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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Artie's Blog From Yesterday

Bandanna! Harness! Leash! Car ride! Stopping! Going! Walking in the woods!! So many smells! Elke grumbles, what's that? Oh big brown animal thing? Far out! More walking! Back in car! Class Place! I smell Clark! I love Clark, where is he? I want to plaaaaay with Clark! Mom, why can't I play with Clark, you smell like Clark! Did him?

Mom is walking me around, I don't have my harness on now, must be Class Time! Smelling stuff, dogs, dogs, I smell dogs! I smell Clark, he peed here, let me pee on Clark's pee! Ooooh, there is Auntie Kelsey, hihihih, let me jump up on you, auntie! I love you!! I don't WANNA sit and be good! OK, fiiiiiine. I'll sit. Humpf.

We go in the Class room! Clark is there! "HI CLARK!!!"

Mom says, "Blooby, you have to be good and calm for Clark!" but I don't wanna!!! Clark and me, we want to plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! Our moms walk us around, my mom is sweet talking me. But me and Clark...we want to have fun! Poopy humans. Our moms walk towards each other, Mom has me on a short leash, talking to me, "Watch Me!"

"But it's CLAAAARKKKKKKK!! I LOVE CLARK!" We walk around some more and Mom is being firmer, "Artie Blue, Watch ME!" but her voice is still pretty happy. we walk towards each other and mom says "Sittt" I lay down just to mess with her. She shakes hands with Clark's mommy and another new lady says, "Pass." Mom takes me outside and we hide from Clark. I don't know why.....

Then we go back into the room. All my favorite people are there!! Mama Jen who fostered me with her other big doggies, Auntie Kelsey and Auntie Mary Ann and that guy from last week! A new lady is there! She talks to mom, ooooooooh, she's coming to say hi to ME!!!! "Wheeeee! Hi, lady!! I'm Artie Blue, let me get in your face!!!" Mom turns me around and walks me away and then makes me sit and STAY (I hate stay when there are people around and they might touch me!) The new lady comes up and shakes hands with Mom and I rolled on my back. She messes with my feet and I AM SO EXCITED but I'm pretty good. Well...... for me I'm REALLY good.

Then I had to do the Sit, Down, Stay stuff. When Mom called me, "Artie, Front!" I saw my chance! "Hi everyone! Hi New Guy Friend, Hi Aunties, Mama Jen, I WUFFFF you!"

But.....wait....Nobody pets me, human poopheads. they all turned away from me! Mom made me sit again, STAY (yeah, ok, ok. fine, sucks...). When she called me she was so excited, wow, she made all sorts of crazy squeaky noises and clapped her hands! More fun than every one else!

"Exercise finished, " said the nice lady. and she took my leash. Mom said "Wait," and left me.

(I'm having a brain fart, I can't remember what happened.)
Mom came back and they said, "Congratulations! You passed!"

Passed what? Mom didn't have a stinky cloud. But she sure was happy; she was playing with me and then everybody was petting me and making a BIG fuss over me! I got so excited I forgot myself and grabbed my leash with my mouth!!

There is a picture Mama Jen took of us! What do the words on it mean??

Elke Blogs About A Special Day

(With some interjections from Artie....)

Mom will never write this correctly. I had best take care of this myself.

(Ah-hem.....woof, woof.....rolling eyes)

Yesterday we knew it was That Day. We started knowing it in the afternoon.

Knew what?

That it is The Day we go in the car and go to the room with all the Aunties (Jen, Kelsey, Mary Ann with L'Chaim Canine)

Put the link in, stupid. You think I'm such a dolt! I'm a cattledog you know, we're very smart!

Gnawing on bone....ignoring you..... sticking tongue out at you....

I started getting restless and whining. Now sometimes Mom is a pretty smart human. She got two bandannas with that soothing smell stuff she puts in the car when we go anywhere. We both got really excited when she was tying the bandannas on our necks. And you, BB, were trying to chew yours off.

Hey, I don't do clothes!

It's not clothes, stupid, it's a FASHION ACCESSORY and "scent carrying device." I don't know if it works but it seems to make Mom feel like she's doing something. Humans seem to have this need to "do something." Anyway, we settled down after a bit; it's not like we were out the door. Mom even gave us a little dinner which on The Night she normally doesn't do. After a while and a little Power Napping, Mom brought our harnesses in! Oh, I was soooo excited! I started squealing!

Mom was very calm when she put our harnesses on. BB and I ran to the kitchen door and then the Out Door and back again! Mom took us outside and we ran to the Outside Gate, "We're ready, we're going, we're so READY!"

Yeah, you were like stupid excited. What's with that?

But Mom took us in the backyard and started playing ball with you. "That's not in the program, wuz up, Mom?" I nosed her and jumped up on her, wagging my tail. Mom said, "Elke Louise, I'm not going to pet you if you are being all anxious and weird." She took us inside and sat on the sofa, reading a book about dogs. I know, I saw the cover. We did finally settle down, but it took me a while.

Yeah, Mom kept looking at me. "You better not be chewing that damn harness, Artie!" I was laying down but when she looks at me I have to get up! It's a cattledog thing.

Mom was pretty calm, she didn't smell too weird. I kept trying to smoosh myself on her but she wouldn't pet me. Bummer. She'd say stuff like, "You're fine, Elke, just chill out!" I have my harness and that bandanna thing on; who is she kidding??? Then...oh my goD, she got our leashes out! I heard them, I heard them!! I started barking, whining. I even did my patented freak-out-shriek too!

Yeah, I got pretty freaky with the leash thing too! I really couldn't stand myself! You at least sat, what's with that? Come on, you have to help the humans get the damn thing on you! You know how SLOW they are!

But, here's the weird part: we didn't go anywhere. Mom sat on the sofa and read some more from the dog book. She did not smell like wine either but she was not too weird.

Yeah, what was up with that? Maybe if I lay down we'll go! But then DAD CAME HOME! DAD, DAD! When are we going? Hi dad, hi dad! Hihihihihi!!

I know, I LOVE Dad-Man! Anyway, we still didn't go in the car for a while but then we did. We stopped someplace and we sat in the car for a little bit with all the windows open while Mom and Dad went into the bike shop (I read the sign...). We start going again and Artie is whining-----

-----it was YOU!-----

-----was not me, it was YOU! Dad hollered, "Shut up, Artie Blue! Give it a rest!" so yes, it was you.

Wuz not....(grumble-mumble)

Was so....Anyway, we knew where we were going! Dad turned up the music. We're riding along, we're getting closer, we both started to whine...but, but.....we went past The Class Place. Oh, my goD!! What's up? We pull into a park-place with lots of trees and Mom got out of the car. She took us for a walk in the woods and I saw a deer way before Mom! I grumbled so she'd know. We peed and you pooped and we walked some more. When we got to The Class Place, we stayed in the car with Dad. For quite a while. Then you left me with Dad. You have to tell what happened then.

I will. It was hard stuff!! Here's what I wrote:

Dad took me out of the car and we had a long talk in the parking lot. He stroked my head and rubbed my belly and told me I was a good girl, and he loved me. I just needed to get my head out of my (insert naughty word) Huh? I lick my butt; I can't get my head up it. Silly Dad! Then I saw Clark with his mommy. "Oooooh, my goD, I'm afraid of you, but I know you, but you're big, but I do know you.....Oh goD! I'm so conflicted!!"

