Posts Tagged ‘Dog’

Lilly

Just a quick update before I get to today’s post. Forrest is back with me. We need some work on our manners when it comes to cats other than that he is a happy healthy little guy full of spunk. He is still up for adoption outside of BSL land (Ontario). Right now he would be perfect for someone who is in a home with no cats. On the other hand we are going to be working on his cat issues so hopefully he will become ok with cats.I haven’t gotten to witness his interactions with them as we don’t have one at home but I think the real issue is his constant want to play with them. More pics and a full update on Forrest coming soon.

I was updating myself on the pet related news as I usually do. I came across an especially sad story of a pit bull and chihuahua. They are often caught snuggling each other. It pulls on my heart-strings as it reminds me of the way that my small dog Lilly gets along with her sister and foster brothers. It makes me sad to think about it but if Stella and Lilly ever found themselves in a position like that I could see them snuggling for comfort. I often find her snuggling up to them after they have fallen asleep (she likes them a lot more than she likes to let on).

People often chuckle at the assortment of sized dogs that I have. Lilly is tiny maybe 5-8 lbs with Stella being the largest at close to 100 lbs. Both of the foster pups fall in between.  I personally believe that dogs of all size and breed can get along, period. Do you have special cases where dogs are not tolerant of other dogs? Of course. Is it just pit bulls? Absolutely Not. Does it take time for your dogs to learn what interactions are appropriate? Absolutely.  But for the large majority of dogs I believe that they can live together regardless of size or breed. It’s all about what you allow as far as their interactions go. Although I find in my scenario anyway Lilly is just fine to assert herself and set her boundaries as far as play and personal space go.  Lilly is proof that dogs big and small can live together as she has grown up her whole life around rescued pit mixes. We as humans are the ones who place such a large importance on breed. Dogs are thankfully ignorant to breed or often the discrimination that comes along with being or looking like a certain breed.

The end of the article goes on to say that chihuahua’s are right up there with pit bulls on the list of dogs most often put down in shelters in California. I have friends that rescue small dogs mostly chihuahua and chihuahua mixes. They live on the east coast so clearly it is not just a west coast problem.  It got me to thinking why are these little dogs being given up almost as much as the dreaded pit bull (hopefully you can sense the sarcasm)?  I thought I’d weigh in with my OPINION.  Pit bulls are medium large-sized dogs. I don’t exactly think anyone would be calling a Chihuahua a large dog any time soon. Pit bulls are often sought out by criminals who think that they are guard dogs or that they look tough holding one  (just for information sake they aren’t nor were they ever bred to guard things). Chihuahuas on the other hand are often sought out by the polar opposite  social group.

It’s hard to draw similarities between the two other than they are both dogs. The commonality I found is that they are both being sought out to fulfil a purpose. When the dog does not live up that purpose they are dumped at a shelter. Now the reasoning behind people hunting down chihuahuas and pit bulls are vastly different but both are equally as damaging to the breed. It’s sad that people can’t see that dogs are dogs and they have needs which as their owner it’s your job to meet. Your dog relies on you.  It reminds me of my crazy neighbour who yells at me for roller blading with Lilly(who gets more enjoyment out of running than any of my dogs). People often make the mistake that just because a dog is small that it doesn’t require the same basic needs that all dogs do. Exercise, rules, boundaries, are just some of the things all dogs need big or small. When these needs aren’t met problems arise. Sadly many people’s solution to their dogs problems is to drop the dog on the door step of a shelter instead of put the time and effort into fixing it. Like in so many other cases it’s the dog that suffers the consequences instead of the human. 

golden-retriever-puppy-breeders

I recently came across a media article about a Golden Retriever that had jumped a fence and attacked a woman. I might add somehow the uprising to ban Goldens  was oddly absent. After reading the story and the comments a few things stood out and even made me angry. The attitude of the owner was awful. He seemed to have zero remorse for fact his dog attacked someone let alone take any responsibility. When will people learn to place the responsibility where it belongs on the HUMAN?  Here is someone who is completely irresponsible when it comes to their dog. I’m not saying this guy isn’t nice to his dog or even just a nice person in general I don’t know for sure(although he doesn’t sound like it). He clearly has zero idea of what his dogs basic needs are as he openly states that his dog has bitten someone before. Its people like this who own pit bulls and contribute to the bad rap they often get. I find it rather interesting that this attack  was pretty bad yet garnered such little attention from the main stream media. Sadly I assume had the article had pit bull in the title the attention would be much more wide-spread with the grumbling of a city council somewhere talking about BSL.

