If there is one thing we love here at Our Hen House, it’s hearing about people who take it upon themselves to speak up for animals, in whatever way they’ve got. If there is another thing we love, it’s pit bulls. So imagine how thrilled we were to learn about Meet Panda, a new children’s book about a pit bull named Panda by North Carolina artist Cammeron Batanides.
Batanides didn’t have to go far for inspiration. In fact, the book is based on her own dog, a beautiful white (and pink) pit bull who came to live with her three years ago as a tiny, severely abused puppy. The book follows the story of a girl named Sophie, whose cousin, Melissa, surprises her with a puppy. The rest of the book is about how Sophie and Panda form a wonderful new friendship.
There is still so much work to be done to dispel the misinformation about pit bulls that has led people to indiscriminately fear, and hate, them, and has led many communities to ban them, resulting in the deaths of a multitude of innocent dogs. As anyone who has had a pit bull as a friend or a companion knows full well, these dogs are usually incredibly gentle, easy-going, patient souls.
And this is exactly what inspired Batanides, who never thought of writing a book until she met Panda. “This breed gets abused so badly,” Batanides recently explained. “To see her so mistreated and then turn around two weeks later and be the most loving thing … I’ve learned a lot from her.” And, thanks to Batanides, others are learning the same lesson. One story about the new book from a local paper starts off like this:
Think pit bulls are bloodthirsty killers, a menace to pedestrians and small children?
Tell that to Wilmington artist Cammeron Batanides.
Or better yet, tell that to Batanides’ dog, Panda, a 3½-year-old, back-and-white pit bull with a perpetually wagging tail who threatens to lick any passersby soggy.
What a powerful way to change hearts and minds. (Of course, now our pit bull, Rose, wants someone to write a book about her.)