Let’s talk about you and me….
Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be….
Let’s talk about “pets”……..Let’s talk about “pets”………….Let’s talk about “pets”….
On the eve of the one year anniversary of my Puffa Wuffa’s untimely death at 8 years old, I wanted to do a blog about companion animals; those lovely, lively spirits who bless our lives with their presence, give us unconditional love, and show us what it is to give and receive love without any strings attached.
This blog is dedicated to Puffa Wuffa. I am glad you are finally at peace. Also, this blog is dedicated to my friend Petra in the UK, who I met on facebook about the same time Puffa became sick, and who recently lost her dear, beloved baby in the photo. This blog is also dedicated to Nerida and darling velvety and shaggy fluffy love Muffin, who recently passed on, sadly. I am also dedicating this blog to Queenie, who died at the Wayne State University undergoing horrific and cruel experiments. Her (according to PCRM) “chest was cut open so experimenters could install devices inside her. After a second major surgery to implant more instruments, she was forced to run dozens of treadmill experiments with catheters protruding from her body and incisions leaking bodily fluids, causing constant pain and distress. Hypertension was induced by reduction of blood flow to her kidneys. On June 29, 2010, Queenie—a former companion animal obtained from a Michigan animal shelter—was killed in the laboratory after one of the devices broke and retracted into her body. Queenie and many other dogs have endured traumatic heart-failure experiments at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.” The medical records for Queenie were obtained by PCRM through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. Please sign a petition HERE that will automatically send the Dean of the University a letter. This blog is also dedicated to the 6 MILLION or more cats, dogs and other “pets” killed in shelters just in the United States alone. Last but not least, I want to dedicate this blog to Crank, who after seeing one of the photos i reposted on facebook of a shelter cat who lived in his area, he took action and went and got his new love. She is the lovely grey babe Dikembe, below. She is doing well. Love to you all!
I always loved the fluffy ones. As a child I felt the non human companions living in my house understood me much more than the humans with which I cohabited. I recall warm days in the southeastern US, outside playing with my dog companion; chasing him round and round bushes till we were both tuckered out. Those are still some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood.
I try not to ever use the word pet these days. It’s difficult though, as it is a word that has been ingrained in all of us. The very word connotes ownership. I do not own the adopted animals that live in my house, but rather, they needed a home, so I decided to take them in. The alternative was most likely confinement in cages until someone else either adopted them, or they were euthanized.
This is my beloved little thing, the girl who came to me from Kitty Harbor, the most magnificently run cat adoption agency I have ever known. She came November 7 last year, 2010, and filled a hole in my heart that dear Puffa Wuffa left on November 2 when I had to euthanize her because she was in pain from a neurological disorder. Little thing has been the most joyous being in my life. They look quite similar it’s true, but Little thing has an extremely affectionate and empathetic side that Puffa hadn’t quite developed fully.
NO BREEDERS ARE ALTRUISTIC
We humans love our furry friends. We adore them, adorn them ;but what I cannot understand is why on earth we also scorn them. How we can love them so much, while at the same time permit the confinement and eventual killing of more than 6 million a year in the United States alone, is stupefying. The animals killed unnecessarily for the meat industry which kill more than 25 million in ONE day alone, is horrible enough, but as socially trained speciesists, we who proclaim such love for our furry cat and dog friends, do absolutely NOTHING to stop the trade in animals, the breeding, and the perpetual cycle of suffering that goes on all over the country; from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters, the shelters and puppy mills and backyard breeders are creating a cycle of death; leaving all its victims to die needlessly behind closed doors where the majority of people have no idea of the horrors of their existence. We have to get the word out to people who are ignorant of these facts.
