Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dear Breeder

Dear Breeder,

Tomorrow, I want to show you just how many of us there already are.
Tomorrow, I want to show you how much worse you make things for my kind.

Tomorrow, I want to show you the damage you continue to make done.
Tomorrow, I want to show you just how many of us continue to suffer.

Tomorrow, I want to walk up to you and ask you "What do you know about my kind anyways?"
Tomorrow, I want to walk up to you, force open your eyes and make you see what the world really is that surrounds you.

Tomorrow, I want to ask you if you really think you're doing my kind any favors.
How do you know what is best for us?
...And what is a "breed" anyways?

You say you love us and that you want to help make us better, while my brothers and sisters now have arthritis.
You know what types of disease we'll get just by looking at us.
...And our lives are now far shorter.

Tomorrow I want to say all of these things to you, Breeder.
But I can't,
Because I am already next in line, lying on the table,
...And I die today.

- A Throwaway

Saturday, November 12, 2011

R.I.P. Oreo?

The Dog Nobody Ever Even Met
??/??/?? - 11/13/09

So, tomorrow (11/13/11) marks the 2 year death of a dog named Oreo. She was killed for no reason by the ASPCA 11/13/09. And so of course, with all the news which had surrounded her from being thrown off a 6 story building to the ASPCA killing her despite a well-qualified shelter begging to take her in, it seems Oreo's become a Martyr for "No-Kill".

Around this time of the year, animal groups REALLY push her story to help spread the word about their cause. Oreo is used all over as an example of why we need No-Kill and shelter reform. Hell, I'm guilty of it.

One thing that bothers me about this though is, Oreo was just another dog. She had a life. She was incredibly abused in ways you would not believe. And soon after she was "rescued" the ASPCA decided to kill her themselves. Oreo didn't ASK to be a Martyr. Oreo wasn't out there on the front lines fighting for freedoms or anything. Oreo wasn't on a mission. (Of course, this is all just practical speculation. Maybe she was. I'm not a dog, and I never personally spoke with her about these matters.)

Point is, I feel like Oreo keeps getting FURTHER abused and exploited. It feels like animal groups and shelters and rescues and whatever...use her life and name to push their agenda (even if it may be for a good cause). We keep on using her year after year, not allowing this poor soul to rest. We keep resurrecting her time and time again, disturbing her death all in the name of a cause she likely never even knew existed.

What the ASPCA did was wrong and it should haunt the organization. This type of thing that happened to Oreo is more common than most would ever like to imagine. THOUSANDS of dogs each day share in Oreo's story. They come from severe abuse, are "rescued" and shortly after they just killed for no valid reason. But we keep on feeding off Oreo's death like some starving fat guy at a cheap all-you-can-eat buffet.

I understand the need to put a face on the abused. I understand we can't just ignore what happened and let organizations like the ASPCA constantly get away with murder. But, is it ok to continue to exploit Oreo year after year in the name of No-Kill and shelter reform? Is it ok to continually use this dog, whom just about nobody ever even met, for our own agenda and cause? Is this the Martyr we keep shouting out, even when so many others die each day without a voice to their name? Or is it disrespectful of the dead?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Piglet O'Brien

Piglet O'Brien - I DIDN'T GET ANY!!
??/??/?? - 01/04/11
Photo Taken: 01/02/11

Piglet was the best dog in the world. She put up with SO MUCH stuff like: Only getting ONE slice of pizza while we ate the rest, leaving her only the crusts of other slices. Having to sit patiently as cheese and crackers was fed to her - Stupid crackers taking up valuable cheese room! "THIS IS BULLSHIT!!" - And, oh my goodness! Having to deal with peanut butter toast five days a week!... Ok, she DID have to get in the back of the line for treats with FIVE cats (I'm sure most dogs would have had their pride hurt on that one!) "THIS IS BULLSHIT!!" ...After FINALLY getting a taste of something yummy, Piglet would COMPLETELY give a look of "I DIDN'T GET ANY!" ...Piglet's life was ROUGH! *Note: Of course, Piglet's ACTUAL staple diet consisted of Solid Gold dog food.*

Toni met Piglet about 10 years ago when a woman brought her into Toni's work and said that she had bumped into a guy at a diner, or something, who said "Hey, does anyone want this? Cuz I'm just gonna throw it out!" He was holding Piglet, about 3 months old at the time, in his hands. So the woman took Piglet, and dropped her off for "boarding" until she could figure out what she could do with her. I guess she's still trying to figure it out.

