Dogs and kids

| 18 Comments

When I was a kid, my dad referred to his and my then-stepmother's dogs--when I was young, a Husky-mix, Sheba and a hound mix, Shiloh, then later a Rottweiler, Khan, and an Akita, Kuma--as my brothers. It always drove me nuts. The dogs were smelly. The dogs were hairy. The dogs drooled. The dogs were...dogs. They were not my brothers. It seemed devaluing to me, as a human child, to be referred to with the same terms as dogs.

What I didn't know then, and I do know now, was that my dad loved those dogs so much that if he'd felt half of what he felt for them for me I'd have had a much better parent. I ought to have been honored to be compared to them. My dad makes no excuses about preferring dogs to people.

And the older I get, the more I see the old man's point.

As I mentioned previously, I'm not planning to have children. There are a bunch of reasons for that, including my certainty that I'd be a shitty mother. And given the likelihood that I'll never parent, I will never be sure that the way I feel about my dogs is anything like the way I'd feel about kids. However, given the way people talk about their relationships with their kids, I think there are definitely similarities. I take my responsibility to my dogs, as dependant creatures who cannot survive without me, very seriously. Things that some pet-owners consider luxuries--high-quality food, interactive toys, top-notch vet care--are necessities to me. I believe that I owe them to my pets. And I am bonded to my dogs in a way that many pet owners aren't. They are never more than a few feet away from me when I'm home. I miss them terribly if I go on any sort of vacation. I worry about their health, their happiness. When Chance died, I grieved as I never have for a person.

This doesn't mean that I think my dogs are people. They are a seperate species. Treating them like human children would make no sense. They don't have human brain function. They have short life spans, and prey drives, and they will never use toilets. I am not trying to make a one-to-one equation between dogs and kids. Rather, as a childless person who plans to remain so, I'm arguing that in many ways, the roles my dogs play in my life mimic the role of your child in yours.

And people find that really, really insulting. Really insulting. For a long time, I haven't been sure why. Then I started thinking about how I felt, as a kid, about my bad referring to his dogs as my brothers. And I think people are having the same reaction to me now. Partially, they just think a comparison beween dogs and kids is ridiculous. Partially, they are horrified that I'd belittle the role of children so much as to compare them to dogs. And they are wrong, just like I was. It's not about belittling kids. If my dad had loved me and taken care of me like he did his dogs, we'd have a much better relationship. And if I thought I could parent kids as well as I take care of my dogs, I'd probably consider having them.

As a sidenote: Someone asked me why I always limit these rants to my dogs and don't include my cat. The truth is that I don't feel the same way about Atticus as I do about the dogs. I love Atticus, but my relationship with him is not reciprocal in the way it is with the dogs. I wish that I did. But cats don't speak to me the same way dogs do. They obviously do for some people, for me they don't. Which isn't to say that my cat isn't well taken care of--he is--but it's not the same.

18 Comments

Leave a comment


Responsibility

| 22 Comments

I have some things to say about responsibility.

Our foster dog, Bridget, is suffering from a tick-borne virus. It's not (usually) fatal. It's being treated with antibiotics. She will most likely be fine, after a lengthy time-and-money intensive treatment.

However, it seems a bit suspicious whenever a dog who has obviously been someone's pet shows up at the pound and isn't claimed. Especially in smaller towns. The likelihood that the dog was dumped seems much higher. And when the dog has an illness that's expensive to treat, it seems even higher.

In other news, an acquaintance of mine has a lovely pit mix. She's going to give her away, or surrend her to the pound, or have her put down (hopefully not the latter). Why? Because she's "too hard to handle" has "too much energy" and training is "too expensive."

Newsflash, assholes. When you adopt a pet into your life, you are responsible for that pet. Even if it's hard to handle. Even if it's expensive. Even if it's inconvenient. Even if your circumstances change.

I am not planning to have children. There are a whole bunch of reasons for that, but one of the big ones is that I am not sure I'm willing make the kind of sacrifices good parents make. I'm not sure I'm willing to have other people always come first. I'm not sure I'm willing to keep a job I don't like because I have someone to support. I'm not sure I'm willing to wear the same shoes for years, or be sleep deprived, or eat out only at kid-friendly restaurants. And because I'm not sure I'm willing to do these things, I shouldn't have kids.

It's the same deal with pets. If I'm not willing to pay vet bills--even big, nasty ones, and take training classes--even expensive ones that are at inconvenient times, and curtail where I choose to live, and do a million other things, I shouldn't adopt a pet. No pet. Because when you take responsibility for a creature that depends on your for it's life, it's food, it's medical care, everything, you need to make a commitment to see that creature through thick and thin. A bigger commitment than marriage, in my opinion--when you get married, you aren't promising to take care of someone who can't take care of themselves. It's not a commitment "until something more interesting comes along" or "until it gets too expensive" or "until I decide I don't really like this breed after all." It is--or should be--a lifetime commitment. And not just a commitment to do barely enough to get by--a commitment to take care of that pet the way you'd want to be taken care of if you depended on someone else for everything.

