Anyone who is this vitriolic and this hateful is obviously extremely disturbed and very unhappy in their personal and / or professional life. Should we feel sorry for her? I don’t think so. Should we be frightened by her? Yes. Her agenda is “pit bulls.” It could just as easily turn to Blacks, Jews, Gays, the disabled.
Today in Belfast, N. Ireland, after a two year court battle and amid world-wide outcries, protests, social media frenzies, petitions, thousands of emails, letters and even death threats, a dog named Lennox was destroyed because of what he looked like.
DNA tests showed he was a Lab/Staff cross. It didn’t matter.
The so-called “expert” that “assessed” him was debunked by veterinarians, behaviorists, animal trainers and dog experts world-wide and even in court. It didn’t matter.
Lennox’s legacy is he may join the ranks of the Vick(tory) Dogs and Patrick the dog tossed down a garbage chute. He may be the face of injustice. He may help eventually to end BSL. If you don’t know what that stands for it’s “Breed Specific Legislation.”
Why does Lennox’s death matter? Who cares if one more dog dies today? It’s just a “pit bull” thing, isn’t it? Or maybe a German Shepherd or Doberman or Rottweiler thing. It doesn’t affect me. it doesn’t affect my dog. I have a (insert breed or type or size dog here).
Here is why it should really truly matter if you never, ever, EVER own a dog or any pet for that matter for the rest of your earthly existence. It should matter even if you don’t like animals very much. (I worry about you if that’s the case….)
It matters because The Government came into Lennox’s house, onto his owner’s property and seized the dog without cause. A dog who had NEVER bitten anyone, never attacked, was never a “nuisance.”. A dog who actually was helping the daughter of the house. A family’s pet. Well-loved, not chained out in the backyard or left with no food, shelter, water. A pet. A family member. It matters. A lot.
It matters even if you are not a “pit bull” fan. It matters even if you really do not like that type of dog at all. it matters because, at any time, the pendulum could swing and your breed or type of dog could be the next target. It matters because if you are a good neighbor, you take care of your dog(s) or cat(s), at any time your animals could be seized and destroyed. Lennox could be my Elke or my Artie.
I’m talking regular people, not puppy millers, hoarders, stupid, careless, abusive, neglectful people. Lennox’s family were just regular folks, like most of are. A Joe who went to work to provide for his family, a little girl with some special needs, a Mom like anybody’s mom. They could be your next door neighbor.
It matters because Lennox was judged on his looks alone. And killed for his looks alone. He looked “bad.”
I am Lennox.
I am a middle aged female home-maker who makes a bit of scratch here and there doing this and that with a vision disability. I don’t see as well as most folks do. I can barely drive a car. I read things up real close. I’m colorblind. I wear sunglasses even on cloudy days.
I am Lennox. I am judged by how I look.
My over-50 husband has a fused spine; he can’t turn his head and he has more metal in him than most formerly heavy-metal appliances.
He is Lennox too.
According to TV demographics we’re “too old.” They are cancelling high rated shows because we’re the “wrong” demographic.
We can overcome, we can persuade people, convincing them that we can “do” a ton of stuff “better” than many. But in the end, in this increasingly superficial society, we are judged. We’re seasoned, we’re a bit tattered and torn. We’re not “young and beautiful.” (Just beautiful!)
We are Lennox: we judged on our age, sex, looks, sexual preference, religion, perceived abilities. We’re “put out to pasture” because of perception. We’re disregarded. In times not-so-past we would have been destroyed. Killed because of perception. Because of how we looked.
It is the barest stretch to liken Lennox the dog to a disabled child, a person “of color,” they guy with the turban on his head, the lesbian couple next door…..whatever the different scary thing “du jour” is. We all have our prejudices. I do. I really do. (Scientologists, I admit, scare the heck out me.) One would hope that our prejudices might be based on behavior rather than appearances!
Lennox was a dog. Plain and simple. Canis lupis familiarus. He was never judged as any dog would or should be. He was judge solely on how he looked. It’s the same as judging a person on color, sex, gay/straight, age, etc. There is no difference. None. If you think there is, you have lost a touch of your humanity in the seconds it took you to read and process these sentences.
It does not take an Asimov or a STAR TREK writer to imagine a world where being judged on your looks signs your death warrant. This feeding frenzy regarding dog “types” is not one whit different that anti-Jewish hysteria in Nazi Europe. Anyone who says it’s like comparing apples and oranges, even apple and rocks has their heads hidden in the sand. They are in denial.
