Friday, September 3, 2010

A "Dogged" Defense-- My First "Deleted" Post-- Bad Reviews

I can't sleep.

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog which in passing mentioned Bear-Bear, the dog in Maryland shot by an off-duty police officer at a dog park. I have posted two other blogs about Bear-Bear. I am appalled by the event and have made an effort to make the story known to my few readers because I thought it was important.

This last piece I wrote that mentioned Bear-Bear I have deleted. It was poorly written and did not coherently make my point. I apologize to the readers of the piece for my poor writing. I dash off most of these stories in a few minutes, and they are often stream-of-consciousness stuff and usually only lightly edited. I didn't make my point clear, and feelings are raw about the shooting of an innocent dog by a trigger-happy police officer.

I would also like to make it clear that I am not "anti" dog park or against dogs running free in appropriate areas. It is true that I don't take my Lulu to dog parks. She is skittish. We believe she suffered mistreatment before we adopted her, and she is very protective of my family. I wouldn't put her in a position where she might hurt another dog or be attacked herself because of her anti-social "vibe." She plays in my large back yard with my children's dogs when they visit.

Now I am going to make a jump here, so stay with me. I have had my work reviewed before. In print, by editors, and even by my mother-in-law. Bad reviews hurt. In one case, a review of a short story of mine was quite glowing though they did have a quibble or two. I remember the quibbles. Always. I do not write only for the money alone, but because I like it and quite frankly, because I like good reviews.

I posted a link to my last, now-deleted blog entitled "Don't Live Vicariously Through Your Dog" to the Justice for Bear-Bear FB page. Several people who read the piece didn't understand it and skewered not only the piece, but me. It hurt. Not only that, but they insulted my dog. That's worse! Now, if the people had not been so personal, I would not be writing this. But some people were quite nasty. Like I said, feelings are raw about the Bear-Bear story, and I wrote badly. I take the blame for that.

Some folks see me as a self-aggrandizing hack. Probably guilty, I admit. I have cashed a lot of checks for my hack work. I have published hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers, and online. I have written ad copy. A dozen of my short stories are in print. I suppose I fooled a lot of folks in my time. For those who were so outraged about my "Vicariously" blog, I will never convince them I am anything more than a hack. My suggestion: Don't read my blog. Those same people have been kind enough to point out my lack of readership. Again, they needn't have wasted their time. I am well-aware that I don't have a large audience.

When I started this blog I decided to try to post different and interesting stories about dogs. Now sometimes it is stretching to say that my blog is about dogs at all. One of my reviewers said my blog was, what was it, self-absorbed or something. Well, it's my damn blog and I'll write what I want to. I decided early on that I was not going to rely on cute puppy pictures to gain an audience. That's the way it's going to be. I write about myself, my dog, my feelings, Mel Gibson, Sarah Palin, werewolves, etc. etc. My blog-- my subject. Would I like to have 15,000 readers? You bet. But I won't cave to get them. Don't like the blog, don't waste your time on it. It's that easy.

My FaceBook page that connects to this blog lists animal adoption agencies. I have over 60 in my database so far. Occasionally a reader will post a dog for adoption onto their FB page because of my reminders. Thanks. That is my mission. To help dogs in need.

Now, we will jump again. I was trying to make a point in my "Vicariously" piece about responsible dog ownership. Let me try to do it more plainly.

There are untold numbers of dog bites in the United States each year. Service people like meter readers and postal carriers are sitting ducks for an out of control animal. Dog bites cause pain, lost days from work, and often the offending pet is euthanized.

In the last ten years or so, out of control dogs have caused three deaths in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two of those victims were children. Another, more famous victim, was a well-liked coach of lacrosse in Marin County.

One young boy in the East Bay lost his face to an uncontrolled pit bull.

People who like to be "tough" because they own agressive dogs are turning in those dogs in record numbers. Check your local shelter. Countless pit bull mix dogs are waiting for good homes. Those are the dogs that are able to be placed. Other dogs are destroyed because they are too agressive to go home with anyone.

People who thought Paris Hilton's Chihuahua was just too, too cute and, oh boy, it fits in my purse, are turning in Chihuahua mix dogs in record numbers. Again, check your shelters. Wanting to be tough or fashionable is no reason to own a pet.

Quick jump again. In every case that I know of personally where a dog has bitten someone, the owners were dismayed that the bite victim harassed their dog by placing an apendage into the dog's mouth. Americans are indignent when asked to control their animals. Again, an agressive dog is apt to take an one-way trip to the shelter to be destroyed.

In the case of the two children who were killed by pit bulls, both sets of animals were apparently kept inside most of the day. You don't even want to know what the owners of the dogs who killed the lacrosse coach had going on with their pets. I'll just say that they mistreated those animals in a way most folks can not even imagine.

Several dogs about a month or so ago in Golden Gate Park attacked several passers-by including a 70-year-old woman. One of the dogs was shot while police were trying to subdue it. Authorities believe the dogs belonged to the homeless who camp in the park. No one claimed those dogs and I assume they have been destroyed.

We owe both our dogs and our community a safe environment. Dogs that live in parks, in dark garages, or in tiny cages are being mistreated. Loose dogs are being put in a bad situation. Don't think so? Talk to the people at Baja S.A.F.E. about dogs running "free" and loose in Baja without food, water, or a vet's care. Talk to my sister who told me just today that dogs in Jamaica, where she lives, are poisoned if someone's goat goes missing. Check out the squashed dogs on the freeways because someone let their dog run free or ride in the back of a pick up unsecured. It ain't pretty.

I hope I have explained my point better this time. If not, you are free not to read this or any of my blogs. Nonetheless, I will continue to plod along, writing badly, expressing my opinion badly, and sending these blogs into the great ether of "unreadness." But not next week.

For my readers, I am taking a week off to coincide with my wife's vacation. We're going to relax, do a few projects around the house, and prepare for our second grandchild, a girl, who is due to make an appearance late this month or in early October. I thank you for your attention.

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