Of course Toni took Piglet in! She just couldn't resist that sweet face, those giant ears which stood straight up except for just the tips, that look of love in her eyes, not to mention the hearts which could actually be SEEN popping all about her head! Piglet was irresistible!

Piglet LOVED giving kisses. I know, "Yeah, yeah. Dogs do that." No. Not even Pit Bulls kiss like Piglet kissed. Piglet would lay there for HOURS kissing someone right on the mouth/nose, without letting them breathe, if they let her! If there's one thing Piglet was good at, it was giving kisses for extended periods of time!

Back to the subject of Food, because HEY, food is GREAT! With as much as Piglet LOVED getting treats and eating all sorts of food, Piglet wouldn't dream of taking anything without strict permission. This wasn't even from any sort of training whatsoever. This was just Piglet. She knew she'd get taste of what was to be had, and she was content to wait her turn. So many times we'd have something to eat and it was my CATS we had to keep an eye on, not Piglet! Leaving Piglet alone in a room with even her FAVORITE foods was NEVER a problem.

Such a trustworthy dog. Piglet played the Nanny role for MANY fur-babies which passed through her home. Spayed at about 6 months old and never having had any litters of her own, she's watched over everything from the smallest of kittens, birds and squirrels, to even possums and raccoons! Piglet was mother to them all. And you better believe she took this role VERY seriously! Piglet wanted to be sure you would be safe for the small ones before she'd stop giving you the Stink-Eye when approaching them. And even then, she'd let you know she was watching your every movement and you better be good to them - Otherwise, more Stink-Eye!

Toni's told me plenty of times, and I cannot for anything remember which it was right now, but, years ago, Toni took in a very small, little critter and Piglet was tending to it with her motherly duties and licking it...and licking it...and... OOP!... Yeah... Piglet licked the little critter right into her mouth! She didn't mean to do it, of course! Her eyes got SOOO BIG!! She didn't know what to do! Here she was, Piglet, just cleaning her new little baby - Either Buffy the squirrel or Meatball the cat. I can't recall which. - and OOP! licked the critter right up! After a split moment of shock and terror on her face, Piglet realized to open her mouth, and the critter plopped out! Piglet loved her babies.

No matter who it was, everyone Piglet met was "THE BEST PERSON IN THE WORLD!!!!" She loved meeting people, and people loved meeting her. Seriously, I know of someone who actually walks around with a picture of Piglet! She's not their dog! Piglet had a way about her.

Piglet was only about 10 years old. With her energy and love of life, we all really figured she'd be around for at least a few more years. But over these past few days her health fell very quickly, and dramatically, due to cancer. Piglet's quality of life rapidly declined and she was put to sleep today.

Piglet's actually helped more than one person with their, sometimes VERY serious, fear of dogs. Such a WONDERFUL dog, often within only MOMENTS of being around her, people couldn't help but to bond with her and pet her and fall in love with her. Piglet's love, kindness, and popping hearts around her head, touched the lives of so many, and really planted the seeds of healing for so many. Piglet knew nothing but love because of her incredible human, and that was all that she had to give to the world in return.

Piglet was a Pit Bull mix. We're sure there was some Labrador Retriever in her as well. The "Plain, Nondescript, Yellow Dog" as Toni would put it.

Don't bug your sister too much Pig!

