Sometimes I Just Want to Bite..

I had a photo passed on to me by social media this week that actually made me sick to my stomach.  I was going to re-post it here, but I can’t look at it again.  It was of a dog whose nose and ears had been viciously cut off–I mean off.  The dog was a mutt of indeterminable origin, and survived what I can only guess was a horror of a young life. The cruelty and inhumanity conveyed through this photo, the utter suffering in that dog’s eyes is something I will not forget.

I want to do something about this, and the uselessness of even saying this makes me feel very bad.  What kind of person could do this?  Was there remorse, even a second of shame? Are hatred and anger so mundane in today’s world that such an act would not garner some sort of self-loathing?  I don’t think that anyone with a soul could actually get a knife and mutilate an innocent creature.  There is no excuse, no drunken stupor, no twinkie defense that could possibly justify this.  There is only one recourse.

This person must be removed from society.  I don’t want to think that anyone on my planet could do a thing like this. The purchase price of a pet doesn’t include the right to make its life a living hell.  In my opinion, the person who mutilated that dog should also be mutilated and jailed for life.  We see stories all the time about dogs mauling someone, but what about when the dog is the victim of abuse?  It’s time for a National Animal Bill of Rights, establishing stricter penalties for people-on-dog cruelty. If you abuse an animal you don’t get to resume your normal life–you go to jail, you are on a national list of abusers, and you NEVER get to own another animal.  Dogs may indeed be property, but they are entrusted into our care, and their lives should be precious. Every single life.

If you can’t return the love and loyalty that a dog gives unconditionally, then please don’t get a dog.  Or a cat. Or a hamster.  And maybe don’t reproduce.  Please.

 

 

 

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It’s All About That Face/No Trouble

Ok, let’s talk about Pit Bulls.  Again.  It’s all over the news all the time:  child mauled by pit bull.  As if this is the only breed of dog that bites.  Listen, people, ALL dogs have teeth, and any dog can be aggressive if it isn’t socialized right.  The media apparently isn’t up on dog breeds, so it sounds just terrifying and simple to report that the offender was a pit.

There was a study done testing the jaws of pits vs. other breeds, and this completely debunked the idea (gossip?) that pits can lock their jaws. In fact, it was proved that German Shepherds’ jaws are as strong or stronger than a pit’s.  So there, anti-pit people.

Also, once upon a time, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, pit bulls were known as “Nanny dogs,” chosen to watch over little children because they are loyal and great companions.  These dogs will do absolutely anything to please their owners.  In fact, that is probably why they do well as fighting dogs–their desire to please their masters makes them do whatever the owner wants them to.  Plus they look like Turner from Turner and Hooch, and who doesn’t like a junkyard dog?  But the idea that this breed is any meaner than another  is a really mean standard and really unfair.

Look into a pittie’s face and you will see a real clown. A wide-eyed, wide-smiled, goofball. A pit puppy is a roly- poly ball of fun–and every bit as lovable and trainable as your lab or collie.   There is no evidence that a pit bull has a crazy gene, or that these dogs naturally start fights.  If you want to understand the problem, it would probably be best to examine the owner.  Any dog tethered to a house in the backyard will be aggressive.  Any dog who has never known a kind word, whose only encounters with humans involve a kick or a punch will be aggressive.  I daresay that some of the “maulers” reported about in the news may be boxers, or huskies, or most likely,  mutts of indeterminate backgrounds.  The bans on pit bulls that are currently in vogue are just stupid, and short-sighted. What’s next?  A ban on Mastiffs because they are huge and slobbery?    Maybe we should cage and neuter the owners who mistreat and neglect these animals instead.  What a lot of trouble could be avoided if some people were never allowed to own a dog.

If you can look into a pittie’s big, smiling face and  just hate him, I feel sorry for you. And if you adopt a pit puppy, make him yours and he will adore you forever.  No trouble.

By the way, the pit below is a shelter rescue.

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Bytes from the dog park

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Dogs at the dog park seem to settle their differences easily–a snarl and a yip and it’s over.  No one is generally the worse for wear.  The seniors tell the pups what’s what and that ends it.  Sometimes there are teeth and a nip, but that’s really pretty rare. Some dogs get a time out if they are too snarky, but for the most part everybody gets along.  The new guy at the gate gets sniffed over head to tail and back, and then he is accepted in like a pal.

