Dad Advice From A Pit Bull OwnerJoel Stein
Shorty Rossi, the host of Animal Planet’s Pit Boss, is a hero to little people (he runs a talent agency for dwarf actors) and pit bulls (he has a huge rescue charity). He also scares the crap out of me.
Shorty tried to get me over my fear of dogs because I was afraid I would pass that weakness on to my son. Or, more accurately, because I was afraid my son would make fun of me whenever we hear a dog barking behind a fence and I go running and screaming and wildly waving my hands in front of my face.
Hanging out with Shorty and Hercules, his star pit bull, was one of the many hilarious and touching manventures I went on for my first book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, which you can conveniently buy here. You can buy a second copy for your dad at the same place.
I’m less afraid of dogs thanks to Shorty’s immersion program, which included me placing a treat into the mouth of Hercules, a dog that not only once ate through a door, but when that door was replaced by a much thicker door, simply chewed a hole through the dry wall next to the super-thick door and walked through that.
As a 4-foot-tall, white, former member of the Bloods gang who did ten years in prison, Shorty surely had more to teach me about being a dad. So, even though he doesn’t have kids, I asked him for some advice on fatherhood.
Q: Do I really have to get my son a dog? And if so, do I have to let the dog in the house? I’m pretty sure animals shouldn’t be inside the house.
A: Yes you do. Animals should be in the house. Would you put your son outside?
Q: At what age do I need to get this dog?
A: At any age. As long as you adopt and not buy a dog. The rescue shelter will be able to place a dog that suits your house needs.
Q: Is it okay if it’s a tiny dog that can fit inside a purse? That’s what my wife wants.
A: Okay, Paris Hilton. Think about it: If your son is five-years old, would you carry him in a case? It needs to walk, unless it has a medical condition.
Q: Is a hamster just as good of a pet for a kid?
A: Your kid wants a dog, not a rodent.
Q: What are pit bull dads like?
A: They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some are thugs who should not own a dog and some are CEO of companies and some are stars of TV shows.
Q: No, I mean the actual dogs. Are they good dads? I had no idea dog owners called themselves “dad.” I am definitely not ready to join the dog-owning community that you’re so much a part of. You’re four feet tall and one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met. My son is one of the tallest kids in his class and just stands there and lets kids take his toys. How do I fix that?
A: Leave him with me for a week and that will be fixed.
Q: How do I keep my son out of jail?
A: Just like keeping your dog out of trouble. Spend way too much time with your kid, even if he is annoyed with it. He will thank you later.
Q: How do I keep my son out of a gang?
A: You can take every precaution, but there are no guarantees. Get him an iPhone so you can secretly track his butt.
Q: How do I keep my son off of reality television?
A: There are some good reality shows. Keep in mind with cable or dish, you can block him off certain networks.
Q: No, not from watching reality TV. I mean from starring on a show. Well, what’s something you’re going to make sure your son does?
A: I don’t plan on breeding.
Q: I love that you call it breeding.
Order my book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, (out May 15) on Amazon.
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