You’ve Gotta Fight

NFLparody-bannerI must confess to being overly emotional of late.  My father has cancer, and it’s pretty bad.  He’s successfully beaten cancer before; in fact he had two types at once and beat both.  But this latest case is going to be very invasive and, I imagine, turbulent.

But there are other factors impacting my mood as well.  It’s football season, and of course that means seeing all the mike vick t-shirts and jerseys and eagles logos in general since I live in the killadelphia area.  Never an inspiration for positive thoughts where I’m concerned.

But the National Football League is now alleged by Peta to have spent $10 million on researching injuries by inflicting catastrophic damage upon dogs’ knees and driving pneumatic pistons into rats’ skulls and spines.  The animals that survive the testing are still euthanized (and who knows how humanely) because they’re messed up, and ‘no longer of service’.  When I put Peta’s petition to the NFL to stop this testing on my anti-vick Facebook page, someone gave the perfect response.  They said, “What do expect from an organization that welcomed vick back with open arms and open checkbooks?”

The NFL responded to Peta’s claim with a legalese-riddled reply that speaks of “board-approved methods” and “acceptable parameters”.

Bleacher Report, an online sports news medium, reached out to the NFL for comment and received a statement that:

“Grant recipients must follow existing industry ethical standards for medical research established by the scientific community. All grant requests have to be approved in advance by the institutional review board of the participating institution.  In addition, we require any proposal to have been submitted for approvals by the institution’s animal care and use committee prior to applying for funds.”

 

It is in NO way a denial.  To me, it essentially says, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.  Incidentally, dripping corrosive substances into rabbits’ eyes and attaching funnels to a bunch of Beagles’ heads through which cigarette smoke is blown until they get lung cancer are also “board-approved methods” that are “within acceptable parameters”.

So, in addition to the fear of losing my father (he’s 73, and there will be several major steps at which anything can happen during the removal surgery, reconstructive surgery, and radiation follow-up), I am  considering no longer watching football again.  I love this sport, and giving up watching it is seriously depressing.  Arguably, I should have done this when they first readmitted vicky into the league.  I’m tired of losing things I love because it’s the right thing to do.  But taking the stands that I do is more important to me than being a fan of something.

I’ve made so many changes, excised so many types of things from my daily life.  Giving up meat and dairy has made eating unenjoyable.  Again, I know it’s the right thing to do, but eating, once a fun thing, almost a celebration, is no longer so.  I put it off as long as I can sometimes because I dread it.  Additionally, all the vegetable-based things wreck my insides a lot of the time.  And then there are all of the cleaning products and hygienic products I’ve been getting rid of because Proctor and Gamble also tests on animals.  It’s a constant fight to do what’s right.

But giving up everything leads me back to my opening sentence of getting overly emotional about things.  I’m worked up over many things right now (including some other personal issues I haven’t mentioned here), but I’m wondering if it all matters in the end.  Animal testing and consumption is going to continue long after I’m gone.  Wars are still going to be fought over religious or political differences.  In fact there are wars going on within political bodies such as Congress just because one party doesn’t like the other and wants to block any potential progress because it’s on the other party’s agenda.  Innocent animals are still going to be beaten, burned, abandoned, and neglected, and judges and legislators still won’t consider these important enough to institute harsher penalties.  People will still rape, murder and steal from each other well after I’m dust and my name is remembered by none.  People are still going to contract awful disease, and even if we find cures, new maladies or strains are always popping up.

So I’m wondering what the point of constantly fighting for change is when the odds seem insurmountable.  Some would say that faith is what gets them through and that I need to have some of my own to escape this spiral.  But that’s not my way.  I’m too much of a scientific mind to cross over into the realm of spirituality.

But I can’t stop the fight.  I want to give up but can’t.  Maybe that means being unhappy and struggling through all the things I must give up.  There’s a saying that once you’ve seen the bad things, you can look the other way, but you can never again say that you didn’t know.  I DO know, and learn more all the time.  Can’t turn back now.

And as much as I doubt my father’s chances against all of the medical trauma to come, I have to fight to stay strong and positive for him, too.

 

Peta’s petition:

Tell the NFL to Stop Funding Sports-Injury Experiments on Animals secure.peta.orgThe National Football League Foundation is funding horrific and deadly sports injuryrelated experiments on animals. Ask them to stop!

 

For those that care to check out my anti-vick page:

Vick-timized: Giving Voice to the Voiceless OnesCommunity · 595 like this

 

(Photo used is from the Peta petition.)

Why michael vick Proves There Is No God or Karma

Alrighty, how’s that for a title?  Provocative, I know.  But it’s how I feel.  I couldn’t think any lower of vick for his past.  In fact, you’ll notice I’ve taken a friend’s suggestion and disrespecting him by never capitalizing his name.

Yet with Sunday’s win over the New York Giants, and his team’s 3-1 start to the season, the fervor for this monster grows.  To have been reinstated into the NFL in the first place after electrocuting, beating, drowning and hanging innocent lives while also forcing them to fight to the death is unbelievable enough.  But how easily the Phickle Phans of Philthadelphia have been won over by his self-proclaimed “redemption” is simply maddening.  I have admittedly never been a person given to the ways of faith. But I’ve always wanted to be, believe it or not.  What little chance I could have had to move beyond the need for things to be scientifically tangible and incontrovertible, to believe in something greater, has been eradicated by the lack of Godly wraith or bad Karma to come vick’s way.

Sure, he spent 19 months in a minimum security prison for illegal gambling.  But he served ZERO jail time for animal cruelty and abuse.  The prosecutor in Virginia (from where vick hails and also where his dogfighting operation was) didn’t want to be the bad guy for going after the local sports hero.  If he had his way, vick would have served no jail time or at least less than the sentence given.  So the arguments I always hear of “he did his time” are extremely inaccurate.

Then Roger Goodell, the football league’s commissioner, could have set the standard by not allowing vick to return to the NFL.  Goodell entered his position as a man on a mission.  He fined and suspended people left and right, wanting to set the example of “zero tolerance” on behavior detrimental to the image of the league.  Yet, given the chance to ban vick forever and setting the bar where he claimed he wanted it, Goodell allowed vick’s return.

Now, I will admit some bias here, but my favorite team’s quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, has had his own legal issues:  he was twice accused of sexual assault.  He was never found guilty on either charge.  I know it’s possible that he simply paid off the accusers as most believe.  But I also know that athletes and celebrities are targets for those seeking a payday.  I honestly don’t believe basketball’s Kobe Bryant raped the girl that accused him of such  in Colorado.  He did sleep with her, yes.  And he gave a woman the best paycheck of her life as a result.  So there is a 50% chance that Roethlisberger is innocent just as there’s a 50% chance he committed the crime.  But the only thing of which I KNOW he is guilty is being stupid enough to put himself in that position to be accused, especially after the first accusation.  I hope he didn’t do it, but I’ll never know one way or the other.  vick, on the other hand, is unquestionably guilty.

I bring this up because, after the second accusation, Goodell suspended Roethlisberger 4 games for being such an awful role model and potentially tarnishing the league’s image.  That same summer, vicky-boy threw a birthday party in which someone was shot.  vick didn’t do it, but the person who did was one of the crew with whom he hung out during his dogfighting days.  Goodell did nothing, though vick, already a controversial person, had shown an equally poor example of off-the-field decision making.  There is the possibility that Goodell didn’t want to look bad for having to punish the dirtbag he just pardoned.

Additionally, upon vick’s reinstatement and subsequent signing to the philadelphia eagles, his jersey was one of the top 2 in sales.  The fans didn’t care what he did.  His jersey to this day is still anywhere in the top 20 in sales.  I believe there are a great amount of his fans that love the fact that such a thug made good and went back to earn millions.  I will be fair here and mention that he doesn’t get to keep all of that money.  He has many debts to pay as part of his sentence.  He has even become richer, however, by many companies signing endorsement deals with him.  These include Nike, Musclepharm, and Subway.  He even has his own clothing line.  I and others I know have boycotted these companies, and have informed those companies as to why.

But here he is, making more than I ever will short of a lottery win, being adored by the masses (and not just in Killadelphia), and unfortunately succeeding on the field to such an extent that his inhumane and simply INHUMAN crimes are a distant memory to most.

So, if there is the God of which Judeo-Christian faith speaks, and/or there is a celestial force weighing Karma, why is this the case?  I don’t want to hear that the guilty are punished in the next life.  Why is he being so rewarded in this one?  And I’ll make the same argument for Roethlisberger if he is, in fact, guilty of sexual assault.  Why is he, too, rewarded if so?  

And why does all of this matter to me so much?  I often wonder if I’m wrong for fighting so hard against injustice, and for taking injustice so personally.  I’d definitely be a much happier person if I could let it go.  Should I just be one of the many uncaring citizens of the Philadelphia area, and only worry about the entertainment value of the game, and forget about the rest?  Should I just let sleeping dogs lie, and let dead dogs die?

As I said, I believe some buy into the sick following of vick BECAUSE of his past.  Dogfighting in this area has actually gone up 300% since his arrival.  Maybe they figure they’ll get off with 19 months, too, should they be caught.  Some truly believe that he is a transformed man, and that there is sincerity in his monotoned PSAs and court- and agent-ordered charity donations.  And many, like a girl with whom I work, simply can’t be bothered with thinking about him as more than a win or a loss for her team.  I tried explaining to her that I no longer support the eagles because they signed vick, and that I will never forgive him for his disgusting past.  She said, “I don’t know anything about that”, and walked away before she could be educated about “that”.  She knew, but didn’t want to deal with it.  It was literally an inconvenient truth.  I feel that this is the category in which most fans reside.

I find myself thinking that perhaps I should also ignore all of the truths and just deal with wins and losses and championship titles.  But then I think about a dog being tortured in the most agonizing ways.  I think of a man who admitted the pleasure he got watching them tear each other to pieces, and feeling the lives leave their bodies as he did away with those who lost fights or showed no aggression.

I also think more and more of just never watching a sport I love ever again, because it hurts my soul to watch injustices of the most heinous nature be rewarded in every possible way.

My Newest Poem–Consider Yourself Warned!

So here is my latest poem, fresh off the presses.  If you want something uplifting, sorry–this isn’t the one for you.  I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say it’s very somber, to say the least.

 

 

Disposable Lives  

 

Enter a dungeon, lined with cages and stink–

Prisoners await their number to be called,

These numbers replacing names and dignity.

Matts of hair and bandages line the corner sink.

If birth means promise, then theirs is forestalled.

Their eyes no longer appeal for your pity.

These sounds now defining their universe:

Yelps, and whimpers, and pale, simple breaths.

Food plates abandoned, as are thoughts of hope,

Their birth no promise, instead struck by curse.

They seem to know they’re awaiting their deaths,

Their acceptance their only means to cope.

Their final walk is to a box which kills,

Their parents still freezing in puppy mills–

An evil the lowest of men contrives–

Now they’re just disposable lives.

