A new video has been added to 'Pit Bulls Like Us' - click here to watch it.
Long weekends are often a cause for celebration, with frivolous activities or even no activity at all, if that is what one so chooses to do, or not do. Well, on Saturday morning, I took Zeke (our ferret) to the vet. I wish I could say this was for a random check-up but it wasn't. Within the last two weeks he had lost all the hair on his stomach and was losing patches on his back. Having owned seven ferrets over the years, it is easy to recognize the signs associated with adrenal gland disease when one has lost three to it in the last 3yrs. Hair loss on the end of the tail is often the first indicator of the early stages of adrenal gland disease, with changes in personality being another often triggered by the growth causing hormone imbalances.
Our wonderful vet, Dr Shini, was disturbed to find the extent of Zeke's hair loss and we both knew this disease had progressed much more quickly than for any of our other ferrets. His skin was red in patches due the the itchiness also associated with the hair loss. Due to the homrone imbalance, Zeke had begun to act aggressively towards our other ferret babies; Zoe, Zahn & Zed.
Dr Shini tried to give me some hope for his future, but I knew it was futile. Our last cancer victim (Ziggy) actually did really well on monthly luprone injections for 3 yrs, but I didn't hold the same hopeful outcome for my Zeka-Bleaker (the nickname I gave him). I did not want to let my little guy go, but I also did not want to let him suffer, so I took the humane way out and said my farewells to my dear little guy. We will miss you Zeke, my little escape artist.
"A woman in Washington was badly injured when a pit bull type dog and a pit bull mix breed dog got into her house and attacked her dog, the neighbors dog she was watching and then her. In the ensuing attack Ms. Gorman suffered extensive injuries to her face, arms, breast and upper body.
Apparently the dogs got into her house through a sliding glass door she left open during the night to allow her cats to go in and out. She forgot to secure the door so that it wouldn’t open wider thus allowing the pit bulls to push the door open and gain entry.
Again we can see how people have once again acted irresponsibly and have made it harder for those who own stable pit bull type dogs and take precautions to ensure that their dogs are properly contained.
The details aren’t very specific but it is clear that these dogs were roaming off their property. Further, that the pit bull, Betty, has had prior instances of aggression where animal control had to intervene. This type of dog is atypical for the breed and should have probably been euthanized once she showed signs of human aggression.
The problem here isn’t the breed of the dog as there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of pit bull type dogs and pit bull mixes that live with families as the family pet with no problems at all. The problem is two fold:
Bad dog owners abound. A bad dog owner is somebody who has a blind spot to their dogs inappropriate behavior. For example, if the dog growls at a person while on a walk the owner might blame the person walking by instead of their dog for an inappropriate display of aggression. Even worse is if the owner then “comforts” their “baby” because of that “nasty person who was probably up to no good anyways.” This kind of thing would simply reinforce the dogs inappropriate behavior. There is a saying, “There is only one perfect dog in the world and every dog owner has that dog.”
Owners need to evaluate their dogs behaviors from an objective perspective as possible. For example, I know that my Rottweiler does not like to have even me crowding her when she is lying down and sleeping. Hugging her while she sleeps is not something that she wants me or anyone else to do. So when she is sleeping I don’t crowd her and I tell others not to as well. Also, she can be quite territorial and when somebody comes to the house unannounced I have to make sure she is calm before opening the door. My American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) on the other hand simply loves people and any and all types of attention, but she wants to attack every other dog other than my Rottweiler. As such my APBT never goes anywhere off leash, she is not allowed to socialize with any other dog, and dog parks are simply out of the question.
The legal problem is also quite serious in that it allows the bad owners to often get off with a slap on the wrist. Even if the victim goes after the owner in civil court if the owner has few or no assets even that might not allow for much of a punishment. And lets face it many of the people who own APBTs and other pit bull type dogs these days are not what you call pillars of the community. In this case though it looks like the owner of the dogs will be facing some serious charges including a felony charge that carries with it a maximum jail sentence of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
I think this is exactly the kind of thing that needs to be put in place everywhere. If you own a dog and it is human aggressive or trained to attack people, you, not the dog, should be the one who is held largely responsible. Often times all that happens is the person pays a fine, allows the dog to be euthanized, and that is about it. Putting in place laws that would hit these irresponsible owners with felony charges that included serious jail time might actually induce people to be more careful in what dogs they choose to own and how they train and treat them.
