Politicians and local city governments often have two things in common – an inability to live in truth and a thin skin.
Okay, maybe I’m making a sweeping generalization by saying that but sometimes I have to wonder. Who are they protecting? And, who do they think they are fooling?
For over a year, I have watched as dogs in the care of Minneapolis Care and Control (MACC) were posted on the Friends of Minneapolis Care and Control (Friends of MACC)page. These dogs, many on death row because they were labeled a pit bull or bully breed of some sort, were shared in attempt to find them a home or so a rescue could take them in until they could be adopted. Many dogs were saved because of this page especially the pit bulls and bully breeds (since MACC doesn’t allow them to be adopted out directly from their facility). I watched as people networked to save animals on this page. I cheered when a rescue stepped up to save one of the death row dogs, who was not facing death for behavioral issues, but simply because it “looked” like a pit bull.
But now it seems that MACC has decided that the Friends of Minneapolis Care and Control Facebook page just wasn’t cutting it. They needed a better avenue to showcase their dogs – their very own website.
Hmmm.. let’s take a look at their website, shall we?
The website pictures are of a wonderful quality aren’t they? The information so helpful. It’s amazing that the Facebook page succeeded when a such a wonderful website could do so much more.
Yes. I can SEE how much better the website is when compared with the Friends of MACC Facebook page.
MACC also has a much better option for social media sharing (rather than the one created by Friends of MACC). Oh yes, it’s the city’s own general Facebook page.
They aren’t likely to get lost in all the other city business being posted on that page are they? So much better than the Friends of MACC page. Don’t you think?
C’mon. Who do they think they are fooling?
Let’s be honest, neither the website nor using the city’s Facebook page are great options for the dogs and cats at MACC. Neither does a great job at promoting the animals in their care or in making their animals look more appealing to a potential adopter.
Most shelters and rescues know that it’s how a pet is promoted and featured that helps them get adopted. Good pictures and a little history on the dog or cat can make a huge difference in finding them a new home.
“Each year, millions of pets die for the simple reason that they do not have a home,” says Jennifer Whaley of Fetch Portraits. “Good pictures go a long way to help save the lives of these pets and move them out of high kill shelters or out of no kill shelters, which opens up space for more pets. Good technology, photos and networking will go a long way to change the statistics.”
MACC’s new policy doesn’t do any of these things.
The Friends of MACC Facebook page not only promoted the animals that needed saving in a way that made people want to help and take action, but they also acknowledged the passing of those who didn’t make it. And, they did so honorably.
MACC’s decision to stop the postings on the Friends of MACC Facebook page is really more about saving face, protecting their image, and hiding the fact that yes, they do in fact kill animals. Period. It’s not about the animals, it’s about them. It’s not about saving lives, it’s about saving their image.
I’m just not sure that’s even possible now.
There are two sayings that I love because I think they pack a powerful message. The first comes from radio host, Ian Punett:
“Hypocrisy waits silently for us all.”
The second is one I have heard said in a variety of ways, but essentially it boils down to this:
Live in your truth, whatever that may be.
Here is my message to MACC:
If you are killing dogs and don’t like that people are upset, then stop doing it. If your policy is to kill dogs and you don’t plan to stop or change that policy, then own it. It is your truth, whether you like it or not.
If you REALLY cared for the dogs and cats you take in, you would allow them to be shared on the Friends of MACC Facebook page because (as anyone in rescue can tell you) it works. Their pictures and more detailed information gets dogs into foster homes and eventually, into their forever homes.
To claim that your website can do a better job or that posting them on the city’s main Facebook page will be a better option for these pets is a lie. Don’t punish the dogs by removing them from Facebook and…
Live in your truth or change it.
Recently, I came across a news piece debunking common animal myths. I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about most animal myths (I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to animals), but it turns out I had more to learn.
For instance, did you know that touching a baby bird does not mean the mother won’t take it back? Or that porcupines don’t shoot their quills at a predator? You can read more about these common myths at Animal Facts & Myths Debunked By Wildlife Experts.
