Well…he’s not wrong.
I’m sure you all have counted yourselves quite blessed here of late that I haven’t been in so much of a rant-y mood. This lackadaisical attitude was due to a recent attempt of mine to avoid the specific issues that bother me so as not to require the overabundance of Bailey’s Irish Cream it so often takes to get over the stress brought about by these unpleasant topics.
But now I need to return to this outlet for some of my more soap-box inspired ramblings, so the rant-free streak ends today as I grace you all with the following! Lucky you! Plus, I like Bailey’s.
Many years ago there was a sitcom called Frasier, starring Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce. It’s still quite popular today in reruns (I watch it myself on the Hallmark Channel late at night), which is why I’m sure that many of you will have seen an episode in which Frasier is supposed to sing a difficult opera aria for a PBS telethon.
He changes his mind at the last-minute, because as he claims “it may be an unwise man who doesn’t learn from his own mistakes, but it’s an absolute idiot that doesn’t learn from other peoples’!”
With that as a preamble, let me tell this little story. (Ha! You thought I’d changed my mind, didn’t you!?)
There is a person I know (however well you can know someone you only “follow” on Facebook). They live on a large-ish property on a main road that seems to get a lot of traffic. They have horses and to keep the horses safe, they keep them behind fences. Smart move, right? Yeah, I agree. However, the main part of the property isn’t fenced as it’s apparently inconvenient for moving the horses around and general day-to-day life.
Now, these folks keep getting dogs – both to keep and presumably foster.
In fact, not a month goes by that this person doesn’t post an announcement on Facebook about the sad fate of the dogs they keep getting.
They lost two last April.
A Corgi was run over by a semi – but, according to the post, it was the dog’s fault for chasing the truck. Semi vs Corgi…you can imagine how that ended up.
A Pomeranian mix was run over by a school bus – but that was the dog’s fault for not getting out of the way. I guess the little bugger just couldn’t out-maneuver a bus. I mean, really…what was he thinking?
The month of May saw another victim of the road and a tragic blurb was duly posted on Facebook.
That time it was a Border-Collie mix that was run over by a car. I’m sure that was also the dog’s fault – although they didn’t post any details except to simply say that yet another one of their dogs bit the dust.
Another poor soul was lost in June. This time they didn’t even bother to mention the breed of the dog. All the post said was they thought it had been hit by a car (imagine that!) because its body had been found in a ditch on the side of the road.
The end of July saw yet another tragedy when a Cocker-mix lost a fight with a pick-up truck. I guess this family just attracts dogs that like to battle fast-moving vehicles. The Don Quixotes of the canine world I suppose.
I read with sadness that they “lost” another dog in August. It was a Pekingese. They didn’t even realize it was missing at first. When they finally noticed, they went to look for it and found it dead on the side of road, likely another victim of the ongoing traffic that flows right outside their unprotected property line.
September was blessed in that all survived or at least, there was nothing posted one way or the other. However, October saw a similar canine eulogy but details on breed and specific demise were less forthcoming.
So, they keep “losing” all these dogs. Although, it’s not really “losing” them is it? They know damn well where they’re going. It’s not like they’re “lost” in the true sense of the word.
Anyone who has ever seen The Importance of Being Earnest is familiar with Lady Bracknell’s sarcastic witticism, “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness.”
I’d have to say that to lose one dog to a vehicle can be regarded as a misfortune…to lose any more than that seems to me to be more deliberately negligent than careless.
I mean, we’ve all heard the classic definition of insanity, right – to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result? I mean, what is wrong with these people? Did they not think after the first dog that perhaps a fenced-in-area might be nice? What about after the third or fourth?
Well, according to one of their most recent comments, they’ve “thought for a while” about an electric, underground fence but they’re expensive, and other conventional types of fencing, such as chain link, are simply too inconvenient for their lifestyle.
So now I’m wondering how many were “lost” prior to me following their Facebook page? These are just the ones that I saw described during my short duration as a “follower” (I ended the twisted voyeurism in early November…but maybe I need to check back in to catch up). Perhaps this is an ongoing thing with no sign of stopping. Or maybe they just had a run of some seriously horrific luck. Only time will tell.
And what about the shelter people? Or whoever it is that’s giving them these dogs. Do they not wonder what’s going on that dogs keep disappearing at such an alarming rate and more are being requested? If you ask what happened to the previous dog (or two or three or four) and you learn that it was hit by a car or a truck or a bus, wouldn’t “you need to have a fence installed” be a no-brainer prerequisite to adopting or fostering another dog?
It’s horrible to lose a pet, it truly is, and my heart goes out to anyone who has the tragic misfortune to lose a four-legged member of their family. But when you take in a dog or cat or any animal, you hold that life in your hands and you need to take responsibility for it. And if you know that the highway next to your house is a serious danger zone, you put up a protective barrier or take other precautions to keep your pets (or fosters) safe. You don’t just tick off your losses on Facebook and leave it at that.
Okay, so you guys have had a free pass from my rants for far too long. Brace yourselves. What brings this one on, you ask? Well, long story short – dogs.
