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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Children and Dogs

Only very young children, those who are children mentally, God and dogs know unconditional love. Children are open, they trust and they do not judge. They are quick to make friends, not caring about color of skin, social status, what jobs people have or what car they drive. No, they care about getting to know their person for who they are, not what they can be formed to be. Dogs do not care whom they will spend their lives with as long as their person is kind and keeps them fed and free from harm.

 

Slowly and maybe imperceptibly, but surely children become tainted by life, their parents and other children. Soon they become judgmental. As early as kindergarten, children are calling each other names, wanting them to conform to some standard they have been taught. “You’re fat!” “You have a big nose!” “You’re ugly!” “You talk to much!” All are taunts heard around the playground. The bullying and insecurities are starting to set in.

 

Dogs on the other hand will take many abuses and forgive, time and time again. They never care what their companion’s look like, smell like, what clothes they wear. Many dogs are abused horribly.   Some are starved, some are beaten, and some are chained outside. Yet, they will forgive, they will come back hoping for a gentle stroke, the loving look. They may become timid but they will forgive. No breed is more resilient or forgiving than the pit bull. Evil people fight them, beat them, use them for bait, and make them wear heavy chains, set the females in rape stands and barely feed them. But, they forgive. I don’t know of another breed that loves humans more than a pit bull.

 

I can assure you I am no better than any other human. I get angry. I can carry a grudge. I can be judgmental. I know how to love conditionally. But I do not do it often enough. How do we get back to our childhood state of loving unconditionally? I do not know if we can. I try to forgive. I watch small children with fascination as they stretch their arms out to any person paying them attention. Can I take a beating and forgive the hand which struck me? I am not sure I can. I want to. I want to love unconditionally and be loved unconditionally. Is it about living in the moment? Maybe. But how do you break down the scars? Slowly and over time is my best guess. I have seen my dogs fight. When the heat of the moment has passed, they will become friends again. My dogs will lick me after a hard workout as if they have never tasted anything better. I do not expect a human to show unconditional love in the same way.  However, not judging, forgiving wrongs and letting go of how I think people should be. I can do that but I need a lot of work.

A Sheepdog Moment

Last week, a man who drinks too much decided it was a good day to blame all of his troubles on someone else. He claimed his health was failing, his business had failed, he was about to lose his house and he claimed his son was suicidal. Most of this was over dramatized in his mind. His solution? He was going to make the police kill him. He drove to one police station, fired several shots into an unoccupied police vehicle, drove to his former place of business, fired several rounds at the vacant business, then drove to another police station and fired several rounds at that station. In his path of destruction, his next stop was a police department in another city. On his way he encountered several police officers. He fired several shot at them. How none of them were seriously injured is beyond me. He was finally captured without more than a superficial bullet wound to the head.

 

A few days later, a soldier is killed manning his station out side of Ottowa’s federal building. By all accounts he was a good man and a dog lover to boot.

 

A day later, an axe-wielding terrorist attacks four rookie NYPD cops. The terrorist had decided to join radical terrorists who kill in the name of God. I don’t know what God they are serving. My God does not approve of random violent homicidal acts. I pray that young officer lives with no permanent brain damage.

 

Yesterday a fourteen-year-old boy decided he had been wronged by several of his friends, females and two male cousins. He developed a malicious plan. These friends and family must die and he was going to make sure it would happen. He took a handgun from his family home, asked the group to join him for lunch then proceeded to take head shots at these children. Head shots. Let that sink in. A fourteen-year-old boy. He was going to make sure these friends would not survive his attack. One did not. The others lives are in jeopardy. When an adult intervened, he turned the gun on himself and took the fatal shot. What drives this hatred? I watched as a girl was brought out who had been sitting next to one of the victims, she was distraught, sobbing, clinging to the officer that was escorting her out. It sunk in that this would be the most traumatic moment this child would survive, probably her entire life. A child with no coping skills because she is just a child who just witnessed her friend being executed next to her. Yes my heart goes out to the victims but the survivors will suffer lifelong damage.

 

At the same time this was occurring, two officers in California were shot and killed doing their job trying to capture another killer.

 

What is at the root of all this evil? Why do these people choose to act out and kill? I do not know the answers and I do not know how to fix this. What I do know is for the next six years I will continue to be the Sheepdog and run to the aid of the sheep. Someone has to.

Some angels have fur

Whether a dog is blind, deaf or has behavior problems, consider taking that angel under your wings. I promise you will not regret it. Special needs dogs are not for everybody but the shelter and the streets are not the place for any dog. Dogs give us and teach us about unconditional love. They put up with many offenses and mistakes and love us nonetheless. Where humans would not put up with our shortcomings, bad breath, lack of a shower or filthy house, dogs do not take issue.

 

The challenges may be many in bringing a special needs dog into your family. I surely had my share and shed many tears in frustration, fear and love. Challenges made me stronger and built better relationships. Many times I was the teacher but I was mostly the student. If your eyes and heart are open, you stand to learn many lessons from a creature which uses no words.