Reading some of the myths we have about wild animals made me wonder what kinds of dog myths I may have fallen for that turned out not to be true. So, off I went a-Googling to see what I could find. It turns out there are quite a lot of dog myths out there. Who knew? (Just kidding. Given how many myths there are in the dog training world, I had to figure there were a lot more myths about dogs.)
Here are some of the more interesting ones I found:
Dogs are sick when their noses are warm – It turns out this is a myth (one I actually believed). “The temperature of a dogs nose does not indicate health or illness or if they have a fever. The only accurate method to access a dog’s temperature is to take it with a thermometer. Normal dog temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees F.”
Dogs like to be petted on their heads – Past experience has taught me that this is definitely a myth. While some dogs may not mind it, most dogs DO NOT like to be pet on the head. In fact, a hand coming at them over their head can be quite an intimidating thing to a dog and can be seen as a threat.
Happy dogs wag their tails – Another one that so many people think is true. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a wagging tail does not always mean a dog is happy. “A wagging tail can mean agitation or excitement. A dog that wags his tail slowly and moves his all rear end or crouches down in the classic “play bow” position is usually a friendly wag. Tails that are wagged when held higher, twitches or wagging while held over the back may be associated with aggression.”
Dogs eat grass when they are sick – Haven’t you always wondered why your dog eats grass? I know have. I actually believed this one was true. but according to Dr. Debra Primovic, “Dogs descended from wild wolves and foxes that ate all parts of their “kill.” This included the stomach contents of many animals that ate berries and grass. Many scientists believe grass was once part of their normal diet and eating small amounts is normal.”
Dogs destroy furniture and other items in the house because they are angry – This is actually one of my favorite myths. So many people believe that their dog takes out their anger on them when they are gone. How do they know this? Why their dog looks guilty of course! Afraid not. More and more studies are showing that the guilty look your dog gives you is in response to you (your tone of voice, body posture, etc.) NOT because they actually felt guilty for doing something they knew was wrong. You can read more about a study done in 2009 here.
You should never comfort a scared dog – This is one of those old myths I heard growing up as a kid. My dog Indy was fearful of thunderstorms and we were told to ignore the behavior or it would reinforce it. We did. It didn’t. Her fear just got worse with time. Poor Indy. Now I know better and I comfort Daisy when there is a thunderstorm or fireworks are going off in the neighborhood. Why? Because I finally met someone who understands and works with fearful dogs, Debbie Jacobs. According to Debbie, “One of the first things someone working with a fearful dog needs to understand is that it’s ok to comfort a dog that is afraid. It’s ok to give them a piece of cheese or take them away from what is scaring them.” Daisy is the lucky recipient of this wisdom and I am so grateful. So is Daisy.
Dog growling is always a bad thing – I used to believe this one until I got my dog Indy. Have you ever had a dog who was vocal? Well, Indy was and she loved nothing more than to growl when playing tug or wrestling with another dog. As shared by Eric Goebelbecker of Dog Spelled Forward, “Dogs have a very limited vocal range, and like reading body language, making a judgement based on a single indicator like a growl is a bad idea. Growling during play, such as a game of tug, is perfectly fine.”
Using head collars will cause neck/spinal injury – I recently came across this one when someone I know on Facebook admonished a foster mom for using a Gentle Leader on her foster dog. According to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), a well-recognized and respected dog-training association, “This is an oft-repeated claim that can be found all over the Internet. In fact there are no documented cases of dogs getting neck and/or spinal injuries from head collars. Proper use of these types of collars should have no ill physical effects on your dog.”
Dogs are descendents of wolves and therefore training should be based on how wolf packs interact with each other – Ah yes. The whole “pack theory” approach to dog training. You can read my friend Pamela’s post Why is the Dominance Theory of Dog Training Still So Darn Popular? but you may also want to read what APDT has to say on this… “Dogs are not wolves and there are many significant differences between dog and wolf behavior such that wolf behavior is completely irrelevant to how we live and interact with our dogs. Moreover, when wolf behavior is mentioned as a model for dog training, the understanding of wolf behavior used is often incorrect and based on studies that have long since been disproven by research scientists who study wolves extensively.”