I saw an ad for a dog someone is trying to rehome for $100. The dog has been with the family for a little over a year. Supposedly he came to them neglected and abused and they had wanted to provide him a forever home. But, BUT, now he’s just too much. Too active for their busy schedules. You know how things go. Oh, he’s a great dog. Doesn’t mess in the house, doesn’t need to be crated any more, excellent with kids, presumably up to date on his shots, etc. Great dog. Simply a great dog. It’s just he no longer fits into the scheme of things for their family. You know how things go. Shit happens.
So after writing this wonderful ad for him online and posting it on several different boards along with the requisite adorable (and he is adorable) photos and receiving numerous comments of “Oh he’s wonderful…” and “I’d like to have him, but…” and “Check out this rescue if you can’t find a home…” and “I’d like to visit him…” and “I would love to have him…” and the like, the owner responds somewhere in-between: “He’s such a sweetheart. I don’t know. Going back and forth on whether or not to just keep him. I can always just get rid of him later if it still doesn’t work out.” With a cute little smiley face emoticon and everything. Seriously, what the hell?
Either you want the dog or not. I mean for God’s sake. Is he a family member or not? Is he too much? Or is he great? Does he fit into your schedule or can you make time? Yes, yes, it’s a big decision, I know, I know. But for fuck’s sake, MAKE IT. Make the decision instead of leaving this dog’s life in limbo, because sure as anything if you decide he’s great now you’ll keep him, and next week he’ll suddenly be “too much” again, and here we go, back up on the online local town boards.
And this, folks, these people who can’t figure out that an animal is a sentient being, a pet that should be a family member, this is what drove me to advocacy. Sure, the dog’s not being abused, but how much do you want to bet she does a home check on the next new family? I wouldn’t take that bet. So who knows where he’ll end up?
Things change and life happens and sometimes you have to rehome a pet. I try not to judge. But what I AM judging is the flippant attitude of “do I want him or don’t I?” I mean, she might as well flip a coin at the rate she’s going. At least then the dog would have a chance.
Are you familiar with “blocking” on Facebook? It’s a special filter you can set up on your profile that can, as Facebook works it, “prevent them [certain people you choose] from seeing things you post on your profile, starting conversations with you or adding you as a friend.” Normally, blocking happens when someone gets super pissed off at someone else. It’s a pretty severe move.
I can count on two fingers just how many times I’ve been blocked on Facebook, which I do like to pat myself on the back for just a little. It means I’m “playing nice” for the most part, or at least not angering others enough that they starting trying to do social media’s version of Eternal Sunshine. Overall, it’s an indicator that you like me, you really, really like me…sorry, channeling a little Sally Field there a minute. At any rate, just so you know, I can play well with others (gasp! It’s a shock, I know.) and generally endeavor to do just that.
I found out that blocking isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, though. The first person who ever blocked me was a now ex-in-law who was really better off blocked anyway. That particular instance of childlike behavior (and not on my part) made for a very welcome respite in my life that I have enjoyed ever since.
But recently, I got blocked a second time and this one isn’t going down so smoothly. Oh, I won’t dwell on it for long and the so-called punishment is not likely to change my behavior. However, it did have me shaking my head.
The person who blocked me is someone I thought I knew well – as well as you can know someone you’re only friends with online (and yes, online friends are still friends). We were more than just casual acquaintances even if our conversations were limited to text and emails. In fact, I had supported her through numerous “life is crazier than fiction” issues over the past two years. I was there for her through a neighborhood bullying problem that got so bad she had to move out of the home she had just moved into only a few months before. I gave her a shoulder to lean on when her pets died. More importantly I stayed true to her when she was blindsided with a completely unexpected divorce.
After being there for her through all that—personal turmoil, death, the disintegration of a marriage—this person blocked me on Facebook. Do you want to know why? The reason she blocked me was over…wait for it…rehoming fees for pets.
You heard me right. Rehoming fees. I’m not using slang that you’ve never heard of. I’m talking about rehoming fees as in “an amount asked for by a pet owner or rescuer when they are adopting or readopting a pet to a home.”
Before going any further, let me say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it’s what makes the world go round. But, is it too much to ask that opinions are formed after doing a decent amount of research and communicating with experts who have been in rescue or in the field doing investigations? I’m sorry but if you’re not going to put in the effort to understand why you have a certain stance, if you’re basing your opinion on nothing more than air, you put animals at risk and that frankly, is unacceptable. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Well, you would be wrong.
You might think that because I am a) pretty passionate about animal welfare and b) able to be a teensy bit hot-headed when I’m on a good rant, that I was rude or sarcastic when arguing my case to this former friend. Fair enough. But you’ll be happy to know that that wasn’t the case in this instance.