 

Dogs have the power to crush bones, tear flesh and cause irreparable damage but most do not. Many dogs put up with unfathomable cruelty from their ‘owners’ but quickly forgive and hope for love from their monster. They many have scars on their hearts but most still love humans.

 

They do not understand our language but they hang on our every word trying to understand what it is we want from them. Often they will follow us from room to room wanting to be near us. Leaving them upsets them and they will listen for every sound revealing their beloved’s return.

 

Even the smallest of dogs will protect its person. They will alert us to perceived dangers. Running out into the blackest of night to protect us from the unseen foes is the dog’s job. They are our bravest and staunchest defenders, our dogs.

 

Slowly and mostly unperceptively, they grow older. The gray hairs come in, rising is a little hard, and the moans get a little louder. Some dogs get abandoned at this stage of their lives. It is their loss for a senior dog rewards us with gratitude and loving looks when they can no longer get up to greet us. It is an honor to spend the last moments with a senior dog.

 

Dogs will move into our hearts and make it their home for however short or long it may be. One day, they will rip out your heart with a ferocity never seen before when it becomes their time to pass. This will be your final journey with your dog. It is a journey you cannot turn your back on. Your friend needs you. If the tables were turned, they would do the same for you. Your life will remain changed forever. You will have become a better person for having known unconditional love. Do yourself a favor. Open your heart and your home to a dog. If you can, take in a special needs dog. It is my wish for you to find your own, “Once in a Lifetime” dog.

Do it Anyway

Mother Teresa had a prayer:

 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

 

We live in a me centered society. What can you do for me? What is in it for me. I am entitled to that. The days of doing for the greater good have gone by the wayside. It seems the vast majority of society has lost it’s soul. We are cynical, we are angry, we are self-centered, we are quick to judge and we are tired. Drugs and drug related crimes run rampant. I challenge you to find one single person that has not had their financial account accessed in someway either by a local drug addict or an overseas hacker. Thanks to social media we judge each other and say things that would never have been acceptable in a polite society. People cut each other off in traffic then refuse to let someone over. We are in a hurry and our agenda is the one that matters.

 

What would the world look like if everyone stopped to carry groceries for that elderly person? Instead of looking straight ahead avoiding eye contact what if we looked around for someone who needed his or her load lightened even if it was just for a minute. Maybe that person will be you someday. We criticize those who give to the drunk on the corner because they will likely spend the money on booze. What if he bought some food to go with that booze? Would it matter?

 

You can be different. You can be kind, be forgiving, do the right thing and look for ways to contribute to the greater good. The criticism will come along with the glares and the condescension. It should not matter what people think of you. There is only one that will judge us in the end. So be kind, reach your hand out; give away what you do not need. Better yet give away what you do need so someone else can get out of their situation. It will come back to you. There is a great equalizer at work in humanity. Nothing lasts forever but kindness stays in our hearts. Reach out to someone today. Look for that misguided or lonely soul. Your kindness could be the turning point for someone who was at the end of his or her rope. Love them anyway.

The New America

What has happened to society? Is what we are calling social media truly bringing to light the plight of modern day society? Or is it that these scourges have always existed and we just were not so readily aware of it? It seems that social media has made it acceptable to be openly rude, judgmental and bullying toward total strangers. What makes people think that a simple sentence gives them insight into a total strangers life? Why is it that people think it is okay to call people stupid or to crush their ideas because they are not similar to their own? People are addicted to this hatred. Go to a restaurant and see how many people are sitting together sharing a meal and staring at their phones. Do we even know how to communicate the spoken word any more? I cannot fathom children as young as six are carrying cell phones texting their parents or their friends.

Has cruelty increased in this world or has social media become a news media. Publish the most horrific stories to your page and wait for the feedback and reaction. There are some pages that are dedicated to pointing out the good in the world but it seems they are far fewer than the sensationalist. A recent page came to my attention about hatred for pit bulls and other dangerous dogs. I realize that some people have had traumatic experiences with dogs. Why not get help in dealing with that fear? Instead this group of people bragged that they went to adoption events all over the country, adopted pit bulls and promptly took them to vets to be killed. Instead of coming together to support each other in their fears and over coming them they spread their mass hysteria and support each other in their extermination program. It sounds like a certain mustached man’s propaganda to me. Kill what you fear. Eliminate what is different from you and what you don’t agree with.

We have become lazy, apathetic and egotistically centered in this nation. You owe me, give this to me, and make me whole while you are at it. Why should I have to work for it? Why should I have to go without? What made this country great was standing behind a principal, being willing to take risks and working for what we really wanted. And of course we had God. We were one nation under God. Now we do not want to use the G word for fear of offending those who have attempted to exterminate our people. There is no unity in this nation and there is no pride. At the very least we should embody the principals of religion. Love thy neighbor, do not steal, do not adulterate, do not kill, do not be boastful, be kind and look out for one another. What is wrong with these ideas? We need to get back to talking to each other, connecting with each other and bringing each other up. Praying would not hurt either.