She is Lennox.
He is Lennox.
I am Lennox. Are you?
(PS: Lennox was a Lab-American Bulldog. I erred.)
Jesse Ann continues from The Bridge:
We animals have it good here. We have fun, we have treats, we drink from rainbow colored waters. Angels, like my Auntie Kaya touch us, hold us, cuddle us, pet us as we will. I have friends who are cats, horses, dogs, rabbits, birds….
Sometimes we feel a pull to go to the bridge, to help another animal who was pulled from their earthly body by murder, cruelty, starvation, neglect. The Presence helps us to tell these animals, “Here you are safe, here you are loved.” Sometimes one of my horse friends goes beyond the bridge to carry a weary human, whose soul just can’t seem to make the journey or one too young to know the way. Sometimes my dog friends run over the bridge, in two or threes, in whole packs, to welcome a human they knew in earthly form, tails wagging furiously, dog-voices singing.
“Welcome! Welcome home! Here we are! We love you!” (The cats, being cats, wait, purring, for their human to arrive.)
One day, one moment, one eternity (for time has no meaning here and it’s all good), Winger says to me, “I’m worried about Mom and Dad. They have Elke, of course and That Cat and Mom goes to That Place and comes back smelling of Other dogs and cats but they don’t have one of US!” I look at Winger like he’s crazy (nothing’s changed).
“What ARE you yapping about NOW?” I grumble into his face.
“You know, a cattledog!” says Winger. “I went to see Mom in that place the humans call a hospital. her body was so still. I sat there and watched her. I told her to come with me, that I’d show her the way. It was before you came here to the bridge. I know she saw me. She told me it wasn’t her time to come here. I heard her say it. But…..she needs one of us, she needs a cattledog!”
“Oh, come ON,” I say scornfully. “We have lots of dog friends here. You know doggy love comes in many shapes and sizes! Why look at all those square headed dogs, the ones the humans call “pit bulls.” The ones that came from that awful human place in the mountains; the ones we had to help cross over the bridge? Just the other day? Remember?”
“Yes, yes, yes, I KNOW,” says Winger, “But I think they need one of us, a cattledog!”
“Do I have to do EVERYTHING? Fine, there is a cattledog who needs a foster home, will that do you? Quit bugging me.” That’s when Buddy came for a week to live with Mom and Dad. He went to a good home; thank doG. But, if you know Winger and I do, he can be the most noisy, annoying pest. So sometimes a dog has to take things into her own paws.
I went before The Presence, head bowed. “Divine Love, my brother Winger and my Older Siblings who came here before, The Cattledogs Hart and True, are bugging me also. They think my humans need a cattledog. A young annoying one like Winger, but smart and trainable like Hart….Wingie is kind of a dope, you know and I, well I….was admittedly a little pig-headed. Oh and one that will grow into a solid, smart dog like True. One who loves walks in the woods and rides in the car and swimming and chasing balls!” I had to stop myself. I was getting a bit excited, so beneath my dignity. I bowed my head again, “We humbly ask you, Divine One, if this would be possible?”
The Presence called Winger, True and Hart. “Dog-Children, purest of souls, Love who existed in earthly form, Our “Dog-ter”, Jesse Ann has asked that one of your type be put into the path of your humans. Do you all concur?”
“We do,” said Hart and True.
“IdoIdoIdoIdo!” barked Winger. I barked in his face, “SHUT UP!”. (Nothing has changed.)
“Are you willing to give a part of your Spirit to do this? This is a great request and not often granted. We think that dog souls find their way to have an earthly experience and to teach humans lessons, in whatever form they may take. Your cat sisters seem to understand this.”
“Yes, but they ARE cats. You know how cats are.”
“Very well but this shall be a test of your humans and those whose paths they cross. Do you agree to each give something of yourselves?”
“Yes, Divine One, for we love our humans still and feel they need, well, HERDING!”
“There is a cattledog litter in utero in the state in the country where you lived your earthly form. There is one embryo, a male, whom no soul has chosen in reside in yet. This one may have a hazardous journey on the earthly plain without human help. Are you willing?” We all agreed and I felt the Presence within me. If I had a body still, some of my essence would be missing. I still FEEL like me, but yet now part of my heart is a part of something else. I believe that True and Hart felt this as well. Winger, being Winger, I’m not so sure!