The breed of dog most commonly euthanized all over the United States is the pitbull terrier; with the numbers showing about 60% the last time I researched it. These poor, sweet souls are so overbred in certain areas, like the southeast, or California, and in some areas you cannot even drive your car without almost hitting one. That’s how I found out about the agency I mention below who help pitbulls in Georgia. Many people still buy into the lie that is perpetuated in media and elsewhere, that these dogs are nothing but murder machines. Well I say, WE are the murder machines. We kill thousands of them a day; and not just because they fill the shelters, but because of BSL or breed specific legislation. You can look that up on Google. It basically says that a certain type of breed is banned from existence, and rather than “grandfathering” in the ones that are still alive, and allowing them to live out their lives, the pitbulls are rounded up and killed. All of them. These dogs are so abused, mistreated, neglected, forced to breed, made to fight, beaten and kicked and burnt by cigarettes all to make them fight more. Just read about what Michael Vick, a jock for the NFL did to the dogs that he had fighting for him. It’s one of the saddest things a person could ever see. There is one organization in Georgia that tries to fight this growing problem by teaching young people how to desex their dogs to fight the population problem as well as getting into the community and neutering/spaying for free, and helping with other health needs. I found them on facebook long ago. Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue. Please donate to them if you can, or go to the etsy page where you can buy book thongs and proceeds go to Friends to the Forlorn.
Below is a letter I received last year on facebook from Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue.
Jason Flat: Hey Everyone,
I was just sitting at my desk trying to figure out how I am going to get all I need to get done, actually done. I was feeling burnt out and run down. It has been a crazy few months. This week was really crazy. Tomorrow is a day from hell. Yes, I was feeling a little down and overwhelmed.Then I received this email. The tears rolled down my face, which is fine with me.. keeps me honest. Yes, I will get it done, yes I will lose a little more sleep. Yes I will make my days 25 hrs long and I will handle what I need to handle. Why? cause I made a commitment. Why? because there are too many Sawyers out there and not enough Cynthia’s. Cynthia, Thanks for the email. This is why I do what I do..Your support is appreciated!
The email someone sent him:
I have been wanting to write this for some time, but have not been able to get the words right. Maybe I thought if I kept putting it off, it would magically write itself.
I was one of those people who never really thought much about pitbulls. It’s not that I disliked them, I just never considered them and I am ashamed to say that. I come from Laguna Beach, Ca where people bring their dogs into stores, sit with them at outdoor cafes and where there is a fancy dog boutique on every block. I have always loved animals, took in everything that came along when I was a kid. To this day I carry cat and dog food in my car and can build a dog house in record time. No animal has ever been unworthy of my time. I never saw pitbulls, didn’t know anyone who had them. They were….not my problem. When I moved to Alabama, everything changed. I would see dead dogs and cats by the road. Afraid, lost, unwanted and starving animals everywhere just trying to survive. It did and still does break my heart. Horses shot for no reason, dogs skinned and left in agony. However, it was the day to day attitude….the disregard for their well being, their safety, their quality of life that haunted me. I was so shocked and I hurt for all these lost and lonely souls. I will leave food, I will help spay and neuter, but what can I do, what good is the little I can offer when I can’t make a dent? People would tell me to forget it, “you’re just making yourself sad, who cares.” “Animals can take care of themselves, they like being free.” I would scan the roadside for my strays, do my small part, feel bad when days or weeks went by when I didn’t see a dog who always waited for me in the same spot. But I was doing my part, right?
