STEREOtyping !!

Humans label things.

Aggressive, Pre-dosposed to fight, Dangerous-dog.

We take one look at an animal to deem its future. Even as the people responsible for educating people against stereotyping we become the first perpetrators of it.

If we aren’t their voices; what right do we have to take actions on their behalf?

Why do we assume the right of being judge, jury and executioner without being fair and biased?

This Rottweiler was marked aggressive because he went after an Animal Control Officer who had just entered it’s yard.

Imagine what goes through the head of a dog who has been kept to protect the owners territory when a person shows up in a yard dressed like this.

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Huge sunglasses to cover their eyes. A cap to cover their face. A big dog-pole in their hand. Wearing a uniform that some dogs recognize.

The dog attacks- and then backs off. All dogs do this; they always back off because they are COWARDS.

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So he gets put on the Euthanasia list but someone calls to adopt him last minute and he gets pulled off the list. Then they are told he is aggressive  (by us) and they back off, so he’s back on the E-list. Then by the weirdest stroke of luck we run out of blue juice to put him down because he’s a staggering 120 Lbs. and now is the last one on the list.

Lucky you would say; well then you can say it again.

So next morning he’s on the list again- but the rescue group has worked all night to find him a foster already, so he gets pulled off the list for a 3rd time in 24 hours.

Now you can call him a Lucky Bastard.

Because two days later- This is his new home and his new life. Filled with joy and love.

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Then we have Ryder. Abandoned at a house by the owner.

He’s been without food and water for a few weeks. So when the police show up to get him, he charges them. What do you expect from a very very high energy dog that hasn’t eaten for days and is still guarding his territory.

But the way our society works is this- Once the law enforcement labels him as aggressive – he is deemed aggressive and has lost his chance at life.

We all STEREOtype- It’s only when it happens to us that we get angry.

When we are called Black, Brown, Cheap, Flirts,Callous, Hardened, White-trash, Rednecks etc etc we get angry. Only when the shoe is on the other paw we stop caring.

So Ryder was on the E-list.

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So I found him a place and pulled him.

So everybody at the shelter called me crazy. Even my friends doubted Ryder.

But I had faith and a lot of hope.

So this is Ryder today.

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We need to be their voice. We need to allow for some of their screw ups; just like errant kids do sometimes.

We don’t send our children to the gallows every-time they fight or say something nasty.

Then why would we STEREOtype against these poor dogs who don’t even understand the implications of their actions.

Why can’t we just be more tolerant and FAIRER.

Gammy Saves Arse-Souls (like me)

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Her silver hair is ruffled by the wind again. She takes her frail hand off the microphone and straightens her hair. Then she places a hand on her knee and slumps into a chair.

“That’s my grandma”, I blurt out to nobody in particular. The woman standing next to me looks me up and down. My brown complexion which is in stark contrast of the pale Caucasian woman is the reason why she’s baffled. The gray bristles in my salt and pepper scruff defies the relationship too.

My grandma is frozen in time in my mind from fifteen years ago. This woman however is a pastor at a church. I’m attending an event called ‘Blessing of the Pets’ at The Church of Good-Shepherd in Tomball, Texas.

Somebody brings a dog to her. She places her palm on the dogs head and mutters a few words. My eyes are transfixed at hers. It doesn’t matter what she’s saying. Her eyes magnified by her glasses are flooded with love for the dog.

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I’ve never been to one of these events before. I’m just a volunteer photographer there. I’ve never been inside a church in session (or whatever it is the real expression). I’m not a Christian- I’m not even religious. However there is one language she is speaking that I believe in.

In her heart she’s not blessed a dog, she’s not blessed a cat. If there were a lion or a deer here- she would’ve blessed them too. She has blessed a soul. And I speak soul fluently.

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Is it my grandma teaching me a lesson in compassion or a pastor teaching me how to not be speciesist? I don’t know- but I think I’ve learned my lesson for today.

Have we all at the event learned some lesson? The joyous costumes and the cute children are out in numbers. My gaze hidden behind my lens wanders around till I observe a kids face getting licked by a pitbull.

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This toddler reaches out to the pitbull with his small arms and wants to be kissed again.

The answer is –Yes others have learned from the pastor as well. The hope that these animals have from being saved from the cruelty that’s meted on them rests with these kids. This boy in a fire-fighter’s hat; This girl with a dog by her side and this one with a dog on his lap. All of them are the only hope these animals have- and not just the pets; All animals.

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Amen to that.