Monday, September 24, 2012

Another point of view

Two years ago I made a change in my career that brought me to meet a wild and crazy person who was definitely my opposite. Though we started off as opposites we have found a common ground and she has become a very dear friend. From birth I was raised around animals and have always been in receipt of an animal's love and devotion. I would tell stories at work about my animals and my opposite would always laugh and say I was crazy. I could never imagine her with any type of animal because it just wouldn't fit her lifestyle. That all changed in Feb 2011. She came into work and announced to us all that she had decided to adopt a dog. It wasn't just any ole dog it would be a pit bull. She proceeded to tell us about watching a tv show over the weekend and it had changed her mind about the breed. Here my opposite was excitedly looking through pages and pages of pit bulls that were up for adoption. When one finally captured her eye that was all she could talk about until adoption day finally came. She was showing picture upon picture of her new baby and not her kids. I was amazed at how she was starting to change and how we were no longer opposites. After a few months she decided she wanted another dog and adopted again. There again she was changing. I never expected the changes that would occur over the next several months to a year because of the love she received from these two pit bulls. Not only had she become a proud and loving pet owner but, she wanted to make changes. She jumped with both feet in to helping rescue organizations in VA to give other pit bulls the opportunity to have a better life with loving families. We all thought she was crazy but, it was something she now believed in because of the love of her dogs. She had to make this area better for pit bulls. She has become such an advocate for these animals and I couldn't be prouder. Here someone that was just my opposite a few months ago was rescuing and fostering dogs and now was traveling to my hometown in Charles County MD fighting against BSL. I was amazed at her devotion to this cause but, I knew it was all because of the love she received at home from her two babies, how could she look in their eyes knowing their brothers and sisters were out there not wanted in certain areas, needing homes and deserving of the love they were receiving. The love of a dog was changing her. Her next step was deciding to try and jump into working with animals full time and becoming a certified dog trainer. She has had doubts at times that she is doing the right thing but, deep down she knows it is something she wants and has to do. Why you say? Because of the love of a dog. Here someone has gone from being my opposite in not understanding the love and devotion I had for my animals to now knowing exactly what I speak of and feel. The love of an animal makes you change many things in your life. They are dependent upon us so there are times we have to change our sleeping patterns, lifestyle and schedule to fit with theirs. My once opposite has changed her entire life to be revolved around her dogs. She has jumped in with full force at making sure pit bulls in the DC/MD/VA area have a fighting chance of finding their furever home and are welcome wherever their families would like to go. So, here you had someone who was a hardworking single mother that liked to get her party on and didn't have the responsibilities of an animal at home that now has two pit bulls and is taking up fighting PG County and the State of Maryland to end their bans on Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mixes. All of these changes she has been through the past year and half have been because of the love of two dogs!!! So if you want to know what true love and devotion is you need to find and adopt your pet soul mate so, you too know the love of a dog!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Fear….fear is defined as a feeling of  anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, pain, timidity, dread, terror, freight, apprehension.  Fear can be paralyzing and often the unknown brings fear, terror and apprehension.  As humans God  has not given us a spirit of fear, yet it’s prevalent in our lives.  There’s this thing called a “comfort zone” we like.  In the comfort zone it’s familiar, it takes care of our needs although our needs have been met and it’s time to move on.  The moment we want to move on that four letter word pops up…FEAR. It tells you that you’re not good enough, you’re not qualified, you don’t have the skills, you have bills, you don’t have the leave, you don’t have the experience….the list goes on.  The only thing that conquers fear is another four letter word….FAITH.

