Give Them a Chance

By DeMornay Harper
Blog Content Contributor

People fear traditionally aggressive pets, and with good reason. With instincts so primal, it is hard for our humanized minds to understand them, or even have the desire to do so. However, giving these misunderstood creatures a chance is so worthwhile.

I used to have the same mindset as everyone else. I thought pets that seemed threatening probably were, and that I should act with caution. I felt this way my entire life up until relatively recently.

My boyfriend has an American Bully named Tugboat, which is a mix between a Pit Bull and an American Bulldog. Pits are notoriously aggressive breeds and I definitely used to treat Tugboat according to that notion. But honestly, after knowing this pup for over a year, I can tell you he is the biggest baby ever. He is so shy, fiercely loyal, and a die-hard snuggler. Everyone who knows him loves him and values the relationship they share with him.

That is not to say Tugboat isn’t an assertive dog, but you only see that side of him when he’s provoked. He is a primal being who thinks in terms of dominance and survival. When he feels that someone is a threat to Thomas (his dad), or his own dominance (in regards to other dogs), you will see that aggressive side of him.

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This might look scary, but it’s not tight! That’s just where Ziggy’s comfortable. Photo by DeMornay Harper.

Thomas just got a snake, which is another animal that incites alarm. Can I just say, I totally love the snake (Ziggy). He’s so fun to just chill with while you let him slither all over you and is surprisingly really cute.

The trick with any pet is to assert your dominance. They are such sensitive creatures and they feel your energy. If you are fearful and apprehensive, they feed off of it. So the next time you encounter an animal that rouses fear in you, show them who’s boss. They will respect you and from there you can build a relationship where they don’t feel the need to assert their dominance over you or think that you are a threat.

At the heart of these animals are just the sweetest souls who want to be loved and love you in return. Peeling back their layers isn’t as hard as one would think, and it has the potential to bring you so much joy.

Featured image by DeMornay Harper.

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