Pitbulls have jaws that lock, thus making them more dangerous than other dog breeds – False. False. False. I wish I knew where these myths got started. Somewhere I imagine a dog fighter bragging to his dog fighter scumbag buddy that his pitbull has a jaw that locks. Can’t you just see it? According to the Pitbull Rescue Center’s (PBRC) Media Center page “there is NO SUCH THING AS “JAW LOCKING” IN ANY BREED.” And this, from several veterinarians who were consulted on this matter. The whole “pitbulls have a 1600 PSI bite pressure”myth is also false. PBRC shared some very interesting information on animals and bite pressure:
- Humans: 120 pounds of bite pressure
- Domestic dogs: 320 LBS of pressure on avg. A German Shepard, American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and Rottweiler were tested using a bite sleeve equipped with a specialized computer instrument. The APBT had the least amount of pressure of the 3 dogs tested.
- Wild dogs: 310 lbs
- Lions: 600 lbs
- White sharks: 600 lbs
- Hyenas: 1000 lbs
- Snapping turtles: 1000 lbs
- Crocodiles: 2500 lbs
Pretty interesting isn’t it?
I look back at when I first became a dog owner and shake my head. What I knew then and what I know now are ages and ages apart. How many of these myths did I believe when I was younger? Probably all of them. It’s amazing what you learn as you grow as a person.
So what myths did you have as a kid that you have since learned were untrue? Did any of the myths listed above surprise you? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Today, July 15, 2012, bloggers and blog readers are blogging about a big event that will occur on Monday, July 23rd. The event? Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue. We are asking all dog bloggers to participate in a special online global event designed to bring attention to dog rescues. BTC4animals.com is proud to partner with Blog Catalog, Dog Rescue Success and YOU to harness a global online community to help save the lives of dogs in need.
Every day dog bloggers bring attention to a variety of animal issues – puppy mills, dog health issues, pet safety, missing dogs, Breed Specific Legislation and pet adoption. On July 23rd, we are asking all dog bloggers to bring attention to the importance of dog rescues and dog adoption.
As consumers we make decisions that impact the lives of animals every day, but perhaps the one that has the most impact is the one we make when we first choose to get a pet. Buy or adopt? That is always the question.
Four million cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—is put down in U.S. shelters each year. Only 20-30% of the homes in the United States have a dog that was adopted from a shelter or a rescue. (The rest are coming from someplace else – responsible breeders, backyard breeders, puppy mills, and pet stores; but the majority of them come from a family friend or neighbor who chose to breed their dog or who’s dog became pregnant when they got out of the yard.)
As dog bloggers, we can bring attention to this issue, educate people on the the importance of pet adoption and encourage them to adopt from a local rescue. There are so many wonderful rescues out there who do such good work, and most them do it with very little funds. Thankfully, many of them have a small core of dedicated volunteers who are willing to foster, train, promote, vet and care for these dogs. Without these rescues so many more dogs would die.
Let’s give these unsung heroes the recognition they deserve! Join us on July 23rd as we Unite for Dog Rescue.
Tell others! Post this to Facebook and Twitter:
SPREAD THE WORD – BLOGGERS UNITE FOR DOG RESCUE – Promote dog adoption on July 23rd! http://bit.ly/pO7dZp #BtC4A
- Blog about a Dog Rescue related topic on July 23rd, 2012
- Add one of the badges below to your blog and help spread the word
- Interested in adopting a companion? Visit Petfinder or The Shelter Project.
- Donate to a local dog rescue organization
- Foster a dog
- Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue organization
- Share this post across all forms of social media and encourage others to participate!
- Post one of these badges to help promote this event. Copy and paste–help yourself!
A direct link to Matt’s page – Adventures of Matt
About a year ago, my brother adopted a dog from a pitbull rescue group here in Minnesota. Dozer isn’t actually a pitbull (as far as we can tell), but he does have an interesting story. The woman who fostered him had rescued him from a shelter in the south after the shelter manager begged her to take him. It seems that Dozer had been scheduled to put to sleep (i.e., he had run out of time) several times, but the shelter manager kept saving him because he had become really taken with him. He knew that it was only a matter of time before he would have to put him to sleep, so he begged Dozer’s foster mom to please take him, and even though she was there to rescue pitbulls, she did.