There are a lot of relationships in our lives that we can't choose. We have (I believe) responsibility to people that we didn't necessarily sign on for--our parents are an example of this. Those are tough situations, in which we have to do the right thing, even if it sucks for us, and there was nothing we could have done to avoid it. However, most of the things and people and creatures for which we are responsible are within our control--including and especially kids and pets. And if you can't or won't take care of them properly, then you shouldn't have them. Period.

Nobody is a perfect parent, or a perfect pet owner. However, there's a difference between the occasional fuck-up and discarding the creature in your care when the going gets rough. And, as far as I'm concerned, the latter is just about unforgivable.

22 Comments

Leave a comment


I have no life (88/200)

| 4 Comments

This is a meme from Delany. The idea is that if you've seen more than 70 of these movies you have no life. Number them in the brackets and post your score in your subject line.

(1) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(2) Grease
(3) Pirates of the Caribbean
( ) Boondock Saints
(4) The Mexican
(5) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
(6) Neverending Story
( ) Blazing Saddles
( ) Airplane
Section 1: 6/10

(7) The Princess Bride
( ) Young Frankenstein
(8) AnchorMan: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
(9) Napoleon Dynamite
( ) Saw
( ) White Noise
(10) White Oleander
( ) Anger Management
(11) 50 First Dates
( ) Jason X
Section 2: 5/10

(12) Scream
( ) Scream 2
( ) Scream 3
(13) Scary Movie
( ) Scary Movie 2
( ) Scary Movie 3
( ) American Pie
( ) American Pie 2
( ) American Wedding
(14) Harry Potter
Section 3: 3/10

(15) Harry Potter 2
(16) Harry Potter 3
(17) Harry Potter 4
(18) Resident Evil I
(19) Resident Evil 2
( ) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
( ) The Village
(20 ) Donnie Darko
( ) Lilo & Stitch
Section 4: 6/10

(21) Finding Nemo
(22) Finding Neverland
( ) 13 Ghosts
( ) Signs
(23) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
( ) White Chicks
( ) Butterfly Effect
( ) Thirteen Going on 30
(24) I, Robot
Section 5: 4/10

(25) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
( ) Universal Soldier
(26) A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
( ) Deep Impact
( ) KingPin
( ) Never Been Kissed
(27) Meet The Parents
( ) Meet the Fockers
( ) Eight Crazy Nights
Section 6: 3/10

( ) A Cinderella Story
( ) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
(28) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumb & Dumberer
( ) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Halloween
( ) The Ring
Section 7: 1/10

( ) The Ring 2
( ) Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
(29) Practical Magic
(30) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
(31) From Hell
( ) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
( ) I Am Sam
( )The Whole Nine Yards
Section 8: 3/10

(32 ) The Day After Tomorrow
(33 ) Child's Play
(34) Bride of Chucky
(35) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
( ) Gothika
(36) Nightmare on Elm Street
(37) Sixteen Candles
( ) Coach Carter
(38) Bad Boys
Section 9: 7/10

( ) Bad Boys 2
(39 ) Joy Ride
(40) Se7en
(41) Oceans Eleven
(42) Ocean's Twelve
(43) Identity
( ) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled
( ) Predator I
( ) Predator II
Section 10: 5/10

(44) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
( ) A Bronx Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
( ) Christine
(45) ET
( ) Children of the Corn
( ) My Boss' daughter
( ) Maid in Manhattan
( ) Frailty
Section 11: 2/10

( ) Best Bet
( ) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
(46) She's All That
(47 ) Calendar Girls
(48 ) Sideways
(49) Mars Attacks
( ) Event Horizon
(50) Ever After
(51) Forrest Gump
(52) Big Trouble in Little China
Section 12: 7/10

(53) X-Men
(54) X-2
( ) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
( ) Catch Me If You Can
( ) The Others
( ) Freaky Friday
( ) Reign of Fire
(55) Cruel Intentions
( ) The Hot Chick
Section 13: 3/10

( ) Swimfan
( ) Miracle
(56) Old School
( ) The Notebook
( ) K-Pax
(57) Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
(58) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
(59) Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
( ) A Walk to Remember
( ) Boogeyman
Section 14: 4/10

( ) Hitch
(60) The Fifth Element
( ) Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace
( ) Star Wars Episode II Attack of The Clones
( ) Star Wars Episode III Revenge of The Sith
(61) Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope
(62) Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
( ) Star Wars Episode VI Return of The Jedi
(63) Troop Beverly Hills
(64) Swimming with Sharks
Section 15: 5/10