Once they were thought so cherished a treasure;

Once they were bought, given assurances of love.

Once they were forced to fight in a Hellhole;

Once they were worth more than sick pleasure.

Once they were thought of as gifts from above;

Once they were considered possessing a soul.

Now in this dungeon, a chamber is set;

Now in their cells they witness each drag

Of one of their cellmates into the next room.

Here, in this chamber, they defecate and wet

Before piled corpses are tossed in a bag

Because no one came dispelling their doom.

Their final walk is to a box that kills,

Air withdrawn, not before each shrills

Their own dirge like sounds of scraping knives–

All bred to be disposable lives.

 

© 2012 Jordan Alan Fox

 

 

Now you need to go watch your favorite comedy….

Wow. Just Wow. Tales of Censorship and Love

I edited my last post.  How so?  I changed the link I gave to my anti-Vick page.  Why?  I changed the NAME of the page.  How come?  Because the Troll Patrol was let out of their cells early.  The page was rocking along, hitting 100 subscribers, and crawling towards 150.  Then the assaults started coming.

Three people told me they reported the page to FaceCrook.  One, and then another, told me they called the police to inform them of my page (again, titled at the time as Mike Vick should be shot, electrocuted, hung, and beaten) and that they thought it was a credible threat upon Vick’s actual person.  Of course, those doing the reporting have pictures of themselves in Eagles jerseys and pictures of Vick as the banner photo.  Perhaps I bit off too much, perhaps I was trying to be too cute in making my point that these reports usually fail (from reporting the obscene things I listed in my last post).  Perhaps it was naive of me to not see more attacks on the page than just reporting to FaceCrook.  I certainly didn’t see calls going to the police that I was an actual threat to Vick’s life.

Then the subscribers started engaging in verbal warfare with the trolls.  I kept asking them to stop retorting, but they wouldn’t listen.  I didn’t want to block anyone; just as I believed I was exercising freedom of speech, I wanted to be fair and let the jerks say their piece in opposition to my page.  But putting up warnings that the arguing wasn’t going to help our cause wasn’t stopping anything.  What could have been 10-comment posts became 96-comment posts.  I eventually decided I had to block the assailants.  I had to figure out exactly how to do that, since I’d never encountered trolls on my other pages, but then again, those other pages were never provocative.  When blocking the comments and those posting them, a feature came up to report abusive comments to FaceCrook.  It seems petty to have done so, but I guess fair is fair.  They reported me for commenting that I’d like to see Vick come to physical harm (though I didn’t actually say I’D be trying to do it), and I reported them for calling my subscribers fat, ugly, unfit mothers and white-trash (insert nickname for female anatomical part that begins with “C”).

I asked the subscribers what they thought of a name change, and I was worried that it was like conceding defeat.  But they were very supportive, and even suggested names.  After digesting what they offered, and a day to think it over, the page is now Vick-timized: Giving Voice to the Voiceless Ones.  I think it’s good timing to change it now, because I have the subscriber base to share and get the page out there now, where the title was what drew the early ones.  It’s got the flavor of the original, but not the “Oh, you’re threatening my crybaby dogkiller quarterback vibe”.  Now the page’s standards can do it rather than the fireworks display.

I did also put up legal-ese statements including: “This page, while educational in nature by trying to raise awareness of dogfighting and animals abuse, obviously provides some satyrical release for those that are disgusted by Vick’s actions. I am making it clear that this page is not in any way suggesting that anyone seek Vick out or attempt to harm him in any way. You may wish whatever you like upon him, but I’m not suggesting anyone actually pursues vigilante actions.”

One woman, who was actually rather sweet, eventually was able to talk to us and not have to be blocked.  She said that her sister, an activist, was taking posts from my page and bombarding her with them.  So that’s probably how they all found me.  My own subscribers might have been hate-bombing Vick fans with my content, which was traceable back to my page.  I had to put up another statement that this is not acceptable, and I apologized to the woman for her being accosted that way.

It has been crazy.  What a night–I had gotten up at 4 a.m. that morning for work, and other than a one-hour nap, I was still up at 5:30 this morning.  I got perhaps another hour of sleep then.  It’s all so surreal.

I wonder what will come of the calls to the police (if, indeed, they were made).  Perhaps the fact that the title is changed and the fact that all the content on the page is about dogfighting awareness, debunking the stereotypes about pit bulls, some non-violent jabs at Vick, and lists of his endorsers to boycott (which seems all legal to me) will save me.  I guess, if the police even bother to look into it, they’ll just look at the page and see that.  With the name change, they might not even be able to find it at all. I changed the link to it as well.

So there we are.  Tales of censorship and love (for the cause).

And thus the Beat(ing) Goes On….

Okay, so last time I mentioned my friend Marie’s suggestion that I throw my animal advocacy poems in here.  So why not?  As I come up with them, I shall do so.

On a different topic (slightly), there have always been pages and photos that I and other advocates (of varying causes) have reported to FaceCrook to be removed.  Such includes a page called Adalia Must Die, which targets a young girl who appears to have terminal cancer.  Targeting those with illness or disability and harmful or hateful speech are both reportable infractions.  We’ve also reported pics of people holding up bloody wolf pelts (violence or graphic content), pics of people appearing to strangle puppies by holding them off the ground with hands around the throat (violence, harmful behavior), and pics of cats with guns shoved in their mouth or pointed at their heads (ditto).  FaceCrook inevitably sends an email that the pages and photos reported have not been taken down due to “lack of evidence”.  Hmmm.

This takes me to Monday.  I was at work, and it occurred to me that I should create a page with the title “Michael Vick should be shot, electrocuted, hung, and beaten”.  Surely this won’t be a violation of FaceCrook conduct policies if those other items weren’t.  And these are the exact things Michael Vick did to dogs.  He shot them, drowned them, etc., and admitted his joy in doing so.

In an interview after being released from prison, reinstated in the NFL, and signed by the Eagles, Vick was asked if he had any regrets or anything he would change in his life.  His initial response was “No.”  The interviewer asked, incredulously, if he was sure he wouldn’t change ANYTHING.  ANYTHING AT ALL.  Vick’s response was that perhaps he’d like less jail time than he was given.  For the record, he spent 18 months in jail for illegal gambling.  Those that like to tell me “he served his time” are errant in that he served the above sentence and NOT ONE SECOND for animal abuse or cruelty.  None.

So perhaps he needs a little karma to come his way.  And karma is a….female dog.

I did indeed create my page, and I’m already near 50 followers.  It consists of a lot of the same things that I do on my regular advocacy page (petitions and animal rights issues), but the focus is on dog fighting, Breed Specific Legislation (the boycott of specific breeds such as Pit Bulls in certain cities, airlines, and other places), and promoting better awareness.  Many folks out there have made pictures of Vick with different humorous phrases on them, and those absolutely go in there when I find them.  My page link is:  Boycott Vick for the Voiceless Ones.  Now let’s go full circle to my first paragraph about poems.  I wrote 2 for my page, and here they are.  The second one references a certain STD Vick is known to have.  They were meant to be silly (that’s the story I’m sticking to).

Fried Green Infrahumanos 8/27/12

I hate Michael Vick;
He should be fried like frittata,
And then hung,
Beaten like a piñata!

An Ode to Vick, et. al.  8/28/12

Working to save animals is cooler than Slurpees;

I hate all abusers (especially ones with herpes).

I’d like to see karma hit them all like a rocket;

Let’s set off fireworks in each’s front pocket.

That’ll keep each one from attempting any breeding;

They’ll get what’s deserved with their crotches burned and bleeding.

The monsters they are would be displayed by their new features,

And perhaps they’ll no longer assault defenseless creatures.

They went over well with the activists, at least!

I’ll end with a plug for the book The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant.  This book is written from the accounts of the police officer and FBI officer who ran the bust on Vick’s compound, the animal forensics expert on the case, and the people that rescued the still living dogs.  If you don’t understand why we activists won’t let it go, won’t forgive or forget, it is all in the book, the whole ugly truth.

Amazon.com: The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their …

Disclaimer:  I’m not actually saying anyone should go and confront Vick and mete out their own justice.  This is stated in fun and as a way to vent the disgust over Vick’s actions.


It’s Been Awhile….(The Dog Days of Writing?)

It’s been quite a bit of time since I wrote in here, and quite a long stretch since I regularly posted at all.  I’ve mentioned numerous times that the animal advocacy eats up my time, and, well….there you go.

A friend (hi, Marie!) recommended that I regularly write and post poetry based on advocacy issues.  Now, I can’t control when, if, or in what way The Muse will strike, and I want every piece to be as perfect as I can make it, especially for something so meaningful.  It’s hard not to get sing-songy and cheesy when you’re chasing after something so heart-felt, at least in my experiences.  And really hard not to force it out which, of course, makes it SOUND forced.

In previous posts I mentioned how seeing the cases of animals needing to be pulled from shelters to avoid euthanasia and petitions against abuse (which include photos), etc., batter the brain, leaving images burned in the mind’s eye.  It is in response to these images that I wrote a poem back in April in one of my writers’ groups.  We were given a prompt to use, and this prompt was “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Here is my creation:

 

 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words 

 

Pictures of those gathered, or alone,

Beaten, abandoned, starved to bone,

With burned and scarred and ravaged hides:

A death blow thrown to my insides.

Their faces shown, which overwhelm,

Await release to another realm,

Stares unfocused, fixedly seared,

And souls that long-since disappeared.

Suffering I can’t understand,

Yet this is brought by human hand.

These inflictions: craven, disgusting,

When they were bred to be so trusting!

Relentless harm, though victims yield;

No longer shall this be concealed!

Words can’t state the horrors shown;

Of cruelties for which we must atone!

These wicked ways must be undone,

These countless pictures reduced to none.

 

Dedicated to those that fight for animal rights and welfare, and, more importantly, to the animals themselves.

© 2012 Jordan Alan Fox

 

I hope you like it, as I am incredibly proud of it.  I’ll admit it’s actually hard to read it myself without getting choked up.

In other news, I was the featured poet at a coffee house near me on August 3rd.  There was 2 hours of total time.  I picked 18 poems out and practiced reciting them to get it to about 30 minutes, including time to give a background on certain pieces.  That would leave plenty of time for the “open forum” after my “set” in which others could choose to share their work.

I believe it went well, but I have to admit that the group of 15-20 people there were friends or friends of the woman that set the whole thing up.  She is the same woman from one of my groups that asked me to do the “He Said/She Said” Valentine’s reading.  I’m scheduled to do another one in October, plus an open mic night 10 days later.  I will read the poem above, for sure.

Of Cruelty and Shame, of Lennox and Buck

Lately I cry and cry.  I have to admit that I’m an overly emotional person (I once had a female manager tell me I was “worse than a woman”).  Regardless of the fact that I’m given to feeling things profoundly, I’d have to say that the last 6 months or so have been exceptionally turbulent with tears.

