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Monday, January 30, 2012

I've been thinking....

I’ve been thinking….

Today I was home with Chicklette (our foster sister), our human brother, and Pop-pop while Tara took Bode to a doctor that is far away.  We waited and waited to hear how things were going and kept watching out the window for their return.  I knew something was different from when we go to  the regular doctor, you could just tell….and Tara took her work bag, which meant she expected to be gone awhile!

Bode on the way to the specialist

Bode is back now and we are waiting on a couple more tests to come back, but are closer to a diagnosis. He has to go back on Monday for an endoscopy to help confirm the diagnosis and is on five meds and special food. His anxiety was like mine at the vet’s office, so Tara  allowed them to give him a mild sedative. It is still wearing off and Bode just wants to lay on the bed and cuddle.
As Bode was gone, I got to thinking. My thinking came from hearing Tara talk to a few different people over the past few weeks that were discussing people with mental illness being ostracized and pit bull breeds/mixes being treated the same. We work with people for many reasons in our practice. Some of which are mental illness related. We have had several pit bulls around us as fosters and friends dogs. You can not label all pit bulls the same, just as you cannot label all individuals with mental illness.

Tara jokingly tells people when they ask what breed we are that I am an “Abbey” and Bode is a “Bode”. We know what we are for the most part, but that does not define us. There are plenty of people that do not have a diagnosable mental illness are that are just plain mean and obnoxious.  A lot of that can be related to how they were raised. The same goes for dogs. The maltese that bit Bode, the Chihuahua that bit Tara are perfect examples. We have never been bit by a pit bull mix of any kind and as I mentioned, we have been around others.

Today Tara read an article about an actor in NY (Actor takes life after euthanasia of beloved dog) that took his life after his neighbors and landlord pressured him to get rid of his pit pull mix.  After having his dog euthanized, a perfectly healthy dog according to friends, he then took his own life from the guilt. There are indicators he had mental illness, however that does not mean the dog did. That would be like saying that since Bode is so sick right now, he had to have gotten it from Tara or one of the other humans in the house. Not true!
Breed bans are not for the health and benefit of everyone, but continue to create fears and bias’. Take the Florida Marlins pitcher and his wife who were unable to move into Miami and were forced to relocate on the outskirts so that they could keep their pit bull. Miami euthanizes all pit bulls, not matter their demeanor, etc.

A perfect example of a dog that came from a place like Miami and wasn’t given a fair chance, but should have been was Dulce. Dulce was our foster sister several months ago. She is a Staffordshire terrier mix who had been through a lot. She lived with us and even went to the office to practice some therapy skills. She was so great with our human brother and has one of her own in her forever family. Dulce shows no more signs of aggression than Bode or I, yet people would express fear in just looking at her. Dulce could have been, as a healthy dog, put down just because of the way she looks and we would have never met her.

Dulce right before her adoption

Mental health in humans is not comparable to breeds in dogs, but is often thought of. If that were the case, would we euthanize someone just because they “could” do something destructive to society? Wouldn’t we all be euthanized then? There are many theories about mental health and whether we are born with it or not. Some we are and some we aren’t. Some develop and some go untreated, when they could be treated and show no affect on an individual. With animals, pit bulls specifically in this blog post, they are not born aggressive, but can be trained that way. I could have been trained that way and you can see my “aggressive” side if you go to do something harmful to anyone (human or canine) in my family, but that isn’t aggressive, that is protective!

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of the NY actor and the community as a whole for losing a life that could have been saved by his dog. One of the biggest signs in suicide prevention is to recognize when someone loses a pet but choice or death. Pets can actually save lives, improve self esteem, act as ones personal therapist, and so much more.

Before you judge, stop and consider if maybe a pet is the answer for someone else…even a pit bull!
I will hop off my soap box (as Tara calls it) now and would love any feedback you care to share about this!


Bode kicked Tara out of the chair in the exam room...

1 comment:

Karen said...

Very wise words and information on many levels.