Bo is a 14-year-old hound dog that is blind. Don’t let his age fool you… his years have brought him relentless happiness and perfected howls. He greets me each day with loud and proud “arrrrooooo’s”. This boy knows what “walk” is better than anyone.
Walking a blind dog? You’re probably thinking that seems unnecessary and potentially dangerous. It’s quite the opposite, really. Bo is a hunting dog. He was trained with his nose. When he lost his sight, his sniffer became stronger.
Bo knows his limitations. He knows that he must rely on me for certain things. When approaching a curb he knows “step” means he needs to walk with a high step. He knows “tree” means he needs to turn or he risks bonking his head.
While Bo has tackled his loss of sight as a champion, the fear that he has when he walks out onto the sidewalk is inevitable. If a car speeds by too fast, he naturally jumps and runs behind me. God forbid there is a snake hole or a storm drain he isn’t expecting… both of our anxieties jump to an extreme level. Not only much Bo rely on me, he must trust me. Trust me with his life. Literally. One wrong move on my end could be catastrophic from him. But he doesn’t care. His happy walk howls aren’t masking an underlying fear that I will let him down. His howls say “I trust you. I trust we will have a good walk. I trust you will look out for me in all scenarios.” And it’s true. I’d do anything for him. But how does he know that? Is it a dogs sixth sense? Can he smell “dog people” over “mmm I don’t really love animals?”
That’s the thing…. He doesn’t know. He chooses every single day to trust me. He chooses to not care what the world will throw at him. He chooses to know it’ll be okay. He chooses to see positive outcomes. He chooses to do something he loves, despite the risks it might bring. He whole-heartedly sees nothing but unending goodness in the world.
Why? Because he wants to. My question here is: why can’t we, as humans, want to, too?
When you think of dog neglect, you probably think of malnourished pitbulls on a chain outside an abandoned trailer. It is the image that comes to mind, and I’d say it is the most heinous type of neglect. But what about the dogs who live in a nice suburban house with a big backyard? The dogs that were once their owner’s world. The dogs whose families outgrew them, as their families grew in number. That’s really not the first image that comes to mind when thinking of neglected animals, huh? As I explained my dream of starting my own non-profit rescue for abused, neglected, and disabled animals, someone once answered, “You want to do that?! Oh honey, when you have kids your priorities will change.”
Insert my obvious shock…
Here’s the thing. When you picked up your animal, whether from a breeder or a rescue, you committed yourself to him or her. They saw forever in you… and you owed them the same. You grew a relationship with them. They learned to trust you, to rely on you. And now that someone else relies on you as well, they are trapped in the dark basement, wasting away their far too few days because someone more important has come along.
They loved you first. They taught you what it is like to be parent… what it is like to care for someone other than yourself. Let’s be honest. You let down the one who trusted you and believed in you the most. The one who showed you all the love in the world before you even knew it existed.
I get it… you’re frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted. Adding dogs on top of that is just too much. Ok… so let’s find a solution here. The dogs jump too much. Ok, train them not to. They smell. You know what would fix that? A bath. They have too much energy. Great news… doggie daycare is fantastic. I can’t afford it…. you knew animals are a financial commitment going into this.
What I’m trying to say here is that dogs require a lot of love, attention, and money. You will be presented challenges because you own a dog. Traveling? You’re going to have to get a sitter or the kennel. Moving? Hope you don’t own a dog over 40lbs and plan on renting. When you own an animal, life become more than just about yourself. If you want to keep it easy, keep doing whatever you want, whenever you want… don’t get an animal.
When my husband and I look into our future, we look at how our children will enter into our lives with 40+ dogs on our farm. Not at how the dogs will enter theirs. We told these animals forever, just as we told each other.
When you’re ready to settle down and have children… consider your animals, too. They are your family. They have given absolutely everything to you. They deserve that in return. Neglect is neglect. It doesn’t have to look like a chain and malnourishment. If you aren’t prepared to love an animal for 10+ years, no matter what life throws at you, let someone who is ready love that animal.
As I sit in my basement with an ungodly amount of Cheerios and a cold sore that will sell your soul if you look at it directly, I have decided to put my thoughts onto the internet for all to look at from afar and whisper about when I’m not looking. I hope this will reach someone, just one person who needs it. Frankly, maybe that one person is me. It’d be cool if it reaches everyone, but I just hope that this reaches more than no one. Partly because I just paid $48 for this shit.
