Bark at the Moon

I’ve been thinking about the pets a lot today.

As most of you know, my dog is a constant issue. This week he’s developed some sort of allergy from who-knows-where, and he has chosen to express his discomfort by yapping for hours at his own ass throughout the night at random times. It is unbelievable. No amount of discussion will change his mind on this point, and I got so frustrated at 5 am that I shook him and yelled into his terrified face, and then got up again and smacked his ass repeatedly at 5:30 am, which then shut him up for a short while (until he felt his back end needed another talking to) but kept me awake feeling shitty and weepy and wondering how I have failed as a pet owner that I’m actually hitting my dog in rage and frustration

I have had two dogs before this one who were amazing, magical, genius pals who went with me everywhere. One was a Pomeranian named Bean, and after her came a Peke named Panda. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about and miss Panda. I purchased both dogs as puppies before I really had an awakened consciousness about the sea of homeless animals out in the world (even though I worked as a volunteer at the Humane Society as a teenager—heartbreaking).

When Panda died I wanted to do the right thing and adopted his doppelganger—abused, abandoned Winter. And though Drew and I both love him, it’s like having a retarded child. He’s just not an easy dog and after 3 and a half years of stress we regularly talk about putting him down. I just don’t have the heart to do what feels like another abandonment.

Now this whole Vick thing is happening and it’s been making me think about my own role in the world as an animal lover. I feel like a hypocrite in some ways. I am not ready to give up leather. Though very seldom, I eat meat on occasion. I work at a store where fur is sold, regardless of the heated arguments I have put up against it. Though I’ve gotten rid of most of my vintage fur coats, there are a couple I’m not ready to part with yet. And I yearn to have a tiny, fancy breeder-bought dog that will trot alongside me happily to work every day.

I honestly believe that we have no right to use animals the way we do. And I believe that because domesticated animals count on us exclusively for their well-being we have been handed a sacred trust and responsibility that must be honored. Every time we violate that trust with abuse or neglect, we violate our own selves.

I hear from people occasionally who state that animal rights people are so into animals that they don’t pay any attention to other problems in the world that are, in their minds, more important – e.g., child abuse, world hunger, genocide or war. I do care very much about those other issues, but for whatever reasons animals are what move me to action, and I feel I must put my energy where I am directed. I also know that the environment would be greatly improved if we cut down on our use/abuse of animals as food, so to me those are two issues that go hand in hand.

Anyway, I’m rambling a little, I guess, and not sure what my point is. My friend Angelo has a friend named William Kay who submitted an anti-dog fighting video to the Humane Society and watching the submissions broke my heart a little. Every one was devastating and William’s was really powerful. If you want to check them out and vote they’re HERE. Make sure you have something cheerful to watch afterwards, though. Anyway, then I went to bed in the hopes of getting to a class at the gym at 10 am, and was instead kept up all night long by one example of my own imperfect attempts at making a difference in the world. I feel guilty that I hit him and guilty that I am not out on the frontlines the way many of my friends are.

The one positive note that I can see at the moment is that Vick and his friends have brought the issue of dogfighting to the public eye more than any amount of bulletin posting or petition signing could do. And that’s one step towards a world without suffering and it brings me a small amount of comfort.

All right, gonna pull myself out of this doggie funk and go get a mani/pedi, return some overdue phone calls, give the dog an anti-itch bath, and hopefully see some of you rock stars at Dirty Bomb tonight.


UPDATE:

I got some nice emails from everyone on this and some friends at Dirty Bomb also mentioned it last night. Thanks everyone. I gave that rotten Peke a bath with some medicated shampoo and voila! No more barking at his ass. Right before we went on vacation I used a cheaper shampoo bc I ran out of the usual stuff, and I think it’s been bugging him ever since. He’s still a pain in the ass but I did get a full night’s sleep last night and I’m touched that everyone is concerned.

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