Contrary to many pit bull articles I didn’t see the outcry for the banning of Goldens. Many people delusional as they are posted comments like “Weird Goldens don’t bite” or “All Goldens are so sweet the owner must be abusing him”. Many people posted attesting for how the dogs are nothing but wonderful family dogs. This in most cases is true. Breed does not dictate the dogs chances of biting so much as the current situation he is in. Here is where we need to straighten a few things out. All dogs can bite. Fact. Big small does not matter. Surprisingly to some people breed has no bearing on dog bites either. There are many contributing factors to dog bites. For example someone commented on the article that since he bit he must have been abused. ABSOLUTELY FALSE. Now follow me here. If he was abused it contributed to him being a fearful or nervous dog which would could cause him to bite out of fear. But just because a Golden bit someone does not automatically mean the dog was abused. As if to say if you just love a Golden enough it couldn’t possibly bite someone. What it really sounds like is another case of irresponsible owner. The dog probably had little exercise, no rules, and it sounds like affection was on the light side as well.

Speaking of temperament.  When temperament tested pit bulls scored higher than some common household breeds. To put it in perspective the three breeds commonly called pit bulls scored on average 86.4% when temperament tested, while Golden Retrievers scored 84.9%. It may also interest people to know that pit bulls were NEVER bred to be guard dogs or be aggressive to humans in any way. Research shows that when dog fighting was a legal sport (many many years ago) any pit bull showing any signs of human aggression was sadly put down without another thought. While I am 100% STRONGLY against dog fighting it shows that human aggression was something that has been bred out of these dogs for 100’s of years. Pit bulls that display these characteristics are often with an owner who is inexperienced with dogs or has not socialized them properly, set rules and boundaries, and a daily regimen of exercise.

I just can’t understand how people in this instance can blame the owner and want him held responsible yet whenever a pit mix bites someone it must be because he is an aggressive monster that needs to be banned for public safety. Where are the outcries from citizens to be protected from Golden Retrievers? I wonder if it’s the positive portal in the media that makes everyone feel at ease.  It speaks to power of the media and they way they can use it to create fear and panic. I believe through education we can show people that dog bites have nothing to do with breed and that BSL will never be the answer. A BSL driven by fear will never be as effective at reducing overall dog bites as say a responsible owner law, placing the responsibility on the owner of the dog regardless of breed.

OPIE

My apologies for the lack of activity. For those of you wondering Forrest or Dee Jay is doing great in his new home. I got one email from his new family letting me know how well he was doing. I’m thrilled Forrest has come really far, worked really hard and deserves this. If everything goes well things will be finalized soon and he will officially become theirs.

Now back to my original thought for this post. I was reading through older articles that were published about Pit bulls. I read an article in particular from Barbara Kay a “columnist” (I use quotes as most of her works are un cited or uses extremely biased research) for the National Post. Her lack of knowledge on the subject was laughable. She cited the typical stuff that all pit bulls are all monsters and dangerous. I found many other articles written by her bashing Pit Bulls. I’m really not sure how the Post continues to print her biased and fact less trash. Its disgusting. PERIOD. She spews hate for the breed with zero experience or knowledge other than her inflated statistics and fear. It’s scary that someone so closed-minded is taken seriously enough to be a published author. She actually states in one of her hate speeches that BSLs actually reduce the amount of dogs put down (apparently she has never talked to a shelter worker). I mean we have all come across people like her in our lifetimes  stubborn, bull-headed, and the worst of all incredibly misinformed. Her statistics which she rarely sites but I’m sure are taken from websites that spread similar messages of fear and hate. I wonder if her articles were about discriminating against people based on looks would she have the same welcomed response. Some how I doubt it. After reading some of her hate speeches, there are two points I want to address.

The first being that many of these pit bulls that bit some one, were from “nice loving homes”. That’s all well and good but just because someone is nice doesn’t mean they are a responsible dog owner. Many dog problems stem from owners who give all affection with zero rules, exercise, or discipline. That is a recipe for disaster with any breed. I have known many people in my life that are awesome and amazing but should not have a dog of any kind. It reminds me of my uncle growing up. He was the nicest man  but had a crazy golden retriever. He was a dog owner who was a really great person but had zero knowledge of what to do with his dog. Being nice has nothing to do with having the discipline and motivation to train and exercise a powerful breed. If we took away the pit bull and gave this same person a German Sheppard, Doberman, or Rotti I can almost guarantee we would be in the same scenario, just less media attention. So no loving your dog does not automatically  make you a responsible dog owner.