Those that have followed my post or at least read a sampling of it before might know that my hobby is animal advocacy.  To all of you that have been to Grasping the Tale before, I apologize for the months since my last post, but it is my engagement in this second full-time, non-paying vocation that has kept me from blogging.  In fact, I haven’t really written even my poetry/lyrics with any kind of appreciable frequency.  Whichever part of the brain it is which I utilize to advocate has kept me wrapped up there so I can’t transition to the creative part.

About  the tears: it is so draining to see the animals for which I advocate suffer so much, have their innocence and dependence upon mankind be betrayed so badly.  It runs from the (unfortunately) typical cases of neglect to the worst possible scenarios.  Two cases recently have taken a toll on those of us that dwell in the “online animal kingdom”.

One is the story of Lennox, an American Bulldog/Retriever mix that was a family pet in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Lennox was seized by the Belfast City Council for violation of DDA, or Dangerous Dogs Act, which is known as BSL (or Breed Specific Legislation) in America.  The Council determined Lennox to be a Pit Bull even though he is the breed mix stated above.  Pit Bulls are banned in Belfast as per the DDA.  Despite the fact that he only resembled a pit bull and had never bitten, attacked, or even threatened anyone, Lennox was taken.  While in their custody, one member of the Belfast Council declared Lennox too dangerous to be allowed to live, even though video exists of her with Lennox stitting by her feet and at one point even licking her.  The family fought through the legal system for two years to regain their cherished family member.  After losing the last round of appeals at the end of June, the family’s legal counsel advised them to end the fight.

During this entire ordeal, the world became aware of the story, and literally hundreds of thousands of advocates were signing and posting petitions to free Lennox and return him to his home.  Later on, well-reknowned animal behavior experts such as Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell offered to take Lennox out of the country and work with this “dangerous” dog to become a well-mannered, safe member of society (which, of course, he already was).  The City Council ignored all requests.  The council declared that they would euthanize Lennox at 7:00 a.m. on July 11th.

There was a flurry of activity to add even more signatures to the petitions, and media markets all over the world ran pieces about the fight to save Lenox’s life.  Hoping that the negative publicity would move the Council even if the appeals to their human decency failed, the animal-loving world held its breath.

Lennox was killed by the council as declared on the morning of July 11th.  So many mourn this senseless and evil loss of life, and sympathize with Lennox’s family, who were denied requests to see him one last time, to be with him when he was killed, and to at least receive his collar as a relic of him.  They were told they MIGHT be given some of his ashes after he was cremated, though even that has not been provided at this point.  It has of course been theorized that Lennox was either killed while the legal battle was still going on or that he died languishing in his meager cell (pictures showed it devoid of food and water bowls and even appropriate bedding).  These are just theories, though they are highly likely scenarios.

The other dog’s account that has crippled me emotionally is that of Buck, a blind elderly dog that was released from a shelter to an individual that either let him free or negligently allowed him to escape.  After weeks of searching for Buck, his body was found in a concrete enclosure.  It has not been revealed at this point how he ended up in this cement resting place or whether he died of exposure and lack of sustenance, torturous foul play, or a mixture.  The fact that he died alone and hungry, thirsty, and without even the sight to understand his surroundings is too much.  I keep thinking that some SUBhuman beings might have even abused him to death, which is worse.

I sometimes wonder whether it’s worth being part of this world when such stories of incomprehensible pain and cruelty seem increasingly the norm….

I had written a poem for Lennox upon hearing of his official end (the grief being so great that the artistic flood gates finally broke), and will conclude this post with it.  You’ll notice the title says “Part II”, and this is because Part I was written the night before as a sort of prayer (unanswered, obviously)  for his life to be spared.  I am too drained at present to write one for Buck, though I absolutely want to do so.

For Lennox, Part II                               7/11/12

Belfast now a place of scorn

As countless hearts lie ripped and torn

For all the pleas you would not answer,

Your pride and ignorance like a cancer.

You could have picked another way

Yet bathed your hands in blood today.

You heeded none, for you thought best

To lay an innocent one to rest.

I hope your conscience one day wakes

And your hands shake in fits and quakes

When you see doings that you sought

Have not justice, but murder brought.

You’ve disgraced yourselves before the world;

In Hell’s fires your souls be curled

Around a spit and searing slow

For how you have brought Belfast low.

I can’t see why you’ve made this choice

Now countless cry in Lennox’s voice.

 

 

Reposting From Facebook: Please Read!

This is something someone shared on FaceCrook, and it’s deserving of being shared everywhere.  Hence, I put it up here.

 

A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan incredibly took out a $7000 full page ad in the paper to present the following essay to the people of his community.

 

HOW COULD YOU? – By Jim Willis, 2001

 

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

 

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

 

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” – – still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

 

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.” As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

 

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog ,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

 

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family

 

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, “How could you?”

 

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind — that this was all a bad dream… or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

 

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

 

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured, “How could you?”

 

Perhaps because she understood my dog speak, she said, “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself — a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

 

A Note from the Author: If “How Could You?” brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly “owned” pets who die each year in American & Canadian animal shelters. Please use this to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

 

Please pass this on to everyone, not to hurt them or make them sad, but it could save maybe, even one, unwanted pet. Remember…They love UNCONDITIONALLY.

Now that the tears are rolling down your face, pass it on! Send to everyone in your address book. This IS the reality of dogs given up to shelters!

Onward!

"Onward!"

It has been 2 weeks since I last posted.  I’ve been crazy busy with my animal advocacy page.  I’ve even been on a stay-cation for the last week and spent an abominable amount of that time networking around the clock.  Rewarding, but time-consuming, as I’ve said before.

I kept hovering at the 237-243 level as far as subscribers to the page.  When I got up to 243, I was wondering when I’d hit 250.  But then 2 people would “unlike” the page.  You never as an administrator of a page know why someone bails unless they tell you.  I’ve lost 12-16 subscribers since starting it up.  I get stats on this, though they’re always a few days behind.  For example, today is March 25th, but I’ve only got stats up to the 22nd.  When I realized I was losing some fans along the way, I started posting once per week that if anyone would like to see something different from the page or they have dissatisfaction to let me know so that I may address it.  I’ve never gotten a response positive or negative to such posts.  I sent a suggestion to FaceCrook to add a questionnaire to the process of “unliking” a page so that administrators could adapt to their subscribers’ needs, wants, and or expectations.

Today, I finally broke 250, and some of my contacts made a “recruitment push” to get me to 282 as I write this.  A lot of the pages to which I subscribe are between 600 and 7,000 followers.  So I’m still in the larval stage as far as that goes.

The other major battle front in my life is the diet change from strict meat-atarian to vegan or near-vegan.  I always used to think that I’d die on a vegetable-based diet because there weren’t enough fruits and vegetables I liked enough to subsist solely or even predominantly off of them.  To a large extent, that’s still true.

"These are a few of my favorite things...."

I like carrots, celery, peas, bananas, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.  I can tolerate peppers and cauliflower and spinach, and will eat broccoli, though I prefer it cooked.  I’m not fond of asparagus or melons.  I HATE tomatoes.  Kale is supposed to be incredible for you, but it’s so friggin’ chewy it’s a blah-fest.  Same with chickpeas.  Surprisingly, I find myself addicted to apples.  I ate a Fuji apple one morning, and found myself thinking, “This is the most amazing fucking thing ever.”  And then I was stupefied that I actually just had a mental orgasm over an apple.  I’m still digging them over 4 weeks later, though.  One thing I should be doing is cooking more to get a variety of styles of meal, and to eat less of the processed soy meat-substitute stuff.  But I CAN”T STAND cooking.  I abhor food prep, and loathe taking the time to do it.  I have done so in the past, of course, but only do it every 2 months or so.  I like a grab and go type of meal if I’ve got to fend for myself.

I have eaten chicken 3 times in the last month and no other meat products.  I think it might be close to 2 weeks since I even did that.  Dairy has snuck in there if I forgot to read the ingredients on something, but it’s been otherwise non-existent.  This past week and a half has been hard because I’m jones-ing for pizza.  And I LOVE corned beef, so to go through St. Patrick’s Day without my traditional C.B. was rough.  I was very tempted to break my morality diet over it.

I was concerned over how my body would handle the change since I felt like crap for 5 months when I tried this a couple of years ago.  And I was still eating some seafood and dairy that time.  I feel okay energy-wise, and I’ve had some stomach upset, but the main thing is the GASSINESS that comes with this change.  It’s brutal.

I decided to go back to white bread because so much of what I’ve been eating hasn’t any flavor or enjoyability to it other than the carrots and apples.  The multigrain bread is getting to be a deal-breaker.  The vegan hot dogs will be more and more tolerable over time, but the bread products I was using kill it.  I found a vegan white bread today, so I look forward to liking a little more of what I’m eating (I hope).

In my attempt to keep a decent level of protein in there, I’ve been eating a lot of cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds, and the aforementioned soy- and wheat-based meat substitutes.

One meal I look forward to each week (because I don’t have to make it) is a grilled veggie burrito at Qdoba Mexican Grill.  One of my writers’ groups meets there every Tuesday night, and I’ve been getting this amazing dinner each time.  Sour cream is such a staple of burritos and such, but since I ditched dairy, I decided to pay a little extra and add guacamole to the burrito so I still have that texture and coolness in it.  It’s fantastic!

So that’s my update.  I’m still fighting my chosen battles.  Ooh….that reminds me of one last thing.  My birthday (which I always hated–we don’t need to get into that now) was within the last week.  I bring this up because of the card my father gave me.  In it, he wrote,”You have always stood up for what you think is right.  Continue on your journey.”  It meant so much to read that.  So, Thanks, Dad!   Onward!

When a Plus Is Outweighed by a Minus….

In the time it took to write that last post, I hit follower #200 on my advocacy page.  I don’t feel like celebrating, though.  In the same period of time, it was announced that a dog which had been attacked by another dog had died.  There were so many of us following this dog’s story, I can’t even guess the numbers.  Hundreds?  Thousands?  I don’t know.  We were all over the country.

The dog’s injury was one to his face.  I’ve seen the photos.  His snout was literally ripped upwards from his skull.  From the front, You could see his eyes with the skin and fur of his nose sticking straight up between them.  His teeth and skull on the upper part of the muzzle were where they should be for the most part, but without what should have been covering them.  It was awful.  The dog was dropped off by the the supposed owners at a shelter, in that condition.

A vet in California had tried to perform emergency surgery after a young man volunteered to take the dog from the shelter to the vet.  They sewed his face back together, and put gauze all around his head to try to get the skin to adhere to the skull again.  The doctor even took him home that night to keep an eye on him.  There was so much support, so many prayers, offers to help pay, you name it.  So many people wanted this dog to make it.

We knew this was a serious injury, and there was a good chance he wouldn’t make it.  He eventually succumbed to cardiac failure, probably from all of the sedation it took to keep him comfortable and from possibly hurting himself further.