Dozer had spent some time with her, but still couldn’t seem to find that perfect family. In fact, she was thinking the cause was lost and she should just adopt him herself, when my brother and sister-in-law came across his picture on Pet Finder. It was love at first sight. Dozer had some behavioral issues to resolve, but a year later I can honestly say he is an awesome dog. My brother and sister-in-law have been amazing pet parents. They took him to basic training and even had him do a little agility (which he loved). It’s been wonderful to see his transformation under their loving care. There’s only one problem. NO ONE can seem to guess what he is - Vizsla? Rhodesian Rideback? Smooth Collie-mix? Hound-mix?
Here’s where you come in. I need your help. I need you dog aficionados to tell me what you think Dozer is mixed with. So, what’s your guess?
Additional details – Dozer is:
– Wicked smart. He can learn a new trick in seconds.
– Prey driven. Don’t ever think of getting between him and a squirrel!
– Tall. Dozer is about the same height as a Greyhound
– Long legged. In fact, he’s all legs.
– Big ears. I love, love, love his ears!
Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome pet bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!
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Last week, two organizations experienced a public flogging after making business decisions that brought their brands under scrutiny. One (Susan G. Kommen) seemed to be in the headlines constantly (and still are) while the other, McDonald’s, slipped under the radar a bit. I think this is in part due to the fact that McDonald’s recognized their marketing mistake quickly and immediately pulled the ad and apologized.
The radio ad, which promotes McDonald’s new Chicken McBites product, compares risky behavior to “petting a stray pitbull” (as opposed to eating a Chiken McBite). BADRAP was one of the first groups to bring attention to this ad and the message it conveyed.
If you’ve never heard of BADRAP before, it’s a rescue organization that has done much to bring attention to the bad rap pitbulls get. They also help to rehabilitate those that have been used, abused and mistreated. They were there when Michael Vick’s pitbulls were facing a death sentence and they changed how we look at rehabilitating fighting dogs forever.
BADRAP asked dog owners to send in pictures of their stray pitbulls (via Facebook and email) and they would incorporate them into a video message to McDonald’s. I saw it soon after it was posted last night I knew I just had to share it.
It might seem strange to say that I love this video, but I do. I love it for many reasons – the message it conveys, the humor sometimes shared in the messages, the diversity of the dog owners, and the beauty of the love involved in creating it. I love the fact that a video that was designed to do one thing, send a message to McDonald’s, ends up doing another. In this case, showing pitbulls as the cherished family pets they truly are – as seen through the eyes of their loving family members – moms, dads, kids, and canine (and feline) brothers and sisters.
If anyone has any doubt that pitbulls are wonderful pets, then just watch this video and see it for yourself.
First, when the couple’s son brought home a pitbull, the mother (who was skeptical of having a pitbull in the home) didn’t make him get rid of Titan right away. Instead, she fell in love with him.
Second, Titan later saves this woman’s life.
Third, the sheriff recognizing that there are so few good stories about pitbulls, awarded Titan with a medal.
You just can’t beat that can you?
Sorry I couldn’t embed the video. (There appears to be something wrong with the station’s code.) But, here’s the link to the news story. It’s a good one to watch.
Like many of you, I have been following the progress of Patrick (The Patrick Miracle) for over a week now. I can only say that having seen what he looked like when he was first rescued, it is beyond amazing that he is alive at all. That’s why his story is so inspirational and moving.
Which is why I have chosen a couple of videos to share with you this week, featuring the wonderful and beautiful Patrick. Feel free to pass on to others. He truly is a miracle.
This link leads to a news story featuring Patrick and the vets and staff who are caring for him: http://bcove.me/pow2ksyq
To find stories on Patrick, check out the following links:
Patrick Updates: Recovery, donations and charges against his abuser
Animal communicator talks to Patrick – inside the mind of a starved dog
But I will say that I personally believe that discriminating against one dog breed based on its breed is ridiculous and myopic. I have met a ton of dogs in my life and career and I can tell you from experience that the dog’s personality, and the owner’s responsibility towards their dog and its training, made far more difference than the breed of the dog.
So, this week enjoy a video with a message. A good one.