The second point being that if you were mauled by a pit bull some how that makes you an expert on BSL and pit bulls in general. She makes reference in one of her tirades that clearly we should listen this girl (who was making a PRO BSL speech) as she was bit by a pit bull once. I’m going to be blunt here and if you don’t like it that’s fine we’re all entitled to our opinion. Being bit by a pit bull means just that you were bitten by a pit bull. You were bitten by a dog it did not transform you into an expert on dog bites. Many of the people for BSL are dog bite victims asking for a ban out of fear and lack of understanding and education. Contrary to what Barb would have you believe dogs do not “snap”. There are always warning signs before a bite. Some are subtle and most people will over look them but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Many people bitten by dogs have no knowledge on body language, how to approach, or what a dog that should not be approached looks like. I commonly hear well their tail was wagging. Tail wagging does not automatically mean happy dog. Another issue being most people can’t even identify a pit bull if they saw one. An example being an article Barbara wrote where she calls two dogs in a picture pit bulls. The dog on the right is clearly a boxer, this is someone who has spent time researching pit bulls as she so often regurgitates facts (no matter how skewed and biased) but like most people cannot ID one by sight. Was the dog involved DNA tested?  If not how do you know it’s a pit bull? Short answer you don’t. It would be like saying you know I’m Korean (I am by the way) because I look Asian. There is absolutely no way to tell by my looks alone what Nationality I am (people guess all the time). Just like there’s no way to tell the breed of dog on visual ID alone. Even shelter workers who are trained in this and see dogs all day are wrong 80% of the time when IDing by looks alone.

So in closing being a “columnist” doesn’t mean you know anything, so beware what you read in the media. Being a nice person doesn’t make you magically a responsible dog owner any more than my wishing to never read another hate filled article about pit bulls by someone with ZERO experience with them. Some dog owners are irresponsible. Some of these owners have pit bulls. But they are not the majority, just a small portion the media chooses to highlight.

Bitter Sweet

Posted: April 14, 2013 in Fostering
Tags: , , , ,

2013-03-26 09.39.01

Friday I took Forrest to his forever home!! This is my first foster dog that is going to his forever home so I wanted to make sure everything went perfectly. It snowed like crazy here and I couldn’t get him out much to exercise so I was a little concerned with how excited he was going to be. I packed Forrest and Opie in the car and started the drive to his new home. I talk about energy. It’s something I believe in that can’t be explained but felt by those who take the time to be in tune with it (dogs for example are). It was almost as if Forrest and Opie knew they were going to be saying goodbye. There was a moment where they rode along almost hugging each other.

OpieandForrest

When we arrived I let Forrest out he went pee and we went in. His Mom and Dad are more awesome than I imagined. They had bought him a brand new crate as well as a bunch of toys, leash, and collar. I gave them the going away package BIN put together for Forrest. I stayed a bit and chatted about him with them. I told them anything I could think of that was important for them to know about him. What amazed me was Forrest’s behaviour. From the second we got there it was as if he knew he wasn’t going to be “mine” any longer. He sort of detached himself from me paying much more attention to his Mom and Dad (part of me was over joyed but I can’t say there also wasn’t a part of me that was sad too). They had bought him a duck toy that he loves. He calmly played with it in the kitchen eventually laying down to chew on it. This gave me a chance to explain his feeding rituals and what not while his Mom filled out his paper work. I observed him for any signs of discomfort. He was 100% content not anxious or stressed, part of me thinks he knew that he was finally home. After seeing how comfortable he was it was a little easier for me to leave him. I thanked them for loving him so much already as he really deserves a home, somewhere to belong. He was calmly laying in the living room with his Dad playing with his duck. Instead of making a big show of goodbye and upsetting him (at this point I wasn’t sure if he was going to try to follow me out) I quietly patted him on the head and walked down the stairs. It took everything in me not to scoop him up and give him a big hug and call out “Forrest Mc Morris” one more time but I didn’t want to make things hard for him.

Forrest1

I thanked his Mom again and left. Walking to my car was bitter-sweet. I knew that he was happy and in a good place where they would love him. I would be able to foster another dog and give a deserving bully a home. Still the selfish part of me was sad that he was no longer “mine”. In the end when his trial run is up assuming everything goes well (I know it will) I can foster another dog and give them a home. Which is what I set out to do in the first place. It’s one of those happy but sad moments I know I will continue to encounter through out my journey. Keep your fingers crossed for Dee Jay (Forrest’s new name)  he deserves this!