In short, laws like the one in Washington single out the deed and not the breed and put irresponsible owners on the hot seat. Focusing on the breed is wrong-headed for two reasons. First it can create a false sense of safety when it comes to fatal dog attacks or even severe non-fatal attacks. Second, the real problem are irresponsible owners and a breed ban does not address irresponsible owners, but it does harm responsible owners".
Article from 'Outside the Beltway' and written by Steve Verdon
This is our sweet boy Zack, who arrived on our doorstep on November 21, 2007.
Now, after that introduction I am sure you are having visions of a stork dropping off a 75lb puppy in a basket - a very large basket - at our front door, but it didn't quite happen that way.
About eight months ago I saw an adorable dog (that would be Zack) on Petfinder.com and after deciding that another dog would be great addition to our home, we decided to contact the Seattle Humane Society and make arrangements to meet him. We were all ready to meet him, only to be informed at the last minute that the foster person taking care of him had decided to adopt him. I know that this sounds crazy as I hadn't even had a chance to meet the big boy, but I cannot tell you how devastated I was about losing him.
Well, life goes on and in the end we decided to put our search for a second dog on hold for awhile and concentrate on Zoe's training. So in the last eight months we have taken part in two six week obedience classes and a six week agility class, that I must say Zoe excelled in. We then decided that we were ready to start looking for another dog, again. So the search began...
I contacted a couple of our local rescue groups; the Pit Bull Project and BullsEye Dog Rescue to get the word out that we were looking for a wonderful bully to rescue. I also checked Petfinder almost obsessively searching for various breeds, but mostly American Pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American bulldogs. I also contemplated getting a mastiff, Doberman or even a German shepherd (although Joel felt shepherds were too large a breed for us). Of course, we really wanted some kind of bully breed as we have found them to be an awesome dog, in spite of all the negative attention they get in the media. And, I just can't get enough of those pittie smiles.
We did manage to meet three gorgeous pit bulls, but Zoe acted disinterested or she was a true bitch and felt the need to bully them...hmmm, I really don't know where she learned to act like that. The first boy we met was a sweet blue pitbull named Bill and he was a real gem. I could've taken him home then and there, but Zoe felt differently.
Next we met Elmo, another gorgeous blue pitbull and a total love bug, but he had quite the dominant personality and I just knew it wouldn't work out having two dominant pitties in the one household, so we had to bid him farewell. I was really sorry to say goodbye to him as he had been saved from a domestic violence household where he had been beaten - as was the woman in the home - and then he was forced to spend 8 months in the shelter to await trial as he was technically evidence. Many lesser dogs would not have survived being kept in a shelter for such a long period of time, but Elmo was just as sweet as ever. I felt with my previous encounters with DV, as well as my volunteer work with DV victims, I really would have loved to save him from what could end up being a horrible, if not fatal end. He also loved women so I felt that I would finally have my own dog, as Zoe loves Joel more than me. Go figure. Even now I check Petfinder to see if he is still available, and every time I search for him I hope that he has been adopted.
Last, but certainly not least was Jake. He was a lovely tan and white pitbull who was super active and so very sweet. He was a smart boy and super food motivated so he would have been a dream to train. In the end, I felt that I couldn't have handled two dogs in the household who had a similar activity level. He had a little more prey drive than Zoe, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but dealing with two dogs on a walk who love squirrels and cats could be all encompassing for me, the walker.
I also contacted Doberman Northwest Rescue about a sweet doberman named Harley, who had basically been chained in a backyard for the last 2 yrs, until a neighbor reported the owner. I was actually pretty keen on adopting this boy, but he was quite a distance away and we found Zack before we had made arrangements to meet him. it seems that in the end everything worked out for the best.
We actually had a 'meet and greet' lined up with a sweetie named James Bond, but I think I was beginning to lose hope that we would find a compatible male, and one that Zoe would accept, so I canceled the meeting.
Just as I was about to give up on the whole idea of adopting another dog, I received an email from the Seattle Humane Society informing me that Zack had been returned to the shelter. it appears that the foster person who adopted him was forced to move into an apartment due to financial struggles and could not keep Zack. This was a terrible situation for Zack, but worked out perfect for us.
We set up an appointment to meet the big boy and after the introducing him to Joel and Zoe, we decided to bring him home. I was a little concerned about Zoe as she has been the only dog in our home for 2.5 yrs and I didn't know how territorial she would be once Zack came home. I did a lot of research on dog introductions and we did everything by the book and took it very slow, and it actually went much smoother than I had anticipated. Yes, Zoe was a little bit of a bully and Zack was wonderful in that he put up with her pushiness, and when he could take no more he growled at her and then life continued as usual.
