America, embrace the mutt!

Dogs are awesome, literally gifts. I didn’t use to think this before having my own, but I’m now totally convinced. Dogs were put on Earth by God to give us honest, uncompromising love.

America loves its dogs. There were 89.7 million pet dogs in America in 2017, and I’m sure

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Thank you Free Photos,Via Pixbaby

the number has only gone up since then. (Source:Statista.com) And according to Americanpetproducts.org, we spent $75.38 billion on our pets in 2019.

 

But do we? I have to think, if we loved our dogs, we would embrace the breed that most closely resembles ourselves.

The mutt.

Most Americans are mutts. There’s a reason why all these ancestry businesses are making bank right now. I’m Hungarian, but there’s some French and English thrown in there. Pretty sure some Irish, too. Basically, I have greasy hair, lots of freckles and I’m not white so much as patchy red. But I got the bonnie blue eyes and my nose is a normal shape so no complaining here.

My dog, Oliver, is also a mutt. He’s half Boston Terrier, half hell if I know. I think he’s half

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My sweet boy

Pitt, though. So, he’s a bouncy tank.

 

He’s also the most lovable, sweet thing you will ever meet. He follows me around the house, is super easy to train, loves other dogs. 

I don’t know that he would have been as good of a match for us if he’d been pure terrier. That breed tends to have a strong hunting instinct, especially when it comes to small furry animals. You know, like my beloved cat Harper. And while Oliver does love playing with his ‘big’ sister, he has never shown hunting behavior towards her.

Which brings me to the actual point of this post. It wasn’t to show off pictures of my dog. (Okay, it wasn’t just to do that.)

Pure breeding in dogs is animal abuse. 

I am not willing to argue or equivocate on the point. If you have a purebred dog, it is the result of animal abuse.

This is not your fault or the fault of your beloved friend. If you have a pure breed, love the hell out of that little sucker because s/he needs it. Here are some awful facts about breeding animals like this.

-Purebred dogs have chronic health problems. Some breeds have bad livers. Some, like my beloved Dashounds, have bad backs. Some breeds have an issue where their organs just twist up in their stomachs. Genetic diversity matters, people. There’s a reason why we don’t inbreed.

-Speaking of inbreeding, that’s pretty common for less than reputable breeders. 

-It’s also common for bad breeders to just pump litter after litter from momma dogs until

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This is all pretty sad so here’s another picure of Oliver.

their bodies just break down and stop working.

 

-Another fun fact. If your version of fun is bone achingly sad. Each breed has certain characteristics. So breeders breed for those. Pugs have those squishy flat faces, for instance. We bred them for that flat face. What does a breeder do with puppies that don’t show the proper traits for their breed? Well, what do most companies do with defective products? They either sell them at a loss or get rid of them.

Now, before anyone comes at me in the comment section, I know that not all breeders have these horrific practices. Some breeders are good, honest people who take excellent care of their dogs. Some breeders would joyfully bash in the skulls of people who abuse animals with a Louisville Slugger. God Bless you people, you know what you’re doing.

It still doesn’t help the genetic defect issue.

 

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Photo by Jenfaz, via Pixabay

It also doesn’t help the biggest issue I have with buying a purebred dog. And I think you know what I’m going to say.

 

Every single town and city in America has at least one animal shelter. I volunteer sometimes at ours. They are not at full capacity.

Adopt, don’t shop. 

As an American, we’re all immigrants. We’re all mutts. Let’s embrace our fellow mutts. 

Cover art by Jeff Chabot via Pixbaby

Carry Dr. King’s lessons into the Lunar New Year

Image by John Hain

Monday ways MLK Day, the day we as a nation set aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His lessons on equality of race and economic status, as well as his calls for peace, are ones that we should honor every day, not just once a year. 

Maybe not with a giant gun rally that included several organizations with ties to Neo Nazis. But that’s another issue for another day. 

Tomorrow is Lunar New Year. Also known as Chinese New Year, it’s a celebration of new beginnings, cleaning out the damages of our past and moving forward into a new year. Kind of like the one we just celebrated at the start of this month. If you don’t know, we are leaving the year of the Boar and entering the year of the Rat. 

I love rats. I’ve had several as pets over the years and I can tell you it’s basically like having a really smart puppy you can perch on your shoulder. 

According to Chinese Zodiac, people born under the year of the rat are clever, successful, thrifty and highly likeable. So anyone having a baby this year, get that kid a savings account. They’re also the first animal of the zodiac, so this year also marks the start of the newest cycle. So that’s pretty awesome. (This information curtesy of Chinesenewyear.net.)

