Rubin was a rescue. Having been seized at a dogfight when he was less than two years old, his history was highly questionable. A good deal of previous experience with abused dogs, and more specifically, a background in working with pit bulls led me to believe that Rubin still could make a good pet. Given that I was in college at the time, unmarried, no children, etc. Rubin, despite having had a questionable history, was a good choice for a dog. He was loving from the get go, but as might be expected with pit bulls in general, and a pit bull that’s actually been involved with fighting on any level, he exhibited a good deal of dog aggression. As days turned to weeks, months, and eventually years, time at the dog park, time with friends dogs, and a good deal of discipline turned Rubin into a reasonably stable dog, great with people, okay with other dogs, but probably never be trusted entirely around other dogs.
And he never was.
As life went on, college turned into grad school, I married, had children, etc. Rubin was there for all of this… really through every experience of my adult life, and given this as well as his history, there is no doubt that he was my favorite pet of all time.
Eventually, we moved to a dead end road in the woods, lots of space, no neighbors… a place where the kids and dogs could run freely.
This was a different environment and living situation for Rubin. Whereas in college, he saw many different people all the time –people were constantly in and out of my college residences– and interacted with many people, people rarely come to the end of my road. What became normal for Rubin after a number of years was to not see people near my home. I suppose that over time, he interpreted this to mean that people were not supposed to be at the end of my road.
Though great with my young children, Rubin gradually became less and less reliable around strangers. It was his opinion that our home was ours exclusively, and that others didn’t belong there. What made the situation worse is that he reacted badly to people being frightened of him. The difficulty here is that people are naturally inclined to be frightened of 80 lb pit bulls that are barking and growling at them.