When I got this news, I just broke down.  Like he was MY dog.  Like he was MY family.  Maybe, in a way, he WAS.  We were united as a family caring for one of their own.  We all invested in him emotionally, wanted him to recover, and wanted him to know love and happiness.  His death, to me, made it seem like nothing mattered anymore.  Many of you might not understand this devotion to a dog, especially to one I hadn’t even met.  People waited to hear about the miners (in Chile, was it?) that were trapped in the mine a while back.  They anxiously waited on Elian Gonzales’ fate.  This was an equivalent for those of us that fight for and dearly love animals and nature.

I certainly didn’t think that my 200th fan meant anything after this news.

It took the signing of about twenty petitions to help pull me out of this funk, as well as another WordPress writer’s post.  If you care to check it out, the post is “Running Water’ on silverpoetry.wordpress.com.  http://silverpoetry.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/running-water/#comment-212

I caught a rumor that this dog was actually attacked in a dog fight.  Oren, as the dog became known, was a poodle, so if this is true, he was a bait dog, used to whet the adrenalized appetites of the fighting dogs before the actual match.  I hope the fuckers responsible pay, even if this is not the case, even if it was simply an owner whose dog had an accident; who just drops a dog in that condition off at the shelter, not even taking him to a vet?  I hope there is a such thing as Karma.

199 and Counting….

Furgii modeling her new tee

My animal advocacy page, Pet Patriotism, now has 199 followers.  Un.  Be.  Lievable.  One person shares it, and three more check it out and “like” it, and it keeps going.  It’s only been a week and a half since starting it up.  Ca-Razy.  I feel a certain pressure to keep these folks happy and interested in what I’m doing.

I admit there’s very little info which I have the knowhow to find.  I pretty much come across other postings and repost them myself.  It’s not to claim credit for it; I’m not erasing the originator’s tags on there.  It’s just that I want to keep the information flowing.  I might subscribe to a certain page that others may not.  You can’t subscribe to everyone–there’s not enough time to read it all.  If someone gets their info from me, great.  If they get it from somewhere else, great.  The point is to keep it all out there, educating more and more people and getting profiles of animals in trouble or petitions that need signing to cycle onwards to those that will help.

I don’t remember if I covered why I set this page up or not.  A friend actually messaged me asking me to “Please stop”.  It was in reference to an item I shared with a picture showing a pretty gruesome wound on a dog.  I knew when I shared it that I’d probably face opposition, but I shared anyway because every share was going to raise another dollar towards care for the dog.  I know that perhaps only three or four of my 93 or 94 friends on Facebook actually care to sign these things, can or will donate, or can spend time networking my posts.  So between reaching people that care and not pestering my friends, I set up the separate page.

I foresaw that this was going to be time-consuming, and boy I was right.  I was already spending a lot of time on Facebook and my email account as it was.  Now I’m taking the time to cross post it TO MYSELF, essentially, on my new page and sharing from there.

After the first week, I decided to take Tuesday the 6th off.  I still went in there a little, but I needed a break from the 24 hour media stream plus 40 hour work week.  Also, my own dog was being neglected regarding attention, which would not be good in general, and definitely not from someone who claims to be all about animals.

I realized that my voice was rather silent that day, but the world still turned.  And others were there filling my void.  Did I miss a petition or two?  Probably.  Did I fail to get something forwarded to someone that may have helped?  Possibly.  But I can only do so much.  There’s guilt, but there’s also reality.  I’ve made the decision that anytime I log in, I will only scroll back through four hours worth of material at most.  I used to go back all the way, even if it was ten or twelve hours, fearful something important would get by me.  I wrote in a previous post that I am a recovering addict (alcohol; two years sober), and I am left wondering if this is another form of addiction, even if it’s a meaningful one.  So I must impose limits, addiction or not.

It seems that some of the people that are informing me are doing this full time.  They are largely female, and, I believe, older, so they may be stay-at-homers with working spouses or are retirees, either of which having a great deal more time in theory.  I’m jealous.  I don’t know if they actually get paid for any of their time.  I doubt it, but if so, I’m jealous again.  Not because I want to profit, per se, but I would love to support myself this way and therefor be able to do this kind of thing all the time.

I previously mentioned reducing meat from my diet, for obvious reasons.  Well, I’ve spent the last two weeks primarily meat free.  I ate chicken three times, and that’s it.  I had already weeded lamb and pork from my diet, and beef and dairy are now gone.  Going forward, I may or may not occasionally eat chicken, eggs, and seafood.  The reason I ate chicken the three times I did was because I am getting some digestive upset from the continuous intake of fruits and vegetables.  A friend hypothesized that it could be all the live enzymes and fiber.  Going from forty years of meat, bread, pizza, and ice cream to this is tough.  So I’m throwing the chicken in there from time to time to make it a more gradual change and hopefully easier on my system.  I feel good about this.

The Tale of the Fox goes on….

Exactly why I keep doing this….

Holy Hell, Batman!

Inspired by the title of my last post, I decided to set up my own page on Facebook as an advocacy site.  Other pages that I’ve “liked” forward different petitions, articles, and such to me, so I decided to try and get my own page so I can forward things from there to others that might want to join the fight.

The title is Pet Patriotism.  I came up with this because I feel we should take pride in our pets and other Earthly creatures the same way we take pride in our nationalities.  I’m a little nervous at taking on something like this when my time is already kind of chewed up with these things and page administration is going to add to that.  But I started it, and that rock is now a’ rolling.

I reached out to someone on Facebook with whom I’ve networked asking for help, and SHE networked for me to get followers who will do the same.  I was even invited into her private group on there of others like us who have pages of our own.  Before I jumped over to WordPress to write this, I was up to 12 followers within a half hour.  Crazy!

For my logo, I chose the American flag, obviously, because I’m American, fulfilling the “Patriot” part of the title.  The lavender paw is a symbol of animal rescue and animal rights (you will often see lavender ribbons for the same).  I’m rather technologically challenged, so I went ghetto, pulling up a “googled” dog paw print, and tracing it and coloring it with a Sharpie.  I then cut it out, laid it on top of a small flag I had, and took the picture.  The background is actually the blanket on my couch.  It works, though.

Now I just have to live up to the faith the folks networking on my behalf have placed in me!

 

Photo © Jordan Alan Fox

Pet Patriotism: Nipping Animal Abuse in the Bud

As many of you know, I fight online against animal abuse.  I sign a bazillion petitions each day for different causes.  While wearisome, it is something I’m incredibly passionate about, and I’m immensely consumed by it.

So many of these petitions seek maximum legal penalty against convicted animal abusers.  Seeing all of this, and also seeing all of the spay/neuter propaganda (which I believe in as well), a new thought has come to me today.  What I’m about to propose is something radical and (currently) unconstitutional.

I propose convicted animal abusers be spayed or neutered so they can’t create any more people with their damaged mental facilities.  Some animal abusers might be genetically geared to do what they do, and some might be taught these things by their elders.  Either way, denying them procreative rights should substantially break the cycle, and would be a more than fair treatment for the suffering and possible death they’ve caused.

It’s been talked about, I’m sure, doing such medical procedures on convicted rapists, murderers, and abusers of children and others (which I think I agree with as well, especially with the former and latter).  This is just another progressive step in that line of thinking.  Maybe one the best ways to prevent animal abuse will be to limit the birth rate of animal abusers….

"Don't tread on me!"

Note: Just so you all know, I didn’t get Furgii pissed off here.  Her teeth were dry and one side of her lips got hung up on them.  I simply tucked the other side under to give her a “mad face”.  🙂

Read the Need of the Breed

Dogs are family.  That statement isn’t mine, but that makes it no less true.  Dogs want to be with you, protect you, and want to please you.  They want to LEARN what it takes to please you.  All they ask in return is your love, your time, and, of course, food.  Sounds like family to me….

I’ve always loved dogs, as far back as I can remember.  I never thought I’d actually get one of my own, though.  I couldn’t see having the time to care for them or the ability to schedule my life according to a pet’s needs.  And it IS hard sometimes.

It’s my ex-wife’s fault, really, that I have a dog now.  Her son (my former stepson) had been asking for a dog for awhile.  She finally caved 4 years ago, when her son was 10.  My wife and I were actually divorced at this point, but had a “friends with benefits” thing going on.  I still remember the phone call when she told me she’d gotten the dog.

What she got was a 5 or 6-month-old Bichon Frise.  I never would have thought I’d fall in love with a “foofy” dog like a Bichon, but I did indeed.  They’re actually rather cute when their fur is shorter.  The day I met this little critter, my ex and I went to PetSmart to get some supplies.  I carried him around.  I looked down at him and said, “Hold the baby”, which I think is a line from Borat that my co-workers would say all the time.  When I said it, he licked my chin.  I said it again, and he licked my chin again.  My canine obsession was born.

When we got back to my ex’s apartment, I wanted to play with him, and I drummed my hands on the floor, Ba-Da-Dum!, and he performed the same rhythm with his paws.  It was a magical bond created that day.  I would call to see if I could come over to play with him and offer to watch him if my ex was going out.  And it wasn’t one-sided.  She told me when my car would pull up that he’d go apeshit and bark at the door for me to hurry up.

Eventually, my ex and I went from “friends with benefits” to not even friends at all.  There’s the saying “My wife ran off with my dog, and I miss him”.  That’s pretty much how it felt.  Thus I made my decision to get a dog of my own.  Like I said, it’s all my ex’s fault I wanted to get one.

The point I want to get to with all of this backstory is that I could have rushed out and gotten a Bichon like hers.  But I lived in an apartment that didn’t allow dogs, and had to wait 10 months for my lease to expire.  This turned out to be an incredibly good thing, in that the time made me think.

Bichons are known for separation anxiety, we found out.  The little guy threw up every time he was left alone.  And then there’s the grooming….

I used my time to think about what might be a good fit for me, and I bought a book called The Dog Bible.  It’s a rather comprehensive encyclopedia of breeds.  I looked through and any picture that looked like a dog I might care to get, I read the profile.

Different breeds have different needs and traits.  Some dogs are high-energy, and need to run or have a lot of physical activity.  Some need a “job” to do, because they were bred for hunting, herding, digging for vermin, etc.  If they don’t have this need met, they can get bored and depressed and eventually become destructive.  Some are couch potatoes, and if you’re looking for a jogging partner, they’re not it.

And again, the grooming….

I was single again, and would be caring for an animal on my own.  A dog breed known for separation anxiety wouldn’t be good since I had to go to work to earn kibble money.  And since I don’t have a lot of said money, regular trips to the groomer wouldn’t be my best bet, either.  A short-haired breed that doesn’t need trimming would work, and a smaller dog would be better for apartment living.  I also wanted a dog with a moderate energy level, so we could play and roughhouse, but I wouldn’t have to be on the go all the time.