Zack, who appears to be an American Staffordshire terrier x American bulldog, has now been with us for nearly 4 weeks, and although it was quite the adjustment with the increased workouts in exercising two active breed dogs, it has been wonderful. Actually, I feel like a proud parent who has just arrived home with the new baby, well, without all the pain associated with child bearing...you know what I mean.
Our ferret Ziggy lost his battle with adrenal gland disease last night and as much as I felt I had prepared myself for this event, I now know I could never have been ready for it and that there really is no way to prepare for the death of a loved one - animal or human.
We have owned Ziggy for about 6.5 yrs and I always referred to him as my 'special needs ferret' because he was a little odd. I really thought that some of his neurons weren't properly connecting as he would behave in the most bizarre fashion. One minute he would be standing still and then he would just bounce around as if he was dancing to a different beat, one unheard by our own ears. I also gave him the nickname 'Shark Eyes' because he never really looked like he was looking at you, but was looking through you, just like sharks eyes. But we loved him and he was the sweetest little man.
I am a new dog owner but have learned that different breeds will have different health issues to contend with, and this is the same with ferrets who have cancer as their health issue of choice. Actually, I am sure if they had a say in the matter that would quickly change. In the past 2 yrs we have lost 3 of our babies to various forms of cancer and it is horrible to watch as this disease ravages their bodies, but as a pet owner I also understand that life and death go hand in hand, and you cannot enjoy one without the other. Death is truly inevitable.
So that being said, we have enjoyed 6.5 yrs with our little Ziggy and I know he has had a wonderful life, and last night was our time to say goodbye. As a person who has experienced a great deal of loss it is unsettling to watch as the life disappears from my pet's eyes when they are euthanized, but even more strange is that I saw this loss of life in Ziggy's eyes last night after I arrived home from work and Joel mentioned seeing it the night before. It is almost like a veil covers their little eyes, as if their bodies have already begun to shut down. That is just my theory and I really don't want to go through this again any time soon to test it.
We drove Ziggy to a 24 hr veterinary clinic at 7.30pm and he left us not long after that. My only regret - apart from having to say goodbye - was that we couldn't take him to our own special vet, Dr Shini in Maple Leaf, who has been giving Ziggy his monthly luprone injections and is the most caring and wonderful vet I have ever met. But I guess we cannot always know when the end is going to come.
I wish you farewell my sweet Ziggy.
With the numerous amounts of domesticated pets in the USA it is highly likely that there will an attack or two; add to the mix the irresponsible owner, or the street thug who trains his dog to be aggressive, and someone in our society is going to be hurt by their actions - or lack of actions - and it is often the child down the street or the woman asleep in her bed.
It is inevitable that the media will have a field day reporting such events. Hey, what else are they going to cover? Iraq, I think that story is getting old and nothing ever changes apart from more money being funded to operate the war, and soldiers and civilians killed - all in the pursuit of peace (or is that oil). I better leave that rant for another post.
Ok, so back to the news reports and biased journalists who, lacking indepth news to cover, will need other sensational materials to quench the thirst of the American public - many of which were recently reported to never pick up a book. So, watching television or reading news articles may be the only means of education, or should that be information, that people have access too. The information that these reporters feed the public will lead one to believe that every dog attack is carried out by a pit bull (aka APBT, American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier) or any of these mixes. I am sorry to burst your bubble people, but numerous other breeds have attacked and will continue to do so, as long as irresponsible dog owners exist. But this is something you will not read in the newspapers, for it seems that unless it involves a pit bull, then it is not newsworthy. You will read about the pit bulls who attack that reside in home where they are chained outside and.or mistreated. What you won't read about are the thousands and thousands of pit bulls that reside in homes around the States who are loved, trained and cared for by responsible owners. The ones who are are much more than disposable pets, but are an extension of the families who welcome them into their homes. These are the loyal, happy-go-lucky breed ambassadors who excel in agility, flyball and even search & rescue efforts. The ones who find the most pleasure when curled up on the sofa with their owners. But these are not the things you will read in a news article because in all honesty these are way to boring and not sensational enough. So what 'facts' will these wonderful journalists provide for the American public, who seem all too eager to swallow them hook, line and sinker...lets see.
National Canine Research Council Examines the Pit Bull Paparazzi: Fear vs.Fact
A study by the National Canine Research Council reveals biased reporting by the media, its Slanesville, WV August 25, 2007 -- A study by the National Canine Research Council reveals biased reporting by the media, its devastating consequences for dogs and the toll it takes on public safety.