We miss you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mandatory Spay Neuter

If you're into rescue and shelters and animals and all of that, I'm sure you've heard plenty of strong opinions when it comes to Spaying/Neutering pets - specifically dogs and cats. More and more, I hear about people wanting MANDATORY Spay/Neuter. Honestly, it doesn't sound like a terrible idea. It would certainly cut dog and cat populations down, but would this really HELP dogs and cats? How big of a risk are we taking with this? Do we even realize the risks involved with this?

Set aside, for a moment, any places that may do a botched job on the actual surgery itself. That's a WHOLE 'nother issue on being qualified and actually caring about animals. Also, set aside any general, given, risks of ANY surgery in itself.

I'm not 100% sure how I'd feel about Mandatory Spay/Neuter. In theory, it sounds pretty nice. There are SO MANY dogs and cats in shelters and on the streets in the United States ALONE. It's really one of the ONLY animal-overpopulation situations I actually agree with being overpopulated and not just a matter of too many people in this world.

Ferrets. Ferrets, for some time now, have been Mandatory Spay/Neuter - They're also illegal in some areas because they're SO VICIOUS and KILL BABIES and every single one of them that is outside has RABIES!! ...Fear mongers... But look at ferrets NOW compared to only about 15 years ago! Sure, we're in no immediate danger of losing the domestic ferret to extinction; they're readily available at plenty of pet stores. But, already, ferrets have an average lifespan several years shorter than only just about 15 years ago. They're now NOTORIOUS for getting sick with illnesses such as Insulinoma, and are mostly bred by ferret farms such as Marshall Farms (It's said about 80% of the East Coast's pet ferrets come from Marshall Farms. They also breed beagles. BOTH are readily sold to laboratories for all kinds of invasive testing). Would this happen with dogs as well? In a way it already does through Puppy Mills.

I think, just like breeding, Mandatory Spay/Neuter is ALSO playing "God" with things we as a human race really don't know that much about, and MANY of us really have NO INTEREST in figuring it out either. Often, puppies and kittens are just bred as dollar signs. But then if we take every new puppy and kitten we can, and spay/neuter them... It would certainly cut down on the number of the new generation's litters. And certainly not EVERY puppy and kitten would possibly be caught and spayed/neutered. But THIS snowball effect could ALSO just as easily tumble out of control, and suddenly dogs and cats are a rarity - We've sterilized 80% of the new generation and now most cannot make a next generation. Again, for a while, it's a pretty nice and simple solution if people take responsibility and make the effort to get every puppy and kitten spayed/neutered. But it's still not the natural order of things.

Now that we've got the puppy and kitten populations down and under control, who is left breeding? Puppy Mills? Backyard Breeders? Dog fighters? Hoarders? The breeder that just wants to make a buck and will forge papers and lie to make a sale? Mandatory Spay/Neuter may help population control, but what about the population? How sick will the average dog and cat be? - Not that almost ALL breeds aren't ALREADY known for certain illnesses (my girlfriend calls new puppies by their typical illness name). - What dog breeds (again, none are really perfect and they're all mutts at some point in the past) would be wiped out due to Mandatory Spay/Neuter? Maybe too much of this "positive direction" would be a bad thing.

The average dog and cat don't need to be breeding. The prosperity of these two species doesn't depend on the average person breeding them. But, again, who do we decide SHOULD continue to breed them? HOW should they be bred? Do we wipe out half of the new designer dogs? Maybe some of the breeds as well? Personally, I know, in theory, ideally we should let dogs and cats decide who's best to mate with whom, and allow them to lead a more natural life in the world, instead of always dealing with our human intervention, and mistakes. But I also view Great Danes as a SPECIFIC TYPE of dog. I would SO miss the Great Dane if they were no longer in existence. It would feel like the extinction of a species to me. But even the Great Dane isn't real. Even the Great Dane was made by people.

I think a large majority of dogs and cats could be, and probably should be, spayed/neutered. But I also still think it's ANOTHER step in a very risky direction of human intervention we should have no business being involved in. We certainly broke it. And if we think we're going to fix it, we need to do so responsibly and with caution.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cam's Sanctuary

Cam gets his nails done. - June 2010

Cam IS Pets Alive
Cam has lived at Pets Alive for some time now. From their highs and lows to their rebirth, Cam has been witness to it all.

