Monday, July 30, 2012


I am on a hopefully short hiatus as the internet at my house is not working. If it doesn't get resolved, I'll just have to type up a blog beforehand and post it at school during a break.

In other news today: drama, drama, drama at home between the two roomies. I hate it when people fight, but I can't kick them out because they have nowhere else to go. Besides, they rarely get into fights, it's just when they do it's usually of the knock-down, drag-out variety. I actually had to take one of Jason's Ativan today because with all the drama and the stress of going back to school tonight, I just really needed to calm the fuck down.

In the vein of good news, my dad needs to have shoulder surgery, and he wants to have it under his current (good) insurance as opposed to Medicare, so I get to have insurance until the end of September. Which is a good thing, because it means I can keep my August psych appointments and maybe, finally, I can get something to help with this goddamn anxiety. I swear, if I still don't get anything, I'm probably going to flip out and have an anxiety attack right there in the office. I don't like having anxiety attacks, but I don't think I would be able to help it at that point and maybe if they actually see what I go through maybe their hard hearts will soften and fucking give me something useful for it. That last good month is still within my grasp, and though I hate to get my hopes up, I can't help but feel a little relieved at the possibility of relief in the near future as opposed to next year sometime.

Recap: internet's out, drama, but some good news on the insurance front for me. And this is how July ends.

Monday, July 23, 2012

And so it begins ...

It's finals week, y'all. I'm so glad to have this term over and done with. I, personally, think that the week before finals is the worst, when you're trying to make sure all your make-up work is done and you've turned in any projects that needed doing and lining up all you're ducks in a row in preparation for the coming week. Compared to the week before, finals week is a sweet, sweet relief.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

For Lennox

This is the final speech I gave on Tuesday night. RIP Lennox.


This is the story of Lennox.

Lennox was adopted into the Barnes family at birth. He grew up in a loving home, adored by his parents. He and his older sister, Brooke – who was disabled – were especially close. It seemed like an excellent match, and for years it was idyllic bliss. However, one day, officials came knocking at the door. They had deemed Lennox to be “dangerous”, simply by the way he looked. He was taken from his family and locked up in isolation. For two years his family fought for his freedom, but for nothing. Lennox was still deemed to be “dangerous” and was sentenced to death and despite assurances to the contrary, his family was never allowed to see him once. And so it was that after two long years of neglect and suffering and possible abuse at the hands of the system, the sentence was carried out. Yes, this really did happen. No, it didn’t happen hundreds of years ago or in some backwater, third-world country. Lennox was executed last week in Belfast, Northern Ireland. So why did this happen in this day and age? Because Lennox was a dog.

This is the failing of Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL. A certain breed of dog is banned and any dogs of that breed, no matter what their history, are caught and put to sleep based solely on something they can’t even help. If this were to happen to a race or ethnicity of humans, we would call it racism and genocide. But because it’s “just an animal” it’s somehow different. These days, Pit Bulls bear the brunt of BSL, just like Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds before them. Never mind the fact that a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the CDC, and the Humane Society of the United States, which analyzed decades of fatal dog-bite statistics, found that there is no breed that is inherently more dangerous. All the study showed was that the most popular large-breed dog at any given time was at the top of the list. Imagine that. Now just listen to these two descriptions of dog breeds a moment:

(1) The X is a strongly built, medium-sized, short coupled dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function … Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform efficiently … The most distinguishing characteristics of the X are its short, dense, weather resistant coat … a clean-cut head with broad back skull and powerful jaws.

This is opposed to number two …

(2) The Y should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline. Head: Medium length, deep, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, and ears are set high. Muzzle: medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below the eyes. Jaws well defined.

So what breeds are being defined here? The real question is, does it matter? Both of these breeds are American Kennel Club recognized and the wording is taken directly from the AKC standards. One of them is a breed often labeled as dangerous and is mentioned in bans. The other is one that is often touted as the perfect pet.