I narrowed it down to a final four options, including the Miniature Pinscher and Rat Terrier.  I found a Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin) rescue online, and I read books on the breed.  And read some more.  I picked out one of the dogs they had available, and it turns out she’s a Rat Terrier/Min Pin mix!  She behaves more like the Rat Terrier, so that’s how I see her.  I of course read up on them, too, when I learned she was R.T. as well as M.P.  She will likely not be my last Rat Terrier.

I don’t rule out getting other breeds in the future, including Pit Bulls, but I want to be a more experienced dog owner before getting a larger dog.  And, of course, I’ll do my research first.

That’s the moral today: Don’t make a pet purchase blindly.  Do your research.  If it looks like it won’t be a good fit for you and your lifestyle, you’ll only be out the cost of the books and not an adoption fee.  You also will not have risked traumatizing the dog (and yourself) by making uneducated decisions.

P.S.–Adopt from a rescue or shelter.  There are so many dogs that need homes, and they may be euthanized if not adopted.  They may even have been put there through no fault of their own.  Someone else might not have done THEIR research, and gave the dog up because of human mistakes.  “Open your heart to an animal in need, don’t give in to puppy mill greed.”

Dear Furgii,

Dear Furgii,

When I met you, I knew that you had hypothyroidism.  It wasn’t a big deal; you take a synthetic hormone that takes care of it.  What I didn’t know was that you also had epilepsy, and that I’d witness 3 of your seizures.  I knew when I met you that you also needed a good dental cleaning.  I didn’t know that the teeth were so bad that your jaw was being eroded, and you’d need to have 8 molars removed.  I also didn’t know the string of maladies that would require trips to the vet for the next 20 months.

You would break a nail completely off, and you’d have to get taken to the emergency vet after hours.  The broken nail would eventually get infected, of course.  You would at one point get profuse diarrhea for 3 days and have to go on an antibiotic. You would get kennel cough and have to go on more medicine.  You would also break a tooth, which I’m not sure I can completely explain.  That tooth also had to be completely removed.  You’re now down 9 of them.

You occasionally do something to your right hind leg, and you hold it up until whatever issue is resolved.  I always wonder if the latest incident will be the one requiring a trip into Moorestown.  You’ll develop little cysts here and there, and I’m afraid to assume they’re just cysts and we’ve seen the good doctors a few times on their account.

I knew when I met you that you would require periodic blood work to check your thyroid levels, but, unknowing of the epilepsy, not about the periodic testing to check your organs because the medicine preventing your seizures isn’t so great for the rest of your body.

I thought when I met you that I’d be getting a companion, a miracle, and that I’d love you.  On these counts, I got everything I expected, and more.  You may have come with more drama than I’d planned, and required more maintenance and expenditure than I could have ever foreseen, but I wouldn’t ever, ever give you up.  I regret nothing.  I DO love you, as unconditionally as you do in return.  I hope on some level you know that.

Love,

Daddy

   






For the Children

Those of you catching my blog for the first time will soon learn what those who’ve been around awhile already do:  I am obsessed with animal advocacy.  This ISN’T what I’m going to write about today, though.  Not exactly.

I’ve mentioned previously the circumstances surrounding my divorce, and that those circumstances centered around my stepson’s abuse by his biological father.  The trauma and emotions and everything just destroyed my family. The divorce may have happened anyway, but the abuse and accompanying trauma was the trigger.

So, how does this tie into my affair with animal advocacy?  Well, I’d gotten a dog as a way of moving on and into another chapter of my life, and the more I loved my dog (and who couldn’t), the more I felt the need to be involved with animal rights.  It occupies a great deal of my free time, but I love it, I love doing it, I love being part of positive change.  I love knowing that I may contribute to the success of any given campaign.

But I often imagine my ex-wife asking me, “Why do you do all of this for animals, and you’ve never done anything for abused children, for children’s rights?”  I often ask this of myself in my own voice, let alone hers.  I feel guilty for not doing it.  Shouldn’t this be a topic even closer to my heart?

I’ve seen what abuse can do to a child’s life.  My stepson’s reality became daily and nightly rages that would require restraining him most days, for he couldn’t get himself under control and he was a danger to himself and everyone around.  He was diagnosed as having dissociative flashbacks as the cause of these rages, and obviously these are not remotely anything a 7-year-old can handle.  He usually couldn’t make it to bed without incident.  He couldn’t even make it to school a lot of the time.

By his 9th birthday, he was living in therapeutic homes and hospitals for children in such situations.  By that point, my wife and I had already separated.  We were back together, and then not, while he lived in several such homes for the next 3 years.  Having lived all of this and seen it happen to the child I tried to raise as my own, shouldn’t this be a cause I’d more eagerly join?

He still has the rages.  Anything can trigger them.  I don’t get reports from his mother as to how he’s doing most of the time, and frankly, I really can’t stand having to deal with her anyway.  My stepson himself isn’t going to volunteer the bad things that have gone on in my absence.  I still see him every couple of months, but I’m almost more of an uncle in a way at this point.  But when I DO get the news of incidents he’s having, I die inside.  He’s 13 now; He’s already lost his childhood, and now his adolescence is jeopardized.  I don’t know how to handle that, how to accept it.  It’s a crippling feeling.

I think this is why I don’t get involved in children’s advocacy, especially that for abused children.  It might be too close to home.  I see so many things daily on the internet doing animal stuff, like dogs being tied up and thrown outside to freeze to death.  Puppies who’ve had their eyes gouged out and then shot with BBs.  These things make me want to curl up and give up so much of the time.  There’s so much wrong, so much evil in the world strictly dealing with animals.  It’s hard to go on sometimes.  I don’t know if I can do this same thing and hear the stories of what’s happening to kids out there.  I already know so much of it.  Maybe it’s partially because MY OWN trauma is tied up in these things.  I don’t think I can handle seeing what I’ve seen happen to animals happening to children, but I still beat myself about not being involved.

I can only thank whatever powers might be, mankind generated and/or higher, that there are people out there who deal with those things daily.  Some of those folks are and have been involved in my stepson’s life.  There are so many programs out there that you wouldn’t know existed.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to stomach doing it myself; I hope it doesn’t make me a bad person that I’m not involved at present.  But for now, all I can do about it is what I did back then: cry.

      

In Better Times

2012, My Personal Apocalypse: “May You Live In Interesting Times”

I wanted my blog to consist of thoughtful things, things which might engage potential readers, and to NOT be a bunch of updates on my life.  I have FaceCrook for that.  I didn’t want my page to be a bunch of diary entries, essentially.  But I haven’t had any topic ideas, and it’s been 11 days since my last post (I think).

It is said there’s an ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”.  The phrase is allegedly NOT Chinese, nor ancient, but it proves an amusing curse nonetheless.  And I find myself in interesting times.  As I wrote about in my post “A Week of Friday the 13ths”, I began the year with some unexpected veterinary issues (with accompanying bills) after a clean semi-annual checkup of my dog on January 4th.  This all has come to $139 I didn’t expect to spend (on top of the $132 I’d just paid for the blood work, stool and urine samples, and office visit for the clean checkup).  The worst part of it , though, is Furgii having the seizures and needing to go back on the Phenobarbital.  The money is nothing compared to concerns for her health.

Then, on the 25th, I noticed that my email account was sending some strange emails to every email address of which there were records, even if they weren’t in my address book.  I figured it out when the Mailer Daemon sent me notices that my messages to Shop.NFL.com and some other addresses were undeliverable.  This had been going on for 5 days.  When I looked into my “sent” folder, the outgoing messages consisted of what sounded like Biblical passages followed by some kind of coding.  I had to get a new email account, and I changed every user name and password for everything I do on the computer.

Today, I found upon checking my bank account (which I do fairly regularly to double check my math) that a charge of $45.51 to a merchant (WMV*Match.com) is awaiting clearance.  I naturally thought of the dating site, Match.com, to which I have never gone or used.  I called my bank, and was informed that I can dispute the charge once it clears, which will likely be tomorrow.  I had to cancel my debit card and will have to wait for a new one to arrive via mail.  In hindsight, I maybe should have gone to an ATM to get some cash before canceling the old one, because I now have no access to money.  I do have enough food in the house, so I’m not that stuck.  It’s just inconvenient.  I wanted to cancel immediately so no other charges could be made by the villain.  After getting off the phone with the bank, I googled the address, and there has been a string of credit card fraud of varying purchase amounts all made to this “merchant”.  I happen to joyously be one of the latest victims.

Not a good start to my year, to say the least.  It’s funny because just a few days ago, I was telling a co-worker that I have always been a generally unlucky person.  I have had luck kick in when I needed it most, but otherwise, mine has been dreadful.

For example, I should have failed my senior year of high school, most notably because of my history class.  I can only conclude to this day that my teacher passed me because he liked me.  I never did the homework, I never paid attention, and my tests had to be abysmal.  But I used to talk to the teacher about music all the time after class.  I simply couldn’t have earned a passing grade based on anything of a scholastic nature.  It’s unfathomable., but luck allowed me to graduate.

My wife and I found out after moving to Rhode Island that my stepson’s father was abusing him.  Very unlucky thing to have happen (most so for my stepson).  But we found out just before we were up there 6 months.  After that time, my stepson would have been a resident of that state rather than New Jersey, where he was born, and the original custody agreement that my wife was his guardian, with visitation rights by his father, would have been nullified.  Once back in Jersey, we retained the original custody order and could pursue the eventual restraining order against his father.  This was the only lucky thing in the situation, but we got the information we needed in the literal nick of time.  March 1st of 2006 would have been the deadline, and my wife and stepson made a run out of town on February 27th (when we found out about the deadline) and enrolled him in school in Jersey on the 28th.  Nick of time.

Wy wife left me, twice, in the years that followed, but the one lucky thing for me there is that I’m no longer embroiled in the drama that has befallen my former family since then.  This is an awful thing to say and think, but I know I would have been destroyed if she hadn’t left me.  Nick of time (though the scars remain).

My first dog, which I’d gotten to help me move on from that situation, came with chronic health issues that were hidden from me by a completely irresponsible and negligent foster home.  I had the dog 5 weeks before I was able to get someone else to take him.  I could not as a single person care for the dog’s needs.  But he and I were a nearly perfectly compatible match of personalities.  It’s still heartbreaking.  My”nick of time” luck there might have transferred to poor Chance.  If I hadn’t adopted him, the foster home probably would have killed him through negligence, and the home that has him now was finally able to get the proper diagnosis for a dog that has many years to go still.  My 5-week role in his life literally did SAVE it.

I got my current dog to replace him.  She had 2 seizures in my first 2 weeks with her.  The foster home that had her had not witnessed any.  I covered this also in a previous blog post, but I DO NOT in any way blame that foster situation.  It was a young couple that worked and had social lives, and if the seizures had occurred, they hadn’t noticed them. They weren’t even part of the rescue.  They just found her and agreed to foster if the rescue paid the bills.  I truly believe them, and still correspond with them sometimes.