Fast forward a few months and I started volunteering at a kennel. One day we got a call about a pitbull who had been found by the side of the road and was in very bad shape. The Vet believed he had been a bait dog and was so badly beaten, one side of his skull was sunk in and that might mean brain damage. The Vet also said he had begun to show aggression and people were afraid of him so he needed to be put down or moved. The rescue wanted to know if we could take him and we did. I happened to be sitting in the lobby when Sawyer arrived and I had never seen anything so “forlorn.” I didn’t even know what a bait dog was before that day, but there he was, all 31 pounds of him. Bones breaking out through the skin, head down, ears flat, tail so tucked we didn’t even realize he had one at first. He walked over to me, put his bony, misshapen head in my lap and began this slow, long wail. I had never heard anything like it and I honestly thought my heart would split in two. In that instant something happened, some crazy, unbreakable bond was made. I never in my life expected to fall in love with a pitbull, but I did. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see a breed, I saw another living creature who had probably never known a moment that was not full of pain. He became mine, I became his…..I’m not sure, but there it was. I was new to all this and naive in thinking that the wounds to his inside could be healed the way the ones to his outside were. That the scars I could not see, were the deepest, the ones that had caused him the most suffering. Those wounds would not close easily. We had our battles, Sawyer and I. Sometimes he won and sometimes I won, but neither of us gave up trying to find a way out of his past. I could see how badly he wanted to join in, to trust, to believe. I guess having never known love, he could only take a little bit at a time. There were some scary moments and almost everyone said, “put him down, he’s ruined.” “He’s only a dog and only a pitbull at that, those kinds of dogs are just meant to be mean.” “Get ride of him before he hurts you, pitbulls can’t be loving, they simply are not family dogs.” But there was a light in this dog I could not ignore. I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars, we saw specialists and trainers….it was always two steps forward and five steps back. But Sawyer could only go at his own pace, he could only accept and trust so much at a time. My telling him it was all going to be ok, was not enough….I had to show him over and over and over again. It was more than a year before he would let me rub his belly without his eyes flying wide open and panic spreading all through him. A year before a little tap on the rear was a sign of affection and not the start of a beating. He does have a tail, by the way and these days it never stops. He loves petsmart, loves kids….the harder they laugh, the harder he tries to make them laugh that much more. I see the look of horror at first because their parents think my pitbull is destined to eat their children before their very eyes. He licks faces and fingers, follows the little voices carried on little feet and he is happy. Older people always ask to pet him, this now 65 pound pit sitting calmly while an old withered hand bangs him on the head….lol. I never know who will attract his attention first, or why he is drawn to someone, but it’s beautiful to watch. He has a sense and I have learned he sees things I do not. I don’t mind though, I’m just glad he saw something in me that day. That one day back in June that started so simply, but changed everything. In the year and a half sense then, I don’t know who changed whom the most. I do know that one broken and battered pitbull taught me more than anything else ever has about love and trust, about second chances and redemption. About forgiveness and hope. And something else that I can’t explain…..it’s probably that feeling I can’t explain that made me put this off for so long, but I don’t need to explain that feeling to you, to others like you because you already understand, you already know. I am happy to be one of you now, having seen that full pitbull body wag and knowing with absolute certainty that I will never, ever stop doing everything I can to end the wrong done to these dogs. So, I guess this was a VERY long way to say thank you….thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing your part and mine. For keeping it going until people like me could catch up. For getting it faster than the rest of us and for going on when you thought you couldn’t because these noble dogs have so much to give and deserve better than they have been given. I understand now and I’m hapy to have pittie fever which I am told lasts forever….lol
signed, C and S
On another front, let’s talk about a few celebrities. Talk show hosts have taken on the topic, and have discussed the tragedies; and yet, still, the breeding continues. Oprah has done a show on puppy mills. Ellen had someone create stamps to promote adopting shelter “pets”.
Then people like Whoopi Goldberg talk on national television on a morning show about how she thinks it is ok to buy “pets”, as it is her right. Enter the president. He had a chance to be a fantastic role model, and adopt a mutt. Afterall, HE is a mutt. OK, we are really ALL mutts. My point is, he should have stepped up and showed the country that mutts should have been preferable to purebreds, and that being a hero for the underdog was the right thing to do. NOPE. He didn’t step up to the plate. He did not decide to be a role model. Instead, he chose to partake in the slave trade. It’s a slave trade. None of these non human animals give his/her consent to be bred. Over 23 % of shelter animals in the US are purebreds; not to mention the numerous purebred rescue organizations. There is absolutely NO need to buy a living creature. EVER. (Please do not even go there. No, I said don’t go there. Paying an adoption fee is NOT contributing to the slave/animal trade, OK? The organizations that run these adoption agencies NEED money to survive, so the non human, fluffy animals can survive too.) Hey, what the hell happens to all those cats, dogs, ferrets, ducks, pot-bellied pigs, etc that are euthanized? Well, they end up HERE; in perfumes, dyes, flavorings, shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics, cleaners, soaps, etc. Not very appetizing nor a very pleasant thought. They are discarded as useless pieces of trash; disposable lives in a disposable society.