Clark's mommy says, "What's with you, Elke? You don't even LIKE Clark!" Dad says he hopes maybe I'll be OK someday with Clark.

Claaaaaaaaaaaark! I love CLARK! He's my play frien-----

SHUT UP, Brat Boy! Sheesh!

Dad took me into the Class Place and I knew all the people there except the New Lady, Chris. The New Guy from last week was there too. I think Miss Chris might be a dog helper like The Aunties (Jen, Kelsey and Mary Ann). She was so calm and nice. "We're just doing a run through, right?" she said to Dad. She came over to me and stroked me, touched my feet and my ears so gently. I did the Eye Thing----

----You always do the Eye Thing! You sucker the humans in with the that whole Eye Thing! The come to see ME and what do you do? The stupid Eye Thing! It's so poopy and goopy and the humans get all stupid on you! You are such a big ol' suck-up, you and that whole Eye-----

May I continue? (Bone chewing commences.) Thank you. Anyway, Dad does the "Sit, Down, Stay" thing but no Bang. He told me we can't do "Bang", not sure why. Then Miss Chris dropped a clip board. Big (insert cuss word here) deal.

Oh, yeah, forgot about that. That DID kind of startle me but I sniffed it. It was ok, not like Scary Magazines.

Jeez, you are such a putz, BB! Anyway then we had to do Stay. I hate Stays! But Miss Chris said Dad could keep saying it to me so I guessed I better do it! And we did the "Come" Thing too. I almost always come when Dad says, "Schmoobeeee-Do!" Right after that, Auntie Kelsey came in the room with a big fluffy merle collie-dog.

"Ohmygodohmygodohmygod, a dog! Oh, I'm scared--Bark, woof, garrruff, bark, bark, whine, yip!"

But wait, I think I might know that dog. he smells kind of familiar but not, if you know what I mean. I heard Mom say, "I bet she remembers Shay...." (Mom is hiding in the corner, behind Auntie Jen. I don't know why. It's not like I don't KNOW she's there or anything. Humans. So dumb sometimes.) Dad walks us around the room while Shay-dog is being walked. He keeps getting closer but when he does get close, Auntie Kelsey tell him to lay down. Down isn't tooooooooo bad. He not so big and scary when he's down. I KNOW I know him from somewhere. "Sniff, sniff, sniff, the air!" (It's the Hounds in me.) Finally I think it's OK for Dad to shake hands with Auntie Kelsey. Shay-dog leaves and Miss Chris says, "Let's do the leave thing," and takes my leash. Dad walks to the door and Mom says, "Wait, Schmooby," and quietly leaves.

I can't remember what happened next, it's all a blur.

You too, huh?

Mom and Dad come back and Miss Chris says "You Passed!" Dad is pretty excited (for Dad, that is) and Mom is giving me cheese to eat and people are petting me and loving on me. I even started to cuddle with the New Guy Person and I gave him The Eye. Everyone says I have nice eyes.

(Suck-up.....gnawing on bone)

Whatever it is, Mom and Dad said they are very proud of me! There is a picture Auntie Jen took of me and Dad. What do the words mean?

Here is Miss Chris' link...she helps dogs and their humans too! Just like my Aunties!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Breed Prejudice: Getting To The Core Of It

Here is her picture, via Facebook:

Here is the link to the article about her:

Anyone who is this vitriolic and this hateful is obviously extremely disturbed and very unhappy in their personal and / or professional life. Should we feel sorry for her? I don't think so. Should we be frightened by her? Yes. Her agenda is "pit bulls." It could just as easily turn to Blacks, Jews, Gays, the disabled.

And, don't kid yourself, everyone, every single human being always has an agenda be it for good or ill. Even the most saintly folks, like Mother Teresa had an agenda. Most people also have prejudices too. For many of us, we are prejudiced against ignorant people. By definition, Ignorant is: Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.

I'm guilty, mostly because I'm butt-tired of stupidity, laziness and folks not using their heads, not to mention their hearts!

There is a way to hammer through any agenda, if for example, you're serving on a theater board, why one member is so resistant to change of any kind. Ask the hard questions AND DON'T LET THEM SQUIRM OUT OF ANSWERING.

There is a way to get at the core of a hateful, spiteful agenda like hers.

The number one question, with a bullet is, "What are you so afraid of?" That tiny word "so" really gets people. Hate and aggression; hers, mine or yours is ALWAYS based on Fear. Always. Distill this woman and you will find Fear raging in her agenda but most importantly in HER core being like a forest fire in a drought.

I ask again: "What are you so afraid of?"

Most people will give you a pat answer or their "agenda". I.E., in this female person's case, "I'm afraid a child will get killed by a 'pit bull.'"

"That was not what I asked. I asked what are you, specifically and only you, so afraid of?" This is where interviewers and reporters fail because they don't push through to the guts, the real stuff. The real agenda. They get blown off, usually by "it's not about me."

Oh yes it is. Intrinsically, at the core, it's about her, it's about me, it's about you.

And that's what their interviewees are afraid of and why their PR people make them stop and why they pull out the Attorney Card. Watch interviewers get cut to the quick when these questions are asked because for most people they are brain and ego busters. The "suspect" will get out of Dodge as fast as they can.

I always ask when I'm given a chance, "Why -- and please don't quote me stats because I can smack you over the head with stats that refute your stats...why (in this case) do YOU want "pit bulls" banned. Not 'for public good' or whatever else you think will sound 'right' or 'make good press' but you personally? Not even because it's God's work or I'm doing it for the Lord. No. What is in it for YOU? What jollies will you get out of this?" (Substitute Gays/Lesbians if you like.)

When I am in this situation, I am relentless. (Even though I am the Cowardly Lion inside.) Some of it is my inherent curiosity combined with cutting through the crap because I'm getting older and time is precious blended with, "When it comes to b.s., I'm the Queen of B.S. and I'm smelling yours," added with a bit of bloodhound on the trail mixed with a dash of Holmesian "All the clues are falling into place!" detective work.

Now is the time to keep at it, stay calm, dig past the rhetoric and you will the truth is there. Once you see the glimmer of truth, their true ego shining strong or beginning to shatter, you know you've got them. You can smell the Fear. It's there.

Then you hit them with this question, "So exactly, precisely, what DO you want?" And I might add, "For your life in general?" You can also add, "What makes you happy?" Again, this will distill the agenda because if her happiness is killing animals or gay people, then you know a lot more about her than you ever would have. Know Thine Adversary. Then you know much more about your "enemy." The more negative, ugly rhetoric they can spew. the more wound up they'll get, the more MISTAKES they'll make. The advantage: the more positive, learned, up-beat counters you can use in your future plan of attack. Very rarely is the average person equipped with the mental or spiritual wherewithal to withstand this kind of laser pin-point questioning. They will make errors, verbal blunders, angry outbursts. You know you're hitting home when they threaten you.

Knowledge is power and once you have that, you can figure out a way to counter-attack. Your job is with calmly yet firmly asked questions to "Boot Camp" them, to break them down to break through. With prejudice, we must always find the hidden agenda and 99.9% of the time it's Fear.

