Friday, January 23, 2009

Growing a thick skin

I promise you this will not become "The Xochitl Blog" but, let's face it, she is one of the most exciting things in my life right now, so let's talk about her!

In my head she just gets cuter and cuter every day. Her little personality is evolving hilariously and her body is beginning to mature, lengthen, and grow. At daycare she's making friends. Yesterday she played with Monty the Min Pin all day. He grew to love her so much that he began resource guarding her. That's right, if any dog approached the pink satin love pillow they shared, he would fight them off. I'm not sure if I approve of her seeing older men, but I suppose a day long flirtation is of no harm.

Today she moved on, apparently.

I'm having a snuggly good day, mom!

She's also incredibly smart when the reward is obvious. It took her one day to learn to sit, wait, and watch for her food. And her "fetch" is amazing.

It's such a departure from Señor Paco, who, when asked to fetch, didn't see the point since the toy tasted just as good over there as it did here. And, actually, it tasted *way* better over there since he got to keep chewing on it longer. In his world, the command "bring it" still means "chew faster".

So if Xochitl is such a wonderful, charming, and adorable dog then why would I say I'm having a hard time? It's because not everyone thinks she is. In fact, some people are absolutely repulsed by her.

Now, I'm kind of used to this. I own a pit bull and have for the past 7+ years so I've gotten pretty immune to the opinions of others. In fact, if someone has something bad to say about my dog I have an entire arsenal of facts and demonstrations I can whip out in order to give them another impression. Paco has managed to change quite a few minds in the past and we will continue to educate for the rest of his life and mine.

If someone says to me, "Pit Bulls are bad dogs," I have a prepackaged response ready.

But if someone says, "Man, that dog is ugly," I just don't know what to say.

The first statement can be fought with facts and examples, but the second statement is an opinion... how do you fight someone's opinion? I mean, I know people do that all the time, but it's a totally new experience for me and I have yet to put together stock responses and grow a thick skin. Right now all I have are, "Takes one to know one," and, "Have you looked in a mirror lately?" but both are pretty adolescent, which usually does not persuade someone to come around to your side. It's all so new and fresh I take it personally now... if someone is weirded out by her then I feel like it's somehow my fault.

It's like when Paco was a puppy and I would tell people he was a pit bull. At first the general response was so negative that I took to lying about his breed. Ironically, I went through a month long phase where I told people he was a Xoloitzcuintle (at the time I thought that would be the closest I would ever get to owning one).

It took quite a while to get the words "pit bull" out of my mouth without the cringing, but eventually I embraced it. Like so many other derogatory terms that have been co-opted by the groups they once alienated, I feel the term should be said with pride, so now I never hesitate to use it.

So I know it's just a matter of time before I get used to it and come up with a response so witty people will swayed by our combined charm, but, until then, I expect a few uncomfortable months ahead of us.


Home2k9 said...

Man, I wish I had some ideas for you. I feel like I can completely relate to this on another level... The bottom line is, there are so many breeds our there because we all want/need/appreciate something different in a dog. I always think it's neat for someone to find a breed(or two!) that can mean so much to them and fit their needs so well.

Blow 'em off and keep it real!

imtoad said...

You will learn just how rude people can be. I had a Xolo whose tongue hung out about four inches and I can't tell you how often I heard him called the ugliest dog they'd ever seen! Often they'd change their mind after they got used to him but I found it to be a useful barometer to judge a persons character by. I found that people who couldn't get past how he looked were people that I didn't want to know in the long run. They were superficial people whose opinions were of no value to me. I began to feel sorry for them that they were so limited in their enjoyment of the world. I've had two Xolos and each seemed to come into my life with a distinct purpose. They are amazing beings.


imtoad said...

p.s. If anyone you know wants a Xolo, there are plenty on and often they are listed as Chinese Cresteds because people have never heard of Xolos. I have rescued two Xolos, both as Cresteds.

goober said...

i thought pitbulls were bad dogs till i met your guy paco.

i thought xolo's would be ugly till i met your lady Xochitl.

you have changed at least one person.

as for the others.... Fuck them

Bennett Samuel Lin said...

Take it from a former vegan activist... you live in a world where dogs are like little people. They don't, and ultimately society agrees with them. And that's just the way it is.

You have to accept on some level that these people aren't trying to be rude. You know they would never tell someone that their kid is ugly to their face. But when it comes to dogs, they probably see it as a perfectly acceptable opening for conversation.

I would respond by saying something like, "She's my baby, I think she's beautiful and anyone who knows her would agree." You're not attacking them personally, but you're still hinting that they need to respect YOU, even if they can't respect a dog.

Ashlea said...

Please! Anyone who thinks that gorgeous little girl is ugly is clearly too stupid to see her beauty. Just smile and tell them you feel sorry for them, as ignorance is a sad state of affairs!

So sorry about Pacoe as well. May he run free. (((HUGS)))

Anonymous said...

I have yet to have anyone tell me my Iorveth is ugly. He is one handsome guy and people always complement him. However, I WAS told recently that, when I left our favorite store, that someone asked the employees, "What's wrong with that dog?" They just explained his breed and went on with their day. It made me giggle when they told me.

In my opinion, if someone thinks he's ugly, then they have never had the opportunity to be around a Xolo. Typically, once he greets someone with his happy exuberance, they immediately think he is the coolest thing ever. Your girl, too, is a gorgeous Xolo. I'm sure you have gotten used to it by now but don't worry about people who don't realize their beauty!