BSL is BS

Baby Ernie, the first day I brought him home.

Baby Ernie, aged 5 weeks.

Ernie’s pictured in this post about BSL.

BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) is something I had never heard of before I owned pit bulls. And if I’m being honest, I don’t really remember if I had an opinion either way on pit bulls before Ernie. Sure, my friend had a pit mix (Dexter, who later came to live with me), but I don’t remember having a thought one way or the other about his breed. He was just a big, sweet dog with too-little ears who knew to stay on the porch. Oh, and he let us dress him up. But his canine older brother, Tucker (who was a retriever mix with regular-sized ears), had the same qualities and did the same things.

Baby Ernie (and a chubby Hemo)

Baby Ernie (and a very chubby Hemo)

I fell in love with Ernie when he was two days old; he looked like a little guinea pig. While I was waiting for him to be old enough to bring home, I bought a Pit Bulls for Dummies book and set about memorizing it before he came home.

Cement block-shaped head? Pump handle tail? Check and check. At the end of the book was a chapter on BSL and where it had been successfully challenged, and organizations to contact if you had any questions.

I filed it away, hoping to never have to give it a second thought.

A few months later, Ernie and I were in PetsMart getting an ID tag made at one of those “etched while you watch/wait” kiosks.  Ernie, a few months old at this point, was exhausted from the sheer amount of people, treats, and toys in the store, and was laying at my feet as we waited for his tag to be finished. A woman approached me, keeping a careful eye on Ernie, and asked me what type of dog he was.

Baby Ernie sits.

Do I look ferocious?

“He’s a pit bull,” I smiled at her.

She took a couple of big steps back.

“Oh – those dogs shouldn’t be allowed around people.”

My face flushed bright red with a mixture of anger, shame, frustration, and shock.  How do you even react to that, when the dog, nay, PUPPY, in question is laying at your feet? Does “I’m sorry you feel that way” even begin to cut it?

Then I moved to the small town of Romeo, MI.  A few months after moving there, my step-dad pointed out to me an article in the local paper which reported that the village was thinking about enacting BSL which would ban pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs within it’s borders. I went into full-on panic mode and turned to the “Resources” page of my Pit Bulls for Dummies book. I called about 5 numbers, left messages, and waited anxiously for a reply.  I got a call back from a group that had successfully defeated a pit bull ban in nearby Detroit, and they agreed to send a representative to the next council meeting.

I am not a public speaker, but I went to that meeting clutching pictures of Ernie and a few prepared words in my sweaty hands. Ernie, then 9 months old, was at home and although he obviously had no idea what was going on, I didn’t want to let him down. One of the village trustees described pit bulls as being  “merciless when they attack” and I almost lost it. Another Romeo resident held up pictures of a child mauled by a pit bull and advocated for their banishment. When it came time for me to take the floor, I was so nervous I had a hard time meeting the gaze of any of the attendees. Luckily I managed to stammer out a coherent sentence or two (thankfully quoted in an article in the Romeo Observer* or I never would have believed it actually happened) before sitting down.

Ernie and his cousin, Sadie

Ernie and his cousin, Sadie Lu, after a long day.

The motion was successfully defeated in favor of enacting a more general (and effective) dangerous dog ordinance. But the seed was planted, and I’ll never forget how close I’ve come to losing my boys, and the hatred and fear people can bear for a dog they’ve never even met.

Through this blog, I’ve met (well, read the blogs of) many other pit bull owners and advocates (like Kate at save the pit bull, save the world, Miss M and Mr. B and their awesome owners at Two Pitties in the City, and rescue/educational groups like Bad Rap, The Unexpected Pit Bull, and Richmond’s Ring Dog Rescue) who have strengthened my belief that these dogs have a place in our world and our homes. All of us can’t be wrong, right?

So now that I’ve shared my sob story, I have to ask for a favor.  I’ll be attending BlogPaws West this fall with RichmondPetLovers.com. The catch is that the conference will be held in Denver, CO, a city where Ernie, Dexter, and all pit bulls are not only banned, but would be in danger of being seized and euthanized based only on the fact that they are pit bulls. Maggie at Oh My Dog! has created and is organizing the Operation:Denver campaign to educate Denver’s Mayor Hickenlooper about the facts, rather than the myths, about pits and the people who love them.

Ernie's glamour shot

Ernie's glamour shot.