People are sure as hell all over what they DON'T want but ask them to be specific about what they DO want and watch their heads spin!! It's kind of funny because if you hammer at them with "I didn't ask what you DON'T want. I asked what you DO want," most people seriously don't know. Even the Average Joe/Jane usually can't say precisely what they want, for themselves, their lives, their careers etc.

Now this is when it gets tricky because if you haven't begun to gut them and get to the fear, you have to go back. In her case, her distilled agenda is probably: I want to see all 'pit bulls' dead. That's when you flip back to Why? What are you afraid of? and What's in it for you personally?

As we fight prejudice and racism, whether is BSL, same sex marriage, gay rights, race relations etc. we need to be asking these people like this woman (especially if they are publicly out there) in a public forum, these types of questions.

The counter to fear is love or at the least neutrality. If you have love, laughter and compassion in your heart it's a little easier to be a little kinder to the next animal or person you might encounter. You don't have to love all "pit bulls" or "gays" or people of a different color but you can learn to see each as an individual. Human go off on fear-mongering agendas like BSL and gay-bashing because it helps them to avoid looking in the mirror and seeing their own failing, defects and ugliness. It's much easier to go off on some tangent than to face your own stuff.

Run that agenda through a dishwasher baby, most of the time it's all smoke and mirrors and it comes down to they don't like the person in or behind their own looking glass. It goes for us too.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dog Class & the Great Melt-Down

Dog classes tend to bring out the worst in me! Guilt, tension, performance anxiety, guilt. Did I mention the guilt. But they DO matter! They are important! These latest ones are NOT my first rodeo, by any stretch of the imagination.

Let me back up a bit here.

Ladies, did you ever have one of those days where you are little "weepy?' (I'd like to assume that men have days like these, but they suck it up better than I certainly do.) Those lovely days where it seems like your hormones are in wacko, weep-er-ella mode. Because let's face it, ladies, we ALWAYS blame our emotions on hormones these days. (Insert winking emoticon here.)

Seeing as I am spayed and beyond the PMS years, I supposed I could blame my emotional state on Menopause. The Change as it is euphemistically known is not for sissies. "Yeah, I'm changing all right," you growl, "My bullshit-o-meter is in the red! How's THAT for change, m----r-f-----r!"

It has also made me at times emotionally fragile, insecure and very depressed. This charming trifecta seems to leave my poor Spousal Unit somewhat befuddled or saying stuff like, "YOU'RE depressed? Look at ME! Now I'VE got reasons to be depressed!" My darling Marine sometimes acts as though emotions are the "Hoo-rah" equivalent of struggling up a hill with a 60 pound pack on your back in the pouring rain. "My feet hurt worse than yours and my pack is heavier."

"It's not the Who Feels Sh*ttier Competition!" And then the guilt sinks in. I feel bad that I feel bad.

One of the "good" things I guess (the jury is still out on that one) is I'm writing more. My typing hasn't improved. I'm still a bit grammar-challenged at times. I write in short spurts; I don't think there's a novel lurking way down inside of me. I have cousins who do that sort of thing. and

I tend to think in moments in time, not sweeping vistas covering days, weeks, years. I've been published in print which is very exciting! I tend to think sentimentally. I am very sentimental. I get weepy at movies, TV shows, reading stories, blogs etc. I got a little teary seeing the squished, cartoon-flat squirrel on my bike ride Tuesday. I'm a softy with a fairly good front.

But I digress as usual.

This past Monday was one of Those Days. I woke up emotionally charged. I was nervous about Elke taking her Canine Good Citizen test that night. For reasons I don't understand I started blogging about Jesse, Winger and how they conspired to bring Artie into our lives. Maybe because I need to pick a birthday for Artie and I think he was born soon after Jesse died.
It's fictional, of course, but I do wonder if there might be a spattering of inspired Truth somewhere in there. After hours of emotional writing, I had whipped myself in a bawling mess of tightly strung Me!

We get to class at L'Chaim Canine ( and by now I'm a semi-controlled mess. I'm nervous and my Spousal Unit is patiently forbearing. Elke and Artie know where we were going and started whining in the car. All I can think is Artie might very well pass but Elke is going to have a really hard time. She is anxious already! What a great combo we four are.

Guess what? The test isn't until NEXT week! Well, shoot, I've lathered myself into a frenzy for nothing. I feel the adrenaline beginning to drain out of me as we walk into the class room. There is a new person there, a nice fellow. Artie does bark, but he's giving wiggling happy signals. Elke on the other hand, goes into total freak mode. She is in the corner of the room, growling and shrieking! Poor Clark, our other doggy classmate, a lovely Bull Mastiff has this "What the....who the....huh the....Duh?" expression on his big black mug. The guy, who is really nice, must wonder what in the world he's gotten himself into now. I'm sure being a friend of Jen's he's used to Doggy Nutsville. Artie is starting to get upset because Elke is upset. I'm starting to gt upset and pissed that Artie is turning into a little jerk and I'm starting to yell at him, a big no-no in Positive Training. The whole thing is turning into a Mulligan Stew of semi-pandemonium. I am devastated!

Mary Ann, an instructor-in-training takes me outside. "Let's work Artie on his meet-and-greets," she says cheerfully. That goes fairly well but I am starting to get really anxious and teary eyed. I'm trying to suck it up and I just can't. Suddenly visions of struggling dog classes at the Humane Society dance in my head. I abysmally failed those dogs, which is why I don't go any more. The dogs I got never seemed to like me at all or they were indifferent to me. Wow, that's was a real ego buster. I can't even help a shelter dog. I really do suck.

I can't seem to take the pressure and now performance anxiety has kicked into high gear. I'm a sucky dog owner, a sucky dog volunteer. Who am I kidding? What was I thinking?

Now the guilt hammers in. I've made my husband take me to these damn classes and it's all for naught. He's pissed at me because he doesn't want to be there and I can't blame him. I'm interfering with his biking. I hate not being able to drive. I hate missing out on stuff I want to do because I don't drive. The whole thing sucks! This all happens in a matter of seconds, as I'm hearing a muted Elke voice from the inside of the training room, shrilly barking.

My little girl dog, what IS wrong with her? What did we do to her? My sweet little dog is being an absolute a**hole! Her head is so far up her butt, it's never coming out. I crack, physically and emotionally. My body folds to the ground and I start crying. Artie is confused.

Thank heavens for Mary Ann and then Kelsey, another instructor. Between the two of them, they managed to get me calmed down. They both seemed to understand that I needed a back pat, must be the dog training thing! The guilt was still there. It's there now, at this moment. Between Jen, Mary Ann and Kelsey, we did finish class. I felt bad for Clark and his owner. I'm sure she couldn't wait to get the heck out of Dodge!

I get that dog classes are a process. I vaguely recall this from the dim days of classes with Pat Piazza almost 2 decades ago. I need to recollect that Hart, my first cattledog, failed beginners twice. I am not a "natural" trainer. Clicking and treating is a co-ordination thing that I have yet to master. I'm still on the fence as to its efficacy. I believe that my Spousal Unit also doesn't see it as "All Positive" either. It does go against Marine Corps Policy.