But at this point, my abused stepson, the woman who dumped me twice (and hooked up with someone in one of her outpatient step-down programs after she went bonkers), the two dogs’ health issues….God surely hated me.  In fact, I wondered if Furgii had never had seizures UNTIL she came here, because I’d given my bad luck to her.

And last year, I had a very bad year at work.  I had let so many of the negative issues in my life effect how I was behaving on a day-to-day basis.  I’m deeply ashamed of my conduct during the middle stretch of 2011.  I am very lucky that I was given a chance to turn myself around and was not disciplined or punished in any way, though I should have been.  I was fortunate to “see the light” before it was too late.  Nick of time.  I was looking forward to a good 2012.

And now all of this email nonsense and financial b.s. happens.  I seem to have caught both in the….well, you know.  But It’s maddening that I have to go through this shit.  I know my problems are greatly outweighed by the problems some others have, I do.  But still.

Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls”.  Well, THIS MAN wants to TRY to put the SOULS of his shoes up the ass of THESE TIMES.

“And I Say to Myself….’What a Wonderful World’….”

Previous entries of mine have talked about the evil in the world, mostly that inflicted on animals, and I am in no way doing an about-face regarding that.  There are so many disgusting and disheartening things to be seen daily.  But today, I want to do something else.  Yes, there are those things that are born in the darkest corners of the human mind, but there are amazing, beautiful, wondrous things, too.

There IS love out there, the love of people to make a CHANGE, and even to BE changed whether they want to or not.  I have been doing what I can to change the injustices out there, and I am but the metaphoric grain of sand in the movements I have joined.

I read an article today by someone who fostered animals, including dogs, but never considered herself a dog person until her family fostered, then adopted an aging pit bull, and helped him to live the rest of his years with dignity.  I also saw a PSA featuring a player on the St. Louis Rams football team for pet adoption.  I signed a petition for the protection of wild buffalo and other creatures.

But it’s not just about animals.  A friend of mine supports Somali Mam Foundation, an organization that’s fighting to stop human slave trafficking.  There are movements to protect children.  There are movements to save the environment.  Speaking of which, I received an email today that a bunch of jungle land that was going to be destroyed to make paper plates was saved, as per a petition I had previously signed.

There is darkness, but there is also light.

There are still individuals that care, saving farmland, saving the underprivileged, saving animals, saving the subjugated.  There are the people that even FIND OUT about these troubles in the first place, and act to CREATE the petitions I and others are signing, and making sure it’s all sent where it needs to go.  THAT can only be called LOVE.

It’s still here in this world, though it faces many obstacles.  But instead of focusing on those obstacles, today I want to focus on and be grateful for the people tearing them down.  Because I want to express what they’ve been expressing:  LOVE.

Somaly Mam Foundation

Becoming a Dog Person, article about the aging pit bull

HOMEGAME with PSA, PSA for pet adoption

(Look, I figured out how to install links!)

The Ghost in the Machine

I have been posting for a few months now, and this is my 25th post (a milestone!).  What I want to say here today is how in awe I am that I’ve been able to reach readers.  It started with friends in one of my writers’ groups at a meeting about beginning/promoting/streamlining blogs.  I have since somehow magically gained readers, or at a minimum written posts that at least one of which landed on someone else’s computer screen, and they liked it enough to click “like”, to comment (nicely), and/or to even subscribe.

I thank all of you that have enjoyed what I’m doing and especially those that follow regularly.

I’m still very new to this, and very new to computers in general by comparison to most suburban Americans.  I’m definitely NOT a tech-savvy person.  I’m amazed that the wizardry of these computers and the internet has allowed me this “voice”, and for the digital ears to “listen” to it.  I’m grateful for that, grateful for the spirit in these electrodes and wires and satellite beams that lets us reach out to each other this way.         (Reaching Out)>>

But I’m most grateful for those that support what I’m doing via that spirit by liking and continuing to be open to what I have to say.  I most humbly appreciate that and thank you all.  Peace, love and light to you all, as my friend Jacquie would say.

Revolution # K-9

I was talking with members of one of my writers’ groups during a meetup based on blogs.  Somewhere along the line, I got to talking about dogs, and it was suggested I write about dogs for my next blog post (thanks, Marie!).  This was a great idea, especially since I had earlier mentioned having a hard time coming up with topics upon which to write.

Doing all of the advocacy I do for animals, I know I shouldn’t probably have favorites, but I can’t help it; I’m a dog person.  As far as I can recall, I always have been.  I can’t relate to cats (and I’m allergic to them anyway), but the way dogs show they love and need your companionship, return all that back to you, are so expressive, and have such loyalty draws me in.  I am an extremely loyal person myself (to a fault), and I’ve been hurt by that fact in my life, most recently by my ex-wife (but we don’t need to go there).  Of course I highly regard what is arguably the most loyal creature on the planet.  I advocate for cats as well, but my heart is with canis familiaris.

The conversation I was having during my meetup centered around what we, as people, have done to make dogs the creatures we know.  At no point did golden retrievers and chihuahuas occur in the wild.  We made these breeds over approximately 15,000 years as man domesticated wolves, or wolves entered into a partnership with us.  The theory is that wolves got closer and closer to our ancestors’ encampments to feed off our scraps, perhaps gain warmth near our fires, and our ancestors saw the benefit in having protectors and mobile “alarm systems” hanging around.  Domestication was inevitable.

Why don’t the majority of today’s breeds resemble wolves?  I refer to an article I read in National Geographic (Taming the Wild, March 2011) which covered the story of a Russian geneticist doing research on foxes in the 60’s.  The most fierce and volatile-tempered of the foxes were bred with ones of similar temperament, and the most docile were bred with other docile ones.  There were also control groups bred from mixed temperaments.

After 9 generations (9 years), the ones bred strictly from volatiles were nasty little demons, but the ones bred from only docile parents began to develop patterned coats (the original generation’s just being grey), and had their ears stay droopy longer before standing upright as adult fox ears do.  They would also wag their tails and lick the geneticists’ faces.  By the 13th generation (13 years), they had tails which curled upwards upon seeing humans.  Still later generations of the foxes would include red and chestnut colored fur.

People react to puppy dog eyes and floppy ears, and pretty much every breed of puppy dog has ears and eyes that do that.   People also respond to different colors and patterns and curly tails.  The hypothesis?  It’s an evolutionary trait that developed to make us go “Oooh and Aaahhh” when we see them, and we want to take in these adorable little furballs.  So the foxes started retaining their droopy ears longer and developing different patterns, and sometimes more vibrant colors.

They even started whining when the handlers came by their cages while the aggressive ones snarled and threatened menacingly.  Some “nice ones” would even jump up into the humans’ arms.  All within 15 generations, or 15 years of selective breeding.

So, different traits would change with wolves as they became more and more domesticated, and as different jobs were created for them, such as guarding, herding, or hunting.  Then we cross-bred different emerging subclasses with others to get newer combinations of appearance, size, personality, and function.

My own dog is believed to be a rat terrier/miniature pinscher mix.  Both breeds were designed to be vermin hunters, and are smaller in stature, but possessing a very strong prey drive.  The miniature pinscher was created by mixing the German pinscher with the Italian greyhound and dachshund in all probability, and the rat terrier was likely created by mixing various terrier breeds.  So my Furgii is an amalgamation of generations of specifically designed breeding for specific purposes.

The downside to all of this is that so many of us want “purebred” dogs, such as the different retriever breeds or Yorkshire terriers or mastiffs.  But breeding “like with like” too closely will eventually cause a degradation of the health of the breed if genetic lines are bred with themselves.  The fact is that most breeders in the world are not of the careful or responsible kind, and are just mass producing dogs for a bottom line return.  They don’t remove unhealthy ones from the breeding lines.  Hence we have breeds that are likely to have ailments such as hip dysplasia, cataracts, heart conditions, patellar problems, and so on.

It’s just like human genetics.  Those of Jewish decent are at risk for Tae-Sacs, and African Americans for sickle cell anemia, while the child of a half Caucasian/half African American parent and half Latino/half Asian parent will have a significantly greater chance of being healthy, and would probably have phenomenal skin, too.  It’s the same for dogs (and other creatures, of course).  A mutt can still have been bred from poor genetic stock along the way, but mathematically should have the best chances of escaping these unwanted traits by dilution.

Wild animals, by the way, generally seem to know not to mate incestuously for these reasons.  It’s evolutionary survival not to to do so.  But long story, short, this is how we got dogs from wolves.

Now, I ultimately don’t know where my long-since-descended-from-wolves rat terrier/min pin (rat pin?) Furgii came from, who bred her, or why.  She was found wandering around North Carolina and was in a rescue for 6 months before I adopted her.  What I CAN tell you is that there’s nothing you could offer me which I would accept in trade for her.  Nothing.

And that takes me to the point I really want to make:  You could go to a breeder, even a reputable one, to get the breed of your dreams or even, as many people want, the puppy of your dreams.  But there are so many dogs that are being killed in shelters every damn day because no one wants them.  They were abandoned; they got lost; they “no longer fit into the family’s plans”; they were dumped at the shelter after getting chewed up as a bait dog in a dog fighting ring.  Some of these dogs just need a new family, are just victims of circumstance, and some need to receive love for the first time in their lives.  They’re out there waiting.  Waiting for someone who wants a dog, like you.  So please, if you’re looking for a dog, check the shelters, check the rescues.  As the slogan says, “Rescued is MY favorite breed”.

And Still More Advocacy–(Notice a Theme?)–vs. Diet

I’m obviously kind of gangbusters with animal rights issues if you know me or have read previous posts of mine.  One of the major issues I have WITH MYSELF and all of the stuff I do online for animal rights and such is the fact that I DO eat meat.  Go on, call it hypocrisy, call me full of shit, call me what you like.  You’d likely be right, and I’m telling you now that I have a hard time dealing with my diet when it comes to my conscience.

I even tried going vegetarian two years ago.  I still ate seafood a few times per week, because I was worried that my system would go into shock after over 35 years of just eating meat, bread, and ice cream.  I thought cutting that type of protein out of my life “cold turkey”, if you’ll pardon the phrase, would be harmful to me.  So seafood stayed, with plans to phase it out over time.

I was sick for the entire 5 month period.  I ate salads and other mostly raw vegetables, ate less junk food, should have been healthier than ever before in my life.  But I was weak, tired, ill-feeling, and had cold-like symptoms.  I spoke to 2 full-on vegans I worked with about it. Their responses?  “Oh, yeah, I was sick for 2 whole years when I gave up meat.”  I was like, “There’s no way in Hell I’m going to feel like this for two years….”

I went back to eating meat, and within 2 weeks, I felt like myself.  I know it would be easy to say that this was all some self-fulfilling prophesy, that I really wanted to eat meat, wanted to believe I needed it, and so therefor I got what I wanted.  Not so.  I really wanted to make this change and was convinced I was doing the right thing, “becoming an enlightened person”.  I later heard something that people with different blood types require different food types (makes sense, really), and that O blood types require proteins from meat.  I am an O Positive blood type.  Again, I want to stress that this was a revelation that came AFTER I’d already conceded defeat on the vegetarian diet.

