9 things that petrify my pit bull

Folks who have never owned a pit bull nor had much experience with the breed often consider the dogs — and any mix that includes the breed — ferocious forces to avoid at all costs.

I own a pit bull. Well, a pointer-pit bull mix. One of my earliest posts here related the story of how/when/why we adopted the injured babe twelve or so years ago.

pit bull puppyMickey, soon after we adopted the fella.My husband and I weren't positive what we were in for at the time, but in the years since, we've learned our Mickey and others of his kind are far from ferocious — unless owners teach the animals to be that way, as is the case with any breed.

In fact, despite his maniacal barking that makes him seem tough and terrifying when he notices bicyclists, motorcycles, dogs, rabbits, and plastic grocery bags caught in the wind scooting down our street, Mickey is anything but ferocious. He's a chicken of the chickenest sort.

Mickey quakes, shakes, and shivers at certain sounds and situations. Or anticipation of such. Following are a few examples — which is by no means a definitive list as he continually surprises us with new frights and fears.


Magpies flying overhead. Their ugly screeches often startle my Mickey, who runs this way and that while staring at the sky, then skulking back to where the fit began, seemingly embarrassed by his silly reaction.

pit bull and tabby catThe screen door on our deck. It's an old-fashioned wood door with a hook latch on the inside. When we are on the outside, relaxing on the deck, if a slight breeze picks up, the door inches open slightly then softly shuts again. No more relaxing for Mickey; he immediately scoots toward the steps off the deck, with one eye on the door in case it comes unhinged and thwarts his escape.

Spray bottles. Not only is Mickey sensitive when it comes to sounds and such, he has sensitive skin, particularly in the groin area. During allergy season, I gotta spray his red spots with stuff to stop the itching. His anticipation of the cold spray on his privates transforms the supposedly brave boy into a shaking mess... even when the bottle isn't for him. When it is for him, the good boy willingly approaches me as though resolved he's fated to face the gallows. He places his head between my knees as I spray his nether regions... then dashes away surprised he survived, just like I told him he would.

Having his toes touched. Mickey spent his toddlerhood with severely damaged tootsies, so this one is understandable. Still, it's frustrating for us when the pup gets a pokey burr or such in his toe and refuses to let us get it out for him.

Error messages on the computer. My dog often sleeps near my desk as I work. When I incorrectly click this or that, the ding drives him out the door.

Text message, voice mail, social media notifications. Some of the scariest for silly Mickey. I apologize for any missed calls or messages; Jim and I have resorted to turning off the sound on our phones the majority of the time in hopes of preventing pit-pointer panic attacks.

pit bullSmoke alarms. Dead batteries? Baaaaad news. Smoking bacon or baked good in the kitchen? Oh my. I've gotten pretty good at scrambling and climbing atop chairs to reach and shut off overzealous smoke alarms. Effects of this particular fright affects Mickey for days. No joke.

Kitchen appliances. Perhaps because it's these monstrous devices that result in the smoke alarm going off (I'm not a bad cook, honest!), but Mickey's shivering starts anytime I pull out the electric skillet or toaster or set the timer or temperature on the oven. Holiday meals are hell on my Mickey. As are weekend breakfasts, anytime I make bread in the maker or dinner in the pressure cooker.

Any sound above — or others slightly similar — on television. In addition to muting our phones, Jim and I have gotten pretty quick at hitting the mute button when watching TV. Or convincing Mickey jolts up from sleeping nearby upon hearing a ding, dong, beep, or ring-a-ling that it was a dream, that he really didn't hear a thing and to go back to sleep. 

Unfortunately, the words "pit bull" and "fear" often go hand in hand.

On one hand, that means dispelling unfounded fears of the surprisingly sweet breed. On the other hand — for my husband and me, at least — it means dispelling our pit bull's fears. Of pretty much everything. At least things that make sound or spray or come close to his toes. The sharing of which hopefully furthers the Sisyphean mission of our first hand.