In my experience, dog park skirmishes are most often the result of an over-anxious owner, a leashed newcomer, or an overly protective older dog.  People should leave their worries at the gate along with the leash.  Dogs sense our insecurities and mimic them.  I have observed that bully dogs are often egged on by bully owners, and stressed owners are accompanied by  nervous, stressed out pooches.

Some people think that dog parks are a great place to socialize dogs, and I’m not sure that’s true.  I think that dogs need to have manners and be socialized in order to be social.

(Actually I read that someplace…it’s not uniquely my thought.)

Sometimes  though you just have to go with the flow and understand that, like people, some dogs just don’t get along with everyone.

I have one dog, an older dude, who has dog prejudices.  I don’t know how it happened, but my dog has no tolerance for Boxers.  No adults, no pups.  He snarls and snaps as soon as a boxer comes near.  He doesn’t act like this toward any other dog.  He is, in fact,  the  most pleasant, docile old guy around.  But we do a boxer-check before we go into the park, and we take him home if there’s one there.  He also likes to stand between me and “the pack”–maybe he saw that time when the Irish Wolfhound lifted his leg on me?  He doesn’t get nasty–just very close.  I think he gives the other dogs “the look,” because after a few minutes they give me a wide berth. Anyway, we have one park-finicky dog, and so we choose to take him to the park when there aren’t  many other dogs there.  My two dogs tend to play with each other anyway;  they think the dog park is the place to pick up People Friends.

Overall, I applaud cities that provide parks for canines and their people.  It’s a great space for playing fetch and sharing time and exercise.  I think that dogs should wait until after they have had all of their shots and have been neutered before going, but I encourage all dog owners to try out this experience.  Let me know your thoughts!

 

K

SPENCER SPEAKS HIS MIND

SPENCER SPEAKS HIS MIND
Yo, Spencer here. I’m that handsome pit/terrier mix that you’ve been seeing at PetSmart and around town with my foster mom, Kira. I spent some time in “the pen,” but don’t hold that against me. I have been paroled and in the care of my foster for at least a month now, and let me say it’s been wonderful. I have learned something new every day. For example, I ring a bell to say I’d like to go outside. I go straight into my crate if offered peanut butter. I love, love, love to play with toys, laser lights, and even bugs. They say that curiosity killed the cat, so I’m lucky I’m a dog because I am soooo curious! Kira spends lots of time with me because she loves me and wants me to be a good member of somebody’s family soon. I am happy to be around other dogs, and I warm up to most people too. I play a little rough and tumble sometimes, so maybe my family should have older kids. Kira thinks that I’d be great in an agility class, and says I’m very smart. She has taken lots of pictures of me–aren’t I just the best, most adorable dog you could ever find? Say yes, and call the shelter to arrange a meet and greet today!  706-769-3956IMG_5010.jpg

Christmas Wishes

Keep it simple.  Enjoy the toys, but savor the moments with the people and cats and dogs you adore.  Bake just three kinds of cookies  and give away boxes of them to the people who work on Christmas Eve. Put some hot chocolate in a thermos and drive around to enjoy the holiday displays in yards around town. Lie under your Christmas tree, squint up at the lights, and sing your favorite carols aloud. Go to church if it moves you.   Read stories to everyone.  Stretch.  Breathe.

Wishing Merry Christmas with love to all of my animal-loving friends everywhere.   -K

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Forever and ever

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I always say that forever is whatever you get.  And when it comes to my dogs, it’s never enough.  I have a dog that is 10 now, and when I see him avoid things that he used to do, like jump up on the bed, or leap into the front seat of the car, I feel saddened because I know that my really best friend won’t be with me for too many more years.I have human friends who have sworn off pets because they cannot face this reality.  Others say that they are just too old themselves, or they want to travel and can’t provide for a pet now.  I just cannot imagine coming home to an empty house, cannot imagine the travels that I would do that would trump having my furry buddies waiting for me.  Yes, dogs do have short lives–but boy are they full!  And I think that they teach us so much in that brief span of time–how to be kinder, how to live in the moment, how to see things more  simply.  I hate to see them go–and I hope that heaven is a place where I meet them again–but I will cherish our forever while we have it, and I will certainly give my heart again to a special someone in furry pajamas with wet kisses and that particular look meant just for me.  How can I not?  How could anyone not?