The Catalyst

A catalyst is a substance that affects change without itself being changed or consumed. In the scientific world, one molecule may transform several million reactant molecules. Substances that reduce the effectiveness of catalyst by altering them or blocking the reactants’ access to them are called catalyst inhibitors or better yet, catalyst poisons.

I was admittedly ignorant an easily persuaded when it came to stories about pit bulls. News stories intended to be dramatic pulled me in and tainted my belief system, convincing me that pit bulls are inherently dangerous and will randomly lose their minds and go on a killing spree. I didn’t have much experience with dogs growing up. My neighbor had a few dogs and one of them bit my brother after he jumped the fence to get into their backyard. Was the dog at fault? Hardly. He was doing what he was supposed to do, protect his domain. As time went on and I obtained my own home I felt I needed a dog. I loved most dogs that I had come across and loved the look of large powerful dogs. Rottweiler’s, pit bulls and Dobermans all scared me. All of these dogs that I have mentioned have been villianized at one time or another throughout history. As I met German Shepherds, Rottweiler’s and Dobermans I learned that they are mostly gentle giants. I didn’t have much opportunity to meet pit bulls so I continued to believe the hype.

Enter my catalyst. I picked Moose up as a puppy. Truth be told, he spun his web early on and made me pick him. I just didn’t recognize that this tiny puppy was going to be my catalyst and dispel the media’s effect on me as a catalyst poison. When I realized that Moose might be a pit bull I panicked. I didn’t think I had what it took to handle such a powerful and maybe, crazy dog. I later learned Moose was not a pit bull but he was a terrier. One trainer that I contacted told me I should put him down when I told her he was half pit bull. The catalyst poisons come in many forms. You just don’t recognize them until they spew forth their poison. I even tried to rehome Moose but in a working field such as a bomb dog. The poison’s are there too.

When I finally found my miracle worker, a fantastic trainer, the catalyst was about to work it’s magic in me and change my mind forever. Moose was not a bad dog and he was not crazy. Yes, he didn’t like other dogs but many dogs do not care for other dogs. Some dogs don’t care for small children and some dogs are overly protective of their people. Moose responded well and quickly to training. He was a superstar. I on the other hand learned a bit slower but I learned. A good dog trainer is a great people trainer. Moose changed me. I did not change him. He also changed my perceptions through love and patience. I didn’t realize I needed so much work, but I did.

I have learned that dogs, like humans are individuals with quirks, shortcomings, tempers, and preferences. Where they differ from humans is their ability to take a beating, have their needs not be met, be tortured and neglected but yet love unconditionally.

Find Your Rock

We all need a support system. Do not try to do it alone. It doesn’t matter how strong you are. We are all weak at times. Find your guidance, your beacon, or your lighthouse in the storm. There comes a time in everyone’s life when we need a hand to reach out to. Beyond that we need a support structure. It can start with one person or God but you will need many people. If you if you are lucky and smart, it will be a combination of all of the above. If you rely on one person to be your mentor and guide, what happens when your mentor leaves this world? What happens if you can no longer communicate with this person for whatever reason? Maybe you don’t believe in God or a higher power. Throughout our lives we should seek out and find our mentors. No one person can be everything to us. Our lives are many faceted and so should be our mentors.

The best advice ever given to me was from my grandmother. She told me never to put myself in a position to where I was dependent on a man financially. I took that advice to heart and have never relied on anyone but myself for my financial survival. That is just one part of the picture. Really, that advice should be, Never rely on anyone for your survival. Period. I know I seem to be contradicting myself but having a mentor and depending on that person are two totally different actions. Yes, we all need advice from time to time. We should find someone who is better than us at everything that we do. Study them; learn from them, and if you are lucky enough to be able to talk to them directly then talk to them. The key is to take those lessons that you learn from your mentor and apply them to your life. Apply them, don’t copy them, take the principal and adjust it to fit to your unique perspective of life. Someday someone will look to you to be his or her mentor. It may not be in every aspect of your life for none of us is perfect. We all fall short in some area of our lives. Remember we are not perfect when you look at your mentor. Do not judge your mentor because they fail at some aspect in their life. Choose what you want to learn, lean on that shoulder and make that strength your own.

Find your path and your unique gift to the world. There is something special about you whether it is a physical skill, a social skill, a creative skill, or a spiritual skill. When you do finally figure it out, don’t hide it from the world. It is your turn to be someone’s mentor. You owe it to yourself and the world to be your personal best. Help someone fulfill his or her potential. Remember, there is someone else out there that was where you once were.

Introducing my new website

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my new blog! This is just an introductory post so I’ll keep it short and sweet.

I decided to start a blog so the voiceless can be heard. I champion the dogs that others find too challenging to handle; the pit bulls, the ‘broken’ dogs, the dogs that get thrown away. I challenge societies views of these dogs and how those views transfer to how we treat the humans  in our society.

That’s it for now! If you’d like to be kept updated with my posts “Like” this post or subscribe to my blog.