Everything that Pets Alive stands for can be found through Cam. Any other shelter would have either killed him, or rejected him. Cam has fear aggression, doesn't do well in a kennel environment and was fed through a funnel for a while. Yeah... Oh, and he's one of those short, meaty and muscular dogs that gets a bad wrap just for their looks in the first place.

Cam's Special
The way to Cam's heart is definitely through his stomach. Cam LOVES treats! Slow introductions from the right people, a bottomless pit of treats, some common sense about dogs and fear and all that good stuff...and eventually you've just made the best, and most loyal, friend you'll ever have in life. Cam would do anything for his most special of friends. My girlfriend has the good fortune to have Cam's complete, and total, trust and loyalty. She's dressed him up in several tutus, made him a pumpkin, a fairy, a Camzilla...and has painted his nails several times. He does it all for her.

Cam loves basketballs. The first time I gave Cam a basketball...OH MY GOD! He was more excited than I had EVER seen him before! He was SO HAPPY! Basketballs are love for Cam! He even got into his doggy pool to get to his basketball once!

Cam's Sanctuary
People who know Cam and his story, and have the fortune of being friends with him, naturally get protective of him and really, truly care about him. Personally, I can't think of any place safer for Cam than Pets Alive. He is such a wonderful dog and such a loyal companion... I wonder what would happen to him if he were adopted and got into a stressful and fearful situation. It's not about Cam being a dangerous dog. It's about the world being dangerous to Cam. He needs protection. He needs love, support and loyalty. And we get protective of him.

Cam's Homeless
For quite some time, whenever somebody would say "Cam needs to get adopted", I would always think "Cam has a home. Pets Alive is his home. He doesn't feel like he's at a shelter. It's his home." But I wonder lately if maybe Cam IS homeless. With as wonderful and incredible as Pets Alive is, especially for Cam, it's still not that warm bed which only home has. I don't know. Maybe Cam is homeless after all. I don't know.

I wonder what would be best for Cam - The safety, love and protection that his sanctuary of Pets Alive will always provide him with his whole life? Or a chance to live life in the outside world and have a home, new experiences, a warm bed at night that will always be his...but not that definite buffer from the world to protect him?

Cam's Silent Nights
I don't know what's best for Cam, but at times, especially during the colder weather, I sometimes picture Cam just laying there at night, the people have gone, the show is over and the day is done, there is nothing left but Cam, his barn, a couple of beds, a small heater and the quiet of the cold weather outside. How does Cam feel at those times? Is he still "Air Cam!"? Is he still happy? Does he get lonely? Does he get sad?

When the day is done, none of us is the warm bed Cam so deserves to call his home.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oreo's FLaw

Middletown Stray - November 21, 2010

A very, very brief background on this whole Oreo situation:

Just over a year ago, there was a dog named "Oreo". Her owner abused the hell out of her and one of the financially largest shelters out there took her in, stirred up a ton of media attention about her, provided her with medical attention, then a few months later killed her themselves. Another, highly qualified, shelter begged for Oreo's surrender to them so that she would not be killed. That didn't happen. And since then there has been a fight for Oreo's Law.

This law, based on other "successful" laws, would basically say: Hey, if that animal isn't being killed for a severe medical issue, and another "qualified" organization wishes to take that animal in, then you better turn that animal over to them, or else...

And yes, this sort of thing DOES happen often enough where it actually IS a HUGE nationwide issue. Just because someone works with, or is in charge of, animals, doesn't mean they give two craps about them. There are more people who work with animals that couldn't care less about them than you'd think. Put that into consideration, plus maybe somebody just doesn't care for somebody else...the individual shelter animal isn't always put on top priority.

