Sunday, August 23, 2009
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.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
myth 1- Pit Bulls have "locking jaws"-
this is not true. a pit bull does not "lock" it's jaws. they are very determined animals, and it may appear they are "locked on" to an object (toy, stick etc) or in the case where they get into a scrap with another dog, the other dog. you do not have to take my word for it though, here is a quote from an expert on dogs (i discovered his work while looking into a breed of dog called the New Guinea Singing Dog) Dr. Brisbin: "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
keep checking back for more myths. it is 10am, well past my bedtime.
myth2-MYTH: Pit Bulls brains swell/never stop growing.
i first remembering hearing this one about the Doberman, and has since been said about pit bulls. The concept of an animal's brain swelling or growing too large and somehow causing the animal to "go crazy" is silly at best. Their brains grow at the same rate as any other dog, and stop growing when it reaches it's full size. If an animal's brain were to grow too big for its head, the animal would die rather quickly.
myth 3-MYTH: Pit Bulls are all mean or vicious.
This is so far from the truth. Pit Bulls, like any dog can be abused/trained to be mean, or suffer a genetic defect predisposing them to abnormal behavior. A proper pit bull temperment is one that loves all people, confident in himself, will not back down from a challenge from another dog (unless told to back off by his owner) see my website for an explanation as to how this people friendly dog came to be- www.freewebs.com/northerndiamondkennels
The American Temperament Test Society states that Pit Bulls had a passing rate of 85.3%, American Staffordshire Terriers-83.9% and Staffordhhire Bull terriers 88% -- compared to only 77% of the general dog population. compare that to some "good" breeds of dogs- German Shepherds-83.7%, Golden Retriever-84.6%, Beagle-81%, Collie-79.4% Any signs of unprovoked agression or panic during the temperment testing result in failure of the test. All breeds are tested the same and held to the same standards. The achievement of Pit Bulls in this study disproves that they are inherently aggressive to people. (Please visit http://www.atts.org/ for more information)
Monday, August 17, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
ok so here is the complete story, i took a dog from someone. i actually was able to get permission from the owner (we will call said owner "z") i was going to take the dog regardless if z gave me permission or not, what was z going to do? call the cops? i think not, if the cops would have came out, and seen the condition of the dog(s), they would have hauled z off to jail (or at least forwarded the info to animal control, who may have pressed cruelty charges). now z really is a good person. i do not think z is a cruel person, and really cares for the dogs (not actual "care" as in feeding them enough) but some sort of "care" i am not sure how to describe it. i just happened to run my team by z's house and of course you look at dogs in a dog yard when you run your own team by, i have given z a few dogs in the past (this dog is one of them) well i see this dog (and a few others in the back of the yard were also SKINNY) and from about 50yds away i can see he is a skeleton, he is a medium coated dog, like a siberian husky. if i can see bones from that far on a hairy dog, it is WAY too skinny. so i finish my run, it takes another hour to get back home, and another 45 minutes to feed and unharness and put my team away. well it is cold out, my car had not been plugged in for 2 days, and i know it wont start. so i have to ask my neighbor if he can take me to z's house, i explain i am taking a dog that is skinny. i really did not want to involve neighbor in all this, as he is friends with z, but i had no choice, it was late at night, i would have had to plug my car in and wait at least 2 hours to start it, and i had a feeling the dog was in his last moments. i could not bare to let him die alone in a cold plastic doghouse with no bedding. so neighbor said "ok." i first had neighbor take me to the laundry mat to see if z was there (no one had been at home when i first saw skinny dog) and get water for my own dogs (for those that do not know i have to haul my own/dogs water in 7 gal jugs) z was not there, but as we were leaving z pulled up, we stopped, i simply leaned over neighbor, and asked z "give me permission to take Galahad". simple as that. i could see a bit of confusion and fear in z's face, a slight pause, then a sad "sure" was all z said at first. then z perks up and starts making excuses like "i do not know why he is so skinny" "he eats a lot" and this is the best one---------" i think he froze his dick" (for those that do not know, sometimes a dog will get a bit of frostbite on the end of their sheath, if you are running in really cold/windy weather, and do not use proper gear, being jackets for the dogs that