So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that people ask what will happen to specific breeds of dogs and cats if there is legislation to ban breeding. What it boils down to is that humans like their “pets”. I once saw a man selling a purebred boxer puppy at my park where I jog for, get this, $900! I confronted him, and I ended up being verbally abused, told i was an animal abuser, that I ate dogs, that I should stop breeding dogs, and more. I went home, ate my lunch, made a protest sign, and returned to the park to sit my ass down right next to him holding my sign which mentioned NOT paying for animals, adopting, and the number of these animals killed in the shelter per year; again mentioning the 6 MILLION in the US alone. I sat next to him and his girlfriend. Lots of people came up and asked me if they could pet the dog. I politely told them to read my sign, and that I was protesting selling a dog at OUR park, when so many are killed. One man said, “oh, it’s that freedom of speech thing again,” referring to me sitting there demonstrating against breeding and selling of living beings. I’ll NEVER forget what he said, as it speaks to the main point of why people hate the idea of banning breeding. He said, “It’s anti capitalism what you are saying. Capitalism is GREAT. We are able to buy whatever we want, and that makes our country great. Everyone has the right to buy whatever he wants, and they SHOULD have that right.” The “whatever” that this filth referred to was not only about cars, televisions, computers, big houses, and horribly cruel animal products like foie gras anddown comforters, but also extended to live earthlings as well. The BIG deal is that a) people want their pets to be like their clothing; branded; a status symbol to show the rest of humanity what kind of human they are, and b) if breeding is legislated, and non human creatures were no longer viewed as property, then this would also trickle down to the “commodities” that are living beings in the meat or, poisonous carcass for food industry.
As one person so intelligently said recently on facebook, (note my irony), “I have no problem with people who breed for a specific purpose, do all relevant health testing and offer a lifetime guarantee and support to the purchaser. As long as breeding animals and adopters are carefully screened and appropriately matched, I don’t think responsible loving owners should always have to forgo their ideal pet to try and fix other people’s mistakes. Responsible breeders will always take back a pet if it doesn’t work out. It’s not like our shelters are filled with well-bred pedigrees with stable temperaments and long lines of healthy working/family dogs”
OR this comment about the shelter dog imperfections as opposed to that of the purebred. Wait, I know you are wondering why she would mention this when we ALL know about purebreds. Hell, this extends and has for thousands of years to humans who are considered royals, and who don’t have enough mixing of genes to account for great immune systems, since they only consist of genes from one bloodline.
“Some people want more from a dog than just a pet. Dogs have been bred for many different purposes for a long time, and the people that still use them for these purposes can’t just get any old dog and make it work. If our spay/neuter laws were actually enforced we wouldn’t have so much overpopulation. Some pounds don’t even speuter everything that gets adopted, instead offering reduced speuter costs making it OPTIONAL for the new owners. I have worked and lived with animals my entire life. Owned both shelter animals and pedigree animals. Not every shelter animal is healthy for it’s entire life, there are so many genetic conditions that can develop without warning because nothing is known about the animals genetic past. Have you ever watched an animal you love have seizures or develop a neurological disorder? If you had you’d never begrudge someone wanting an animal with a health guarantee free of genetic problems.”
PEDIGREE DOGS EXPOSED
Lastly, the most common concern:
“If breeding is banned, then how would the number of animals in shelters sustain us for the rest of our existence?”
This last concern is the one that MOST disturbs me. Everything is based on human centrism. The human concept that we DESERVE things, that everything exists for OUR pleasure, OUR enjoyment, OUR desires, OUR needs is just that; a human construct. We do not need to have cats, dogs, snakes, ferrets, birds and the like around for OUR pleasure. The slave trade MUST come to an end. I must admit; I adore my adopted furbabies who at this very moment are transitioning to a vegan diet, on Ami, from Italy. Sometimes I think I love them too much. But, nobody said, and i mean NOBODY said, that it didn’t feel good to have furbabies around. It’s pure heaven for me to have my four adopted furloves around me. It’s pure joy to see their eyes light up….to watch them groom one another….to watch them play….to give them love. However, i have said it before, and i’ll say it again; I would give up ALL their love for my own selfish needs, if i could blink my eyes and make all breeding stop now. We should LOVE the ones that are here, and NOT create more.
I will end this blog post with a letter from a shelter manager:
A Letter from a Shelter Manager – anonymous in North Carolina
“I think our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all…a view from the inside if you will.
