Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Most Difficult Conversation

Awhile back, I mentioned that I was working on an article for teens about dogfighting. I interviewed a young man from Chicago who became involved in dogfighting at the age of nine. He found a pittie stray, took him home, and named him Elmo after the Sesame Street character. Then he took him out to fight. It was one of the most difficult conversations I've ever had.

From what I've learned, some young people think that pit bulls want to fight. The kids think they're being good owners by allowing and encouraging their dogs to fight. It's something I have a hard time comprehending. I've seen video of dog fights and can't even imagine that any person—regardless of age—would think this is what their dog wants to do. But if this is true, then education is key. Dogs do not want to fight; according to their survival instincts, it's their very last resort.

The young man I interviewed has since turned things around and now works with the HSUS's End Dogfighting program. The program targets young people in urban areas who are most at risk of engaging in dog fighting. The HSUS offers free training classes where owners funnel their dogs' energy into obedience and agility training. Here, participants also learn about the productive and healthy ways owners should treat their animals. Some (like the young man featured) do so well that their dogs pass CGC testing.

The article link is below. (It ran in a magazine for middle-school students who are struggling readers.) Here's to hoping that at least a handful of teens read this and think twice about dogfighting.


  1. Of COURSE you'd write a story on dog fighting. did they seek you out for this, or you them? haha. Great job though! dog fighting for sure breaks my heart. so glad this boy turned things around! very inspiring!
    - Natalie

  2. haha oh, oops it posted from an account i almost used to host my blog.

  3. That was beautiful. I imagine it was so difficult to talk about something we see as evidently cruel, but others do not. I'm so glad this brilliant young man made better choices!
    He is a role model for sure.

    I loved the last line "It's cool to be kind to your dog". Very cool :)