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Archive for the ‘animals’ Category

Through unknown circumstances and perhaps some odd twist of six degrees of separation, I’m on a hate-e-mail list of people opposed to the Iditarod sled dog race held annually in Alaska – and of sled dog racing in general.

Members of this hate group have sent me, and more than 100 other people on “the list,” approximately 300 e-mails in the past two weeks asking me to stop sponsoring and/or supporting the Iditarod.

For the record, I assure everyone publicly I’ve never made a financial contribution to the Iditarod or any of its participants. Although the event sounds like a fun one – and, if pushed, I may have to go to Alaska just to watch. Perhaps this hate-group could send me cash for airfare and hotel accommodations so I can travel 2,000 miles to witness first hand the sled dog racing atrocities and the bottomless pit of suffering the dogs are put through, which I allegedly support.

It’s also important to note that I’ve never even made a positive comment to a sled dog race team owner. Not so much as a pat on the back or a hearty, “Well done” have slipped from my lips to anyone who harnesses dogs to a sled and commences mushing. That’s not because I have anything against the Iditarod. Afterall all, I’ve never even watched the race on TV, let alone EVEN MET a musher or his/her mushees.

Notably, there’s a storied history of sled dogs and how the phenomena started as well as its popularity today. I’m not going to provide the link here, however, because in doing so someone in the hate group might view it as supporting the activity, which I don’t – although I’m leaning more toward that side of the fence after reading up on the hobby.

I will, however, post the form letter I’ve received via e-mail some 300-plus times (see below).  It’s ironic, isn’t it, that those professing my sponsorship and abuse of sled dogs are abusing my e-mail address to convey a point in which I’ve now sided with their very opposition (almost)…to a point (because I have not, nor plan to make a financial contribution or send a shout out to any sled dog owner).

I might pet a dog though, once they’re done with their work day.

What’s more ironic to me is that within the United States, 1 in 50 children are homeless every day. Let’s not even think about how many of these children didn’t eat a meal last night or didn’t get a goodnight kiss from their mom or dad, because mom and/or dad work two jobs and still must decide whether to pay rent or buy groceries. And let’s not factor in the clear and present danger that exists when these children go to school each day, unable to learn at their full capacity because they are running on empty, wearing clothes found in the garbage and getting short-shrifted by teachers who view them as lost causes.

Yeah, instead, let’s put our money and interests on the abused sled dogs of America because, as we all know, dogs should receive far better treatment than do our own children. Dogs deserve to be placed on the doggie pedestal and revered from afar. Kids are resilient. They’ll bounce back from adversity. Dogs, though, they deserve much, much more.

Note from hate-group e-mailer (N. Pennington in Seattle, WA). Pennington has no idea who I am or why she is e-mailing me. Moreover, she has no proof that I’ve supported sled dog racing or the Iditarod.

Dear Iditarod Supporter:
Please end your organization’s support of the Iditarod dog sled race. For the dogs, this event is a bottomless pit of suffering. What happens to the dogs during the Iditarod includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains. At least 136 dogs have died in the race. No one knows how many dogs die after this tortuous ordeal or during training. For more facts about the Iditarod, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://www.helpsleddogs.org.

Sincerely,
N. Pennington
Seattle, WA 98136

Thanks N. Pennington from Seattle, WA.  Your points are so heartfelt and human that I almost wish I cared. I’m sure that right in your own backyard of Seattle some homeless, starving child with no dad and a mother strung out on meth is wishing he or she could join your cause and make a difference in the life of just one sled dog. Why not start recruiting now? My guess is the line of petitioners would grow if you just offered a hot meal and a cot in a warm, dry garage.

Those of you interested can catch coverage of the Iditarod on Versus.

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For All Intents and Purposes

For all intents and purposes, people should not attempt to domesticate wild animals like tigers, bears and chimpanzees.

The recent, sad circumstance bearing out this truth occurred in Stamford, Connecticut, where a woman was mauled to near death by a “tame” chimp named Travis.  You can see the full story below.

In this particular case, the chimp was being treated for lyme disease and was also on anti-depressants. The owner allegedly was providing the chimp with ample doses of wine as well. Crazy? Ummm. Yeah.

I love animals, but with the repetition of news stories about wild animals living on hobby farms or in confinement that suddenly attack their owners or others who cross into their territory, one would think we should enact laws against providing refuge for wild animals in places other than zoos. Just maybe.  Maybe.

And another thing…

Words play such an important part in our daily lives. Unless you’re a hermit living under a rock and only talking to yourself in your head, you really can’t go more than a few hours without communicating.