But I do believe that dog classes are very important and these "Positive" folks are the best in town. You expect your kids to get an education so they go to school and graduate. Why not your dogs? I tend to think of my Dogs Past in their older years, when they were really good, well-behaved dogs. Jesse Ann passed her CGC test easily, even putting up with a very rude Golden who got in her face. True was a breeze too, but he had been a big time show dog. I forget that Winger was terrified of men when we got him but he did pass his test in Canada. But all that was at least 11 and more years ago.

I guess I have to view next week's class, which is when they're actually giving the test, as a training exercise. It's all training. It's continuing education. I wish I could get over all the guilt.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Menopause Moment #62

That weird "yikes" moment when you see a friend's FB posting and comment, "I should share this one," and your friend says,
"You just did! I got it from YOUR Wall."
(Thanks for the laugh, Vicky W.!  And yes, folks, that was MY MM!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Prayer for Wicca The Dog

From all who believe in A Power Greater than ourselves, whether you call the "I Am" God, Buddah, Jehovah, Father or Jesus Christ, Please send prayers to Wicca the dog and her family.

From those of us who follow the Old Ways to Wicca the dog, who like Lennox, suffered from ignorance and prejudice.

Wicca, sweetheart dog, we know the Goddess, mother of All, Divine, Eternal Love will fold you into her arms and keep you safe always in the Summerlands across the Bridge...

May Isis, Ostara, Danu and all the ancient ones, the spirit of our ancestors and especially your family's be there to help you and guide you.

May the hammer of Thor and Cernowain break the hardened hearts of humans here on earth who pose such injustices on innocent ones like you.

I know my Dogs Who Have Gone Before, who never knew such terror, are there for you.

To Wicca's family, we will not forget you, we send you love and hold you in our hearts.

Amen, Selah, So mote it be...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Cattledog's Gift: Part One

Jesse Ann (Truahrt's Rescue Remedy, CGC)
August 18, 2011
I left my body on earth today in soft grass with my dad and my mom and my Aunt Megan. I could feel them petting me, feel their tears falling on my fur. I could hear their voices saying that they loved me, that it was all right for me to leave my old, frail body.

In the distance, I heard the echo of a familiar bark. At first it's a whisper, than it grows more distinct. I know that bark, it's Winger.

"Come on Jesse! There are balls to chase and angels to throw them and lawn mowers to bite that won't hurt us! And Squirrels! And food! And vacuums to attack!" he barks in his shrill yap-yap-yap.

I feel my spirit soar towards him. For a moment, I see my humans holding my old, frail body, crying. My spirit, on a breath, flies across roads, valleys, summer plains, coloring trees, rivers, the big lake where we played to where my Aunt Jamie is. I touch her with my nose-that-is-not-a-nose-of-flesh lean into her body with my body-that-is-not-a-body anymore and my heart, which is overflowing, caresses her heart. I love my Auntie Jamie and she loves me.

"I am with you always, My Other Mother, " I whisper to her heart and soul.
I feel the Presence of Love and Life touch my spirit. "Come, little one, sweet Princess Jesse Ann. You were The Boss to the other dogs, all who came into your home. You were the calm one. Now it's time to play and rest until it's time to guide your human to their joy and bliss."

I know S/He is right, this Divine Love. I have known for a while in human terms, that my body was failing me. I knew when Winger did not come home that winter afternoon this past February that my time on earth would end. Something told me I had to stay long enough help Elke to not be afraid of the things that Winger was afraid of: the thunderstorms, the fireworks. I think I've done that.

I remember going into the car for the ride to the vet today. Mom had to pick me up, my legs were so weak. I was so exhausted, it was hard to walk. I was glad to be outside in the sunshine with my humans as Dr. Mike gave me a shot to make my eyes grow dim and then dark. I did not feel in my soul that second shot, the one that stopped my heart from beating but never stopped it from loving. I want my humans to know that. I think Mom knew that Winger would be calling me to join him.

I see meadows and forests and a glowing bridge of shimmering rainbow colors over fields of stars. I finally see Winger now and another I had known in earthly form, my Auntie Kaya. She is all glowing with love for me and she surrounded by dogs. She laughs and hugs me.

"Bienvenue, mon petit!" She was so loving in earthly form that it is not surprising that she is filled with Love, Light and Laughter. I run to Winger and bark in his face, "See, you bozo, I'm here and nothing has changed! I'm still the boss of you!"

We dogs have it good here......

End of Part One, please see Part Two

Lennox: The Debate Rages On

If you don't know about Lennox, where have you been, under a rock?  It's international news! For the uninformed or if you are reading this years later, he is the pit bull type dog seized from his family, tried, convicted and killed for how he looked in Belfast, Ireland.  That's the short story.

Here is what I don't get about this whole thing.  Several people (including a dog trainer Victoria Stillwell) offered to take Lennox out of the country, all expenses paid.  Basically: I'll take the dog and care for him for the rest of his life.  Problem solved, right?  Controversy over (pretty much), dog saved, Belfast looks a teensy bit better in the eyes of animal lovers and it wouldn't hurt their PR one bit.  But she and others were blown off.  That's in the news. People are incensed that Lennox's family didn't get to say goodbye, receive his ashes or his collar as a remembrance. Death row criminals get that, at least. The most hardened mass murderer gets the chance to say goodbye to their families.

I hate to be a killjoy but by the time Belfast City Council made their announcement that he had be "humanely euthanized" a few things had most likely happened.

1) The dog probably died a few hours if not a few days prior.
2) I'm betting that, depending on that place's usual method of dispatching an unwanted animal, that's how it really went down.  Not some nice double shot like when we pet owners have our animals put to sleep. Their method of euthanizing has never (to my knowledge) been made public.
3) His body went out with all the unwanted dead pets for whatever purposes they use dead animals for or mass cremation.  His collar went in the trash or is being recycled for use on another dog that comes into that place.

It would not be the first time in history, in any country, that a controversial execution was carried out in secret and the body disposed of. Unless you get someone on the inside to squeal and blow the whistle, the public will never know. And I will also bet there were some serious threats to the employees of that place and not enough money paid to the right people to get some real answers.

What disturbs me, even terrifies me is someone squealed on Lennox.  Someone told the authorities, animal control, whoever that his family had a "pit bull!"  Do you honestly think that animal control or the cops have the TIME to meander about looking for "illegal" dogs?  What is even scarier is the thought that authorities just came into their house and stole their dog!  And remember, this dog was not a problem, not a barker, not tied up in the back, never had bitten or attacked anyone.  If one takes the view that animals are property, the cops stole their silver or their TV set basically.

Belfast and the City Council are hoping this thing just goes away, that the next horrible human tragedy (think Aurora, CO) or animal travesty will shock the world into forgetting about Lennox and his family. Let's not forget his family.  I can't even imagine!  If anything good can come about from this event, it has made people more aware of Breed Discrimination, prejudice based on looks (be it canine or human) and that human rights are being slowly yet systematically whittled away.  Those are causes and bandstands to get on.

Discrimination sucks.  I'm tired of people being so damn afraid of everything, everybody, gay marriage, even a damn dog.  God, what a waste of energy.

