. The two have never met before. Surely tragedy will ensue. This unfamiliar pair meets on the territory of a powerful canine that just happens to be most demonized dog breed of current times. Surely the outcome will be tragic. Or will it?
Out of the door steps the dog’s owner. Looking on, one might expect to see the stereo typical Pit Bull owner; rough, rugged, burly, and harsh spoken. But coming through the door of her home is Grandma Betty, weighing a mere 100 lbs, frail looking, yet put together well and moving like a goose at age 83!
Betty shouts, “Tegan! Don’t you knock that boy down now,” and then greets me with her charming smile.
The child and dog meet in the middle of the yard and it is game on! Boy chasing dog and then dog chasing boy; both out of breath and not willing to give up the frolic. The only tragedy is that they didn’t have much daylight to continue the marathon. It’s for certain this pair would have rustled and tussled for hours had the sun cooperated.
The young boy is my grandson who is accustomed to being around a variety of animals and a wide array of dog breeds. Ask him what kind of dog Tegan is and he’ll tell you she’s a “vicious Pit Bull” and roll his eyes. He’s grown up hearing the horror stories but through experience knows that judging a dog by its breed is ridiculous, and he’s only seven. Garrett has an 80 pound Pit Bull of his very own and the two are inseparable.
While the boy and dog play, Betty shares a little about her relationship with Tegan.
Seems Grandma Betty has a grandson that fell a little down on his luck and moved in with her for a short time. When he moved in, Tegan did too, so Tegan grew up at Betty’s. And even though the grandson has moved on, Tegan stays with Grandma. And together, the pair are surely a sight to behold.
Betty speaks of Tegan’s place on the love seat, “But only when it’s covered, “says Betty. “She knows we have to put a cover out for her to lie on the furniture. And she is sure good company for me. When it’s time to go to bed all I have to do is say the word and she’s headed for the bedroom,” said Betty. “She’s good to have around.”
Pit Bulls are not the demons that so many people still classify them as. They are not the sporadic, impulsive, unthinking killing machines that we’ve seen so much of in the media.
They are curious, playful, and caring creatures with the ability to reason and assess their situation. “Pit Bulls are just dogs”, as Betty will tell you. “They behave as they have been taught to behave, or are allowed to. Treat any dog with kindness and teach it right from wrong and you’ll have a loving, lifelong companion”, says Betty.
Betty breaks the myth that Pit Bull owners should be a rough and tumble group or that the breed is too hard for the average person to handle. Her kind and loving nature have provided Tegan with the skills to be the best companion. And to Betty, Tegan is just a dog like any other dog. She has four legs, fur, and teeth and will behave in turn as she is treated.
And in Tegan’s case, she's treated like a child, a pampered one at that, as she wants for nothing at Grandma Betty’s. She’s fussed over, warm and cozy, fed well, vetted, and most of all, cherished and loved. You cannot miss the bond between the two. It’s as obvious as the nose on your face.
After Garrett had sufficient time to wear Tegan out a bit, she was content to be by Grandma Betty’s side and pose for portraits, listening to every direction given by Betty.
We caught the last rays of the sun with the dynamic duo of woman and dog, and had a great time doing it. There was much laughter and many smiles and as Betty admits, it was a lot less painful that she had originally thought it might be. Honestly, I think she and Tegan both had a really great time.
You can see the rest of Betty and Tegan's images by clicking here.
This article originally published on Examiner.com
Author Gila Todd
Jan. 19, 2013