Consider how the media reported four incidents that happened between August 18th and August 21st:
August 18, 2007 -
A Labrador mix attacked a 70-year-old man sending him to the hospital in critical condition. Police officers arrived at the scene and the dog was shot after charging the officers.
This incident was reported in ONE (1) article and only in the local paper.
August 19, 2007 -
A 16-month old child received fatal head and neck injuries after being attacked by a mixed breed dog.
This attack was reported TWO (2) times by the local paper only.
August 20, 2007 -
A 6-year-old boy is hospitalized after having his ear torn off and receiving severe bites to the head by a medium-sized mixed breed dog.
This attack was reported in ONE (1) article and only in the local paper.
August 21, 2007 -
A 59-year-old woman was attacked in her home by two Pit bulls and was hospitalized with severe injuries. This attack was reported in over two hundred and thirty (230) articles in national and international newspapers, as well as major television news networks, including CNN, MSNBC and FOX.
"Clearly a fatal attack by an unremarkable breed is not nearly as newsworthy as a non-fatal attack by a Pit bull," says Karen Delise, researcher for the National Canine Research Council.
The National Canine Research Council reports that people routinely cite media coverage as "proof" that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. Delise says costly and ineffective public policy decisions are being made on the basis of such "proof". While this biased reporting is not only lethal to an entire population of dogs; sensationalized media coverage endangers the public by misleading them about the real factors in canine aggression.
About The National Canine Research Council
The National Canine Research Council investigates all reported cases of fatal dog attacks in the United States. Serious analysis and discussion of canine aggression cannot be conducted from information acquired from media
For accurate and in depth information on verified cases of fatal dog attacks and the circumstances contributing to these incidents, please go to the National Canine Research Council at:
Isn't it crazy the media frenzy revolving Micheal Vick? I can't believe it, no, wait I actually can believe it and it has definitely helped the cause in bringing the existence of dog fighting to the forefront, and that has to be good news. I guess it also means we don't have to listen to trivial media reports about Hilton or Lohan. Gee, now those uneventful articles were certainly getting old.
Now Vick has used everything in the onset of this trial, from pulling the race card (and if you read comments on ESPN.com, YouTube, and even MySpace you will see that some African Americans may agree with him that this was never about dogfighting and all about Vick being a black man), or people thinking he has been picked on because of his celebrity status, or even that he was never a willing participant, but just succumbed to peer pressure. Yeh, now that was a good one. You know it happens to me all the time, I will be hanging with my friends and as much as I resist, and resist, and resist, every now and then I just can't say no to a quick round of dogfighting. Pleeeeese, give the public credit for having some intelligence. What decent person would even associate with people who organise and/or participate in dogfighting rackets?? They wouldn't. Hey, any respectable human being wouldn't know a thing about dog fighting events in their neighborhood!
So the other day I was wondering when Vick would lose the gag order and actually say something, anything, in order to give the public something other than his smug mugshot to judge. Well, last night I got my wish and managed to see Vick's public appearance and can't say that I was too impressed. Ok, so he definitely won't win an academy award for best actor, but you have to give the guy credit for trying to sound credible. Actually, I wouldn't give the guy any credit at all, and all I could judge by watching his performance is that he is not only a lousy actor, but that he did not show even a hint of remorse for the atrocities he commited against the pitbulls involved. This guy is complete scum and all I thought as I turned off the television was that the only remorse he feels is the remorse for himself at being stupid enought to get caught!
Just lately I have heard talk from various people stating we must now forgive Vick for his crimes. Well, all I can say to that philosophy is that it is obvious that these ignorant souls have no idea what really takes place at a dog fight, and have not had the opportunity to view the dogs that lose in these blood sports OR winners who also walk away with serious wounds. I am actually beginning to think that the losers that are killed are far better off than those losers that are dumped along desolute roads hoping that someone will find them, or the winners that must continue suffering from these sick individuals. The lucky ones are found and rushed to vets in the hopes that they can be sewn back together again, much like a jigsaw puzzle.
These images are disgusting, but this is the realty of dog fighting; the reality of the sport that Vick and others like him chose to participate in. For more information checkout The Working Pitbull, a great website founded by Diane Jessup that is anti-dogfighting, but is pro American Pit bull terrier. You can also see the amazing work she does in training pit bulls for work such as Search & Rescue, Tracking, and most of her dogs will end up working with law enforcement agencies through LawDogsUSA.
These animals are victims of cruelty.
Don't support "humane" groups that don't include these dogs in their circle of com