Fear can immobilize, paralyze, stagnate if we allow it to.  When people hear pit bull or pit bull mix it strikes fear in the hardest of men.  Why? These creatures breath, eat, need love, shelter, food and occasionally clothes, all the things humans need yet they are feared, hated, disliked because…..  This same fear we’re talking about was in us and instilled in us by the media.  Although we had NOT interacted with this breed we were petrified of this animal.  This animal did nothing to us, had not harmed us or anyone we knew yet we feared them.  We feared them because society told us to.  The unknown is scary to us all. Many in society will not investigate things for themselves and the reporters know this and they report what they want.  They will do anything to get the ratings even if it’s partial truth and that partial truth perpetuates fear.  Some folks are comfortable with staying in fear, not willing to have an open mind and erasing the fear out of their lives.  This is happening more often than not with pit bulls.  They’re feared for what folks make them and not for their good nature, calm demeanor and need for love.  It is because we have gotten over this fear that we find ourselves advocating, educating, training and now traveling to erase the fear people have.  This past weekend we traveled to New Jersey for the 9th annual Paws for Cause event.  Paws for Cause, is an awesome event raising awareness and funds to eradicate another fearful word….. cancer in animals.  The event features various vendors, knowledgeable veterinarians about cancer and other veterinary care, a dog fashion show, treats, swimming pools and of course dogs of all breeds, sizes and colors. No one was fearful of what could happen, everyone got along, asked and answered questions, networked and all had the faith that nothing was going to go wrong.  Guess what nothing went wrong! Yes, there was barking, sniffing, minor scuffles and none of them were by pit bulls.  We’re not bashing any breed just erasing fear!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When advocating hurts...

When will we stand as a people and hold those we elect responsible and demand change? There comes a time in our lives when a cause that’s close to our hearts forces us to get involved socially. That’s what happened to us a little over a year ago.  With the fire burning inside of us to seek change and justice for ALL pit bulls or dogs that “resemble” a pit bull we took to social media outlets, participated in rallies, sat in committee meetings, wrote legislators, wrote proposed legislation, joined alliances with other advocates/groups, shared posts,answered e-mails from concerned pit bull guardians, and the list goes on however, change cannot come from the bottom, it must come from the top.

Pit Bull guardians have been under attack for many years and the attacks are relentless.  The writing is on the wall this bully breed is not wanted and will not be tolerated.  Time after time after time this sediment is evident. From the senseless killing of Lennox, who wasn’t a pit bull, justlooked like one to the overcrowding at shelters.  Shelters and rescue organizations are overworked and underpaid, what keeps them going is the pure love for this animal.  People are forced to make a decision for some is easy to make and for others the thought is debilitating, the decision to prematurely euthanize a beloved family pet/member or up root their family and find another place to live due to ignorance, fear and discrimination.  Those that have the power to listen and make wise and correct decision refuse to listen to those that put them in power.  Marylanders have been fighting this fight for a while, long before Maryland Court of Appeals handed down their ruling naming pit bulls “inherently dangerous.”  They have been fighting the stereotyping of pit bulls in Prince George’s County since 1996 when pit bulls were outlawed.  Mayor Joe of Laurel, Maryland has been fighting this fight and asked the now jailbird Jack Johnson to review and repeal the ban to no avail.  The now County Executive Rushern Baker mentioned in his campaign he would change the environment at Animal Control however, when contacted by Mayor Moe and us aletter patronizing us is all we received. It was a letter hiding behindMaryland Court of Appeals ruling. 

Maryland legislators had an opportunity to get it right for many renters, landlords and families to set the bar for the nation when it comes to pit bulls.  Instead of looking at the all the facts and making a logical decision it was politics as usual.Yes, we understand the law would affect many people and they want to make sure they get it right but the legislators did not do that, instead they let the bill fail which means the court ruling stands. Many families will be impacted because of the lack of empathy and frankly lack of concern.  To further solidify our position of those not caring, a follower of a known advocacy group had the pleasure of meeting Governor Martin O’Mally prior to the special session asked the Governor if there was a chance the pit bull ruling will be on agenda (at this time it was still unclear if the ruling was going to be on the agenda) per the gentleman who had the encounter with Governor O’Malley said the Governor said “he hopes not.”  It is this kind of callus thinking many families will have to make that agonizing decision to uproot the family and find another place to live or take their family member to the shelter knowing her/his fate ultimately is death.