I met two lovely new friends in the park a couple of weeks ago. Their owner had picked a lovely pink harness for the girl and a blue one for the boy and they both had matching leads. I ran up to say hello and asked if we could play. Their human looked really sad and said she didn’t dare to let them off the lead anymore because of the horrible comments she had received from a lady the other day. My human asked what had happened, and it turned out the lady had noticed the dogs were Staffies and told their owner that her vicious, dangerous dogs must be on a lead at all times.
I looked at her dogs again, their tails were wagging so hard it looked like their bottoms would fall off any second and I found it hard to believe they could cause any trouble at all. The only problem was that the lady they had met was scared. She didn’t know anything about the breed and thought all Staffies were bad, like the ones you read about in the paper who’ve been trained by bad humans to be fighter dogs.
Then, a couple of days later I met one of my friends, a white Staffie puppy called Milo. He was really sad because he couldn’t understand why people were scared of him all of a sudden now that he was getting bigger. He said that sometime people would cross the street when they met him, just to avoid him!
My human suggested that we write something in my blog about all these friendly Staffies who are getting punished just because they are a specific breed. She told me about a campaign Battersea Dogs and Cats home (where she used to volunteer as a dog socialiser) are running at the moment and we decided to share it with you.
Battersea’s Staffies are Softer than you Think Campaign
Battersea Dog’s and Cats home started a new campaign this month to show how soft and wonderful Staffies can really be – and I wanted to share it with you here on my blog.
Staffies used to be known as the ‘Nanny dog’ for its affinity with children, but the Staffie’s previously good reputation has been seriously damaged in the last couple of years. As with any type of dog, a bad owner makes for a bad dog and some Staffie’s have been forced by a tiny minority of people to become aggressive, fighting dogs and even a substitute for a weapon in some of the country’s more challenging communities. Really scary stuff.
A recent survey revealed that only two per cent of respondents would now describe the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a Nanny dog, and as few as 10 per cent recognise the breed’s qualities as a great “family pet”. And that’s why Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have started their new campaign called ’Staffies are Softer than you think’ – hoping to challenge the misconceptions surrounding the breed and highlight what fantastic pets they can be if only given the chance.
Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said:
“Staffies have been dealt a cruel hand these days, so much so that more people consider the dog to be a fighting dog than a family dog. It’s time we gave the breed a chance and got to know Staffies for the lovely, friendly dogs they really are.
“Any dog can be trained to be aggressive and Battersea knows that in the right environment, and with responsible owners, Staffies can make loyal and loving family pets. Thousands of proud and responsible Staffie owners will tell you that Staffies are gentle, loyal and a million miles away from the hard image they have been unfairly tarnished with.”
Battersea is concerned about the extent that Staffies are misunderstood. They are wrongly seen by many people as an illegal banned breed (just like that lady my friends met in the park!) and are portrayed by the media as a danger to society. For the charity, this results in thousands of homeless Staffies coming through its doors hoping for a second chance in life.
Staffie Numbers are Increasing
Rescue centres like Battersea are the last hope for an increasing number of unwanted and abandoned Staffies. In the last year Battersea welcomed 2,470 Staffies – but it is now struggling to cope with the sheer number of Staffies needing its help. Just 15 years ago there were only 580 Staffies and Staffie crosses at Battersea needing its help. This figure has risen by a staggering 326% as the breed suffers the consequences of being adopted as the dog of choice for the minority who seek a dog for all the wrong reasons – as a status symbol or accessory.
Claire Horton adds:
“Staffies are so keen to please their owners and it’s a sad fact that some people have taken advantage of their good nature to turn them into dangerous dogs. We’re working with many proud, responsible owners in this campaign to champion the positive qualities of the breed, as it’s vital that we tackle the issue at its source. Staffies will only stand a chance if we dispel the notion of a dog as a weapon or accessory in inner-city communities.
From personalising your computer to getting involved on Facebook and Twitter, here’s how you can help to support and promote Battersea’s Staffie campaign…
Staffie knitting pattern
Now you can make your own lovably soft Staffie and help Battersea to re-educate people about the true nature of this loving, loyal and sometimes misunderstood breed. You can purchase this cool knitting pattern from Battersea’s website and once purchased, the full knitting pattern will be emailed to you as a PDF.
When you have finished creating your woolly wonder, please remember to name it, take some snaps and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dog’s Home would love you to display your finished Staffie in a prominent place – perhaps in your window, your car or at work. You could even pass it on as a gift to help spread the word about how soft the Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be.
Screen Savers, and Facebook pics can be downloaded for free from here