Anyway, Bully Breeds and Brains. You’re probably thinking that’s super weird, right? I care passionately about very few things in this world, two of which being discrimination and stigmas. One category I happen to care a whole lot about is Bully Breeds: I’m talking all those dogs grouped into the pitbull category: American Staffordshire terrier, American pitbull terrier, Staffordshire Bull terrior, all those dogs that we, as asshole human beings, decided to bully into being generalized as “aggressive breeds.” Yeah that’s right, I’m talking those dogs that you hear about on the news because some cynical cockface put the dog in a bad situation, never gave the animal the devote training and attention they deserve, and was utterly S H O C K E D when the animal reacted poorly. I’m talking those beautiful, THICC, soft-souled dogs that give you absolutely all of themselves, all of their vulnerabilities, sufferings, and fears. All of those things that we, as humans, may not face our entire life. These dogs that will relearn to trust and not discriminate against humans as a whole, even after being helplessly beat to a pulp. Yet we have no problem labeling their breeds and others as a whole. They’ve come to be America’s domestic enemy, but here’s the thing: those dogs had to be taught evil. Then after being taught evil by humans (who by the way can be inherently evil), those same humans labeled them and shat on them and decided to propagandize what horrible “monsters” they are. What!? I mean seriously… Take a step back and look at that again… It’s utter bullshit. They are innocent creatures doing their best in this world. They rely on us… Yet we keep on setting them up for failure.
Before this sparks ya nasty, ignorant comment below, Karen, let me say this: you don’t have to love pitbulls, but you do have to not be an asshole to them. Kinda like your fuckedy neighbor, Bob. You don’t have to love when he goes to check the mail in his boxers with his stretchy skin and hairy nips hanging out when you’re walking with your family, but it is up to you to not be an asshole to him about it. I get the opposing view of bully breeds, and I’ll definitely address that more, but if you want the basic ABC’s as to why pitbulls as a whole are not aggressive and bred to kill, check this out:
Honestly… it’s not that hard. Stop being a judgmental dick. Stereotyping and discrimination suck, and there is WAY too much of it in this world. You know what a great feeling is? A great feeling is knowing you aren’t an asshole. You know how to get there? Stop making generalizations about things you are ignorant to.
So there’s the first half. I’m going to talk your ear off about how fantastic dogs are, especially bully breeds, the stigmas that revolve them, and how they connect with the same shitty stigmas made about other things in this world, such as mental illness.
Did you spot that smooth transition?! You totally missed it, didn’t you!? You were probably wondering about the “brains” that followed the “Bully Breeds” part, huh? There it was friends: Mental illness. Yup. That dark, dark bastard. I’ve coined it “Bully Brains.” They’re brains that bully the ever living fuck out of you and keep coming back for another good ole lunch room bully sesh even though you’ve beat the hell out of it three times already. Struggling with depression, anxiety, and PTSD has become normal to me, especially in the last year and a half. As the pandemic continues to encroach our livelihood, those three silent fuckers press farther and farther into my life.
I wish I could say my twisted, preschool daughter drew this in art class, but in reality I don’t have a daughter, and I drew this six seconds ago. It looked way better in my head. This is what every day in quarantine feels like to me. I’m pushing against this door of overwhelming depression and anxiety trying so hard to get in my brain. It’s getting harder to find the will to try to keep that door closed. I’m wearing out the soles of my shoes, and that door is getting reaaalll heavy on my back. But I’m trying… because tomorrow could be better than today, right? I mean it definitely hasn’t been…. but it could. And I gotta stick around to find out. Might as well stick around with me, huh?
WELP. To wrap it on up in a sandwich, put some cheese on it, toast it up, and take it home, this blog is intended to discuss the generalizations and stigmas in this world, specifically on puppers, mental illness, and maybe how all these things things can overlap. I guess my purpose for this is to talk about shit I’m passionate about and maybe meet some people who can relate. You don’t have to love pitbulls to love this blog, and you don’t have to be clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety to feel some of this shit in your soul. Just have an open mind, and you might like it here. I like you here, so stick around, my friend.
Thanks for joining me! Please take a moment to stare out into this generic, inspiring ocean scene and reflect on the world’s deepest questions. Here in this blog you’ll find grace. Unlimited amounts of grace to give to yourself. Leave all the judgement you have at the door.. or Google or wherever you came from. That saying probably doesn’t work on the internet, but you know what? I don’t even care because I’m giving myself grace. Telling myself it’s ok to feel sad or anxious or overwhelmed or angry or whatever it may be… because life is really damn hard. People have put stigmas on so many things in the world, telling you what is good and what is bad. Let’s talk about those things… without a concept of good or bad. I’m going to say it… are you ready? Brace yourself. Here it goes… 3, 2, 1. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. It is not embarrassing. By grace alone, I hope you begin to see that with me.
Come with me on this journey. Understand there are people out there that feel the same way you do. Give yourself a break, my friend. Stare into this ocean a little more.