When I see dogs in the kennels waiting for the owner who surrendered them to return, it breaks my heart, because those dogs deserve their chance at a happy forever too.  I wish that people would really think harder before getting a pet.  If the pet isn’t going to be an absolute member of the family, if divorce, moving, boredom, or old age (yours or theirs) are reasons to give a pet away, I don’t think the pet should go home with you.  I’m not being mean-spirited;  I just don’t think that well-meaning people always think of the big picture, and some people are just not dog or cat social.  But dogs and  most cats are always social, and there’s the issue.  They always care and always trust and therefore are totally betrayed when they find themselves rejected. And since they live shorter lives than we do, it seems doubly unfair for them to spend even one night crying alone in a cement pen in a shelter that very well might have to end their life.

I have shared my home with rescued dogs of unidentifiable breeds, with purebreds and an assortment of cats. They were all quirky, mischevious, and needy.  I really see no difference in a $2.00 dog and a $200 dog in terms of friendship.   I would not give back even one minute of my time with any of them;  the care and time and effort that it took to keep them is nothing next to the love and care that they gave back.  And I could never repay that by dropping them off and saying goodbye.  That’s a forever promise I’ll keep. How about you?

To Tutu or Not to Tutu…

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Do you dress up on Halloween?  Do you dress the dog? The cat?  I noticed a lot of money being spent on costumery for pets this year.  Maybe it’s always happened, but this year it seems to be really prevalent.  Since we can’t ask the dogs and cats what they think about this phenomenon, are we being “helicopter owners” in our approach to pet relationships?  If my grand- dog could talk, what would he have to say about the time my son dressed him up as a lobster, or the day he was perched on my counter in a Yoda costume?  If the pictures could talk, I’m thinking the dog was not so happy with the situation.

Some people put sweaters on their little, less hairy pets, and that is not the same thing.  That has to do with comfort, and feelings about cold little companions.  There are no tutus involved.  Even booties for small little sensitive feet make sense to me. But a bulldog in a batman costume?  Hmmm…

I know that my little comments fall on deaf ears.  Ok,so take the photos already, Halloween people…  All the little dog and cat selfies…And then take off the costumes and let the dog and cat wear their birthday suits as intended. (Aren’t they just fuzzy people in disguise anyway? ) Happy Trick or Treating, Everyone!

PROJECT LOVEHEART

My friend Tish has a little dog that she is fostering named Rhett. Rhett is a character.  He gets along with her Great Dane, her Basset and her Poodle mix, plus her grandkids, and cats.  He is always up for adventure, eager to please.  Tish loves Rhett, but her house is overflowing and she thinks that he deserves and needs a new home where he can be a center of attention.  As with  most shelter strays, it’s hard to put a classification on Rhett as far as breed, but he’s an adult and knows his manners.  Rhett may be small and come from a shady past–we don’t really know and Rhett, as we know, doesn’t “give a damn” about all of that.  He just wants people to love.  Contact me if you are one of those people…

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Something To Do with Liver…

The market is rained out this week, so Famous Farley and I will stay home.  I thought I’d share my most popular recipe for dog treats here, and if you are home today too you might want to try this out.  I’ll warn you, making these is not for the liver-hater.  The mixture is pretty gooey and it smells a bit while baking.  There is nothing my dogs love more though, and I’ve found that I can teach them anything using these treats as rewards.  You can also freeze these, and warm them up in the microwave for a few seconds. Anyway,  here you go…

Liver Strips

1 container chicken livers or 1 lb beef liver

2 cups of dehydrated mashed potatoes–make sure they are 100% mashed potatoes without fillers

Directions:    Put the liver into your blender and liquefy it.  Yes, that’s right.  Add a little water till it’s the consistency of soup.

Pour into a bowl.  Add mashed potato flakes.  Mix.  Let it sit about five minutes  until the potatoes dissolve, making everything into a dough.

Grease a  jelly roll pan very well.  Spread the liver stuff into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.  I am not squeamish, so I use wet hands.

Bake at 350 for one hour.  Bake at 250 for another hour.  I use a pizza cutter to cut these into strips and I remove them from the pan while they are warm so they won’t stick.

Farley lies right next to the oven while these bake.  I’ll bet your dog would too.

Have a happy day.

K