Doing the things I do for animal rights and such, it still eats at my conscience (pardon the use of that phrase, too).  I see a lot of things about how food animals are raised and treated.  Today I saw a video showing the abuse of chickens by throwing them around, merciless beatings of pigs while they squealed in pain, and cows watching while other cows are hoisted up, thrown onto a table and having their throats cut by hand.  The camera closed in on the cow’s eye rolling back while its life left its body.  Within the last week I saw a film of a camel that was forced to the ground and had its knees tied into a permanent kneel to hobble it, and then had a guy go forth and repeatedly stab it in the chest.

I’m sorry to drop all of these images on you, but this is, well, what it is.  I have given up the eating of pork and lamb, because I’ve seen video and heard stories of both animals being kept as domestic pets.  I’ve seen film of pigs and lamb reacting in such cases in ways very similar to my beloved canine species.  Since they can be companion animals on that level, I can no longer justify myself consuming them.  So I’m down to chicken and beef.

Today I actually had a vegan egg and sausage sandwich for lunch; the doorway is still open for change.  Perhaps I will one day make another run at changing what it is on which I subsist, or at least diminish the amount of animal product I consume if not entirely cut it out of my diet.

A Week of Friday the 13ths….

Last Wednesday, January 4, I took my little Furgii to get her semi-annual checkup.  She passed her physical examination, and all of her blood work and other bodily function samples came back negative.  This, of course, was simply awesome.

But then came this week.

On Sunday, the 8th, I came home from work to hear Furg making noises that were “snorty”, like she was having trouble breathing.  Someone came up with the description of a “reverse sneeze”, and it’s as good a description as any I could come up with for it.  She wasn’t doing it all the time, but fairly often.

She also tends to wake up in the night and move around a lot.  At one point that night, she had gotten up, resettled, and was shaking.  Shortly after that, she got off the bed and went to a corner of the room to lay down.  She has a dog bed in the bedroom, but that’s not where she chose to go.  She went to the other side of the room, to an area she doesn’t generally go.  That really freaked me out, because my Mother’s poodle died when I was growing up, and the dog had never been in the dining room unless he was passing through to another area of the house.  He never stayed in the dining room.  When the poodle died (of old age), he went to the dining room to do it, like he had pre-designated that area for that purpose and avoided it until the time came.  This is what I thought of when Furgii went to that corner.

I called out of work Monday, and took her to the vet.  After listening to her lungs, trachea, and nasal passages, the exam yielded nothing out of the ordinary.  I was told to give her some Benadryl for 3 days to see if it was an allergy causing this.  I had vacuumed up the apartment (which I admittedly hadn’t done in a bit through the holiday chaos period) in case it was from dust.  I also cleaned the tub in case there was some kind of mildew that wasn’t visible causing this(ditto).  By Wednesday, the 11th, she was dry heaving, but not doing the snort thing, and Thursday yielded an end to the hacking but instead a persistent dry, guttural cough was the symptom of the day.  We returned to the vet.

After all airways and lungs still showed nothing abnormal, it was theorized that it may just be Kennel Cough, which could go away on its own, but it could also be from some form of infection, so The Furg’s now on an antibiotic for 10 days.  One day seems to be making a huge difference.  There was some coughing this morning before I went to work, but almost nothing since coming home.  That, and her energy had returned; during the week, the usually always-ready-to-play Furgii was very subdued.  She would start to play on instinct and then quit, with her tail making curious poses rather than curled upward and over her back like normal.

But then the worst of it came.  I wrote in an earlier post of the seizures she experienced in my first 2 weeks with her but that the foster home had not seen, as well as the theories on what may have caused them.  Around 3:30, I looked from my computer to see her in the midst of another one.  I had weened her off the phenobarbital as of October 29th, and there was no recurrence of seizures or evidence of any such events happening in my absence.  But there she was, having the 3rd I’m aware of and first since those first 2 weeks a year and a half ago.

I took video of it on my phone, and got 4 minutes of footage before she returned to normal, and I started shooting about a minute after I’d noticed the seizure.  Thus it was at least 5 minutes long, her previous ones being 15-20 minutes each.  From the point I had recognized what was happening, she was definitely seeing her environment and could move her head (the previous 2 events, she was completely locked except for a Stevie Wonder-like swaying).  She tried to get up, and her left paw was locked initially before she moved a foot or so and laid down again.  That was when I started filming.  After the 5 minutes, it was over, and my Furgii was back, as if nothing had happened.

I had hoped that this was all behind her, and I hate having to put her back on that medicine.  It definitely changed who she is as a dog, I believe.  But I took my risk with her health by seeing if she could do without it, and I lost that gamble.  I’m so grateful she doesn’t seem to have paid for it long-term.

So, the whole week leading into Friday the 13th was bad enough, but today, Friday, was naturally the worst.

Advocacy Part III

Pardon my language, but the two most fucked up things I think I’ve ever seen were both seen this week. No other language could be used here.  I saw a dog who had a firecracker duct taped inside his mouth, and a puppy who had his face split lengthwise by an ax. Both dogs were still alive at the time the photos were taken. I know the firecracker one was not able to be saved, and I’m not certain of the ax dog. I just cried when I saw the ax picture. I don’t get it. How are people able to do these things? My hope in this life had evacuated my body for five minutes. I hate people.

Update, 1/13/12:  I have since dug around and found that the puppy struck by the ax did indeed survive, with a snaking scar traveling from his forehead to his upper lip, having missed the button of its nose.  I wish I could adopt that dog and give it all the love it could need and more, but I know it’s not to be.

 

Advocacy Revisited

I mentioned in an earlier post that I do what I can at present to advocate for various causes, but mostly for animal rights and such.  Some days are just tough to keep going and not give up.

I get news articles about things people do to their pets (or other people’s pets) and to wild animals as well.  I also see so many pets that need to be adopted or they will be euthanized.  It’s heart-wrenching.

Their are neglect cases all over the place.  Animals are cut, shot, beaten, abducted and then beaten, shot, and or cut, stolen to be sold, and on and on.  And, of course, there is dog fighting.

But, again, it’s not just the domestic animals that suffer.  One thing I came across is a tradition in a town in Carolina (I forget if it was North or South) in which a possum is caught and tortured as part of their New Year’s Ceremony every year.

I’ve signed petitions that are sent to colleges demanding they stop performing experiments and surgical training on living animals that are not injured in any way, but being injured as part of training people.  40 beagles were recently rescued from a lab that experimented on them.

And some of the pets aren’t abused or neglected, but simply couldn’t be cared for by older owners or owners that moved or fell on financially difficult times.

I sometimes see the amount of animals needing help and the thought occurs that I’ll never save them all, and I’m not likely do anything to help that great a number of them.  There are so many.  And I lose any hope for the human race to move past these behaviors.  How do you save the greatest number of those needing help and enlighten those who refuse enlightenment?

But then guilt seeps in, and I have to resume the effort.  I started getting involved in all of this a few months ago, and I need to continue in the new year.  If I have a resolution, it’s to keep it up while giving a great life to my own pet.

Why I Love Dogs….

This is another older piece from my pre-blog life that I thought I’d share.

Why I Love Dogs:                                               7/13/10

  1. Your dog loves you for you, doesn’t judge, and doesn’t hold grudges.

2.   Your dog always looks forward to spending quality time with you.

3.  Your dog won’t leave you, “move on” from you, decide they just don’t love    you anymore, decide that you’re not good enough for them, or demand unreasonable things from you that you can’t fulfill only to hold it against you later.  There are no double standards.

4.  Your dog won’t have dinner waiting on the table when you get home, but they will always be happy that you did come home.

5.  Your dog doesn’t mind when you have bad breath or fart.  In fact, they seem to prefer it.

6.  Your dog’s needs are generally pretty simple.

7.  Your dog has faith in you, even when others don’t.

8.   Your dog doesn’t care when you call them derogatory things like asshole, dipshit, or maggot.

9.   Your dog doesn’t get sarcasm, but they won’t give it back to you, either.

10.   Your dog doesn’t care what you look like in your underwear.

11.   Your dog won’t run up your phone bill.

12.   Your dog won’t take your car without asking.

13.   Your dog has no pretenses.

14.   Your dog won’t talk shit about you or tell your secrets; they are the perfect confidant.

15.   Your dog will provide you with lots of unintentional laughter.

16.   Your dog will bond with you in a way you really can’t duplicate with people.  You can know a dog after five weeks in a way you will never know a person in the same stretch of time.  Your dog really will be your best friend.

Prejudice and Boycott

I’m finding it sad today that I have to boycott so many businesses due to political reasons.  Mind you, the reasons are way more than valid, so boycott I must.

For starters, I’m officially boycotting Lowe’s as of this morning.  The home improvement store pulled its ads from a show about 5 Muslim families living in Detroit called All-American Muslim.  A right-wing group started a ball rolling to get public view of the show swayed to their way of thinking, quoted as calling the show, “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”  Lowe’s did an about-face and pulled their ads.

Yes, their are some Muslims out there posing a threat to innocent lives.  There is no denying that.  But we as a race (the human one, that is) cannot continue to treat an entire people with mistrust and hatred.  There are also Catholics blowing up innocent Protestant civilians in Ireland and England for being Protestants.  We’re not (so far as I know) publishing propaganda vilifying the Catholic religion as a whole for it.

As a person born to a Jewish household, believe me, I’ve seen and felt prejudice, and yes, I have to admit that I’m scared when it comes to Islamic extremists.  As with Hitler’s Third Reich, there are Muslims who’d want me dead simply because I was born to members of the Jewish faith.  It would not matter to them what my own actual religious or political views are, what kind of person I am or try to become, just that I was born Jewish.  I grew up actually ashamed of it.  Every time a person in middle school dropped a coin, if the person then went to retrieve it, other kids would call him a “Jew”.  I was afraid that if they hated Jews so much they’d taunt someone who was not Jewish this way, what would they do if they knew I actually was?  And of course I was brought up hearing of the atrocities of WWII.

And I knew as an adult of extremist Muslim hatred, and 9/11 showed how close they could really get.  Oh, yes, I do know fear for simply having a different descent than others and being a target because of it.  But this fear cannot be allowed to dictate how Muslims, or people from Zaire, or Mongolia or any other background are treated.  This television program should be valuable as a way to open doors to love and understanding, and Lowe’s caved to the pressure of hatred and ignorance.  People of my background have been hated, and I will do my damnedest not to do it to someone else’s people.

The next boycott is of Chic-Fil-A, which is difficult because I absolutely love their product.  I don’t really eat fast food, but if I do, that would be what I’d want.  I haven’t done Burger King, McDonald’s, or Taco Bell in years.  Chic-Fil-A is a step above them all in quality (and digestibility), but they have gone on record against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.  They’ve even sponsored groups and legislation against the community, especially against same-sex marriage.

