No, my dogs are not my children

01-17 Payton, bootsLast night my boyfriend made a comment about how my dogs are my children. Certain things he says resonate with me, & I found myself still thinking about that statement today.

My nephew is almost 4, & I’ve had the privilege of watching him grow up from pretty close. When I look at my nephew, I see some of my own blood in a walking talking miracle who I’ve convinced must hold his ears to keep his brains inside his head if he eats his ice cream too fast & gets Brain Freeze (yeah, I got an earful from his mom for that one).

Human children, it should go without saying, are much more complex than dogs. They go through way more stages of life. They might obey a command now, but they won’t next year. They make their own decisions. And one day, they become independent of us. And I won’t even go into how much college tuition is. But they are our own blood, our teachings, flaws, & strengths, our immortality. We live on in them.

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Chie, Sarcoma

10-16 Chie 2On October 15 I was petting Chie & found a large bump on her side. The next day we saw the vet & had an aspiration done, which came back as “low grade soft tissue sarcoma.” Our vet then did a biopsy of said sarcoma, which yielded results of “low grade soft tissue sarcoma.” I’m a little pissed about this because we wasted 2 weeks on that biopsy, which involved Chie not getting to eat for 23 hours, being held at the vet’s for over 9 hours, a 3 inch, 12 stitch incision to get a rice grain-sized biopsy specimen, & all the extra sedatives (& therefore, cost) that went along with an apparently very extensive biopsy procedure.

When my dad saw the size of the incision, he looked at me sadly & said, “I guess he’s just not a very good surgeon.” On the bright side, the incision healed up with no problems & I removed the stitches myself. On the crappy side, Chie’s sarcoma continued to grow.

The surgeon 2 people had recommended was off island & it also took a few calls to get his office to call me back. When we finally got our appointment on November 20, he took one look at the mass & said it was too large & beyond his abilities/equipment. Fair enough. I had also booked a consultation with another veterinary facility for today (Veterinary Emergency & Referral Center of Hawaii) because I could feel us running out of time.

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The iconic Bait Dog, Gypsy

GypsyThis is mostly screenshotted from a website called Animals Are Always Innocent (I think that’s the title… it could also be Against Dog Fighting, Pitbulls, Dog Cruelty, Dog Meat, Dog Rescue… that’s what’s on the browser tab but not the top of the page). I had always wondered about the most horrific dogfighting facial mutilation picture that constantly popped up when I was reading about dogfighting. Sometimes this dog was attributed to Michael Vick’s operation, but in actuality she was found on a roadside in North Carolina in April 2005.

As far as I can tell, her torturers were never caught.

Gypsy was found, patched up (extensively – her sinuses had been punctured, the meat was rotting off her face, ears torn off, mouth full of pus. It’s hard to imagine anyone, anything, still holding on to life in that state. She seems to have all her teeth but it’s assumed that she was a bait dog. One of her front legs had also been damaged to the extent that it required amputation.

Once healed up, Gypsy underwent facial reconstruction as well as a spay, & (I think) was eventually adopted or at least found a permanent home in foster or sanctuary care. She passed in 2009. Learning about her made me smile & cry. Anyway, here are screenshots of the abovementioned website’s entries that tell the story of her progress from broken pile of meat to beloved pet.

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Maybe I’m being judgmental. I don’t know why they are giving away their dogs. But it still makes me feel like punching them in the face. This looks to be a family; a group of people. I kept my cats with me for 19 years, all by myself, from rental to rental. I didn’t ditch them when it became inconvenient & when they got old & sick, I cared for them & was with them until each of their final moments. No sympathy for these people. But great sadness for these dogs who thought, mistakenly, that they had a family.

What I Wish Michael Vick Would Say

As much as it pains me, I will be cheering against the Steelers this football season.   There was a time when, impressed by the awareness & education Vick’s criminal story brought to the world, I felt that in spite of the unimaginably sadistic things he did to desperate, innocent dogs, he had served a purpose in this world.   I felt he’d brought a message that ultimately worked in favor of animal rights by making public the previously underestimated horrors of dogfighting.

And then I saw the Wall Street Journal interview.

Now I’m back to feeling that he has no right to be a role model any more.   Because he’s not sorry.   He feels no remorse.   As he states in his interview, the only thing he regrets is being in prison.   One wonders if he even remembers torturing & killing dogs with his own hands.

There are so many shallow individuals that think the 18 months he did signify that his debt is paid.   They don’t want to be troubled with the weight of what he did; they just want to dismiss it.   It’s much easier than actually thinking about it, & being horrified.   How can you not be horrified by even just imagining what it was like to be torn up & bleeding, all the while desperately trying to please your owner, & then to be taken by the ankles & slammed repeatedly into the concrete by said owner, your bones breaking, choking on your own blood while the world spins & darkens, joints pulling out of sockets, knowing that the hands gripping your ankles & swinging you are the hands of the one you loved, obeyed, fought for, whose praise you crave even still?   No, much easier to just forget about it.   It was just a dog.   Guilt free entertainment is more important.

I know people make mistakes.   Ignorance can cause terrible cruelty – even children do horribly sadistic things to bugs, lizards, weaker creatures – but they can still grow out of it; learn kindness, become whole people.   I think that Vick & his comrades were like big, grown children – retarded & ghetto & overprivileged, & prison helped widen his world view a bit. But apparently not enough.

So what would it take for me to forgive (re-forgive) Michael Vick?

1. I wish he would admit what he did.   I have yet to see a statement from him which states “I murdered” or “I tortured” or “I mutilated.”   He won’t even state what he did.   Saying he “let” these “things happen” isn’t admitting that he did it. He’s the boyfriend who says “I’m sorry that you’re mad” instead of “I’m sorry that I hit you.”   No thought process about the actual crime has occurred.   I want Michael Vick to own what he did on a personal level, not just for publicity.

2. I wish he would say he is sorry for what those dogs suffered.   It would mean that he bothered to think about it.

3. I wish he would admit that what he did was horrible & that people are entitled to be horrified.   I wish he would stop saying that people need to get over it.   We can’t.   He won’t let us.

I want Michael Vick to say that he is sorry.

Boomer’s getting too skinny

This was Boomer on the way home from the vet today.   It was a really long visit, & he was pooped.IMAG1564Boomer’s been losing weight for, I would guess, a year.   I didn’t really become aware of it as a problem until a few months ago.   I guess seeing him every day kind of blinded me to how different he looks from a few years ago.   But I can see his hip bones.   I know I’m not supposed to be able to see them.

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