I coolly and calmly provided my friend with verified information, links, research, and encouraged the person to write her paper — which was her intent for this whole mess — on the truth, rather than simply stick to her baseless opinion out of stubbornness. I won’t even get into the fact that she started claiming industry experts were of the same opinion as her (not saying I’m always right, but…) which was purely and simply a falsehood. I gave her a good out, but she didn’t take it. Instead, she labeled me an “activist” of the wood boring variety (because I came out of the woodwork just to argue – ha!) and summarily blocked me, giving me no chance to respond to her ridiculous claims. Isn’t that always the way?
And you know what, I’m okay with that. Oh, I’m not an activist. But I don’t necessarily consider it the horrendous and belittling insult she meant it as either. What I am is an advocate. Hell, I’m proud to be an advocate. Her attitude towards me doesn’t change the truth or skew any of the concrete facts. She can keep her faulty beliefs and maybe one day she’ll be unable to avoid the fact that she’s telling a lie. God help the animals who get hurt in the process though.
And seriously, in hindsight, maybe this whole “being nice” thing is just too damn overrated.
It’s not odd to see a piñata at a kid’s birthday party, right? I know, they’re all the rage. Well how about inviting over all the kids from the neighborhood so they can witness a death? No? Well, apparently it’s a thing in certain circles. I read a story about a doting father who put out food to bait a couple of brown bears just so his son could kill something prior to celebrating his 9th birthday with cake and presents. I mean it’s just not a party until the birthday boy kills something. In front of all of his young party-goers no less. Yay! Now it’s a party! Better than a lame old magician any day. Hell, the birthday boy just made a bear disappear his own self. Happy birthday kid!
Wonder what was in the goody bags?
It’s been shark month on Syfy and I love it because I really enjoy inane Syfy movies. Usually the goofier they are, the more I enjoy them and I seek out the ones with the crazy titles figuring they have the best hope of being the cheesiest movies (with bad acting and computer graphics even I might be capable of pulling off). Of course they had Sharknado 3 – Oh Hell No!, which was disappointingly stupid (and I went into it knowing it would be idiotic, but it was just too much and I couldn’t even finish it), but they also had classics like Zombie Shark (which lived up to its name, trust me), Robot Shark (UFO meets shark, it was great), Sharktopus vs Pteracuda, and the follow-up Sharktopus, both equally dimwitted movies. Needless to say, I’ve been having a ball with my guilty pleasure t.v. watching.
Of course sharks are a popular “villain” in movies because pretty much everyone is afraid of sharks. And Syfy plays that up by making them even worse – they add tentacles and alien powers and have scientists turn them into mutant monsters that can take huge bites out of the Golden Gate Bridge. It makes for fun movies since Syfy is so completely over the top with it, but sharks themselves are amazing creatures.
I love sharks and I hate sharks. I saw Jaws in a drive-in theater when I was young (I still harbor a grudge against my parents for taking me) and the scene where the head popped out of the sunken boat scared me to death. And of course (with no shark in sight during the scene) it made me afraid of sharks. I still am wary about the ocean but I’m not sure if that’s because of sharks or because I just don’t like the idea of swimming in a huge fish tank. At any rate, as I got older I grew to love sharks. I love the way they look, their history, the whole bit. They are fascinating animals. The only thing I don’t like is when I get suckered into a Discovery Channel t.v. show and see one eating a seal. But otherwise, I’m good.
If you’ve got a smart phone…or even if you don’t, you can track sharks. Pretty cool, right? My daughter turned me on to this app. Now I have her giving me updates like Big Ben chiming the time throughout the day. Where’s Perth today? Or Ningaloo? What about Ningaloo!? For the love of God tell me he has pinged!
The OCEARCH team (OCEARCH.org) has tagged a lot of sharks to track their movements. When one of the sharks surfaces, the tracker tag “pings,” letting people with this app (Global SharkTracker) know their location. The app consists of a map of the entire world, with little dots identifying where the tagged sharks are. They offer the same thing on their website.
You can track the sharks by name (from Adelaide, Al and Albert all the way to Wyatt, Yolanda and Zac), by their gender or their stage of life (immature, mature or “undetermined”).
You can see photos of them and see details – their species, length, weight, the day they were tagged and the location where they were tagged…and even more cool, just how many miles they have traveled since they were tagged. Let me tell you, some of these sharks get around!
Click on the “Where have I been?” button and you’ll be able to see the migratory pattern of each of these sharks.
“Sharks be crazy,” to paraphrase Sheldon of the Big Bang Theory. And they seem to be! Some are ‘sharks on a mission’ – they go in an absolute straight line to get from point A to B…because they’re all business and no fun. No time for side trips.
Then there are others that meander about in a very small area – they like it close to home and don’t want to venture out into the wild blue.
And then…then there are the nutty ones. These are my favorites (of course, right!?). These sharks look like they’re on some kind of a major caffeine trip because they’re just all over the place. It looks like you gave a pen to a toddler and told them to draw some majorly complicated picture and you come away with this chaotic scribbly mess.
I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to show you the different sharks and different patterns. So anyway, if you like sharks, like me, or are just interested in sharks, you should check out the app or go to their website (you can see the map and “pings” there too). I warn you though; it can be quite addictive to see where your faves are spending their time and waiting to see where they’re going to surface next.