have a special flap that blocks the wind from their groin area) this dog has not been on a run in at least a year. so now i have permission. neighbor then takes me to z's house. i go to get the dog. i was SO not prepared for what i saw. this dog is so skinny, not only can you feel every bone in his body, you can feel how the bones go together in the joints! there is no muscle, and tendons i can feel that i did not even know dogs had. he can not stand up to come out of his house, i have to pull him out and pick him up to carry to the truck. i get in with him on my lap, and off we drive. so i decide to take a peek at his penis, what i see horrifies me, i only look for a second, i can look better in the house in a bit. i carry him into house, set him down on a carpeted area and look him over. it is worse in the light. i can not understand how he is alive. then i look at his penis, the thing is completely out of its sheath! swollen, white in color, and the sheath is tight around the back part, it can not retract! so i grab some Vaseline and "lube him up" (just what i wanted to be doing on a saturday evening) i then can pull the sheath over the penis, but the tip, about 2inches will not go back in. great. so i make him a small meal (small meals many times a day is how you have to do it) and a bunch of water. i make a nice bed in a crate and put it near the toyo (heater) and let him go to bed. next morning, i take him out to potty, and his penis is back to normal! yay! he pees (very dark yellow, dehydrated) feed him many times throughout the day, lots of water, and lots of warm rest.... so when i picked this dog up, i intended on just having him put to sleep, to end his suffering. i can't do it. he is so happy to see me, wags his little tail, and his eyes brighten up. when you pet him, he leans his head on you. i just can not put him down. i think he will be fine after a long recovery. so i have to question z's actions (or lack of) the dog is skinny, he gets skinnier, if z is feeding him more food, and he is still losing weight, then something else is going on. maybe worms? maybe take the dog to a vet? and how about "i think he froze his dick" good gosh, bring him in the house and at least look at it. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! do not just think it is going to "heal" on it's own, in the winter, in sub-zero temps! WTF? now the best part (sarcastic) i hear today that z and the significant other went to dinner at the Valata last night. the Valata is one of the NICEST restaurants in interior alaska! not cheap! i am sure they spent at least $80, probably more!! so you can afford to go the the nicest restaurant around, but you have a starving dog in your front yard? (there may be others, i did not look really well, and it was dark when i went back) i have lost a lot of what faith i had in humanity. i know there are great people out there, but for a little while i am just going to be alone, i need to think. so that is why i had to have a beer last night. long weekend. remember the pictures do not show how skinny he really is, his hair covers up a lot of the bones. you have to feel it to believe it. oh yeah, he weighs 24.4lbs! he should be at least a 45lb dog.
here is the email i sent to previous owner, i never heard from them again, i am glad. i will not be friends with someone that allows this to happen to a dog through pure neglect.
the subject of the email was "i'm sorry"
i know not where to start.........i guess i'll just dive right in, it may be a bit out of order and mixed up, but i will try to be straightforward.
i am sorry that this dog had to suffer. i am sorry i did not do anything for him sooner. i am sorry there are other dogs in your care that also may be suffering. i am not sorry i am bringing this up to you. you need to know. you need to do something about it.
there was absolutely nothing wrong with Galahad. quite simply, he was STARVING to death. it was not too "cold" for him, i have dogs with short fur that live outside year round, that are not skinny. he has more fur than most of my kennel. all i have done is feed him, not a lot either, just consistently. he was 24.4lbs when i got him home that night. 24.4lbs! he is now (today) 41.6lbs. that is almost double. all i did was feed him. i did not even worm him until 15 days after i brought him here, he was too weak to be able to handle the wormer. so most of that weight was put on before worming. all i did was feed him. he gets 2 cups, cups, measuring cups, not dog food scoop thing, in the morning, and 2cups at night. that is it. 4 cups of food per day.
now on to his dick. you said "i think he froze his dick" when i asked permission to take him. "i think he froze his dick?" so you just let him sit outside in sub-zero temperatures, with his dick hanging out? that is cruel. you should have done something about it. i did. i lubed the thing up with Vaseline and stretched the sheath back over it as best i could. the thing was white and swollen. how would you like that? to be chained helpless with your dick out?
