Friday, March 9, 2012

Puppies vs Stupid people

Today, I learned a lot about some people. Mainly, that some people will make untold excuses for treatment of puppies and dogs, try to pass it off as similar to what some humans go through, but which, if you are really being honest, we all know that the one bears no resemblance to the other.

Case in point: This morning I read a post, that Crufts (the largest annual dog show in the world, held in Birmingham, England) had, by way of a veterinarian exam, disqualified some breeds of dogs due to the fact that they were not "representative of their breed" and "could not perform" as that breed should. In other words, they were found physically "unsound."

Now, this is a huge thing. I don't recall this ever happening. I used to show dogs, Akitas and German Shepherds. I have followed, for years, breeds and breed standards. I've attended numerous shows, and while I never felt a part of the "bonhomie" (have I mentioned I don't play well with others?) I understood the premise for dog shows. Yet I was never comfortable with the people who took credit for their dog's wins. The people who preened and strutted those wins, as if they had won, and not the dog. I detested dog shows for that reason, and for the fact that I spent so much money testing my own dogs with regard to health concerns, and very few others were doing so. Don't even get me started on Canine Good Citizenship or obedience trials.

But I digress.

This morning, the post re: Crufts, caught my interest. I thought, High time. But then, after reading the comments, the discussion veered into physical alteration, ie: docking tails and cropping ears. And how it wasn't inhumane. And so I thought to comment. Because in my opinion, docking tails and cropping ears is the epitome of inhumane, and I said so. Within 4 hours I'd garnered 30 likes. Within 8 hours, my comment had earned 57 likes.

My comment also earned scorn and derision. Some people likened docking puppy tails and cropping puppy ears to circumcising baby boys. They also likened it to piercing ears and inoculating young children. They were disgusted with my viewpoint, and said so in no uncertain terms. They also said that, "Once it's done, it's done, and what's the problem?"

As I type this now, there are "likes" to my comments coming in.

But there are people out there who think that what I stand by, what I stated, is absolute crap. I don't know what to think of those people.

They purport to love dogs. But they make excuses for things you would (hopefully) never do to a child, or themselves. And these things I am referring to are done to puppies regularly. And just because they are puppies, people seem to think it's okay to do what they do, because, well, "Once it's done, it's done, and they are too young to remember, so why discuss it?"

What I ended up stating, unequivocally, is that this is a moral and ethical thing. Not an aesthetic thing. Not something you can argue with regard to circumcision and boys, or ear piercing, or childhood inoculations. This is about surgically altering an animal based on your own pretentions and presumptions.

Over the course of the day, I have been barraged by comments from people who have basically attacked my stance, and tried to undermine it. People who think that puppies are less than people (they have no feelings, or if they do, it's not for long, and so we can do anything to them), and so what is done to them is okay, but oh, what about circumcising boys, what about that?

Some people have actually had the audacity to question "the world I live in." As if I am living in some fairy tale world where no harm comes to any of "God's" creatures.

First of all, I'm an atheist.

Second of all, I'm an atheist.

What offended me the most, the worst, was those supposed individuals who thought that docking tails and cropping was okay, since it was done at a such a young age (48 hours after birth) that the puppies never felt pain (they did, by the way) and therefore didn't suffer.

Suffering is not restricted to the here and now. And Phantom Limb Syndrome I am sure is not limited to human beings.

My point being: If you don't know what you are talking about, shut up. Just shut up. Because all you are saying is nothing at all. You are defending your own viewpoint, and your viewpoint is selfish and self-serving, and has nothing to do with the ones who are going through the experience.

Puppies feel pain. Dogs feels pain. Animals feels pain. And if surgically (I use the term loosely) removing what a dog was born with, for aesthetic reasons, to conform, is your idea of "doing what is right," then I question your morals and ethics.

No human can answer for any one else. They can only answer for themselves. Today I spent too much time trying to educate some very self-absorbed people about that. I was partially successful. But there are too many people out there who will not take a stand, who will back out when it comes to defending those who need defending...and I have no respect for those people.

Puppies feel pain. You may not be able to relate to that. But it is a fact.

