Service Dogs vs Fake Service Dogs

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Yesterday there was a video posted on Facebook about a man who was on a cable car with his service dog, who happened to be a pit bull mix.  The driver was not comfortable with the dog, and tried to throw the man off the car.  The man, knowing his rights, refused, and the police were called.  They threatened to charge the man with trespass.  The man has now stated that he intends to seek legal representation to sue the city.  He is well within his rights to do so.

A service dog is allowed to accompany his/her human anywhere the general public is allowed to go.  A perfect example of this is, your dog can go to the hospital with you, but not into surgery.  Hospitals are open to the public, surgery is not.

There has been a lot of uproar recently because of “fake” service dogs.  People buy a vest off of Amazon, and take their untrained dogs everywhere with them.  That makes life much harder for people who have dogs trained to assist them.

A real trained service dog does not need to wear a vest (although most of them do to avoid issues in public).  There is no such thing as a registration for a service dog (although many of us do carry documentation from a trainer saying that we have been evaluated as a service team).  There is no test.  There is no certification.  All those things are scams that people use to take their untrained dogs in public.  I’ve even seen it happen here at the sanctuary.

So how do you know if a dog is a real service dog?  You are allowed to ask two things: 1) is this a service dog? and 2) what has this dog been trained to do for you?   The handler must be able to answer both questions.  The dog has to have been trained to do something that makes living with a disability easier. That cannot be something any dog would do for his/her person, such as offering comfort/support.   Bubba has been trained to keep people at bay, when I am starting to panic in a crowd.  He’s been trained to get my attention if I start getting worked up.

A real service dog will have completed public access training.  He/she will know not to bark, pull, lunge, growl or behave in any other inappropriate manner.  He/she will not soil in a public place.  Any dog acting in any of these ways can be asked to leave, even if he/she is a service dog.

One time Bubba and I were at Walmart.  We were standing in line at customer service.  A small yappy dog wearing a service dog vest was barking and lunging at us.  Bubba sat at my side, as he has been trained to do, but he did look up at me with an expression that clearly said “hey, you told me I’m not allowed to do that in public.  How come he can get away with acting like such an idiot?”.

The ADA guarantees people with verified disabilities can have a trained service dog at their side.  A dog can’t be treated any differently than any medical device such as crutches or a wheelchair.  But I agree….these idiots who are trying to pass their pets off as trained service dogs are making things difficult for the rest of us.  There are hefty fines associated with lying about your dog.  I wish we would start to see people actually being prosecuted for violating the law.

What’s the Big Deal? #NoDAPL

Here’s what the DAPL site says about the pipeline:  “The Dakota Access Pipeline Project is a new approximate 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect the rapidly expanding Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.”  According to the company, this pipeline  will reduce the number of trucks/trains needed to transport oil.  (Keep in mind that trucks/trains limit the amount of damage to the environment if there is an accident or leak.)

The pipeline is scheduled to go through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North/South Dakota, and under the Missouri River.  That is the problem.  According to experts, pipelines leak.  They always leak.  If there is a leak under the river, it will adulterate the water table, affecting drinking water for millions of people.

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The Native Americans who are camped in the path of construction consider themselves protectors of the water.  They are trying to make sure our children and grandchildren will still have potable drinking water.

On top of the danger of water contamination, there is the fact that construction is tearing up sacred burial sites and other other places that are culturally significant to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.  I guarantee that there would be a public outcry if this pipeline was tearing up Arlington National Cemetery

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Since April, the camp of the protectors has been constantly manned.  But confrontations with law enforcement and private security forces have become increasingly violent.  Rubber bullets, pepper spray and sound cannons are being used against men, women, children and elders.  People who are unarmed and are carrying out a peaceful, prayerful protest.

Two days ago there was a massive arrest at the site.  Security forces marked arrested protectors with numbers, and locked them in dog kennels.  Seriously.  In the United States of American in the year 2016.

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This comes down to what’s right.  For centuries we have forced indigenous people to move wherever we want.  We have taken their lands, their culture, their language.  It’s time to STOP and actually hold to the treaties we signed years ago.  This is Sioux land, and they should have the final say about who or what uses their traditional sites.

As Sitting Bull said, so many years ago “They want us to give up another chunk of our tribal land. This is not the first time or the last time”.

It’s time to say “no” to big oil and the millionaires, and “yes” to the environment and native rights.

 

Bubba G Update

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Thank you to everyone for your concerns yesterday.  It was a difficult day for me, because of what I had experienced with Ray the Vicktory Dog.  Happily, this time we had a much better ending!.