i said i may take him to the vet, you said "do you think he is worth it?" um, he is a living, breathing, feeling creature, do you think it is right to let him suffer? i did not end up taking him to the vet. you know why? because i couldn't bring myself to lie about where he came from, and if a vet would have seen the condition of that dog, they would have gotten the authorities involved. i do not want to have that happen. you have been a friend for a long time.
something needs to be done. when people see the condition of some of the dogs in your yard, it gives ALL mushers a bad name. it makes it harder to convince people that we love our dogs. you can not let dogs starve to death (or near death) in your yard, that is not love, that is cruelty in it's purest form. i do not know why the animal control has not been called. i suspect tough, it is the same reason i have never called animal control on you, IT MAKES US ALL LOOK BAD! if they come out and see your dogs, and they are not familiar with other mushers, what do you think they will believe? mushers are bad? yep, they will, then they will try to get more laws for us to follow, maybe outlaw mushing all together. all because of a few bad apples.
i am not sure why the dogs in the back are skinny, but i suspect you feed out of a bucket with kibble and water, and by the time you get to the back, there is very little kibble left in the water. maybe soak the food for an hour, or do like i do, one bucket of kibble and one bucket of water, each dog gets a measured amount of food, then i pour water on top of that. that way i am sure every dog gets the correct amount of food.
i have many more things i need to say. but i will leave it at this..... something needs to be done about the condition of those dogs in the back (i know there are dogs in the front that look great) i will not sit by and see them suffer. if they are not on your team, not getting run on a regular basis, then find them homes. it is cruel to sit on a chain starving, and see the other dogs getting to run. you can not sit there and tell me you love your dogs, and yet let them get in the condition they are in.
i hope you do not take too much offense to this letter. someone needed to say something, and i do not care if the whole community thinks i am an asshole because i spoke up. at this point, i do not care, the dogs are the innocent ones, and the only ones that matter.
here are a few journal entries i kept while the dog gained weight. now you have to understand when i say 2 cups of dog food, i mean that exactly, i use a plastic measuring cup that is one cup, this dog got 2 meals a day, 2 cups each, which is about a lb of kibble per day.
nov1- 24.4lb-first day-dehydrated, thirsty, very hungry. fed 2cup kibble with lots water 8pm, took outside midnight, pee very dark, back inside, drank lots more clear plain water. his penis was completely unsheathed when i picked him up, (it has been -20F the last week)apparently it had been stuck hanging out for awhile. took a good look at it, it does not appear to be damaged. i had to "lube" it with vasaline to get it back in, it was dried out and swollen.
nov2-fed 2cup kibble for breakfast soaked overnight in water, added more water, pee still a bit dark. good news, the penis is all the way retracted. fed 2cup kibble and more water in eve. gave a small piece of north country frozen meat, almost swollowed my hand.
nov3-fed breakfast-2cup kibble, lunch 2cup kibble, dinner small piece fish
nov4 28.8 lbs A 4.2LB INCREASE IN 4 DAYS! yeah right this dog had "something wrong with him" as previous owner stated. he was simply starved!!
nov12- 37.2lbs that is 12.8lbs in 12 days! he is gaining a pound a day, he is eating little more than a pound a day, this damn dog was just not getting fed. i have not even dewormed him yet!!i want to wait till he gets a little weight on and gains some strength before putting dewormer in him.
nov13- 38.8lbs very happy, pulling on leahs, jumped up on me, gaining strength every day.
nov17- 41.6lbs he is a different dog, still bony/skinny, but pulls hard on leash instead of weakly wobbling along like when he first came. dewormed him on the 15th-he had some roundworms, not a lot, but some. it was not the worms causing him to be skinny, because he was gaining a lb a day before i dewormed him.here is a picture after three weeks with me.
today this dog weighs almost 50lbs. he is looking for an adoptive home if you know anyone interested.
Friday, August 14, 2009
well i have to be going to work now, it is friday night and i have lots of intoxicated people to deal with i am sure.