I don’t think it’s anyone’s business what I am, but I am in fact not any of the above.  I just know that humans come in various packages, and cannot help what those packages are, just as I had no say in my origins and makeup.  Human decency is human decency.

I’m aware that this company is founded, owned, and run by Mormons,which is of course a religious group, so it isn’t as much a surprise that those in charge of Chic-Fil-A feel this way.  But when you are a company in the customer service industry, those things should stay behind close doors.  You want to be a bigot?  Go ahead.  Just don’t be surprised when you have less customers than you used to, and you can count me as one less, too.  I incidentally also heard recently that they won’t allow Jewish franchise owners or managers, but I haven’t substantiated that at this point.

I have several friends from the LGBT community, and if I had to guess what percentage of people I’ve known came from the LGBT community and treated me respectfully vs. what percentage I’ve believed were straight and treated me the same, it would probably be 90% and 15 or 20%.

Another factor besides decency and solidarity with my friends that helps me in this decision is an interview I once read with Steven Tyler, the singer from the group Aerosmith.  In the article, Tyler was asked what his thoughts on homosexuality were considering his reputation for having relations with countless women over his career.  His response was that there is so little love in this world, that if love exists between two people, ANY two people, to let it be, accept it, and be happy that there is love.  That will always stay with me (unless Alzheimer’s sets in).  So my stance on same-sex marriage and the LGBT community is the same:  let it be, and be happy there is love.

My final boycott I will list here is of the Philadelphia Eagles.  I immediately boycotted the team when they signed the animal abuser and killer Michael Vick.  If you’ve read any of my previous posts or know me, you have probably guessed by now my level of animal activism.  The Eagles are my home-town team, but they are dead to me.

I always get the “he did his time” and “people deserve a second chance” crap.  My view is that if you are the kind of person who gets enjoyment from another creature’s suffering, you most likely will not change that.  If you can look a dog in the eyes, hear it crying in pain for mercy and not only not relent but continue, you will not likely stop being that person simply from 18 months in jail.

Vick is now employed as a quarterback again on a professional franchise making millions (although admittedly most of that money is taken from him to pay for damages incurred by his dog fighting ring and all of the legal expenses, plus other debts).  If this wasn’t enough, I even am made ill by the Eagles fans who vowed to not renew their season tickets and join me in at least some level of boycott, and then went and bought his jersey when he started scoring touchdowns.  Way to stick to your convictions (or even have them), folks.  But it wasn’t just the fighting of dogs.  I won’t brow-beat you with the details, but it was as inhumane and brutal a treatment of animals as it could have been.  There are 31 other teams I’d rather see win the Super Bowl.

So there is my Official 2011-12 Boycott list.  If you agree with anything I’ve written here and want to join me, welcome aboard.  If nothing else, I hope I’ve at least given you something to consider.

Advocacy

I have  spent a lot of time on Facebook doing various “advocacy” things.  There are pages for The Animal Rescue Site, and other things I’ve come across along the way which will send me posts to sign various petitions, such as blasting Obama for okaying the sale of horse meat (yes, for consumption), protecting wolves from being hunted by helicopter, boycotting Chicken of the Sea for fishing practices that also ensnare rays, dolphins, turtles and other creatures, cracking down on puppy mills and dog fighting.  I also get a lot of these via email.

I am obviously for the animals, and would love to do so much more than sign petitions, but limited time and extremely limited money prevent this.  I am doing what I have the ability to do at present.  If you’re supposed to “be the change you want to see in the world”, this is my way of performing that task.

The one that has me using the most time is Pet Pardons on Facebook.  I don’t know how, but they get profiles of domestic animals in kill shelters which you can click on and “advocate” for their stay of execution.  Going pet by pet can definitely consume the afternoon, but when the posts come that an animal was spared, it’s just wonderful.  The down side is that, in order to accept my “advocacy” for any given animal, I have to agree to have Facebook post each profile I’ve clicked on, which I’m sure is annoying for my friends.  But the goal is to have everybody who might be willing to respond to do so.

Oh, I just remembered another petition I’ve signed: to stop the use of inhumane gassing chambers when shelters do end the animals’ lives.  They basically suffocate.  It’s terrible, and costly.

I don’t only sign things for animals, though, the first human-based thing that comes to mind is signing a petition to allow the continued access to birth control for lower-income women.  I don’t want to get into religion or other political or moral aspects surrounding such things, but accessible birth control should help us as a race avoid over-population, crowded orphanages and foster homes, children whose needs aren’t met, and landing people in the position of considering abortion, which I’m not getting into.  I’m just saying we can help it not get to that stage.

A lot of the time, especially with the animal activism, it’s hard to continue because there is just so much need out there.  It gets overwhelming.  I have made a lot of progress this year as a person, and I think doing this helps me to continue in this fashion as well as helping make change in the world (hopefully).

The Ballad of The Furg….

I find it hard to keep up with my blog.  Most days I suppose I don’t have much to say.  The holiday season doesn’t help, as it adds so much pressure and longer work hours for me.

So, what’s new….I finally gave the dog a much-needed bath today, which is one chore off of the mountain I’d been neglecting.  It kept getting put back because of all the rain; what’s the purpose of washing her when she’s going to get muddy?

While washing the dog isn’t necessarily fun (especially since I know she hates it), watching the after-show party always is.  Most dogs aren’t nuts about the bath, but they always seem to get some turbo-boost of energy afterwards, running all around the home and crashing into things.  Furgii’s a smaller dog (12 lbs.), so it’s even more amusing I’d think, than with a bigger dog since she’s small and flies all around with incredible agility.  I also love the sound of her feet pattering all over the carpets and the constant dry-off shake which she does so vigorously her back legs come off the floor.  She provided a lot of laughs today, and it’s only 10:45, having gotten up about three hours ago.

My Furg is a rescue, and all future pets will be as well.  She’s my first or second pet depending on how you count.  My “first” dog was Chance, and I only had him five weeks.  He had an illness that was too severe for me to manage on my own.  His disease was undiagnosed at the time.  I had even written a song for him, “Taking a Chance”, in anticipation of getting him.  The song is about, after what happened to my stepson and my marriage, that maybe it was him saving me rather than the other way around.  He is an amazing dog, and we had bonded in pretty much three days.  It was an incredible experience, but it wasn’t to be.  It was and still is heartbreaking.  Hence I got Furgii.

Now, The Furg was muuuuch slower to open up and bond.  She was okay here, and okay being with me, but I didn’t realize how many levels there were to her trust and comfort until they opened up one by one.  Chance seemed to know in a day that I loved him and would never hurt him.  He knew I was his new owner, and loved back almost instantaneously.  She was so slow to do the same.

I’ve had her almost a year and a half now.  Her story is that a young woman in North Carolina was at work and saw Furgii wandering across the parking lot.  She had a collar, but no tag or microchip.  The woman and her husband posted around to attract her owner to no avail.  They contacted a rescue, but the rescue was so booked they offered to pay for the bills if the couple would foster her.  Six months later (June 26, 2010), I adopted her.  It was a month after I had to give up Chance.

They didn’t know her name, so she was “Girl” for a bit, then “Sweet Pea”, and then “Peanut”.  It was as Peanut that I adopted her.  I wasn’t crazy about the name, and she’d only had it six months, so I changed it to Furgii, after the singer, Fergie, my celebrity crush.  I apologize if this joke offends you, but it was a joke that gave her the name.  I was deciding what I would call her, and thought, “If I name her Fergie, then I could say that Fergie’s my bitch, and I’d be telling the truth.”  Well the joke might be in poor taste and not very good, but the name stuck, although I altered the spelling.  The new spelling was inspired by Finnish hockey players with names like “Niiniimaa” and “Niitimakii”.  It took at least six months for her to get that she’s “Furgii”, but she definitely does now.

I often wonder how she ended up wandering around North Carolina in January 2010.  Did she escape?  Did some piece of shit owner just turn her loose to fend for herself?  The first thought is heart-wrenching, and the second one is maddening.  She is my blessing now, that’s all I do know.

I eventually wrote a song for her, too.  It’s called “Piinuts”, after the name she came with, but given a spelling like her new name.  The gist of it is about having “searched for Chances, but ending up with Piinuts.  It all came down to Piinuts”.  I tried to have the music tell a story by having several movements which come full circle at the end back to the starting point.

She came with a thyroid problem (hypothyroidism), of which I was aware going in.  She takes a very cheap synthetic hormone to correct the problem, as people do for the same illness.  However, she also had two seizures in my first 11 days with her (day 3 and 11).  When I contacted the foster parents, they were unaware of this problem in her and were rather shocked.  As I said, they were not a part of the rescue itself, and I doubt they were ever duplicitous regarding her health.  They are a young couple, they both work, and they may simply never have seen any evidence of seizures.

The woman had offered that they had set off a Hartz flea bomb about a month before I’d adopted her.  Furgii had never seemed effected, but the couple’s own Jack Russell had thrown up for three days afterward.  I mentioned this to my vet, but he didn’t think it factored in.  She was diagnosed as epileptic.

Of course, after my stepson’s abuse, the dissolution of my marriage, the five weeks with Chance (I do believe THAT “rescue” party failed to disclose his problems), I thought at this point that God hated me.  Something about the seizures never sat right with me, though.  Could they be from the flea bomb, after all, combined with having gotten comfortable at the foster home for six months after being on the street for an unknown length of time?  Now she was uprooted again.  Plus the foster home has two people and two other dogs, whereas here it was just me (a stranger) and no other pets?

After a year on the phenobarbital, I decided I needed to know for sure:  Did she need this medicine?  Long term use can cause organ problems, and it increased her hunger and thirst to unbelievable levels.  She’d always sniff around on the carpet hoping for something to eat, and then she’d beg all day.  When no food was forthcoming, she’d drink her entire water bowl just to fill her stomach with something.  This of course led to some accidents, but I felt bad that her experience was governed by a manic insatiability.  It had to be horrible for her.

I slowly, slowly, slowly decreased her phenobarbital doses starting in May from a full pill twice per day to a full pill in the morning and a half at night.  In August, I made it half a pill each time.  Just before Halloween, I would give her a half in the morning, and sometimes none in the evening if I was going to be home to observe her.  Finally, I was on vacation from October 29 through November 6.  I had run out of her pills, so it seemed like the time to cut it out all together.  At no point in the weening process had I seen a seizure or witnessed evidence of it, such as having vomited or eliminated in the apartment.

It is now three and a half weeks off of it, and still no episodes.  Her appetite and behavior are back to normal.  It was a hard decision to make to take her off the medicine.  I can’t imagine what I would have felt like if I was wrong.  But, whether as a pet parent or the parent of a human child, these are decisions we have to make.  In fact, I’ve had to make those as a human parent, too.

So, there’s the Ballad of The Furg.  I started this post not knowing what to write about, blabbered about her bath, and ended with her life story (as I know it).

Hope you enjoyed learning about her as much as I enjoy having her be my pet!