So when I hear amusing misconstructions – such as “irregardless,” which by the way is not a word at all – I have to laugh. Out loud. It’s funny.

For all intents and purposes, we live by the words we speak. Note, I did not type “for all intensive purposes,” which is another phrase that is misconstrued frequently by millions in the Western world every day. I used the phrase correctly because I’m just that good (said with complete sarcasm).

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

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It’s official. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior has placed the polar bear on the list of threatened species list under the Endangered Species Act. Apparently, global warming (as previously discovered by Al Gore) has created a massive loss of sea ice, which has and will continue to threaten current polar bear habitat.  This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future. Research shows sea ice has been on a steady decline since 1979 based on satellite imagery. Last year, Arctic sea ice fell to the lowest level ever recorded by satellite, 39 percent below the long-term average from 1979 to 2000.

So what can we do to save polar bear habitat?  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife organization suggests the following:

  • Enact legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Reduce personal energy use and ask for legislative action on global warming at the federal, state and local levels. Enact policies that reduce U.S. global warming pollution 2% per year, leading to about an 80% reduction by mid-century.
  • Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the Arctic coastal plain from becoming an oil field used to satiate America’s demand for oil and gas. The Refuge has a concentration of on-shore denning used by polar bears.
  • Take the Good Neighbor pledge today! Do your part to help reduce global warming and help cool the planet one home at a time.

Alternatively, we could air lift in food to the polar bears, providing them with adequate meals to carry them through their hunting seasons. We do airlifts for all other parts of the world that are starving, why not the Arctic living polar bears?

In related news, Coca Cola has determined it will replace the polar bear with a new mascot, the common house cat, as these mammals are so plentiful they’ll never become threatened or endangered.  Smart move Coke!

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Literary Cat

I didn’t realize that I had a very literary cat. Sawyer, one of the best cats on the planet, came to me from the local humane society about two years ago. I could have gotten a dog, which would have breathed dog breath all over the house and eaten portions of shoes and furniture…and garbage. But instead, I picked out Sawyer.

He’s become quite the avid reader. As proven by the following:

1) Sawyer catches up on the latest music news in Rolling Stone magazine – with his favorite girl.

2) Sawyer prepares to read the newly released, “So Brave, Young, and Handsome,” by Minnesota-based author Leif Enger. It just arrived in my mailbox.

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Clipping Claws

I’ve learned from past experience that de-clawing cats often render them psychologically useless.

SawyerWhen I purchased my cat from the Humane Society, he was nearly a year old and I decided to let him keep his claws even though he’s purely a house cat. I clip his claws frequently and he seems to like it. He purrs. I clip. Not all cats are like Sawyer. I’m certain that as a stray kitten, he was raised by a dog. The result includes several dog traits like licking anything and everything, playing fetch, and barking (OK, I made that last one up). But he is very dog-like.

And loyal.

I think he knows I could have had him de-clawed, but chose not to and for that he likes me…for that and also because I feed him.

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Today in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, (Minnesota’s first newspaper), a reporter wrote his personal account of being bitten on the arm by an unleashed dog, whose owner promptly put the dog in a car and refused to provide a name or any other form of information.

You can read the whole story here, but the long and the short of it is the dog and owner were both scoundrels, having been recently evicted from their rental home and on their way out of the city – no doubt to escape prosecution for crimes yet to be discovered.

Dog SignThe reporter ended up with no information, no help from local police or animal control in finding the guilty dog and owner, and, ultimately, having to endure a series of rabies shots – more than a dozen shots in all during a four week period.

All because of a dog prone to biting. An animal.

And, people, while I like pets, let’s face it: Animals are animals. They have tiny little animal brains the likes of which can be trained to do incredible tricks like play dead and roll over. Couple that with their natural instincts to protect, defend and conquer the things that they feel intimidate them and things like dog bites happen. Just ask the dog caretaker of actor Ving Rhames. Oh wait, you can’t. Those dogs apparently attacked and killed their caretaker on Sunday. Brutal.

So while I like animals and respect them, I also understand that I’m human and they are…well…four-legged creatures. That places me higher up on the evolution ladder last time I checked.

To all pet owners letting their unleashed dogs run in public places: If I’m walking along the street minding my business and your dog suddenly decides I look like a bowl full of Chuck Wagon, I will do everything in my power to immediately bring doggie’s sweet and easy life to a quick end. You see I’m averse to getting multiple needle sticks in my ass and around puncture wounds caused by an animal bite. I’d much rather an autopsy be performed on your beloved animal’s tiny little dead dog brain to determine its rabidness. That’s just the price you’ll be paying.

Leash up your animals. Let’s all enjoy our pets in a world of peace and harmony, not dog attacks.

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