Puppies, dislocated // David LeGault
Here's a picture of my new puppy. Isn't she cute? Her name is Mackinac, as in Mackinac Bridge or Mackinac Island or Mackinac City, as in Michigan, as in a transitional point between upper and lower peninsulas.
She's a Staffordshire Terrier, more commonly known as a pit bull. My wife and I picked her up through a great local organization, Minnesota Pit Bull Rescue (and, of course, I'm going to go ahead and say you should check them out). It's amazing the reaction I've been getting whenever I tell someone what type of dog she is: a range of barely concealed shock to flat-out disbelief that we'd take such an animal into our home. And maybe the reaction is somewhat justified: pit bulls do fairly often appear at the top of Most Dangerous Breeds lists, and there are a number of horror stories connected to the breed (both in terms of human attacks as well as their popularity in dog-fighting circles).
But the truth is that these dogs are sweet and affectionate, like any dog really, but their natural strength draws bad people to them who train them to be violent. And part of me likes this about Mackinac: I like it that I'm going to have a friendly pit bull, an ambassador for the breed that can show others that we shouldn't judge the animal, but the owner.
And so Mackinac, at eight weeks old, is already defying the genre of her breed.
And breaking genre is a good thing: its one of the best ways (in literature, but all art really) to open the eyes of the audience to a different mindset. Start with what the audience knows (or think they know) and then show them why the subject matter can't be simplified. Show them a dog they think should terrify them, but that they can't help but love. Make it complex, different, amazing.