Maggie is coordinating a postcard campaign to send 10,560 post cards, or a mile’s worth, to the mayor of the Mile High City.  All you have to do is create an electronic postcard (you can download a template for PCs or Macs) and email it to Maggie at operationdenver@gmail.com. That’s it! Just a minute of your time.

Because I feel so strongly about this, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and I’m going to donate $1 to Operation:Denver for every postcard you guys create. That’s right – if it means no more delicious beers for me, than so be it.

So force me into a ramen diet, guys! Create a postcard and let me know you’ve sent it to Maggie by telling me about it in the comments (or copy me [badmuthafudrucker@gmail.com] in the email you send to Maggie at operationdenver@gmail.com). If you need a pit bull image, feel free to use any I’ve posted here or anywhere in the blog.

Thanks, friends. BSL is getting my blood boiling.

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*The last sentence in this article makes my stomach twist in knots. Is this guy a dog expert? Fuck no, he’s a freakin’ VILLAGE COUNCILMEN. Get a clue, ass.

Sleep karate chopping?

I’ve never been much of a sleep walker.  More of a sleep talker, which I guess can get pretty creepy, too.  One of my best friends and former roommate used to get really freaked out when I’d sit up in the middle of the night and ask for a hairbrush.

“I thought you were possessed by the devil,” she’d say.

Um, sorry Deb.

My sister Elizabeth used to sleep walk and talk, as I remember.  When we were moved from Hawai’i to Virginia, we road-tripped it from coast to coast.  Each night when we’d stop at a motel, our parents would get two rooms – one for them, and one for us kids.  One night, Beth jumped out from under the covers and onto the foot of the bed.  She crouched down in perfect surfer form, arms outstretched, and sang a quick rendition of “Wipe Out” (think Animal from the Muppets).  Then she sorta woke up, looked around, and started crying.

I’m pretty sure my other two sisters and I got in trouble for upsetting her.  Although I have to say that she was about 6 at the time, and I’m sure we were pointing and laughing.

But anyway, I’m beginning to suspect that lately I’ve taken my sleep activities to a whole new level, and the saddest part is that I may have involved little Ernie in these night-time shenanigans.

Sunday evening, while enjoying a delicious gyro with friends at the Greek Fest (where I saw an honest-to-goodness young Michael Bolton – more about this later), I notice a thumb-sized bruise on each of my upper arms.

Huh, I wondered.  I don’t remember getting manhandled this weekend.

Monday morning, poor baby Ernie is moping around the house.  As his usual morning routine includes waking me up around 6:00 with a sneeze to the face, followed by pacing around the house and zooming around the backyard, I suspected something was up.  I checked each of his feet for cuts or burrs, then palpated his abdomen to check for swelling or hardness.  Nothing.

Then I started manipulating his hips, and he started whimpering.  I guess you have to know Ernie to know that this is a big deal.  He’ll cry and get all excited when he sees someone he loves (read: anyone he’s ever met, even once), but he does not cry out in pain.  Even when he ripped his whole toenail off, he didn’t cry.  The only reason I knew something was up was that he was lick, lick, licking his poor, nail-less foot next to me on the couch.

Anyway, back in the present day.  Ernie was slowly walking around the backyard, head down and ears back.  He wasn’t limping, and he successfully one’d and two’d, so I watched him hobble onto the couch and left for work.

By Wednesday he was fine – verdict: muscle strain.

BUT THEN, on Tuesday morning I found a bruise and a cut on my side.  I’m pretty much convinced that Ernie and I have been drafted as ninja enforcers by an organization so secret even we don’t know about it.  It makes perfect sense, if you think about it:

  • I’ve been going to the gym, transforming myself into a lean, mean, fighting machine.  If you could see these biceps, you’d be intimidated.  Trust me.
  • Ernie is very strong and agile, and can be pretty stealthy when he wants to (Dexter…strong, but gets failing grades in agility and stealth).
  • Warm weather + poverty = no AC.  But I do have my bedroom window open to get some air flow at night.  I think it is through this window that They initially made contact.  I also think this is my ninja exit/entrance, as my keys remain where my waking mind left them (plus, ninjas do not have pockets, and jingling keys ≠ stealth).

As further evidence, I present to you the fact that I’ve woken up at 2:50am for the past 4 nights, and haven’t been able to get back to sleep.

