Don't Judge A Book By Its cover: 7 Lessons I Learned From My Pitbull

by Daniella Hobbs

Who needs a mentor or a guru when you have a dog? The more time I spend with my pit bull, the more I learn from him and the more I strive to become the person he thinks I am.

I know that not everyone is #blessed enough to own a pit, but that doesn't mean that you can't learn from them as well. So, in an attempt to make this world a better place, I'll share with you the various life lessons I have learned from my dog.

1. You do not have to conform to the person society expects you to be.

If you've never met a pit bull in person, but have heard about them before, you may be one of the majority of people who think the breed is vicious.

However, if you have met a pit bull IRL, then you probably know they are one of the sweetest and most loyal breeds you can own. We often joke that my dog doesn't realize he's a pit bull as he bounces around the yard trying to become friends with bunnies and deer.

That's the key: He does not realize society expects him to be vicious, so he is a mushy companion instead. So often we ignore who we are, to become what we think society expects us to be.

Instead, we should be more like my dog, and ignore what society expects us to be, in order to be our true selves.

2. When people don't like you, kill them with kindness.

I have seen people come to my house and cautiously walk around as if my dog will pounce and kill them at any second. By the end of the night, he kills them with kindness and puppy dog eyes, changing their perspective on the breed as a whole.

He knows when people are uncomfortable or confused by him, and he approaches them gently, letting them know it's OK.

We are often quick to dislike the people who dislike us -- so quick to fight hatred with hatred -- but maybe we should try to be kind and create understanding instead.

3. There is something lovable in everyone.

I have had people come to my house who irritate the crap out of me, yet my dog still acts like they're the coolest person on this planet (second coolest when compared to me).

We should all work to be more like our dogs when it comes to this, because then the world might be a little bit better. If we saw the good in people instead of focusing on the bad, then we'd start to realize our differences aren't so big after all.

4. There is a difference between being nice and letting people walk all over you.

My pit is so sweet and gentle that we sometimes wonder what he would do if we were ever in danger. If he's the type of dog that seems like he wouldn't hurt a fly.

Does that mean he's the type of dog that would try to play catch with an intruder? Well, one day when my mom jokingly went to hit me with a magazine, and he gave us an answer.

While my mom had no intention of hurting me, my dog seemed to think she did, and growled at her in an intense and intimidating way we had never heard before.

My mom backed off and we quickly realized, while it is important to love others, it is important to protect the ones you love as well. You can be nice, but that does not mean you should let people take advantage of you.

5. There is always something to be happy about.

My dog is always happy, all you have to do is say his name and he starts wagging his tail like it's the greatest thing he's ever heard.

One time, when I was home alone and really frustrated about what was happening in my life, I started screaming and throwing a fit. I could tell my dog was a little scared, especially because such behavior was uncharacteristic of me, so I switched my tone to sound more upbeat.

As soon as I did that, he started getting excited and wagging his tail. I was still cursing and lamenting about life, but since I didn't sound upset anymore, he was just so happy. I quickly realized that life isn't always as bad as it seems.

When it comes down to it, there is always something we can be happy about. Whether it is something big, or something small like puppy eyes and wagging tails, there's always something good about life, we just need to be willing to see it.

6. Forgiveness is so important.

I'l admit it, while I love my dog more than anything, I have gotten pissed at him for no good reason. I'll yell at him and storm off, even if he hasn't done anything wrong.

Yet, instead of getting pissy right back at me, he follows me around until I've calmed down and still treats me like I'm the greatest person in the world.

7. You deserve to be loved.

We accept the love we think we deserve, and pit bulls show us that we deserve a lot. The breed is one of the most loyal and loving out there, and my dog has helped me understand that I'm loved even when I'm at my worst. So, I'm sorry to any potential boyfriends out there. My dog has set my standards pretty high.

I could probably come up with more life lessons I've learned from my dog, but these are definitely the top seven. I hope you've learned a bit not just about life, but pit bulls as well. As states across the country try to pass laws pertaining to this breed, based on negative (and usually false) stereotypes, it is important for people to understand just how kind and loving pits can really be.

If you're ever looking to get a new dog, please consider rescuing a pit bull from an animal shelter. You may think you're saving their life, but they'll end up saving yours as well.