I’m not talking about humans here. Instead I’m referring to two particular canines; Florence and Archie.
We brought them home on the 13th of February 2013. It feels strange that it’s nearly been 6 years since they first came home. It feels more like 6 months rather than years. We didn’t adopt them but in a way I feel like we did because they weren’t exactly birthed in the best conditions. I just want to point out that we did try and adopt about 10 dogs before we purchased these two beauties. I know how polarising that subject can be.
They were tiny when we got them; they both fit on one kitchen tile. Archie was the runt of the litter so he was fairly small. Florence was chubby and wrinkly, her size was put down to her being one of the first to be born in her litter. The only thing similar about them was a shared brown shade covering their little bodies; Florence having goggles and spots while Archie was completely covered.
They aren’t very similar now either to be honest with you. Florence is the tinker; a scavenger would be her profession of choice. She’s always eating things that she shouldn’t be and the amount of times we’ve had to move things onto a higher shelf because she’s eyeing them up are countless. She’s highly intelligent. She can problem solve in an instant and dreams so vividly I sometimes think she’s going to jump up and start doing laps.
Archie is the most loyal dog I’ve ever met. He’s a natural born protector in every single way. I know he would die for any of the family including his sister. It’s not something I would want but I admire him for it. He’s also the most excited dog I’ve ever met. Whenever I walk into the house it’s like I’ve been away for decades, even though it’s probably been 24 hours.
Though they are different, they share some incredible qualities. For a start they’re both lap dogs, something I put down to my grandpa sleeping on the sofa with them for the first couple of weeks. With this lap dog status comes their extremely loving nature. Archie is my therapy dog. He just knows when I’m feeling down and instantly comes and lays by me; nose to nose. He won’t budge until he knows I’m better or if he needs to go to the toilet. If he does leave he will be straight back. Florence is always loving but in her own way. She gives everybody hugs and she takes them very seriously. When she was younger I would put her front legs around my shoulder and hold her. Little did I know that I would have to constantly put up with a 6 year old doing that to this day.
You might notice I haven’t specified something important about my two best friends; their breed. That’s because they are Staffordshire Bull Terriers or for short Staffies. That may have changed your mind about my dogs despite me listing those positive characteristics.
If you did change your mind because of their breed then you truly break my heart. I understand why though. They are classed as ‘dangerous dogs’ and this label is in my opinion a huge stigma. I’ve seen people cross the road away from us because they’ve seen them just going for a walk. I’ve seen parents reject their child’s plea to pet them. I’ve seen countless headlines label them as vicious or deadly.
If I had been speaking about my fellow humans and stated those things it would be prejudice and everybody would say that it’s people being ignorant. I don’t see this as any different for dogs. I believe it’s ignorant to believe that a dog can be dangerous based on their breed. I understand why people have chosen Staffies to victimise. They are the dogs most commonly used in dog fighting and this is highly focused on in the media.
Yet, it might surprise you to discover that Staffies were used as guard dogs for children in the early 20th due to their naturally loyal and protective nature. I don’t really understand how perception can change so drastically but it has. We’ve seen other dogs be victimised in the same way over the decades. The most popular that come to my mind are Rottweilers and German Shepherds.
I don’t know if this will change your mind about this breed. Maybe I am biased in a way, but also as someone who owns these dogs, maybe I am the best to talk about this. To end this I just want to say, and say proudly; my two best friends are Staffies and I couldn’t be more happy.