In Praise of Pit Bulls: An Apology by Author Beth Fantaskey

Little Daisy, one of the cutest pitties to ever walk the earth!
Little Daisy, one of the cutest pitties to ever walk the earth!

If you follow my blog, you probably know that my world revolves around animals. I’m a proud mother of two furbabies and a staunch defender of pit bulls. You see, my pretty little princess, CeeCee Honeycutt Sinn, is a pit. She loves tolerates playing dress-up in her pinky frilly outfits and snuffles around the house like a pot bellied piglet. In my doting mother’s eyes, she is the most perfect creature on earth. Yet when I take her to the park, it’s quite apparent that people don’t see her that way. It’s not uncommon to see parents body-blocking their kids when they pass us by on the trail. Sometimes they’ll even cross the street just in case she might feel the need to gnaw off a body part. This, my dear readers, is a result of breed discrimination, which is sadly alive and well in today’s society.

Nothing boils my blood more than to see bully breeds depicted as vicious attack dogs time and time again in the news and pop culture. That’s why I called out YA author Beth Fantaskey via Twitter for inadvertently putting pit bulls in an unfavorable light in her book Buzz Kill (read my four-star review here.)  I must admit that I was rather rude about it, but I had to defend my CeeCee and all the other lovable, goofy dogs that are waiting for their forever homes at the local no-kill shelter Austin Pets Alive.

I certainly wasn’t expecting a response, so you could imagine my surprise when she told me that she has a pit bull of her own.  Not only did she apologize, she even offered to set the record straight about this wonderful, yet vastly misunderstood, breed of dogs. Without further ado, here is her open apology.

The best thing about writing a novel is, once it reaches booksellers, libraries – and readers – the work that you poured your heart into is available for everyone to see.

This can also be the worst thing about writing a book. 

Once it’s out there, it’s out there.  You, the author, might grow and change.  Or learn something new that reshapes the way you think.  Or, worst of all, regret your words.

But when a book has gone to press – and to Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, and independent sellers, etc. – there’s no turning back.  I don’t know of any major publishing house that will recall your story just because you’ve had second thoughts.

I have to confess that I’ve written some things that I regret, including a particularly expletive-laden paragraph in my novel Jekel Loves Hyde.  But few words haunt me like my use of “vicious, fighting breeds” to describe pit bulls and Dobermans in my book Buzz Kill. 

It’s meant to be a joke.  The heroine, Millie Ostermeyer, is frustrated by the fact that her crush has repeatedly compared her to different types of canines, over the course of the story.  As Millie and Chase finally dance at a school formal, she begs him to knock it off. 

I honestly didn’t think much about my phrasing when I wrote the book several years ago.  I didn’t know anything about pit bulls, especially, beyond headlines about illegal fighting rings.

Then I met Daisy.  My pit bull-boxer mix, who stole my heart when I saw her picture on a rescue website, here where I live in Pennsylvania.  That little pup had the most soulful eyes I’d ever seen. 

I didn’t know she was part pit bull when I filed my adoption application.  I just knew that this ball of fur with the bright, hopeful gaze belonged with me and my three girls. 

Only when we brought Daisy home, and I started to walk her, did I discover I had a “pittie.”  People would come up to me on the street and say, “That is a gorgeous pit bull.”  And I would give them a funny look and reply, “Um, no.  This is a boxer.” 

One day, after going through that exchange yet again, I searched for images of boxer-pit bull mixes online.  And, sure enough, there was Daisy.  After Daisy.  After Daisy.  And the more I read about pit bulls’ blocky heads and wriggly butts, I realized, “My pup is more pittie than boxer.”

That’s a good thing.  Big Pup, as we often call her, is a treasured member of our family.  In fact, I can’t imagine life without a pittie or pittie mix, now.  I’ve come to know many of these gorgeous dogs, and I am smitten with their sweet temperaments, their big hearts – and the way they use their prodigious muscle to bowl you over with affection.

I’m so sorry I ever wrote that line, however innocent my intentions were.  I hope this blog post helps, in a small way, to set the record straight. 

If you’re considering adopting a dog, please don’t rule out pit bulls – unless you’re not a fan of loyalty, playfulness and boundless love.  But if you ARE looking for those qualities in a canine companion, you can’t go wrong with a blocky-headed mutt with a wriggly butt. 

Princess CeeCee approves this message!
Princess CeeCee approves this message!