On one side of his head Bubba has smooth skin where his ear should be.  Everyone assumed that meant the entire ear canal had been removed.  Horrifyingly, that isn’t the case.  He has a full formed ear canal, that the skin grew over as he was healing from his horrific injuries.  It is hard to understand just how badly he had been hurt.  According to his medical records (which I received from Denver Animal Control on Saturday), it was touch and go if he’d even make it for the first few days.  He weighed 55 pounds when he was discovered bleeding to death.  He weighs 80 now.

Because the canal is sealed off, with just a pinhole opening, it is going to be very prone to infections.  We will have to monitor carefully, and in the future we may have to do surgery to keep him from having even more severe problems.

Bubba was placed under anesthesia while his ear was flushed out with sterile water, and then the entire ear canal was packed with a long term antibiotic paste, which is meant to stay in place, gradually dispersing naturally.

Last night was rough for our boy, but this morning he is full of the dickens. He has been tearing around my office, getting in to everything.  That just tells me that he has been feeling bad for awhile. I feel badly that he was in pain, but all I can do is vow it will never happen again, now that I know what to watch for.

As the vet told me yesterday, those of us in animal welfare tend to be drawn towards the challenging or broken.  Bubba will always have ear problems because of his abuse and mistreatment.  That’s who his is, and I wouldn’t change him for the world.

Now I have to go…Bubba is standing on the freezer in my office, trying to get to a box of parrot toys.  It’s going to be an interesting day.  LOL

A Minor Procedure for Bubba…a Major Crisis for Mom

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I had to drop Bubba off at the clinic today, for what should be a small procedure.  If I ever doubted his importance in my life, today graphically demonstrated how much I depend on him.  As I walked away from the clinic after dropping him off, I had a total panic attack.  I am still crying as I write these words.  Not because he is in any real danger, but because the last time I dropped off my heart dog for surgery, I never saw him again.  I don’t think I can survive another loss like that.  The loss of Bubba would be every bit as devastating as the loss of RayRay.

I think most people are aware that Bubba had extensive dog fighting injuries that cost him both of his ears.  Not everyone knows that he lost one entire ear, including the canal.  A skin graft covers what should have been an ear, with a tiny little pinhole left, most probably for drainage. You can see what I mean in the photo below.

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In the past couple of weeks Bubs has been shaking his head, and pawing at his “no ear”. I noticed the pinhole had increased in size, and it looked like there had been a little drainage.  So I made an appointment to check it out.

Yesterday we discovered he had a nasty infection in that no ear.  It took three of us to hold him while the doctor used a tiny catheter to flush it out.  We could tell it was incredibly painful for him, and he was showing signs of being really stressed by the handling.  So she decided the best thing to do would be to sedate him, clean it out, and pack it with an antibiotic paste that is meant to stay in place.

Last night we could tell  he already felt better.  He had a prolonged case of the zoomies and was just a total handful.  It makes me feel terrible that I didn’t catch the issue sooner. It must have been extremely painful to have that nasty build up. This medical procedure is just going to help that much more.

I know this is a minor issue.  I know he will do fine under sedation.  I know this will help him feel so much better.  But I can’t help crying about what could go wrong.  I need this boy in my life.

Until they call to tell me I can come pick him up, I’m just going to be a basket case.

 

Hey Paul Ryan, I don’t Need Your Reverence

Anyone who was at all surprised or horrified by Donald Trump’s comments about women on that tape was either a) in total denial or b) too stupid to be allowed to vote or run for office.  Or, even worse, they think the exact same way.

They think that women are the “weaker” sex.  That they are placed on this earth to be subservient to men. That women should be “revered” and “protected”.

I’ve got news for you.  Every single woman in this country has been dealing with this crap since grade school.  We have had to deal with it at school, at work, or when we are on the street.  We’ve all had to fight off unwanted attention.  What Donald Trump said, we’ve been hearing for years.

Every one of the politicians who are now berating Trump is just as guilty as he is.  They KNEW what he was.  Everything that has come out of his mouth has demonstrated that he has little regard for women.  That their physical appearance and “sex appeal” is their only worth.  Not their talents, or drive, or intellect.

I’ve watched today as politician after politician has said things like this quote from Paul Ryan: “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified,”

Excuse me….I don’t want to be “revered”, I want to be treated as an equal.  I want to be appreciated for who I am, and what I’ve accomplished, not protected because I’m somehow weak or vulnerable.  I can take care of myself.  I always have been able to.

Every man who says things like that is just as misogynistic as Trump is…it’s just more insidious this way. They are clearly stating that women are the weaker sex.  That we aren’t strong enough to stand up for ourselves.  That we need men to protect us.

Yeah, I don’t think so.

Stop acting like we are all a bunch of hot house flowers that need big strong men to stand in front of us and shield us from the horrible comments.  You really want to make a difference? Start backing laws that offer equal protections, and stop acting like you are prince freaking charming, riding up on a white charger to save the innocent maiden.