So what’s the point of BSL? What BSL tries to do is to reduce dog attacks, a noble enough cause, right? The problem is the way they go about it because when it comes to dogs biting, what BSL fails to do is to address the root of the problem: the owner. When people want to get a dog simply because it’s a status symbol, or “badass”, or if owners don’t raise and discipline their dogs correctly either because they don’t know how or they don’t care, guess what? That leads to aggressive, ill-behaved dogs. Instead of addressing the root problem, they go after the dog and its breed, labeling them as “inherently vicious and dangerous” despite the previously cited study. It is prejudicial in nature, targeting dogs simply for existing rather than criminals who use them for illegal purposes or irresponsible dog owners.

Going back to dog bite statistics themselves, for a moment, there are several failings even with that. For instance, they list all dog bites, even those dog bites that are truly provoked, such as when a dog is teased, harassed, or abused. They also don’t list non-fatal dog bites, so there is no way of knowing what breed of dog – small or large – is actually biting more. In that same vein of thought, those statistics don’t take into account the estimated number of dogs of a certain breed versus the number of dogs of that breed that actually bit someone, so there’s no way of knowing the overall percentage of Pit Bulls that bite as compared to, say, Golden Retrievers or Poodles. Also, did you know that with those statistics that breeds are listed in groups, not individually? Under “Pit Bulls”, you’ll find no less than three distinct and separate breeds, any dog that appears to be one of those breeds, plus any misidentified dogs.

It’s actually a bit ironic that Pit Bulls are labeled as dangerous now a days considering that just a short century before they were being hailed as the best dogs to have, much as Golden Retrievers are these days. They were owned by famous people such as Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Thomas Edison, Woodrow Wilson, John Steinbeck, Helen Keller and Fred Astaire. One in particular, Stubby, was the unofficial mascot for the 102nd Infantry Division and was credited with saving several of his human companions, which won him medals and the rank of Sergeant. Another popular Pit Bull, and one you may know, is Petey, the lovable dog featured in the old TV show The Little Rascals who worked alongside small children on the set.

I could go on about the average temperament of a Pit Bull, but it wouldn’t say anything about Lennox. You see, the Belfast City Council labeled him as a “Pit Bull type” based on his looks and certain measurements that were taken, even though DNA evidence that came out well before his execution clearly said that he was a Labrador/American Bulldog mix. But hard, indisputable facts obviously didn’t matter to Belfast; Lennox looked enough like a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix and therefore he was dangerous and should be destroyed. Canine Aggression expert Jim Crosby along with others offered many times to professionally evaluate Lennox, but they were refused access. Famous Dog Trainer Victoria Stillwell, featured on the Animal Planet TV Show “It’s Me or the Dog” even offered to rehome Lennox somewhere in the U.S., but she was turned down. And along with being denied the chance to say goodbye, the Barnes’ daughter, Brooke, was even denied her request of keeping his collar as a memento once he was put down. So why was Lennox really killed, if he wasn’t even a part of the supposed “dangerous” breed? Simply put, he was a victim of a prejudiced and unfair system, a system that needs some serious revamping if it wants to achieve its core goal of reducing dog attacks.

Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” In this regard, Northern Ireland has utterly failed.

So please, let’s not let Lennox’s death be in vain. Let it instead be a rallying cry against a broken system so that we can change it to protect both humans and dogs alike.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jason's Out

So after six or seven months of waiting, Jason finally got in to see a psych doctor (he does not have insurance and apparently this free place takes forever and a half to get into). Well, he's been in pretty bad shape lately, to the point where his school was really, really suffering, and when he went in today, the doctor was actually talking about putting him in a hospital for a little bit.

(Uh, well, if you hadn't pussyfooted around for SIX OR SEVEN FUCKING MONTHS maybe he wouldn't have been so bad, ya think??? GOD.)

Well, anyway, they ended up just giving him a shot of Thorazine and sending him home. Aaaaaand he's OUT like a light! Good thing, though, he's been so tired lately because he hasn't been able to sleep well. I'm slightly jealous.

Monday, July 16, 2012


So, for now, Bitty (the 3 month old kitten) is still staying with us. We're trying to find someone to take her, still, but she has helped a little bit with relieving some stress. Not all of it by a long shot, but every little bit helps, I guess.