So anyways, Oreo's FLaw:

Nothing's perfect. People just about never come up with, or find, a perfect absolute ideal fix. There's always going to be something worse, and something better. But with thinking about the colder weather coming in, and a bunch of hours sitting in front of computers logged into Social Networks, I've been wondering more and more...What's the point of Oreo's Law, really?

Colder weather. Some shelters are very fortunate to have access to outside runs mainly for their dogs. If you haven't been to this sort of environment, you're really missing out! It is a BEAUTIFUL thing to be able to go to a shelter and see so many HAPPY dogs being taken care of, enjoying the sun, getting walks, playing fetch... But now, through no fault of any of these shelters, the colder weather is coming in and a lot of places need to cut down on the number of dogs they have because their inside facilities can't hold the capacity of HUGE outside facilities. And show me a responsible shelter that ISN'T running just about always at capacity and I've got some intakes for them! Animal shelters are ALWAYS full - ESPECIALLY during the colder weather.

So now animal shelters have to start turning away animals because they need to cut down on what they already have.

Social Networks. Log on to twitter or Facebook and follow just a couple of the right accounts and I defy you to see even only twelve posts about an animal somebody is trying to place at a no-kill rescue or at least a foster and MAYBE just MAYBE get adopted instead! You'll reach twelve before you're done getting ready for work in the morning. Just because someone is cross-posted on these Social Network sites, doesn't mean they find safety. I've seen plenty of posts later that day, or a day or two later, where that animal didn't find sanctuary.

I know a dog that I personally met about a week ago in this very situation. Some dog picked up off the road that had to be turned in because he was a stray, and no owner has shown up, no fosters have come forward, and animal shelters are already over capacity. This dog dies after tomorrow night. It's not even a matter of someone saying "No! You can't have him!" A law isn't what's needed in order for this wonderful guy to live. He just needs shelter. There's just nowhere for him (maybe this was one of the few cases where he would have been better off left on the streets).

Exactly this, is ANOTHER thing that happens VERY often. I see so many posts EVERYDAY filled with dogs and cats that are just in need of some time and space. And so many of them don't get it.

What's good for the individual is not always what's good for the masses. But take away the individual...then does it really matter? Of course it matters in huge ways, but not to that individual anymore. I know I don't want to die while in the way of a cause I don't know about, and without my say in it.

Oreo's Law is supposed to be about saving lives. But, even though THAT individual is just as important as others, we're not in short supply of others who ALSO desperately are in need of being saved and there are people out there BEGGING for these animals to just find some shelter, even if it's only for a day or two. In the end, with finances and space and so many other factors at play, somebody's gonna die, whether it's the animal that a shelter is refusing to surrender, or the one on the cross-post who didn't find new shelter.

So, how important are laws like Oreo's Law to have at this moment in this world where there is no shortage of animals in need of rescue, animals in danger of being killed for no medical reason at all, but there IS HUGE shortage of funding and space? How thrilled wouldn't an organization be to even work with another organization that used this type of law to get an animal from them? What about the next animal in line? Does that one just get bumped up on the list? Who rescues that one? Who's to even say that the shelter would be willing to really show who's on the list in the future? Maybe by force isn't the answer?

I honestly don't know what the solution to all of this mess is. I know it has to start with people caring more and being more responsible, even if they aren't "part of the problem". I know we have to work together and put in real effort to make any sort of better difference in all of this. Huge, responsible movements need to take place to set all of this on the right tracks.

This is one WONDERFUL dog, and it's not someone's refusal to surrender him, or the lack of some law leading him to his death. Like so many others I see posted online everyday, it's lack of positive, forward action and space that will likely end this kissing machine's life after tomorrow night.

Oreo's FLaw is the ones we're already passing by.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Clarence the Companion

Clarence the Companion - November 2010

Clarence is a great companion dog who loves a good walk, as well as just hanging out.

I can TOTALLY picture Clarence out some place enjoying a burger and some fries! I think he'd love a day like that!

Clarence also happens to be up for adoption at Pets Alive in Middletown, Ny! Check him out on their website! You can apply to adopt him, or even just help sponsor him! It all makes a huge difference!