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My dog Roxie’s lovely, but owners give Staffordshire bull terriers a bad name
2:00pm Tuesday 11th September 2012 in Local News
ROXIE is a playful, gentle two-year-old who likes to play with children and puppies and chase balls in the park.
But when strangers see Roxie coming, they often run away, sometimes screaming, because Roxie is a Staffordshire bull terrier.
Roxie’s owner, working mum Samantha Pigram, 24, is frustrated by the public’s perception of “Staffies”, who she says are loyal, playful, people-friendly dogs.
Samantha, from Southend, said: “I always say Staffies are what you make them. It’s how you bring them up.
“If you bring them up to fight, of course they are going to fight. But if you bring them up to be caring, that’s what they will be.”
Roxie was filthy, under-weight and had suffered suspected cigarette burns when Samantha took her in about 18 months ago.
She was nervous, hyperactive and a bit scatty, but never aggressive, despite her difficult early life as a puppy. After a month she gained the confidence in Samantha, her partner and her five-year-old son, Jake.
Samantha, who works at McDonald’s, said: “She’s fantastic – absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t fault her.
“My son’s got ADHD and he jumps all over her. She sits there and looks at him, like: ‘Is that all you’ve got?’”
Roxie loves to play with other dogs, including Samantha’s one-year-old plummer terrier, Rosie. When Samantha lets her off her lead as she walks her in Bournes Green Park each weekend, she bounds up to other dogs – and people – to see if they will play with her.
But nine out of ten times when they are out, strangers are scared of Roxie.
Samantha said: “Occasionally people freak out when they see a Staffy running towards them, but she’s just saying: ‘Stroke me.’ “She always looks like she’s smiling. She’s got her tongue hanging out.”
In fact, Samantha was bitten by a husky she found roaming near her house on Thursday and Roxie would have been attacked by a mongrel she came across in the park a fortnight ago had Samantha not pulled her to safety in time.
The mum, who has had two other Staffies before, blames irresponsible dog owners for giving her – and the breed – a bad name. She said some owners train their dog to fight and only want them for the status.
Samantha said: “It upsets me to know these dogs are being made to fight. I don’t think it’s right.
“The owners should be locked up and the key thrown away.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to own dogs.”