The bottom line is that poor dog's family. They are the real victims in this whole stupid cock-up.

A Cattledog's Gift Part 2

Part 2

Jesse Ann continues from The Bridge:

We animals have it good here. We have fun, we have treats, we drink from rainbow colored waters. Angels, like my Auntie Kaya touch us, hold us, cuddle us, pet us as we will. I have friends who are cats, horses, dogs, rabbits, birds....

Sometimes we feel a pull to go to the bridge, to help another animal who was pulled from their earthly body by murder, cruelty, starvation, neglect. The Presence helps us to tell these animals, "Here you are safe, here you are loved." Sometimes one of my horse friends goes beyond the bridge to carry a weary human, whose soul just can't seem to make the journey or one too young to know the way. Sometimes my dog friends run over the bridge, in two or threes, in whole packs, to welcome a human they knew in earthly form, tails wagging furiously, dog-voices singing.

"Welcome! Welcome home! Here we are! We love you!" (The cats, being cats, wait, purring, for their human to arrive.)

One day, one moment, one eternity (for time has no meaning here and it's all good), Winger says to me, "I'm worried about Mom and Dad. They have Elke, of course and That Cat and Mom goes to That Place and comes back smelling of Other dogs and cats but they don't have one of US!" I look at Winger like he's crazy (nothing's changed).

"What ARE you yapping about NOW?" I grumble into his face.

"You know, a cattledog!" says Winger. "I went to see Mom in that place the humans call a hospital. her body was so still. I sat there and watched her. I told her to come with me, that I'd show her the way. It was before you came here to the bridge. I know she saw me. She told me it wasn't her time to come here. I heard her say it. But.....she needs one of us, she needs a cattledog!"

"Oh, come ON," I say scornfully. "We have lots of dog friends here. You know doggy love comes in many shapes and sizes! Why look at all those square headed dogs, the ones the humans call "pit bulls." The ones that came from that awful human place in the mountains; the ones we had to help cross over the bridge? Just the other day? Remember?"

"Yes, yes, yes, I KNOW," says Winger, "But I think they need one of us, a cattledog!"

"Do I have to do EVERYTHING? Fine, there is a cattledog who needs a foster home, will that do you? Quit bugging me." That's when Buddy came for a week to live with Mom and Dad. He went to a good home; thank doG. But, if you know Winger and I do, he can be the most noisy, annoying pest. So sometimes a dog has to take things into her own paws.

I went before The Presence, head bowed. "Divine Love, my brother Winger and my Older Siblings who came here before, The Cattledogs Hart and True, are bugging me also. They think my humans need a cattledog. A young annoying one like Winger, but smart and trainable like Hart....Wingie is kind of a dope, you know and I, well I....was admittedly a little pig-headed. Oh and one that will grow into a solid, smart dog like True. One who loves walks in the woods and rides in the car and swimming and chasing balls!" I had to stop myself. I was getting a bit excited, so beneath my dignity. I bowed my head again, "We humbly ask you, Divine One, if this would be possible?"

The Presence called Winger, True and Hart. "Dog-Children, purest of souls, Love who existed in earthly form, Our "Dog-ter", Jesse Ann has asked that one of your type be put into the path of your humans. Do you all concur?"

"We do," said Hart and True.

"IdoIdoIdoIdo!" barked Winger. I barked in his face, "SHUT UP!". (Nothing has changed.)

"Are you willing to give a part of your Spirit to do this? This is a great request and not often granted. We think that dog souls find their way to have an earthly experience and to teach humans lessons, in whatever form they may take. Your cat sisters seem to understand this."

"Yes, but they ARE cats. You know how cats are."

"Very well but this shall be a test of your humans and those whose paths they cross. Do you agree to each give something of yourselves?"

"Yes, Divine One, for we love our humans still and feel they need, well, HERDING!"

"There is a cattledog litter in utero in the state in the country where you lived your earthly form. There is one embryo, a male, whom no soul has chosen in reside in yet. This one may have a hazardous journey on the earthly plain without human help. Are you willing?" We all agreed and I felt the Presence within me. If I had a body still, some of my essence would be missing. I still FEEL like me, but yet now part of my heart is a part of something else. I believe that True and Hart felt this as well. Winger, being Winger, I'm not so sure!

I watch over the embryo from my home at the beautiful bridge.

One night on September 21st, 2011 to be exact, because I usually am --- a little male cattledog pup, all white, is born. Because we all gave of our essence, because we blended ourselves, he won't have eye patches as we did. He's breathing, he's suckling.

Now look, quite frankly, he is in the earthly world and I have things to do here! The Divine has said that human things will fall into place. But, Winger is worried. (Nothing has changed.) "Will he find our humans? How? When?"

"Oh, DO shut up! I'm playing ball! You asked, we all gave, it's out of our paws."

"But LOOK," Winger barks, "He's in a crate! He's just a little guy, no one is paying any attention to him! That's not a happy place! Not like our home was!!"

"Look, you bozo, you slept in crates you whole life! We traveled in crates. We ate in crates so you wouldn't eat all my food. What's the big crate deal? You know what The Presence said. We got to let it unfold."

But Winger barked and barked. He yapped, yipped and barked! He barked and carried on so much that the angels thought the stars would collide. Earplugs were used. The sound of his frantic barking crossed the bridge and spread through time and space and dimension until it was filtered and honed into a sliver of thought. It traveled like radio waves, zapped here and there like a laser beam, filtered through to the human world like smoke signals, anything trying to get the message through to just the right human. The band of white noise was widespread, seeking a human who would receive the message.

Maybe it was the way Humane Officer S. woke up that morning. Maybe it was the flicker of thought, the impulse to turn down a certain street. Maybe it was suddenly on her List of Things To Do. Go To This Place. However it happened, the message arrived whether consciously or in a dream or a decision. She saw the young plain-face cattledog boy and she had to bring him some place safe. Safer than where he was, that's for sure!

I looked over at Winger who had finally shut up, for a moment. "See there, you knucklehead, the little guy is in a safe place. It's the same place Mom goes to where she got all the Other Smells, how about that? Why look there? There's a nice lady, Miss Jen, she helps teach doggies, she says she's going to foster him. She looks nice. So can you chill out now? Please?" Some of our angel friends, hoping Winger would be quiet now, dared to take the earplugs out.

"But how will Mom and Dad find him?" Winger whined.

"You'll see," The Presence spoke in our hearts, "Hush now, Our Dog-Son, the human wheels are in motion. Rest, wait, go play ball and chase squirrels. Until it is your Mom or Dad's time to go to the bridge, your job is done. You and Jesse Ann and Hart and True have placed the paw prints of your hearts into a new dog heart on earth. Let Me help the humans should they ask. And they will."

My spirit was there on earth the day Miss Jen brought the puppy over to meet Elke. A silly angel in a dog suit named Shae brought Elke the message that it's OK to play and it's even more OK to to play with the plain-face cattledog puppy. My spirit soared for this little guy. He'll be a trial just like some of us were. Not me of course. I was perfect. But he'll be a good dog just like we all became. Our hearts and spirits are with him and we bless the human footsteps that brought them all together. Our humans have a cattledog now. Winger can relax and I can get some sleep. But we'll occasionally check out how it's going. Winger wouldn't have it any other way.