Puppies feel pain.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Early morning wake up calls

We're back to the routine of 6:30 am phone calls before she goes off to work, late morning calls when I ask her how her morning is going, an afternoon call when I ask how her afternoon is, the six pm call when she gets home and is settled in, and the last call of the night when I "tuck her in." In between there could be another couple of calls just because we miss each other.

She fills me on the stresses of her day, or of how the puppies are behaving (or misbehaving), and it's all as it should be. Hank and Sam don't seem to be obviously missing me, and I'm happy with that. It means that the time I spent ensuring she spent enough time with them (Sam, specifically, since she was working basically every day and could not spend the time with Sam that I could and was), has been accomplished satisfactorily. I had to make sure that my method of working with Sam translated over effectively, and it seems it has. This is no small thing, and I am pleased. Yet I miss them, and the puppy, enormously.

This makes me think of something that happened back when Sam was just four months old.

By that age, she had just gotten tall enough and curious enough, to start checking out the table and counter tops. She would jump and place her paws on either surface, and we would tell her No, and Off! It was no big deal, and was to be expected, and we dealt with it as it happened.

One lovely Saturday morning, which is usually when I let my sweetie sleep in, because she worked all week and deserved to sleep in, I was up early as usual (6 am) with the puppies. I let them out for their bathroom duties and brought them back in, made coffee, fed them, played with them, then put Hank out into the run, and left Sam in the kitchen with the baby gate up. All as per usual. It was about 8 am by that time.

I went to check my email and facebook. I was gone maybe 15 minutes. When I returned to the kitchen, I immediately smelled gas (the stove is a natural gas stove). I froze momentarily, and then glanced over, to see that the stove dial had been bumped. Obviously Sam, who was at that moment hopping up and down happily to see me, had jumped to check out the stove top, and had knocked the dial so the stove was now emitting gas. The room was filled with the odour.

My heart immediately began pounding, and I very carefully stepped over the baby gate, tiptoed over to the stove, with Sam bouncing at my side, and turned the dial to off. I then tiptoed to the back door, ever so carefully opened the screen door, and took Sam to the dog pen. I then tiptoed back into the house, leaving the screen door open for ventilation, and went to the bedroom.

All this time I was very conscious of having to be careful to not create any kind of spark. I did not pick Sam up, because there may have been a spark from her fur against my sweater, static electricity. I made sure not to slam the screen door and inadvertantly create a spark. All this time I was shaking with fear.

When I got to the bedroom, I gently placed my hand on my sweetie's shoulder, and leaned down to whisper, "Wake up, honey, but don't move."

She was very good. She opened her eyes, didn't move, and asked, "What's wrong?"

I told her what the situation was, and whispered calmly, oh so calmly, "Just come out the front door with me." (She was sleeping in jammie pants, so don't think she wasn't prepared!)

She came carefully outside with me, and we left the door open for more ventilation, and then we went back around to the backyard...and just looked at each other.

" what?" I asked (my heart was still pounding and I couldn't seem to breathe right).

"I'll be right back," she said. "Stay here."

And I stood there in the backyard frozen as she went back in through the back door, opened windows, started the fan going in the livingroom, and then came back out. I was, to be honest, horrified, that she had gone back in and done these things, but she was perfectly fine with it. Someone has to do it, she told me. And I supposed she was right, but that someone was not going to be me. I have a horrible, disabling fear about things like gas leaks.

We then stood outside for half an hour. Waiting for the gas to dissipate. It was a pleasantly cool morning. We joked about hobbling Sam so she couldn't do a repeat performance. And seriously discussed how she must never be left alone in the kitchen, so a repeat performance did not occur.

And then she went back in, pronounced all to be well, and we got on with our day.

But trust me, after that morning, Samantha was never left unsupervised in the kitchen. I still remember how scared I was, and how I moved so very, very carefully. And how the smell of gas overwhelmed my senses, and I almost felt as though I could see it and feel it. I still question my moves, not going to my sweetie right away, but removing the potential for sparks first. I think I did well, but I now understand how people can second guess themselves after a crisis has passed.

I don't mind waking up early. But I don't ever want that kind of early morning wake up call again.