I watch over the embryo from my home at the beautiful bridge.
One night in the month of September 2011 a little male cattledog pup, all white, is born. Because we all gave of our essence, because we blended ourselves, he won’t have eye patches as we did. He’s breathing, he’s suckling.
Now look, quite frankly, he is in the earthly world and I have things to do here! The Divine has said that human things will fall into place. But, Winger is worried. (Nothing has changed.) “Will he find our humans? How? When?”
“Oh, DO shut up! I’m playing ball! You asked, we all gave, it’s out of our paws.”
“But LOOK,” Winger barks, “He’s in a crate! He’s just a little guy, no one is paying any attention to him! That’s not a happy place! Not like our home was!!”
“Look, you bozo, you slept in crates you whole life! We traveled in crates. We ate in crates so you wouldn’t eat all my food. What’s the big crate deal? You know what The Presence said. We got to let it unfold.”
But Winger barked and barked. He yapped, yipped and barked! He barked and carried on so much that the angels thought the stars would collide. Earplugs were used. The sound of his frantic barking crossed the bridge and spread through time and space and dimension until it was filtered and honed into a sliver of thought. It traveled like radio waves, zapped here and there like a laser beam, filtered through to the human world like smoke signals, anything trying to get the message through to just the right human. The band of white noise was widespread, seeking a human who would receive the message.
Maybe it was the way Humane Officer S. woke up that morning. Maybe it was the flicker of thought, the impulse to turn down a certain street. Maybe it was suddenly on her List of Things To Do. Go To This Place. However it happened, the message arrived whether consciously or in a dream or a decision. She saw the young plain-face cattledog boy and she had to bring him some place safe. Safer than where he was, that’s for sure!
I looked over at Winger who had finally shut up, for a moment. “See there, you knucklehead, the little guy is in a safe place. It’s the same place Mom goes to where she got all the Other Smells, how about that? Why look there? There’s a nice lady, Miss Jen, she helps teach doggies, she says she’s going to foster him. She looks nice. So can you chill out now? Please?” Some of our angel friends, hoping Winger would be quiet now, dared to take the earplugs out.
“But how will Mom and Dad find him?” Winger whined.
“You’ll see,” The Presence spoke in our hearts, “Hush now, Our Dog-Son, the human wheels are in motion. Rest, wait, go play ball and chase squirrels. Until it is your Mom or Dad’s time to go to the bridge, your job is done. You and Jesse Ann and Hart and True have placed the paw prints of your hearts into a new dog heart on earth. Let Me help the humans should they ask. And they will.”
My spirit was there on earth the day Miss Jen brought the puppy over to meet Elke. A silly angel in a dog suit named Shae brought Elke the message that it’s OK to play and it’s even more OK to to play with the plain-face cattledog puppy. My spirit soared for this little guy. He’ll be a trial just like some of us were. Not me of course. I was perfect. But he’ll be a good dog just like we all became. Our hearts and spirits are with him and we bless the human footsteps that brought them all together. Our humans have a cattledog now. Winger can relax and I can get some sleep. But we’ll occasionally check out how it’s going. Winger wouldn’t have it any other way.
And many, many human years from now, when it’s time for the new guy’s spirit to soar out of his earthly body, we’ll be there to greet him.
“Welcome Home, Little Brother! You are a part of all of us, the cattledogs who went before! Welcome Home, Artie Bloo!’
To Read Part One, it’s here at WordPress or go here:
Jesse Ann (Truahrt’s Rescue Remedy, CGC)
August 18, 2011
I left my body on earth today in soft grass with my dad and my mom and my Aunt Megan. I could feel them petting me, feel their tears falling on my fur. I could hear their voices saying that they loved me, that it was all right for me to leave my old, frail body.
In the distance, I heard the echo of a familiar bark. At first it’s a whisper, than it grows more distinct. I know that bark, it’s Winger.
“Come on Jesse! There are balls to chase and angels to throw them and lawn mowers to bite that won’t hurt us! And Squirrels! And food! And vacuums to attack!” he barks in his shrill yap-yap-yap.
I feel my spirit soar towards him. For a moment, I see my humans holding my old, frail body, crying. My spirit, on a breath, flies across roads, valleys, summer plains, coloring trees, rivers, the big lake where we played to where my Aunt Jamie is. I touch her with my nose-that-is-not-a-nose-of-flesh lean into her body with my body-that-is-not-a-body anymore and my heart, which is overflowing, caresses her heart. I love my Auntie Jamie and she loves me.