And many, many human years from now, when it's time for the new guy's spirit to soar out of his earthly body, we'll be there to greet him.

"Welcome Home, Little Brother! You are a part of all of us, the cattledogs who went before! Welcome Home, Artie Bloo!'

To Read Part One:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Batman Movie Murders

Aurora, Colorado, July 19th, 2012.  A gunman enters a movie theater and opens fire.  As of this date: 12 dead, 71 wounded.

Already the press and social media is rife with speculation, theories and that knee jerk reaction of Gun Control.  Big business ammo companies making money. Etc. Etc.

Stop.  Enough already.  Concentrate.  Keep your eye on the ball. The victims. Their families.

It's so simple. The guy is a psychopath. Plain and simple. They are some of the most intelligent, organized, anal, controlled people on the planet, alas.  Who needs to care about how he got the guns, ammo etc, or the corruption of goverment....blah, blah, blah!  Who cares if his parents abused him or he killed small animals?  You're not going to go back in time and "save him" from his errant ways. Quit analyzing WHY he did it, leave that to the psych experts. They'll be examining him for years.  If you are that ghoulish, there will be books and no doubt movies about him. 

He is unimportant, in my opinion. Once he made the decision to pull that trigger and obliterate all those lives, he devalued himself completely as a human being. 

Help and focus needs to be on the survivors and victim's families. They need to be treated with love and compassion.  Prayers, financial help, counseling. They are the important ones. They are what matters. This is a great time to push through victim's rights.  This person-thing has proven he needs no "victim's rights" or "criminal's rights" either.

He did it, they've got him. Because of his actions, he does not matter. He has no humanity, no compassion.  Leave him to his God. His God is all that should care about him. If he could do it again and get away with it, he would. He can have all the "Come to Jesus" moments one would ever want but he is a psychopath and he'd do it again. If you are a compassionate individual, you can certainly pray for him, his soul. But I would certainly save my Praying Energies for those who have to live with the consequences of his actions.

Don't give this this thing-person one bit of press time because that's what he WANTS so stop saying he's "disturbed." Everyone with two brain cells to rub together knows he's disturbed.  No sane person does this. Psychopaths ACT sane, that's how they get away with this stuff. Who cares if he was abused etc. Stop over-thinking it.

Lock his door and throw away the key. You want a good punishment? Life in solitary confinement.  Death is easier and at a core, base level much more satisfying for others.  Death is death, that's it. Nowadays death sentences are pretty quick, not drawn out for days or weeks or even months. 

But just think about it.  Your whole world is a 4 x 8 foot cell with no window.  He's young, he could live 80 years like that.  No mail, no paper or writing implements, no personal visits from family, friends or serial killer fans, no music, TV, computer or cable.

Food, water, that's it. No milk, juice, no coffee, no pop, no steak.  Nothing.

Just 24/7 like that.  The only bad thing about that is the cost but a long, drawn-out trial with tons of appeals costs millions of dollars too. I figure if he gets Mac and Cheese with some frozen veggies here and there and water, that'll do him.  Pretty cheap. College students and broke people live like that every day.  I bet a Mom with a good budget sense and some coupons could keep this sucker confined for abut $400 a year, including electric and plumbing.  Send a robot in to put the food and water in the feed slot.  No guards needed.  Once a week or better once a month, take him out, and completely hose the cell out and disinfect it and him.

No one ever speaks to him except those doctors and researchers and even then I'm not so sure. But you won't keep those folks out, I know.  But no one else. Ever.  How long would you last?

Help the victims!  He is not a victim.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

That's "Eeeeuuuu" Feeling #5

That horrible feeling when it's 90 degrees and you are trying to pull up your sweaty pantyhose in a Port-a-potty at a air show while wearing a wool WW2 uniform.

Even now, decades later, the mere thought makes my stomach churn.  Eeeeuuuu!  I've had a "thing" about Port-a-potties ever since.

That "Eeeeuuuu" Feeling #1

It's a hot summer day.  You step, then slide, then fall into a huge pile of cow poop. As you are getting up, you slip again and this time you fall face first in the same pile.

Yes, this has happened to me.  Eeeeuuuu!   I would imagine the same feeling would happen with sheep or goose crap.

Horse poop any day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crazy or Compassionate?

Call me crazy or call me compassionate. Take your pick.  I'm going to get yelled at, I know.  My stomach is churning at the thought of how I'm going to get yelled at.  I'm more freaked out about that than the Event. 

Today's Adventure: I had the right-of-way at a stop light (Hollywood and Hudson, if anyone local knows) and some lady in a SUV collided with me today.

My brakes are excellent, my bike is light and I saw as I was in the intersection (yes, I know I can hear them now... the wise cracks....go ahead but yes, I SAW) she wasn't going to yield to me even though I had the right of way going straight, at a green light with no left turn arrow.  You know.  One of those "Oh, sh*t" moments.

I did hit her bumper but it was more like a skid and I didn't fall. My right foot, my "on the ground" foot, wasn't clipped in. And I think my bike, my precious Green Girl my brother gave me, is ok too. I hope so, those are REALLY nice, really expensive wheels!

I know, it's only a bike.  Did you ever notice how people always say that.  "It's only a car. It's just a house."  But you feel concerned, distressed about it anyway?

Here's the crazy part...the lady was totally hysterical.  She did pull over after me yelling at her, "Goddamnit, I have the f----g right of way" and more choice cuss words in my best Theater Voice. She flings herself out of her car.

"I'm sorry!  Oh, my god, what did I do?  Oh, my god, I'm so sorry!" Over and over, she's wailing, sobbing and shaking.  I thought she was going to puke or pass out. I was holding her up.  I am calming HER down. With my weird sense of the absurd, I thought, "Wow, I can't make this stuff up..."  A lady about my age with sunglasses, graying hair in pig-tails.  At the time, part of my brain was thinking,

"She wears her hair in pig tails, like a six year old?  What's with that?"

 I'm the one handing her my sweaty, snooty, skanky hankie out of my jersey pocket and getting her to stop hyper-ventilating and sobbing.  "Hey, honey, what the hell.....I'M the one who almost ate your bumper!  You weren't on your cell phone, were you?  I'd have to be really pissed at you if you were."  I did look into her car as I got her to sit down and I didn't see it anywhere. I really thought she was going to faint.

Thank God(s) she was going slow and for some reason, incomprehensible to me, my reflexes were amazingly fast. So was my mouth!  I bet they heard me in Cleveland!  I bet I broke a couple of windows.

I'm fine, I even made it the rest of the way home with no issues.  I'm more tired than anything else. I don't know, in hindsight, if I should have called the cops but I am fine and I scared the holy sh*t out of her I am sure. And I know I'm going to get yelled at by various family members, friends, why even total strangers will probably smack me upside my head.  That's the part that has me the most distressed, actually.  I won't stop.  If I stop, I'll never get on the horse again.  Unacceptable. Deaf people ride.  People with missing limbs ride. Please don't pull out the Eye Card.