First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don’t even know.
That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays”, that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.
The most common excuses I hear are; “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving too that doesn’t allow pets? Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! “She’s tearing up our yard”. How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”.
Odds are your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.
Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are.
If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.
Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down”.
First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to “The Room”, every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it’s strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”. Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerk. I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don’t just “go to sleep”, sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.
When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?
I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.
I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.
Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.
My point to all of this DON’T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE!
Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say “I saw this and it made me want to adopt”. THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT!”
……and as the cartoon says, the same could be said for all the millions of cats, dogs, and more in the cages in shelters and pet stores too.
There IS no altruism in selling living beings.
Only YOU can make a difference. PLEASE share this post with your friends, family, and say NO to breeding of “pets”, and change the language of objectivity and ownership such as “pets” and “owner” to “companion animals”, “adopted furbabes”, “furry lovemuffins”, or whatever you like. Changing language eventually changes our perception. It has to start somewhere. NEVER be afraid to speak up when co-workers, friends, family or anyone around you are talking about buying a dog, cat or other earthling, and please inform them of their poor choice, and why. This also includes but is not limited to ferrets, turtles, frogs, pigs, birds, sheep, geese, chickens, bunnies, snakes, guinea pigs, fish, tigers, bears, elephants, monkeys (primates), seahorses and ALL living beings who like their freedom as much as ANY human does. They aren’t PETS. They are not toys. They are not objects on whom to perform gratuitous, needless, sadistic experiments. They were NOT put here for us to use and abuse as we see fit. WE have domesticated them for our own selfish desires. Its time to put right what has gone terribly wrong. They are bred into a life of misery, and thanks to some of us, a very select few may get a small chance at happiness; but get one thing straight; they are NOT here for us; they ONLY enrich our lives, but WE make many of theirs a LIVING hell. AND FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, PLEASE STOP BUYING TOYS WITH BIRD FEATHERS FOR YOUR CATS, OK? I KNOW HOW MUCH YOU LOVE WATCHING BIRDS IN NATURE, SO WHY WOULD YOU PLUCK THEM SO YOUR CAT CAN RUN AND JUMP? GET SOME STRING. MAKE YOUR OWN TOY.
If you spend some free time on a weekend sitting in the grass, you will see many types other earthlings go about their business. There is a lot to see. Please see them. Please see that they have their own purposes in the circle of life, that doesn’t exist only for humans. Humans could never live if other of the most tiny (to the human) and seemingly insignificant and yet very ecologically important species were to go extinct; whereas if we were to become extinct, the planet and all species would flourish.
Suffice it to say that I have left out a LOT of information about what goes on in the lives of our beloved domesticated “pets”, vis a vis, our cats, dogs, ferrets, and more, for example, testing on these poor babies for cosmetics, chemicals, soaps, shampoos, foods, etc. I will leave you with the photos below to do the talking. These are a few of the THOUSANDS that are posted on facebook at any given moment in time by mostly selfless individuals who cannot tolerate abuse, neglect and murder, and who somehow manage to get the photos of the furbabes and post them on facebook stating “this animal to be destroyed on such and such date” (usually the next day!!) with a photo usually of a dog or cat, with a look of fear or sadness in his/her eyes. I encourage everyone to PLEASE be a voice for the voiceless. We are ALL animals; human and non human. We none of us should be “pets”, nor “its” nor anything of the sort. We all deserve a life of dignity. We are all earthlings. Let’s change the dichotomy that separates us into a union by starting with our words.
These dogs were not in a shelter in the US, but I wanted to give a feel for what these non humans go through for HUMAN greed. This is likely one of many photos circulating of dogs waiting to be skinned for fur with which to line our coats and jackets.
Back to the shelter “PETS”. I HATE that word.
DO WE REALLY NEED CATS AND DOGS SO BAD THAT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO BREED THEM?
Get a mutt from the shelter. Dogs and cats are NOT status symbols, do not exist for your pleasure, and are NOT here to match your furniture or clothes. TELL people the truth. 6 MILLION MURDERED JUST IN THE U.S. ALONE because of our selfish quest for the perfect “pet”.