Forrest

So I know again postless for a few days. We were quite busy this past weekend. We spent a ton of time with our pups and helped out at the Bullies In Need nail trim at the Pet Valu in Rockland. It was a huge success so let me say thank you to anyone who came out to see us. Forrest was a perfect gentlemen at the event and had a visit with a FUR EVER HOME!! It went really well. I was amazed at how well he behaved, he was perfect. He was affectionate and calm in the store, walked well on a leash for them and even crawled into the girls arms (I’m not sure who taught him that but I’m pretty sure that was the deal sealer). I couldn’t be happier for him. I can’t lie I really have gotten attached to the little guy in a short period of time but I’m so thrilled for him. Forrest is  a loving and affectionate puppy who deserves to be a  part of someone’s home permanently. He has made amazing progress in just a few short weeks. He came in nervous and scared and is leaving happy and confident. He has worked really hard to get where he is.  He has learned his basic commands, walks well, and even started to rollerblade with me and my other guys in the morning. I can’t say enough how proud I am of him. He will be going for his trial run with them shortly. Everyone keep their fingers crossed as this puppy deserves a family!!

If you’ve read anything else I’ve written I foster dogs for  Bullies In Need we are a pit bull rescue in Ontario. I wanted to share with everyone what an amazing experience fostering has been so far.  We got Opie at just  puppy maybe 3 or 4 months old. He is a typical story here in Ontario. Despite a BSL in place there are still a ton of pit bulls out there many unfixed and still having puppies (this is where a responsible owner law comes into play instead of just a blanket BSL). We have some dogs currently sitting on death row waiting for someone to save them (puppies too). It’s sad to think puppies like Opie are put down everyday here because of BSL. Puppies that are completely innocent never given a chance just because they look like a breed that doesn’t actually exist. Pit bulls are really a mix of many breeds. We have a few puppies right now waiting to be sprung from the shelter. They need out ASAP.  If you’re on the fence about fostering TAKE A CHANCE and do it. It will change your life for the better. I promise.

We had all the typical concerns. “What if I get too attached” or “I would never be able to give him up”. We considered our options.   We could go adopt another dog or we could foster and have the potential to help many dogs. Sure it will be sad when they leave us. We may cry. But you wont know if you don’t give it a shot and take a chance.  We liked it so much we went back for seconds and currently have Forrest a little guy out of Toronto who spent 2 months in the shelter. He was a bit timid the first few days but has really started to come out of his shell (which is certainly one way of putting it). It truly has been a life changing experience getting to foster. I’d recommend it to anyone who asks. I know when one of my guys gets a “forever home” I’ll be sad. It’s going to hurt I know it will. At that point I’ll do my best to remember why I decided to foster. Help as many dogs as I can.  Each of them has taken a small piece of my heart but I know that there are many more dogs out their just waiting for a spot on my couch to open up. Some in terrible conditions.  I ask you to open your heart open your home I promise you’ll see what I see. Here are some pics from our outdoor activates lately. We have been having a blast in the fields behind our house.

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Blood and Gore Galore

Posted: April 4, 2013 in Pit Bulls
Tags: , , ,

So I’ve had a bit of writers block the last few days. I enjoy writing posts but I don’t want to just ramble for the sake of making a post once  a day. I read an article about a young boy in the UK who was attacked and bit on the face by a Yorkie requiring quite a few stitches and has made him fearful to leave his home. Like I’ve said it’s always sad to hear of a dog bite especially when it involves a child. Sadly most will form some sort of poor opinion of dogs and carry it through life.  It left me thinking about the media and the stories they choose to report on.

I found it interesting as most of the dog bite articles I come across involve large breed dogs and most of the time they cite a pit bull or a mix of some sort. Pit bulls are my passion so it’s not a surprise that I see these stories since I pay close attention to any media coverage on Bully’s positive or negative.  Many times authors will just use the phrase pit mix as it draws readers in. In doing some fact checking many of the police reports never specifically name a breed. Just a medium to large-sized dog. So here’s an article about a small dog attack. Most of the time attacks involving small dogs are not reported because no one is seriously harmed.  In this story the dog bit a child in the face causing some fairly serious injury as well as a fear of leaving the home.

So why choose to report on this dog story? I think on a subconscious level the media has trained us to find these type of blood and gore stories interesting. Think about it pit bulls and dogs in general are doing media worthy things everyday rescuing owners and strangers, serving in our military, and being therapy and guide dogs. Though you rarely hear about it because a positive story doesn’t attract as many people as a negative one. I bet my views would go through the roof if I named this article something like “Pit Bull Mauls Man 50 Stitches Required” as opposed to “Pit Bull Guides the Blind”. I wonder what is the attraction to the blood and gore.  Turn on the news it’s all violence and negativity with a smattering of something good, with the feel good stories never receiving as much coverage.

I certainly don’t blame the media for the evil that is present in the world. Although I do hold them accountable for what they choose to report on.  The flip side of this being they are reporting on things that we show an  interest in.  Things that people will likely watch or read. I think as a whole we need to take a better interest in positive stories in the media and take the focus of the negative.