Please WATCH OUT FOR PEOPLE RIDING BICYCLES!  We are getting to be more common, you need to watch out for cyclists.   We have to ride in the streets and I am very careful about road etiquette, signaling, stuff like that, and my head is always turning, looking, checking. I know I don't have perfect vision.

Think Europe!  Think Asia!  More and more people are cycling and more and more drivers are distracted.  What is with that, by the way?  Our mothers didn't have us in seat belts, changed radio stations like they were playing the piano and could whack you upside the head in the back seat all at 40 MPH in city traffic.

I have to give kudos to my husband who checks my tire pressure and bitches at me and to the guys at Falls Wheel and Wrench for working on my bike.  I think if I had been on my hybrid, I might not have had the same maneuverability.

She DID pull over, unlike the tragic hit-and-runs we hear about, including the one this week where 2 people were seriously hurt and their four cattledogs were killed by some idiot running a stop sign. And my Cycling Angel was, no doubt, watching over me.  Funny. I had asked my Higher Power to guide me where to go today.  Guess s/he was having a coffee break at that intersection. Or maybe her hand just slowed everything down.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

An Almost "Oops" Moment

I met an old classmate from my high school days who said, now that she's retired, she is very active in the Republican Womens' Committee.

I did stuff a sock in my mouth but my first smart-assed remark was going to be: "Isn't that an oxymoron, or a physical impossibility?"

I didn't think that would be a smart move at a class reunion for some odd reason!

I did say, "Oh.  That must be interesting and challenging at this time of year."

See, I CAN be diplomatic.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Can You Get Fired From a Volunteer Job?

I'm going to probably get "fired" from my volunteer job. 

I told a teenager today, in an education program, about 12 good reasons why her mom should not breed their two Pibbles (Pit Bull type dogs). 

"Why do they want to breed them anyway?"

"Well my mom says they have such nice temperaments." 

Well, I can show you about 20 dogs at our shelter alone today who are awesome dogs. 

"Is your mom willing to spend anywhere from $300-$2000 and up for pre-natal care. Here's what can kill your pregnant or lactating female dog and her puppies (insert list). Each puppy will cost you guys AT LEAST $300 and up for care, shots, food. Your type of dog is the most likely to be killed, abused, abandoned, fought, used as bait, burned, beaten, hung and heaven only knows what else. Your young female dog has eye problems and might bite people she doesn't know, you say she's going blind? Wow, you really want to reproduce a questionable temperament AND genetic eye problem. I have eye problems, it sucks." 

I ended it with: "I need to talk to you mom. Tell her to get those dogs spayed and neutered and here's a place to do it cheap in August."

Yep, I'm gonna get my arse fired.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Am Lennox

Today in Belfast, N. Ireland, after a two year court battle and amid world-wide outcries, protests, social media frenzies, petitions, thousands of emails, letters and even death threats, a dog named Lennox was destroyed because of what he looked like.  

DNA tests showed he was a Lab/Staff cross. It didn't matter. 

The so-called "expert" that "assessed" him was debunked by veterinarians, behaviorists, animal trainers and dog experts world-wide and even in court.  It didn't matter. 

Lennox's legacy is he may join the ranks of the Vick(tory) Dogs and Patrick the dog tossed down a garbage chute.  He may be the face of injustice. He may help eventually to end BSL.  If you don't know what that stands for it's "Breed Specific Legislation."

Why does Lennox's death matter?  Who cares if one more dog dies today?  It's just a "pit bull" thing, isn't it? Or maybe a German Shepherd or Doberman or Rottweiler thing.  It doesn't affect me. it doesn't affect my dog.  I have a (insert breed or type or size dog here).

Here is why it should really truly matter if you never, ever, EVER own a dog or any pet for that matter for the rest of your earthly existence. It should matter even if you don't like animals very much.  (I worry about you if that's the case....)

It matters because The Government came into Lennox's house, onto his owner's property and seized the dog without cause. A dog who had NEVER bitten anyone, never attacked, was never a "nuisance.".  A dog who actually was helping the daughter of the house.  A family's pet.  Well-loved, not chained out in the backyard or left with no food, shelter, water.  A pet.  A family member.  It matters.  A lot.

It matters even if you are not a "pit bull" fan. It matters even if you really do not like that type of dog at all. it matters because, at any time, the pendulum could swing and your breed or type of dog could be the next target. It matters because if you are a good neighbor, you take care of your dog(s) or cat(s), at any time your animals could be seized and destroyed.  Lennox could be my Elke or my Artie.

I'm talking regular people, not puppy millers, hoarders, stupid, careless, abusive, neglectful people.  Lennox's family were just regular folks, like most of are.  A Joe who went to work to provide for his family, a little girl with some special needs, a Mom like anybody's mom.  They could be your next door neighbor.

It matters because Lennox was judged on his looks alone. And killed for his looks alone. He looked "bad."

I am Lennox.  

I am a middle aged female home-maker who makes a bit of scratch here and there doing this and that with a vision disability.  I don't see as well as most folks do.  I can barely drive a car.  I read things up real close.  I'm colorblind. I wear sunglasses even on cloudy days.

I am Lennox. I am judged by how I look.  

My over-50 husband has a fused spine; he can't turn his head and he has more metal in him than most formerly heavy-metal appliances. 

He is Lennox too. 

According to TV demographics we're "too old."  They are cancelling high rated shows because we're the "wrong" demographic.

We can overcome, we can persuade people, convincing them that we can "do" a ton of stuff "better" than many.  But in the end, in this increasingly superficial society, we are judged.  We're seasoned, we're a bit tattered and torn. We're not "young and beautiful."  (Just beautiful!)

We are Lennox: we judged on our age, sex, looks, sexual preference, religion, perceived abilities. We're "put out to pasture" because of perception.  We're disregarded. In times not-so-past we would have been destroyed.  Killed because of perception.  Because of how we looked.  

It is the barest stretch to liken Lennox the dog to a disabled child, a person "of color,"  they guy with the turban on his head, the lesbian couple next door.....whatever the different scary thing "du jour" is.  We all have our prejudices.  I do. I really do. (Scientologists, I admit, scare the heck out me.)  One would hope that our prejudices might be based on behavior rather than appearances!  

Lennox was a dog.  Plain and simple.  Canis lupis familiarus.  He was never judged as any dog would or should be. He was judge solely on how he looked. It's the same as judging a person on color, sex, gay/straight, age, etc.  There is no difference.  None. If you think there is, you have lost a touch of your humanity in the seconds it took you to read and process these sentences. 

It does not take an Asimov or a STAR TREK writer to imagine a world where being judged on your looks signs your death warrant.  This feeding frenzy regarding dog "types" is not one whit different that anti-Jewish hysteria in Nazi Europe. Anyone who says it's like comparing apples and oranges, even apple and rocks has their heads hidden in the sand.  They are in denial.

She is Lennox.

He is Lennox.

I am Lennox.  Are you?

(PS: Lennox was a Lab-American Bulldog. I erred.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

That's A First!