I’m pretty sure it’s the adrenaline rush that comes from battling crime in hand-to-hand combat.

Tiny dinosaurs eat tiny ferns

Arggh…due to a monster staff meeting this morning I’m just now getting around to my Monday morning didn’t-have-the-patience-to-do-it-on-Fridaypile o’ work.

Blech.

Usually during staff meetings I don’t have much to say.  Talky McGossips-a-lot is one of those annoying people who can’t go to the corner store without running into a guy he used to work with, the lady he lives down the street from, and his second cousins thrice-removed (on his mother’s side).  He usually fills us in on who’s involved in what public policy scandal this week.  Another co-worker spends 45 minutes telling everyone about the work he’s attempted to do the previous week, and how his efforts have been thwarted at every turn by circumstances outside of his control (“well, so-and-so was supposed to get back with me about that issue, but I’m still waiting on an email,”).  I, on the other hand, keep my mouth shut unless absolutely necessary and take detailed notes.

doodle

Yes, our meeting was about giraffes that look like my sister.  And tiny dinosaurs munching on tiny ferns.  Oh, you weren’t aware I worked at the department of Make Believe?  Consider yourself informed.

These endless, pointless, WEEKLY meetings are taking a toll on me.  I am ripping my cuticles to shreds.  Seriously, my hands look like Frodo Baggins after one of our marathon meetings.  Any advice?  I’m thinking of getting a stress ball, or does that broadcasting too loudly that the combined neurosis of my co-workers stresses me the fuck out?  It’s like some truly messed-up version of Captain Planet.

Gossip!  Ineptitude!  Micro-management!  Blame shifting!  Enclosed spaces!

By your powers combined, I am CAPTAIN SHREDDED CUTICLES!

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p.s. I blogged this weekend in my quest to post 30 blog posts in 30 days (jeez, could this sentence BE any more awkward?).  So check out
this and this for some weekend bloggy goodness.

Harry Potter sock yarn? Yes, I am serious.

Today is a sad day. Has anyone has been holding off on presenting me with that bag full of cash so I can quit my job and spend all day knitting socks out of Harry Potter yarn and baking delicious treats for the dogs? Because today would be the perfect day to stop procrastinating and hand over that loot. Seriously. I am thisclose to punching a few people in the mouth and then hanging out in the intersection by the McDonald’s with the other homeless panhandlers. I bet I could make a couple bucks today before my tears of frustration with life in general stopped being cute and started turning ugly.

Ok, internet, I am going to go breathe into a paper bag and try not to karate-chop any of my co-workers in the throat. SERENITY NOW!

Trish gave me an award on Monday, probably before she read my depressing post about the passing of Pat Hingle in which I make fun of Mr. Rogers. Thanks Trish!


So I’m going to quickly pass this along to a couple of blogs I’ve recently started reading that restore my hope that humanity is not a complete and utter pile of steaming dog diarrhea:

Doug at To Blog Or… because I nearly shit my pants reading about how he did shit his.

Lisa at Lemon Gloria because she is not afraid to write about how her husband voiced his fears that the cable technician would urinate on their rug during a service call.

Just a Girl because her chihuahua chewed up her butt plug and my sister’s chihuahua chewed up my very first vibrator. This means we are blog twins.

Alexa at Cleveland’s a Plum because she pierced her ear to win a scavenger hunt and didn’t even end up winning. But you are still a winner, Alexa.

and last but not least,

Dr. Zibbs at That Blue Yak because he gave me nightmares about turkey vultures and it is his birthday. Happy Birthday Dr. Zibbs!

Also Kate, Lump, and Ashley all took me up on my offer to interview them, so check their blogs out in a few days for their answers to such thoughtful and insightful questions as:

Who would win in a fight between a unicorn and Dateline NBC’s Chris Hansen?
(Keep in mind: the unicorn is abnormally strong, has a razor-sharp horn, and can fly; Chris Hansen has the power to read minds and also has a pet phoenix whose tears can heal any wound.) Explain.

and

You find an old oil lamp at a pawn shop marked $20; you haggle the
proprietor down to $10 and buy it. After you bring it home and rub it (just for
shits and giggles), a genie comes out. He tells you he is the pantry genie, and
can bewitch your pantry to always be fully stocked, but only with the
ingredients for one dish. Which one dish do you tell him to stock it up with?
What are the ingredients? Can I have that lamp when you are done with it?