“I am with you always, My Other Mother, ” I whisper to her heart and soul.
I feel the Presence of Love and Life touch my spirit. “Come, little one, sweet Princess Jesse Ann. You were The Boss to the other dogs, all who came into your home. You were the calm one. Now it’s time to play and rest until it’s time to guide your human to their joy and bliss.”
I know S/He is right, this Divine Love. I have known for a while in human terms, that my body was failing me. I knew when Winger did not come home that winter afternoon this past February that my time on earth would end. Something told me I had to stay long enough help Elke to not be afraid of the things that Winger was afraid of: the thunderstorms, the fireworks. I think I’ve done that.
I remember going into the car for the ride to the vet today. Mom had to pick me up, my legs were so weak. I was so exhausted, it was hard to walk. I was glad to be outside in the sunshine with my humans as Dr. Mike gave me a shot to make my eyes grow dim and then dark. I did not feel in my soul that second shot, the one that stopped my heart from beating but never stopped it from loving. I want my humans to know that. I think Mom knew that Winger would be calling me to join him.
I see meadows and forests and a glowing bridge of shimmering rainbow colors over fields of stars. I finally see Winger now and another I had known in earthly form, my Auntie Kaya. She is all glowing with love for me and she surrounded by dogs. She laughs and hugs me.
“Bienvenue, mon petit!” She was so loving in earthly form that it is not surprising that she is filled with Love, Light and Laughter. I run to Winger and bark in his face, “See, you bozo, I’m here and nothing has changed! I’m still the boss of you!”
We dogs have it good here……
End of Part One, please see Part Two here at wordpress or here:
(Elke Louise, the Schmooby-Do)
Dog classes tend to bring out the worst in me! Guilt, tension, performance anxiety, guilt. Did I mention the guilt. But they DO matter! They are important! These latest ones are NOT my first rodeo, by any stretch of the imagination.
Let me back up a bit here.
Ladies, did you ever have one of those days where you are little “weepy?’ (I’d like to assume that men have days like these, but they suck it up better than I certainly do.) Those lovely days where it seems like your hormones are in wacko, weep-er-ella mode. Because let’s face it, ladies, we ALWAYS blame our emotions on hormones these days. (Insert winking emoticon here.)
Seeing as I am spayed and beyond the PMS years, I supposed I could blame my emotional state on Menopause. The Change as it is euphemistically known is not for sissies. “Yeah, I’m changing all right,” you growl, “My bullshit-o-meter is in the red! How’s THAT for change, m—-r-f—–r!”
It has also made me at times emotionally fragile, insecure and very depressed. This charming trifecta seems to leave my poor Spousal Unit somewhat befuddled or saying stuff like, “YOU’RE depressed? Look at ME! Now I’VE got reasons to be depressed!” My darling Marine sometimes acts as though emotions are the “Hoo-rah” equivalent of struggling up a hill with a 60 pound pack on your back in the pouring rain. “My feet hurt worse than yours and my pack is heavier.”
“It’s not the Who Feels Sh*ttier Competition!” And then the guilt sinks in. I feel bad that I feel bad.
One of the “good” things I guess (the jury is still out on that one) is I’m writing more. My typing hasn’t improved. I’m still a bit grammar-challenged at times. I write in short spurts; I don’t think there’s a novel lurking way down inside of me. I have cousins who do that sort of thing.
I tend to think in moments in time, not sweeping vistas covering days, weeks, years. I’ve been published in print which is very exciting! I tend to think sentimentally. I am very sentimental. I get weepy at movies, TV shows, reading stories, blogs etc. I got a little teary seeing the squished, cartoon-flat squirrel on my bike ride Tuesday. I’m a softy with a fairly good front.
But I digress as usual.
This past Monday was one of Those Days. I woke up emotionally charged. I was nervous about Elke taking her Canine Good Citizen test that night. For reasons I don’t understand I started blogging about Jesse, Winger and how they conspired to bring Artie into our lives. Maybe because I need to pick a birthday for Artie and I think he was born soon after Jesse died.
It’s fictional, of course, but I do wonder if there might be a spattering of inspired Truth somewhere in there. After hours of emotional writing, I had whipped myself in a bawling mess of tightly strung Me!