(65 ) Air Force One
( ) For Richer or Poorer
(66) Trainspotting
( ) People Under the Stairs
(67 ) Blue Velvet
(68) Sound of Music
(69) Parent Trap 1
( ) Parent Trap 2
( ) The Burbs
(70) The Terminator
Section 16: 6/10

(71) Empire Records
(72) SLC Punk
(73) Meet Joe Black
(74) Nightmare Before Christmas
(75) The Silence of the Lambs
(76) Sleepy Hollow
( ) I Heart Huckabees
( ) 24 Hour Party People
( ) Blood In Blood Out
(77) The Virgin Suicides
Section 17: 7/10

( ) Space Balls
(77) Big Fish
( ) Titanic
( ) Mulan
( ) Mulan 2
(78) Cold Mountain
(79) Moulin Rouge
( ) Kung Pow, Enter The Fist
( ) As Good As It Gets
( ) Hannibal
Section 18: 3/10

( ) The Exorcist
( ) The Exorcist: The Beginning
( ) The Exorcism Of Emily Rose
(80) Dead Poet's Society
( ) Patch Adams
( ) Fern Gully
( ) Cool Runnings
(81) Austin Powers 1
(82) Austin Powers 2
(83 ) Austin Powers 3
Section 19: 4/10

( ) Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
(84) Shrek 1
( ) Shrek 2
(85) 2001: A Space Odyessy
( ) The English Patient
( ) Phonebooth
(86) This Is Spinal Tap
(87) Edward Scissor Hands
(88) The Sixth Sense
( ) Flight Plan
Section 20: 5/10


Total: 88/200.

4 Comments

Leave a comment


Music meme/game answers

| 0 Comments

So here's what they were:

1. The first part of every day for me is good
Dar Williams, "It Happens Every Day"

2. I've been in and out of every honky tonk in town
Loretta Lynn, "Mrs. Leroy Brown"

3. Half the people you see these days are talkin' on cell phones
Greg Brown, "'Cept You and Me Babe"

4. Life is turned upside down
Badly Drawn Boy, "Life Turned Upside Down"

5. Out of nowhere this gust of wind brushed my hair
k.d. lang, "Pullin' Back the Reins"

6. Is it too much to ask?
Lucinda Williams (could have also been Mary Chapin-Carpenter), "Passionate Kisses"

7. You give me that look that's like laughing
Ani DiFranco, "Falling Is Like This"

8. It takes more love than a heart can hold
Maria McKee, "More Than a Heart Can Hold"

9. I can't do it, I can't conceive of everything you're trying to make me believe
Aimee Mann, "How Am I Different?"

10. Soon we'll come to the end of life's journey
Johnny Cash, "If We Never Meet Again"

11. You thought she was an angel, I can still hear you say
Y'all, I have no idea what this one was...

12. When I was four years old they tried to test my I.Q.

Ani DiFranco, "My I.Q."

13. C'mon people now, smile on your brother
Nirvana, "Territorial Pissings"

14. It's against the law to walk, it's against the law to talk
Billy Bragg and Wilco (could also be Woody Guthrie), "Against the Law"
15. The wind is ruthless and the trees shake angry fingers at the sky
Ani DiFranco, "Done Wrong"

16. Bye, bye bye baby, bye bye
Janis Joplin, "Bye Bye Baby"

17. Forgiving you was easy, but forgetting seems to take the longest time
Willie Nelson, "Forgiving You Was Easy"

18. She sat on the pavement as I pulled in the drive
Iggy Pop, "I Felt the Luxury"
19. You keep telling me I'm beautiful but I feel a little less so
Ani DiFranco, "Swim"

20. Words fell, like roses at our feet

Lucinda Williams, "Words Fell"

21. I walked 100 miles just to see you
Peter Wilde, "100 Miles"

22. I never knew I could feel like this
Again, I have no idea.

23. Don't you worry 'bout what's on your mind, woman
The Rolling Stones, "Let's Spend the Night Together"

24. My first lover
Gillian Welch, "My First Lover"

25. I wanted everything for a little while, why shouldn't I?
Everything But the Girl, "Wrong"


26. In the jukebox of her memory, the list of names flips by and stops
Ani DiFranco, "Jukebox"
27. I don't want to feel this way
Everything But the Girl, "Good Cop, Bad Cop"

28. Hear that lonesome whip-o-will
Johnny Cash (but could have been Hank I), "So Lonesome I Could Cry"

29. Everybody was estatic, about the light show on the farm
Dan Bern, "Thanksgiving Day Parade"

30. Well there was a little falter at the alter of confession
Dixie Chicks, "Tortured, Tangled Hearts"

Thanks for playing!

