I’m Only One Person. What Can I Change?

Snip20151003_1 Yesterday I was in the Euthanasia lab.
21 dogs were on the list.

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After a dog is tranquilized it is unable to move, but i can feel death coming. It can see humans around it drawing up the syringe with the blue-juice, finding its cephalic vein. The injected poison burns the dog as it enters their blood stream and almost immediately the dog stops breathing.

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In those few seconds before and during the injection process is my chance of petting their head, looking into their eyes and make sure I am the last person they see. The person who killed them and apologized to them on the behalf of humans. The person who mentioned this black and tan Doberman, Speed who supposedly would watch out for them in heaven.
I tug at their ear, hold their paw as there eyes turn glassy and their tongues loll out of their mouths.
Yesterday- they kept coming and they kept coming. We made some last minute calls and got 4 of them off the list but what was more important was that 17 dogs died- and I killed them.
At one point as I pet a dog that was being put down for being “human aggressive”, the vet tech asked me if I’d been bitten by a dog yet.
“No, I haven’t. In my 9 years in rescue, cruelty and animal control, not once.” I eased the loop off the brown pit-bull on the end of a catch pole.
My supervisor who was just boasting about how much of an expert he was claimed, “It’s just a matter of time before you get bit, Inder.”
Thats right. I might get bitten, but never because I failed to read the body language of a dog.

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When friends and family tried to cheer me up late last night, they reminded me that I wasn’t a cause of their death. But the fact is today there thousands  more dogs on the list- all across the country.
SO WHAT CAN ONE PERSON DO?
We keep saving one or two dogs here and there but thats akin to plucking apples to kill an apple tree.
Today I got a police call, aggressive pitiful at large. Got out of the yard and the owners were out of town.
The neighbors told me that he had charged them several times and today broke through the fence. The police officers stayed 20 feet away with their guns drawn.
I put a leash around my arm and sat on the driveway.
“Aren’t you going to use your pole?” The female officer lowered her weapon.
“Naah, let me try it my way first.” I peeled open a bag of treats and tossed one at the dog.
He looked at me and I looked away; feigning disinterest. Then I asked someone 50 feet away a question and then looked at the dog, appeared interested.
I sensed the gears in his head turning. Should I, shouldn’t I?
He walked towards me, then circled me and picked up the treat.
In the next minute he was eating out of my hand and in another minute he was my long lost friend.

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Then he dropped and rolled over.

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From then on my soothing voice turned to say the most sarcastic comment within earshot of the police. “Are you the puppy, everyone here was calling aggressive?” I rubbed his ear and he purred in pure joy.
The police had now holstered their weapons and took turns petting this big-papi.
The neighbors came out to thank me. They said they were ready to hear shots and see bloodshed today.
SO IF I AM JUST ONE PERSON – WHAT DO I DO.
Well, you fix the root cause.
And what is the root cause? – Lack of education. Lack of knowledge.
So we show them.
We educate them.
We don’t talk- we do.
We teach the kids COMPASSION
We educate against breed specific STEREOTYPING.
We show the citizens by example.
We educate kids how to read a dogs body language and prevent bites.

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We are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution.
This is what we do to change.
Or else, much like I was yesterday; we are all killing them, in our own way.

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Of Mice and Horsemen

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I press the button on the radio, “Six-O in pursuit of two horses.”

There is dead silence on the line while I put my truck into park and grab my lasso.

Some static on the line is followed by, “Did you say horses on the street? I thought your were 10-7 to pick up a trapped Opposum from the local prison”

“10-4. Just saw them running loose less than 1/2 a mile from the freeway.” I kick open the door and rush toward them.

“I’m sending another officer to your location.” My supervisors voice crackles on the airwaves.

I am joined by 3 citizens in two trucks in a  car in chasing these horses. We corner them- but as I draw near them twirling my lasso by my side I remind myself of what I learned in Animal Control classes all those years ago. A horse’s defense mechanism is -flight. They will run away when scared.

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So they escape and we chase them. Another officer shows up to help me but overtime I draw near they run away. I get on top of the platform behind his truck and we chase them around the block. The lasso I’m twirling over my head makes me feel like a cowboy.

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Our task is to keep them away from the freeway and tire them by making them run in circles. 20 minutes later they are sweating from every pore. They give up. The owner corals them back and I issue a citation to a VERY IRATE woman who reminds me of my race and how she pays my salary. At no point is she thankful for us saving her horses.

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Then I head to the state prison, where the guards escort me to the trap where an opossum has been baited by a rat.

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The stench of the decaying mouse competes with the molded cheese smell of the inmates. Prisoners remind me of my race again when I walk back holding up the trap like a trophy. The mafia movie references of rats and animals are not lost amongst the howls and whistles and occasional comments about my ass.

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For someone who has never seen a razor-wire, been reminded of their race, been hit-upon by someone of the same sex or dealt with an irate horsewoman, I’ve had two unique experiences in less than an hour.

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Whatever else this job has in store for me– I think I’m ready for it.

The A,B,C’s of L. O. V. E

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Three eight year old boys A, B and C are walking back from school when they chance upon a mangy stray dog. A digs a few rocks out of his shorts and flings one at the dog. Boy B recedes behind a tree and keeps a close watch on the dog. Boy C plants himself firmly between boy A and the dog, ensuring that the dog is not hit anymore.
Which of the 3 boys from the scenario defines you? A hypothetical question, you say? Maybe it doesn’t jog your memory enough. Okay, read on;
Boy A goes home and his mom is indifferent to him. She’s busy arguing with his father or planning a kitty party.
Boy B goes home to a mother that is the quiet contemplative type. She’s a housewife concerned about her family’s well-being. Worried about her son having all he needs to do well in school.
Boy C goes home to find his mother feeding a cow or teaching the servant’s six- year-old child how to read and write.
Does either of these scenarios sound familiar? Too general, you claim? Well, read on;
Boy A’s path in life is as follows. From seeking fun in hurting others he becomes a bully at school. He then becomes an eve-teaser in college. He ends up getting into a few fights, always on the verge of getting in trouble, or worse; arrested. He gets married and has a good chance of being a wife-beater.
Boy B is the classic case of someone that does what’s expected of him. The “also ran” in life. The one who observes everything, does nothing and is educated enough to talk about it at a party. He gets married, has kids and watches out for them like his mom did for him. He will complain about ills in society and his country but he won’t do a thing about it.
And then there is boy C. He has learnt compassion from his mother. Love and care for animals and other humans has been nurtured in his heart. He will grow up to encompass everything. The environment, animal abuse, sex workers, oppressed classes, geriatric care; everything will be of concern to him. He will do something about each and everything. He will fill his life with causes those are beyond himself.
Now does the picture become clearer?
Here is the simple truth. Most of us fall under the category B. Always afraid that our B child doesn’t become a category A kid. All we have to do is make him a category C child. That will make a generation of category C children.
Most of us ask what one person can do for this world or to change our country. Well here’s the answer for you. Encourage your child to be a type C child. Learning about compassion early in life builds empathy and moral character, reduces violence and builds a sense of empowerment and responsibility. Society as a whole benefits when its members are more caring toward each other and the animal those live among us.
Studies have shown that kids those abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit theft and three times more likely to do drugs than kids who don’t. In fact the FBI uses violent crimes against animals to profile violent criminals.
Hence A is not equal to B and B is not equal to C. So there you have it- Hence proved.
Q.E.D – Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

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