Life time first: I'm very excited. Mile 6 0r 7 on bike ride, I come around a corner up a slight hill (so I was going pretty slow) and there is a huge buck with a full rack about 8-10 feet away from me. I slam on my brakes because we were so close we might have collided. There was about and five or ten second pause and then he turned and went back into the woods. Holy Crap-mobile! I was so stoked. Kept walking up the hill, shaking my head. Wow! I've never seen one, ever,, except once in great while driving quickly by. Not a buck and certainly not that close. Far out! Glad we did NOT hit, because I would have lost that encounter for sure! I can wipe that one off my bucket list. (I did 18.01 miles, which is really, really good for me.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Puppy Mills: Some Solutions

Let me start by saying: PUPPY /KITTEN MILLS ARE HORRIBLE

Some friends of mine, people I really respect and care about by the way, recently went to a Dog Auction in Millersburg, Ohio. (I'm pretty sure that's where it was.) They bought 8 dogs (maybe more) at what I would consider to be outrageous prices for unvetted, most likely unhealthy dogs.  This was a very noble gesture and I commend them for going there and opening up their hearts and wallets.  It is heart-breaking to see the dogs.

Years ago, I helped dogs at a puppy mill bust and believe me, that is ten times worse than the auctions are and they are pretty shitty.

The problem is.....

As long as dogs are considered "Livestock"...puppy milling will continue. Let me state that I'm not a vegan, nor would I ever want to be one.  I think it's pretty extreme stuff myself but that's for another blog. I can eat a "farm animal" (beef, pork, fowl, etc.) but I just wouldn't want to eat Fluffy or Mittens.  So yes, I don't consider pet animals to be livestock. Nitro's Law didn't pass in Ohio because the line was too vague.  I didn't support it because I thought it was badly written albeit with noble intentions. California (thanks to PETA and DDAL) passed a similar law and it decimated that state's agriculture and put California into a financial spin from which it may never recover.  Should "farm animals" be treated humanely?  Absolutely.  I don't think any animal should be "milled." But I digress.

I am going to be really blunt here but seriously, you could get a fully vetted, healthy nice, pet-quality dog from a REAL breeder for the same price that these dogs were purchased for. You could go to the humane society or a reputable rescue (mutt or purebred) and get a fullly vetted, "speutered" dog for that price.

Trust me on this: The sellers at this auction, mostly Amish, saw my friends, all the advocates and protesters and privately laughed in their beards. They don't give two shits about The English and their sentimentally over an animal. As a matter of fact, they were probably thrilled.  More publicity for the auction.  Next crowd will be bigger, I'll bet.  Hate to be harsh but there it is.

Somebody is buying these dogs because trust me, the Amish and other millers would not be doing it if it weren't a big money maker.  What is interesting to me is that the Amish HAVE gotten into puppy milling, 30 years ago they weren't.  I've also noticed they have in recent years taken worse and worse care of their horses.  I don't get that at all. Hey, that's your f-----g CAR!! The Amish I knew when I was a teen and early 20s wanted and needed their horses to last and be sound and healthy.  Even the Amish has bought the myth of disposable animals, part of our disposable society.

The big Puppy Millers in this and other states have (occasionally) been shut down and (definitely) hunted by advocates. They are being watched and often, when they try to relocate, some advocates go after them.  You can't stop them but you can root them out.  Temporarily. Trust me, people need to protest the farm breeders and they are not. Maybe because someone is going to get hurt or killed as a result. The Amish won't kill you, it's against their faith but since there is money to be made, someone will protect that investment.

A huge part of the problem are the dog brokers....the ones who buy puppies from auctions like this or very young dogs to turn around and sell at a profit.  These are the people they are making huge money, the middle man.  The pet stores who sell milled puppies don't make as big of a profit as you would think.

In buying breeding age females, you can stop the misery and chain a tiny bit by spaying the girls you get.  It has made a difference to that particular dog and her future life.  It is a noble and kind gesture. Of course: you won't see older dogs at an auction. They are killed usually. There is profit in puppies and breeding age females.  Like society at large, there is no profit in the old.

I didn't hear there were too many males at that auction.  If they are getting rid of females, the chances are very, very good they were not good producers, no large litters or poor quality (like fading puppy syndrome).  One male dog can pretty much take care of a large quantity of females.  And remember, they don't give two shits about health testing, pedigrees, pre-natal care, care in general.

I love the "papers" thing.  I know kennel clubs get the rag on this but, in spite of the face that yes, you can find AKC and UKC registered dogs in someone's backyard or at an auction, most carry bogus papers from made up registries like the Continental Kennel Club.

And please....don't get on the rag of ALL breeding should be stopped.  This punishes legitimate breeders, the ones who care and IT WILL NOT (I repeat) stop backyard breeders or Puppy Millers.  It just won't.  That's an airy-faery pipe dream.  Even putting a moratorium on breeding won't stop the "bad guys" from breeding.  You'll drive them further underground like rats.

Part of the solution (a huge one) is to stop pet stores from selling puppies.  I don't know how the hell to stop this one but I personally have been threatened by a pet store employee if I didn't get away from the front of their stores and quit talking to their potential customers.  Before Security could escort me out of the Mall, I beat feet.  Please see my Blog (published) called THE RED DOG.

Part of the solution is to tell people just because it has "papers" doesn't mean dick.  If you didn't see one or both parents on premises and check their health records, you get what you deserve. A good breeder or puppy "grandparent" will be there for you from birth until death of that dog.  If they're not, you deserve what you got: dick.

Part of the solution is to tell people puppies (and kittens) are HARD WORK. Breeders and folks who are involved in the Fancy (judges, handlers, etc.) can help with this and should.

Part of the solution is helping and encouraging people to spay an neuter their pets AND giving them lost-cost or free ways to do that. There are some great grass-roots organizations  that are out there doing what they can to help with this. We need to give them money, which is what they need.  Helping people understand that neutering Butch isn't cutting YOUR balls off. He doesn't need to screw to be amused and satisfied.  Throw him a f----g ball.
           As an aside on this: We can encourage people who want their dogs to feed their human ego by winning prizes that there are about a zillion performance events to do with your "speutered"  purebred or mutt pet.  You can get a ribbons, sometimes prizes!  (Agility, Frisbee, Obedience, Rally, Dock-Diving, Herding, Carting, Pulling come to mind.)  If you want to show your cat, the American Cat Fanciers Association has competitions for altered cats to win ribbons and accolades.

Part of the solution is to educate kids, especially those from low-income, urban or rural backgrounds. They see dogs as a way to make money, not as a living creature.  You have to get them young and you have to be pretty graphic. I say: SCARE THE HELL out of them.  I want that image of dogs in tiny crates, dirty and scared to be burned on a 6 year old's retinas.  I want the picture of the cat burned with lye to make them reach for the nearest waste paper basket. Call me harsh, but I've done educational programs and when 4th graders consistently tell me it's "ok" to hit a dog if it steals your Nintendo, something is seriously screwed up. (By the way, this was ALL income brackets.)

Part of the solution (to be honest, ladies) is to get more MEN involved with this whole thing. Anti-puppy mill folks, etc. are mostly women. You start getting a whole bunch of testosterone on the picket lines and I think this will help change.  Remember that most millers are MEN!  Hoarders, for the most part statistically, tend to be females.  Women are also, alas, often brokers and definitely are used as agents for getting dogs for fighting or as bait dogs. Women are not blameless in this whole mess. Gentlemen, start your engines!  We need MEN educating MEN!