I am not a fan of soap operas so this post is not about this actor, Nick Santino, but about the sadness of his choice to commit suicide after putting his dog down. Apparently, there were complaints about the dog’s barking and my guess is the threats were coming because the dog is a Pit Bull. Nick chose to put his dog down and could not handle the grief that followed. Anyone who has assisted their pet in this process, knows the pain can seem unbearable. My heart goes out to Nick, family, and friends.
We are all capable of doing something. Pay it forward. It works. Whether you give to a shelter, a neighbor, a stranger, a dog or a cat…it inspires others to do the same. Adopt…donate…volunteer. Make a difference.
This video was made today after my visit to the Coachella Animal Campus. If you live in the Palm Springs area and are looking for a dog to help in any way…here are a few from which to pick! You know, as I walked through talking with each of them, no one barked. I think they knew they were on camera and wanted to appear at their best - tails wagging and tongues licking!
Dogs are similar to us when it comes to needing to feel secure. They may have a past of abuse or may be genetically hard wired to be timid or insecure. Everyone knows and appreciates what it means to hear someone say, “I’ve got your back.” That someone accepts you for who you are; even, or especially when you feel insecure. Olive, a very special Staffordshire Bull Terrier (with an abusive past), was openly insecure and needed someone to have her back in more ways than one.
In her case, it was more that she needed to have someone’s back - literally, to be able to relax and trust what was going on around her. If you don’t think dogs need a connection to feel secure, think again.
In this photo, Olive was finding comfort on her life-long companion, Chapin, who always allowed Olive to find her “calm” while resting on top of Chapin.
After Chapin passed, the next two photos show how Olive tried to find that same security in Zoe. It appears that Olive knew something very valuable - they had her back while she had theirs.
I have been contacted by more and more people concerned their dog is aggressive. They may even state they have a “red zone dog.” Here’s an article I wrote on this subject. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s behavior.
If you are visiting shelters in search of a new dog and are confused about which breed is best, I encourage you to do some research, but don’t eliminate a dog based on the stereotype alone. Different breeds definitely have their own unique qualities but these qualities are not exclusive.
As you consider which dog is best for your family, make an informed decision and one definitely based on the dog itself rather than the stereotype of their breed. Here’s an article on this subject:
The Humane Society of the United States does it again - this time it’s huge! They conducted the largest dog dogfighting raid ever resulting in the saving of 450 lives! Here’s the link - donate if you can.
Children learn from their environment, and their parents show them how to treat others. In the following article from “The Bark” magazine, you will see how well these children were trained in the treatment of another - specifically, a Pit Bull named Snaps.
I am sharing this because awareness is knowledge. The incident was provoked and certainly not the fault of the dog. I feel for the children who are obviously replicating what they have been taught. Reminds me of a Cole Porter quote: “We must teach our children before it’s too late. Before they reach six or seven or eight. To hate all the people their relatives hate. They must be carefully taught.” The same applies to animal or any other kind of abuse.
Hopefully, Snaps’ advocates will be given an opportunity to work with him. I think of the Vick(tory) Pit Bulls and how wonderful the dogs are doing now. The responsible humans need to be punished - not the breed of the dog.
My name is Olive. I’m a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. You can see how nice I look. I’m even smiling in this picture. It wasn’t always this way. I was part of a Pit Bull fighting ring. Here’s how my life started. . .
They took me from my Mom too young. I was scared. Then, I got pregnant. I can still hear the men’s voices and they are yelling. The other dogs around me are filled with fear that turns to rage. They are fighting again. I’m glad that this time they “used” another dog to get them stirred up.
On a good day, I’m left in this tiny pen listening to dogs fighting and men yelling. I let the fear fill me and I sit and shake. Why me?
On a bad day? I hear someone say, get her. She’ll get the other dogs to fight. They toss me into the pen. The first dog seems to really hate me. I have to defend myself, and as much as it makes me uncomfortable, it’s instinct. I need to protect my unborn pups. I don’t know if I’m relieved or scared even more when the other dog held to the side is released. It means that now I’ll get removed until next time.
Finally, I was able to escape, and I ran away. I wanted to run and to keep running to get away from how I felt. On one paw, I wanted to keep running so that I could feel safe, and yet I was too scared to be alone. I didn’t know what to do. I met some nice people who took me into their home. I was beat up and covered in sores from mange. I listen for the yelling and the other dogs fighting, but so far that hasn’t happened. Yet. I will always wonder if it’ll happen again.
That was seven years ago. Since then, I’ve been living in a love-filled home with other nice dogs. Without words, I can only show what I’m feeling. Even after all these years, I have moments where I panic. I want to run and run just to get away from the feeling that is buried deep inside me. It’s buried in the place that makes my tail wag - or in this case, not wag.
There are a lot of moments where I forget what happened. I’m joyful and my tail can’t stop from moving. Other days, I sit and stare and want to hide. I hear my “Mom” talking with people about me. She has loved me and kept me safe but she knows. She knows and can see that some times I’m lost.
The abuse I experienced from the dog fights will not leave me. I have new memories to put in their place, but some days that’s not so easy. I remember. It’s not a memory in my mind. It’s a memory in my soul. It’s consuming.
I hope there are big people who can stop dog fighting. Perhaps Oprah can do a show to bring more awareness to how horrible it is for us. Maybe some day the people who think this is a sport, will be able to feel in their hearts what I feel. If they do, they will never forget it. Nor will I.