I’m bringing these two things up because I think it’s a sign that MLK Day is the same week as the Lunar New Year. And as this is the start of a new decade, and a new 12 year cycle, it seems like a time to make some significant, long term changes in our lives. 

Instead of making a promise to get your finances in order, or start using that gym membership, how about we all make a resolution together?

Let’s make a resolution to carry the lessons of Dr. King into this new cycle. Let’s all make

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Image by Adam Clay

an effort to speak up for those around us. Hell, for those around the world who are being persecuted. Let’s speak out against hatred, bigotry. Let’s stop seeing The Other. Let’s work towards seeing everyone as us, not them.

 

Today, right now, make a list of ways you can be an advocate for your fellow man, to stamp out hatred and foster peace. If we all do that, maybe the next time the Zodiac Wheel turns back to the year of the Rat, we can make Dr. King’s dream a reality. If not now, when?

And now I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite Dr. King Quotes.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

The price of war

I often spend time sitting at my local Dunkin, just people watching. I do something I call sketching, but what I mean is writing out little descriptive paragraphs about the people in the place with me. It’s a writing exercise.

There’s a lot of kids, of course, drinking smoothies and soaking up the free wifi. Cops and people stopping in for a coffee before or after work. There are all sorts of people, just looking for a sugar fix.

There are a lot of older men who come in. They get small cups of coffee, and they sit around making conversation with anyone who catches their eye. Many of them are not well. Some are homeless, filthy. Some are just angry. Pretty much at everything.

These men are a common sight in my hometown. They’re Vietnam vets. And once or twice a year they all get together and march in the parade. But between those times, Veterans Day and Memorial Day, we pretty much ignore them. They go into stores, sometimes causing trouble, sometimes just making people uncomfortable.

Not me, though. Well, that’s a lie. I get uncomfortable too. But I do my best to not show it. 

I do my best because these men were sent into a nightmare situation. They came backpablo(2) damaged, in body and mind. The best of them came back with night terrors. The worst of them could be said to not have come back at all. Their bodies did, and they walk around in the world. But their minds are still in the jungle. 

This generation of broken men has surrounded me my whole life. I was taught by them in JR ROTC. I had friends who were the children and grandchildren of them. My first father in law was a Vietnam vet. He once almost planted a knife in his younger son’s throat because he accidentally startled him in the middle of the night. I and many women and men of my generation have sat at the knees of these Veterans and learned well the price of war.

And yet, it never ends. My generation has sent its share of young men and women overseas. One buddy of mine had a panic attack at New Year when people started popping balloons. 

Another one killed himself last year. He left a wife and a bunch of kids. The terror of war finally got to him.

In a few decades, this town will still be full of men walking around, maybe homeless. Maybe just broken. They’ll be from my graduating class of ’05 or later years. We’re too late to change that.

But damn it, if we keep beating the drums of war, we’ll just keep breaking these kids. We’ll weaken generation after generation, not in service to our country but service to the rattling of useless sabers. We aren’t any safer. We’re just poorer.

And the next wave of broken men drinking coffee in Dunkin will be from the graduating class of 2020. 

Join me in helping the people at the American border

Some time ago I wrote a blog post in defense of the immigrants seeking asylum at the American border. 

Seeking asylum isn’t illegal, but they’ve been shoved into cages and forced to exist in inhumane conditions that I, as an American, am ashamed of.

It’s monstrous, and I’ve had enough. I bet you’ve had enough, too. 

That’s why I’m hosting a fundraiser for the groupImmigrant Families Together.

If you haven’t checked out this organization yet, you should. It’s committed to helping immigrants detained at the border post bail, get homes and be reunited with their families. This is work that I want to be involved in.

indexI hope you do too. So I’m hosting a fundraiser for Immigrant Families Together, from January 31st to February 2nd. During that time I’ll be posting a link to donate directly to the organization. 

Of course, I want to thank you for giving to this worthy cause. So, screenshot and send to me the confirmation of your donation, and I’ll send you a free e-copy of any Station 86 book of your choosing. You can do that on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Or, you can just use #PBWIFT on those platforms, and I’ll keep an eye out for you.

Now, the PBW community has never done a fundraiser before, but I bet you guys are going to shine. So I want to set our goal at $1,000 over three days. We can do it, I know we can.

If you feel the same way I do, please share this post, and the social media posts I’ll be doing over the next few weeks. We need to raise awareness not just that there are still people imprisoned at the American border and that there’s something we can do to help.

See you then, have a great day.

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