Leave a comment


Music meme/game

| 7 Comments

This is from the fantastic Ms. Frog.

Instructions:
Step 1: Put your MP3 player or whatever on random.
Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Strike through the songs when someone guesses correctly.
Step 5: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!

Here are mine:

1. The first part of every day for me is good
2. I've been in and out of every honky tonk in town
3. Half the people you see these days are talkin' on cell phones
4. Life is turned upside down
5. Out of nowhere this gust of wind brushed my hair

6. Is it too much to ask?

7. You give me that look that's like laughing
8. It takes more love than a heart can hold
9. I can't do it, I can't conceive of everything you're trying to make me believe
10. Soon we'll come to the end of life's journey

11. You thought she was an angel, I can still hear you say
12. When I was four years old they tried to test my I.Q.
13. C'mon people now, smile on your brother
14. It's against the law to walk, it's against the law to talk
15. The wind is ruthless and the trees shake angry fingers at the sky

16. Bye, bye bye baby, bye bye
17. Forgiving you was easy, but forgetting seems to take the longest time
18. She sat on the pavement as I pulled in the drive
19. You keep telling me I'm beautiful but I feel a little less so
20. Words fell, like roses at our feet

21. I walked 100 miles just to see you
22. I never knew I could feel like this
23. Don't you worry 'bout what's on your mind, woman
24. My first lover
25. I wanted everything for a little while, why shouldn't I?

26. In the jukebox of her memory, the list of names flips by and stops
27. I don't want to feel this way
28. Hear that lonesome whip-o-will
29. Everybody was estatic, about the light show on the farm
30. Well there was a little falter at the alter of confession

7 Comments

Leave a comment


Especially if you happen to be a shoe...

Atticus playing with a shoe

Atticus playing with a shoe

Atticus playing with a shoe

Atticus playing with a shoe

Atticus playing with a shoe

Apparently all that shoe fighting is very tiring.

Atticus crashed out

Atticus sleeping

Atticus sleeping

2 Comments

Leave a comment


Last Chance Canine Retirement Home

| 2 Comments

A while back, I wrote a post about my new personal hero Pali Boucher, the founder and driving force behind Rocket Dog Rescue. Boucher's story inspired the hell out of me when Mark and I saw the show on Animal Planet about her work, and I've been thinking a lot about her and her rescue ever since. And Mark and I have bandied about the idea of our own rescue some day, but not here, since there are already so many rescue orgs and foster networks and we don't really have the time or the money or the space to dedicate to it.

Lately, though, both my thoughts on the matter and our discussions have become a bit more centered. What I really want to focus on, I've realized, is providing a happy, comfortable, safe "retirement" for older dogs, particularly older large breed dogs, who are often abandoned or euthanized in their old age because they are so expensive to care for. Having Leo has made me realize that there are few things in life as fantastic as a calm, gentle, wise old dog. He has been such a gift, and I am only partially joking when I say he's my canine soulmate. Just having him around, lying on his bed while I read or do housework or watch TV or whatever, petting him and taking him for slow, short walks, makes my life a much better place. And it makes his a better place as well. While the shelter/pound system is rough on all dogs, it's particulary rough, I think, on gentle old souls like Leo, who need some extra care and companionship. Particularly with the circumstances he was in, with living outside, not having quality food, etc. So as much as Leo has added to our lives, I am also really happy with what we've been able to give him--a safe, happy, comfortable place to live out the rest of his life, however long that may be. What we weren't able to do for Chance.

And thus, the idea of the Last Chance Canine Retirement Home is born.

What I want to be able to do, I think, is get to a career place where I can work freelance from home, doing business writing and grant applications and stuff. I also want Mark and I to be able to afford to live somewhere that has sufficient space and is not suburban--a rural area very close to a city, I guess, where we can buy some land with a big house. And then we'll take in as many dogs as we have time/space/capacity for, focusing on dogs in their later years that other people have given up on. Dogs on their last chance. We'll make sure they get good food, soft beds, lots of companionship, and good vet care. We'll drive a car they can easily ride in (yay for the Element!). We'll take them on short, slow walks if they are arthritic and let them get up on the furniture if they aren't. For many of them, it will be the only time in their lives people have been nice to them, and they'll be happy. And so will we.

It's a great dream, I think, and an even better goal.

And it's a goal we may be moving towards faster than I'd thought. We've become aware of an elderly Anatolian who is in a not-great shelter situation a few hours from here, and I've been in contact with the national Anatolian Rescue Network. It looks as if we may soon be fostering her through them. I hope we do. And I hope this is the beginning.

2 Comments

Leave a comment


April 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          

Follow Me on Pinterest

Archives