We get to class at L’Chaim Canine (www.lchaimcanine.com) and by now I’m a semi-controlled mess. I’m nervous and my Spousal Unit is patiently forbearing. Elke and Artie know where we were going and started whining in the car. All I can think is Artie might very well pass but Elke is going to have a really hard time. She is anxious already! What a great combo we four are.
Guess what? The test isn’t until NEXT week! Well, shoot, I’ve lathered myself into a frenzy for nothing. I feel the adrenaline beginning to drain out of me as we walk into the class room. There is a new person there, a nice fellow. Artie does bark, but he’s giving wiggling happy signals. Elke on the other hand, goes into total freak mode. She is in the corner of the room, growling andshrieking! Poor Clark, our other doggy classmate, a lovely Bull Mastiff has this “What the….who the….huh the….Duh?” expression on his big black mug. The guy, who is really nice, must wonder what in the world he’s gotten himself into now. I’m sure being a friend of Jen’s he’s used to Doggy Nutsville. Artie is starting to get upset because Elke is upset. I’m starting to gt upset and pissed that Artie is turning into a little jerk and I’m starting to yell at him, a big no-no in Positive Training. The whole thing is turning into a Mulligan Stew of semi-pandemonium. I am devastated!
Mary Ann, an instructor-in-training takes me outside. “Let’s work Artie on his meet-and-greets,” she says cheerfully. That goes fairly well but I am starting to get really anxious and teary eyed. I’m trying to suck it up and I just can’t. Suddenly visions of struggling dog classes at the Humane Society dance in my head. I abysmally failed those dogs, which is why I don’t go any more. The dogs I got never seemed to like me at all or they were indifferent to me. Wow, that’s was a real ego buster. I can’t even help a shelter dog. I really do suck.
I can’t seem to take the pressure and now performance anxiety has kicked into high gear. I’m a sucky dog owner, a sucky dog volunteer. Who am I kidding? What was I thinking?
Now the guilt hammers in. I’ve made my husband take me to these damn classes and it’s all for naught. He’s pissed at me because he doesn’t want to be there and I can’t blame him. I’m interfering with his biking. I hate not being able to drive. I hate missing out on stuff I want to do because I don’t drive. The whole thing sucks! This all happens in a matter of seconds, as I’m hearing a muted Elke voice from the inside of the training room, shrilly barking.
My little girl dog, what IS wrong with her? What did we do to her? My sweet little dog is being an absolute a**hole! Her head is so far up her butt, it’s never coming out. I crack, physically and emotionally. My body folds to the ground and I start crying. Artie is confused.
Thank heavens for Mary Ann and then Kelsey, another instructor. Between the two of them, they managed to get me calmed down. They both seemed to understand that I needed a back pat, must be the dog training thing! The guilt was still there. It’s there now, at this moment. Between Jen, Mary Ann and Kelsey, we did finish class. I felt bad for Clark and his owner. I’m sure she couldn’t wait to get the heck out of Dodge!
I get that dog classes are a process. I vaguely recall this from the dim days of classes with Pat Piazza almost 2 decades ago. I need to recollect that Hart, my first cattledog, failed beginners twice. I am not a “natural” trainer. Clicking and treating is a co-ordination thing that I have yet to master. I’m still on the fence as to its efficacy. I believe that my Spousal Unit also doesn’t see it as “All Positive” either. It does go against Marine Corps Policy.
But I do believe that dog classes are very important and these “Positive” folks are the best in town. You expect your kids to get an education so they go to school and graduate. Why not your dogs? I tend to think of my Dogs Past in their older years, when they were really good, well-behaved dogs. Jesse Ann passed her CGC test easily, even putting up with a very rude Golden who got in her face. True was a breeze too, but he had been a big time show dog. I forget that Winger was terrified of men when we got him but he did pass his test in Canada. But all that was at least 11 and more years ago.
I guess I have to view next week’s class, which is when they’re actually giving the test, as a training exercise. It’s all training. It’s continuing education. I wish I could get over all the guilt.
If you’d like to read my other blog, which I’ve had going since 2009 here is the link….
I’ve been a long time blogger on Blogger or BlogSpot and I would love it if you’d read my blog. I’m not a huge fan of wordpress, as I think it’s clunky and they keep on wanting you to pay for it…..
If you’d like to check out my blog, check it out at —