 

Our Pit Bulls are Family

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Last week when PeTA posted that piece of trash article celebrating Montreal’s ban on pit bull terrier type dogs, they included a video of the worst possible propaganda called “100 pit bulls in 100 seconds“.It showed images of dogs in the most dire and abusive situations.  PeTA was trying to show that this is the reality for ALL pit bull terrier type dogs.

In response, the group My Pitbull is Family is asking for people to post pictures and stories of their pit bull terrier type family members on FB, with the hashtag #mypitbullisfamily .  I think the goal is to be able to show that we too can make a video of 100 pit bulls in 100 seconds, showing beloved family companions.

I decided I wanted to take part in the effort.  Because my dogs ARE part of my family.  They are integral to the fabric of my life. So I sent a brief explanation to mypitbullisfamily.org, along with some photos of our beloved kids.

It got me thinking about the dogs in my life, and our personal shift from lab type dogs to pit like dogs.  How did a 50+ year old woman become a champion for blocky headed dogs?  On the face of it, it really doesn’t make much sense.

I was introduced to pit bull terrier like dogs when I was asked to take on a couple of “office dogs”.  Office dogs are dogs who spend the day in offices, to help them become more social, and thus more adoptable.  My first office dog just happened to be a pit bull type.  As was the second, and the third.  Pit bulls are overwhelming popular in our country today, and they are one of the types of dog flooding shelters.  They are the dogs most in need of rescue right now.

By my third office dog I was a huge fan of these breeds.  By the time RayRay moved into my office, I was totally sold.  He just clicked with me and with Kevin.  All the great characteristics of the breed were exactly what I had been looking for in a dog.  I love the crazy sense of humor, the athleticism, the lazy couch dog…all in the same package.

And, to be totally honest, part of the attraction is because they have been so maligned.  Have you ever known that one child who needed a little extra?  Who had a little trouble making friends?  Didn’t you feel protective of that child, wanting to help smooth the way?  That’s how I feel about these dogs.  So many people refuse to look past the blocky head and muscular frame…to see the silly puppy inside.

Yes, they are large.  Yes, they are powerful.  Yes, if they attack they can do a great deal of damage.  But so can any large dog.  Just like children, dogs need guidance, socialization, and a sense of what’s appropriate.  That’s our job as dog guardians…to provide them with those boundaries.

Unless there is something medically wrong, no dog attacks out of the blue. Behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  Dogs do what they do because it is meeting a need at the time.  If it isn’t rewarding on some level, they don’t bother doing it.

Most aggression has its roots in uncertainty and fear.  A dog who is comfortable with his place in the world rarely has to resort to violence.  Especially when the humans in his life are aware of body language and signs of stress. Even the most basic common sense should tell us it’s not ok to let our kids sit on dogs, or pull on their ears.  Even hugging can be extremely uncomfortable for some dogs.  You need to watch for those subtle signals that say “I’m uncomfortable with what’s going on here”.

Until my last breath I will champion these dogs.  They bring something unique and precious to our lives. I love my blocky headed kids.  McCaela the Turtle, Bubba G and Bosco have each brought something very special into my life. The world would be a pretty bleak place without them by my side.

 

 

Hey PeTA…Leave Our Dog Out of Your Propaganda

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“Good for Montreal”.  Those are the first words of an article PeTA posted on their website congratulating Montreal on a job well done.  They talk about spay/neuter, microchipping, and vaccinations and how much they appreciate the measures Montreal has taken to be responsible.  They however fail to address the sheer cruelty of the muzzle requirement. They don’t acknowledge that this law is designed to punish dogs for natural behaviors. They don’t say a word about the portion that penalizes outdoor cats.

But worst of all…the thing that makes my blood boil and makes me see red…they invoke the Vicktory Dogs.  They had the audacity to mention the Vicktory Dogs in their hideous, abhorrent article.

These are dogs that PeTA went to court to try and have euthanized.  They actually petitioned the court, and when the court wouldn’t listen, tried to sue to have the dogs killed.  They called them “ticking time bombs” and the “most dangerously trained fighting dogs in the country”. And now they want to use them to make a point.

I try to write this blog so that my language doesn’t offend anyone, (even though my ideas might be offensive to some).  I believe that there are better ways to get your point across than profanity.  But sometimes civility just doesn’t cut it. So, if swearing offends you, please stop reading now.  Because I only have one thing to say to PeTA…..

FUCK OFF you sick disgusting sanctimonious pieces of human excrement.

To use the dogs who so proved you wrong to make a case for BSL is not only hideous, it is immoral.

If I had the money I would sue the pants off of you.

You suck. What you stand for sucks.  And you should be ashamed of yourselves.

But how can I expect anything better from an organization which would steal and kill a little girl’s beloved companion.  Apparently PeTA has a real issue figuring out what is theirs to use, or destroy.

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