Monday, August 16, 2010

Reflections on the weekend

This past weekend was one focused on green and healthier living. On Friday night, my husband and I ventured into the city for a free wine, beer and food tasting event at Right by Nature. It was a delightful experience at one of Pittsburgh's best stores around! I love the local produce, eco-friendly products and super-happy staff. Plus the food is unbelievably delicious. Local wine and beer was served at stations around the store and was nicely paired with creative culinary delights. I could get used to spending my Friday evenings this way! Unfortunately, they only do this once a month so I have to wait until September to experience it again. For those of you in Pittsburgh, Right by Nature even offers free parking (with purchase) in the parking garage. It doesn't get any better than this...really.

After we were done, my husband and I strolled, hand-in-hand, down the block to Harp and Fiddle where we sat on the outdoor deck and enjoyed an amazing dinner in a fantastic atmosphere. Date nights with my husband. It doesn't get any better than that...oh wait, I fear I'm repeating myself. Well, the fact of the matter is that my Friday night was fantastic. How was yours?

Of course, for those of you who know about my friend, Sharon, the night was overshadowed with our concern for her, and I wouldn't want you thinking she wasn't on our hearts and minds.

On Saturday, my granddaughter, Laura, and I headed down to the Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival, dubbed as "a new fair for a new economy." When I read about the festival, I knew I had to be there, for a variety of reasons. One, I looked forward to the education I'd receive just visiting the various booths and exhibits. Two, I saw it as a networking opportunity I just could not miss. And three, I wanted to share an experience like this with Laura. She'll be 22-months-old soon and seemed to soak in all she could at the festival, from the petting of an albino boa constrictor to, in my opinion, the ickier petting of a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach....okay then....

Because we were walking on a grassy terrain, I opted not to use the stroller and instead strapped Laura up in her new monkey harness. I've never used a "leash" on a toddler before and wasn't quite sure how I felt about it. As it turns out, she didn't need it as she never even tried to stray from my side and mostly wanted to be carried anyway (I paid for that later in aches and pains in places I didn't know could hurt). But the backpack style harness ended up creating a nearly tragic story on its own.

As Laura was petting a cat caged on a display at the Animal Friends exibit, a leashed pit bull emerged from underneath the table and attacked the stuffed monkey's head, shaking it back and forth. Laura's little body jerked with the movement of the dog, naturally frightening her. Knowing that dogs often attack when they sense fear, I was terrified that the dog would transfer its aggression onto Laura instead. The woman at the exhibit pulled on the leash and I pulled on the backpack and we were able to separate the two. But not before my granddaughter was understandably shaken. Not wanting to turn this into a traumatic experience for her, I didn't react the way I wanted to. After all, I didn't want her to grow up fearing dogs. The woman at the booth picked up two stuffed toys from the ground and simply said, "Oh, he just thought that was one of his toys." No apology, no horror over what just happened, just a glib explanation. I will be following up on this later in the day, believe me. My main question is: why would you have a dog like that at a festival with children? Defend them all you want, but the bottom line is this breed of dog cannot be trusted, especially around children.

We enjoyed the rest of the day, with me finally switching to the stroller, and, as I anticipated, with me making some nice contacts. As the week wears on, you'll be hearing about some of them and about some of the things I learned.

Keeping it green locally,



  1. I enjoy your blog and have found it very insightful and thoughtful.

    I have to comment however on your stereotypical generalization of the bull terrier breed and in this case what you would call a pit bull. The Pit Bull Terrier is a specific breed of dog and you've generalized their characteristics. I don't disagree with you that animals cannot be trusted but I do think this extends to all animals. Most dog attacks that occur are performed by small dogs, not the large ones. We only just hear about the big dogs and many times, bull terriers and other breeds are called "pit bulls" in the media. In this instance, I do not consider this an attack but more of a case of mistaken identity - had it been an attack, the dog would not have let go. I do understand your concern and recognize that when it comes to your children/grandchildren - you can never be too careful. I just wanted to point out that not all pit bulls are dangerous and not all of the bully terrier breeds are pit bulls. A little research shows that this breed was bred to be around children and in fact is a great family pet - rarely showing aggression towards people. They do however show aggression towards other dogs/animals (ALL terrier traits). I just wanted to be sure that both sides were heard since I usually find your blog to be well balanced.

  2. Thank you for your comments, Laurie. I expected some feedback here, because I know how many people feel about their own terriers. However, research does show that Pit Bulls have been bred to be aggressive for the purpose of fighting and it's hard to differentiate how much aggression is in the bloodline of any particular one...especially ones up for adoption. While smaller dogs may attack more often, they don't have the capability to injure or kill someone in the same way the breeds with powerful jaws can.

    Either way, this could have gone so wrong had Laura screamed or panicked, as many dogs will react negatively to that. I also wonder what would have happened had she been carrying a stuffed animal, as small children often do. The dog easily could have bitten her hand or arm in that case. This dog clearly should not have been at this festival.

    I appreciate your taking the time to voice your view. Different views are what make life so interesting.

  3. Pit bulls are genetic mutants that cannot be trusted. The owners cannot be trusted either -- an unusual percentage of them are criminals:

    In our politically-correct culture, it's pretty amazing that an ugly fanged monster is allowed to frighten our kids like this.

    Pit bulls are killing children and pets. Other victims have their faces ripped off. Most of us will not be personally affected by these statistics; however, most of our children will be terrorized by these beasts at least once or twice, and we are expected to tip-toe around the fragile egos of their owners.

    Love doesn't equal tolerance. These criminals need to feel some of our love in the form of intolerance of their wicked and depraved choices.


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