Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Apparently Pit Bulls Aren't Allowed to Behave Like Dogs

I saw a clip on Youtube today that showed a pit bull "attacking" a child. I think this was from SpikeTV, but I'm not sure what television show it was. A narrator described the whole event as it unfolded. He used incredibly sensationalized language throughout, leaving the audience under the impression that this poor child was going to be torn to pieces by the rampaging maneater.

Meanwhile, what was really happening in the clip was 100% human error. The dog was obviously just playing; at first it jumps up on the child, wagging its tail in greeting. The child panics and runs (and if this kid had ever had any dog safety education he would have known better) and the dog sees this as an obvious invitation to play chase. The dog chases the child over several vehicles, bounding playfully, tail wagging. The panicked kid then tries to hide behind an adult. The adult swings at the dog wildly, and the dog sees this as a fun game too and dances around just out of reach, still trying to get at the kid, who is clearly, to the dog, playing a fun game of hide-and-seek. The dog grabs at the kid's pants several times.

Then the most "vicious" part of the attack. The kid falls down, and the dog manages to bite the poor kid's head. Yeah, that probably hurt, but have you ever seen dogs playing? They bite each other on the head all the time. This is just a dog having a great time with a playmate. The dog immediately lets go and bounds off. The kid's clearly not too badly hurt; he starts running again!

Finally a policeman intervenes, but things just get worse because the cop's an idiot too. The dog grabs the kid by the pants and drags him down. The cop grabs the kid and starts pulling against the dog, and wow, now the poor kid is a tug toy. The dog's still having a great time, tail still wagging. The cop, like the other adult and the kid, is apparently terrified of this dog because he won't touch it. Instead, this guy decides to shoot the dog. So he pulls out his gun and fires it at the dog's head... which is attached to the kid's pants which are inches away from this child's leg. One sudden tug on the pants in the wrong direction and the bullet would have hit the kid, not the dog.

Obviously, once the dog is hurt, playtime is over. The totally confused and injured dog seeks comfort from the humans it was playing with, but the cop points the gun at the dog, and it wisely decides to go away. The video ends there, with the smug announcer thanking the fates that the heroic police officer was there to save everyone's lives.

The whole thing nauseated me. The three humans in the video were flat-out stupid. If anyone who knew the first thing about dog behavior had been present, there would have been nothing to videotape. The kid started the whole thing by running away. The adult (parent? dog owner? not sure) should have swallowed her fear, grabbed the dog by the collar, and established control, not waved her hands limply at the dog. The police officer should have grabbed the dog, not the kid. And someone should have called animal control! At least they (usually) know what they're doing.

And someone in the media needs an earful for the absolutely propogandist narration. That's right, scare us and shock us, make us believe we're actually seeing a child get mauled, but god forbid you actually use this opportunity to educate us about dog behavior and how to avoid situations like this.

I am positive that this whole incident happened because the dog was a "scary, evil, vicious" pit bull. That's why the kid ran away in the first place, and that's why the adults were unwilling to touch the dog. If the dog were a Lab or something like that, then everyone would have been calm, and the dog's behavior would be "cute", and everyone would have had a wonderful time. Idiots, all of them.

Why I'm a Dog Person

I caught this strange article online today...

Dog saves owner, dies trying to save cat - Yahoo! News

Here's the summary.... The cat starts the fire and, to make matters worse, won't leave the burning house. The dog, on the other hand, saves her owner and apparently tries to get the cat out too (though I'm not sure how the dog thought she was going to do that). Sadly, both cat and dog die in the fire.

Stupid cat. Although, if the dog was so clever, why didn't she just leave the cat and get out while she still could?

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate cats. I'm just not a "cat person". When I tell my pet to get off the bed, I want it to remove itself from the sheets the way a flea leaps to a new host... not the way cold molasses clings to the bottom of the jar, and not with a dirty look that would make my sailor-tongued husband blush.

We had four cats for a while (fostering homeless kitties until we could find them permanent homes). They were fine, but not nearly as fun or cuddly as the dogs. Sure, Percy enjoyed a good cuddle and he was really into the feather stick... but Dozer loves a good cuddle, plays fetch, and cares about everything I do and everywhere I go. The cats wouldn't have cared if I had never come home from work - as long as they still got fed somehow. If the dogs were in it for the food alone, I doubt they would come running every time my chair squeaks. I doubt they would follow me to the laundry room or eyeball me sideways while I take a shower ("Oh my god, is she really doing that voluntarily?"). And why on earth would they linger just outside the room I'm vacuuming, with a mixture of fear and devotion in their little doggy eyes, trying to stay close to me without getting too close to that monstrous machine?

The dogs make me feel worthy and worshipped. The cats made me sneeze.

Yes, I love animals. (Roaches excluded. They know why.) I love snakes, ferrets, bunnies, rats, alligators, bats, and bees. I love cats too. Animals are cute and interesting and unique. But there's only one kind of animal that I really want to share my life with. I want a pet that will cuddle with me, play with me, love me, and obey me. Yep, I'm a dog person!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dog Fur

My head hurts. Bad. It hurts every night. Well, every night after I've spent the entire day on the computer. And today I spent the entire day writing a four page midterm on rhetoric. So you get nothing clever from me tonight. Instead, I'm going to comment on dog fur.

Dozer is not a purebred "pit bull" of any sort. There's no freakin' way. His fur is too damn... furry. Felanie's fur is nice and short and bristly, and she only sheds a little bit. Dozer is a totally different story. His 1.5" long fur is nothing but misery for me. He sheds. And sheds. And sheds. I could brush him for hours and he'd still shed. When we bathe him, his white fur clogs the drain in a rat-sized ball. When I brush him - outside, always outside - it looks like snow (we live in Texas so it doesn't take much white ground cover to get us excited about snow). When I vacuum our tan carpet, it gets darker as the white fur peels off the surface.

Don't get me wrong, I love Dozer to death. But I wish, oh how I wish, that his fur was more like Felanie's. I love to pet Felanie. I know I won't end up with dog fur all over my shirt and in my mouth. Whenever I hug or cuddle with Dozer, I get dog fur painfully embedded in my corneas. When I get out of the shower, Dozer loves to press up against my legs. He has spent the last half hour worried that I'm never going to come out of the Shower of Torture. I spend the next three minutes cursing and picking dog fur off my damp legs and out of the bath towel.

Yet another reason to love pit bulls - nice short fur and minimal shedding. I guess I'm fortunate that Dozer isn't 100% Lab (or whatever). I'm sure it would be worse.