I haven't posted lately because, since the term is coming to a close soon, it's been very hectic for me. I turned in a research paper on Classic Infantile Tay-Sachs last Monday, and this Tuesday will be my final speech for speech class. It will be on Lennox and how his story shows the dangers and failures of BSL. I'll post it here afterwards, probably, though when afterwards I'm not sure. It depends on how I feel after tomorrow's class, I guess. LOL

So, since I've now established that I'm not dead, I probably won't post much for the next week or two. Finals are next week and then this term is over. THANK GOD. This term has been, so far, the most stressful term I've had. I really need it to be over.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I feel broken

So, Jason and I have two roommates now. Two of our friends, K and L, were kicked out of their apartment by their roommate for some bullshit drama that was going on (they weren’t on the lease, so their roommate could do that) and we offered them our second bedroom until August when they get their school checks and can afford to get into a place on their own. It’s actually been really nice having other people around here.

The issue, though, is their cats. They initially left them there, as their ex-roommate said it would be okay until they could figure out what to do with them as our apartment building doesn’t allow pets. This sucks, because it meant we had to give up our dog as well, which I am still very much heartbroken over, though I know he was adopted and that with the rigorous adoption procedures that the shelter he was in adheres to, I know it was a good home. Still doesn’t change the fact that we had him since he was a puppy and that we loved him very much. We had initially left him with a friend in the same trailer park we had been in as the landlord said it was okay at first, but the landlord then changed his mind and said that the dog needed to go. I called over everywhere, trying to find someone or some rescue to take him in at least temporarily, but with no luck. It got to the point where the landlord said if the dog wasn’t out of the place by the next day, he was going to take him and shoot him.

(Aside: some people have suggested to me that perhaps my friend just didn’t want to take care of him anymore, but to that I have a good rebuttal. I know this friend very well, he is the type of person where if he doesn’t want to do something – or doesn’t want to do something anymore – he’ll straight up tell you. I don’t make a habit of making friends with someone who’s going to lie to me to hide their true feelings; it just creates unnecessary drama. I also know the landlord and I know what a fucked up piece of shit he is and even if Jason hadn’t talked to him and confirmed all of this, I would have still believed that he changed his mind.)

We had no choice but to have him taken to the local shelter, and I called in every week to ask about him until they finally told me that he’d been adopted. I was relieved by that news, but it does nothing to help the pain of knowing that I’ll never see my dog again, never feel his kisses on my face, never feel him flop down next to me on the bed, never feel him put his head on my lap when he wants to be petted. I’m still tore up about all of that; it’s something that I’m just going to have to deal with.

So, back to my new roommates’ cats. Well, their bitch of an ex-roommate called them up on Saturday and told them that if someone – not them, they “aren’t allowed” back at the apartment – didn’t pick up the cats that she would just set them loose in the woods. Nobody wanted that to happen, so Jason and I agreed that a mutual friend could pick up the cats and bring them to our apartment and then take them to a shelter later that day (as they couldn’t find anyone to take them temporarily). So L called around to local shelters, but none of them answered, so we figured they were probably closed for the weekend. We would have to wait until Monday. Alright, so we closed the blinds and figured it would be okay for the weekend. They are very well behaved cats (still kittens, technically, one is 7 months old, the other is 3 months), they don’t get into anything, they don’t destroy anything, they use their litter box extremely well, etc. So we’ve had cats for the weekend! It’s actually been very nice, the kittens are wonderful and so much fun and so entertaining. They both like me, too, the other night they both climbed up on the sofa and laid on top of me as I was lying on the sofa.

So now that Monday is here, it’s time to say goodbye (well, now it’s going to be tomorrow, as K’s father said he wouldn’t come to get them until tomorrow, though he’d said before he’d come to get them today). And I have to say, I am again heartbroken. Though I’ve only spent time with them this weekend, I’ve bonded to them, despite my best attempts not to. I’ve realized that without having an animal around, I’ve felt even emptier. My soul feels like it’s withered, though I hadn’t realized it until now. I can’t live without an animal. But for now, I’m going to have to do without. And just with this reminder, this realization, it’s going to be so much harder to wait until Jason and I graduate and can afford to move into a place that will accept an animal.

I’m already so stressed about all of this, I’m not sure about going to tonight’s class. Again, a big thanks goes out to Dr. G for not caring enough to give me something to help with anxiety.