An Early Morning Soapbox

This morning, as I was feeding Little Bear, I was scrolling through Facebook as I always do. I came across a picture that I, for some reason, felt compelled to comment on:

My opinion of this picture was basically this; that it made me sad to see such a young puppy with his ears cropped, and also that the adult dog was, frankly, hideous. I think the specific words I used were “an abomination of irresponsible breeding”. Maybe that phrase was a little dramatic but, at that moment, that’s how I felt. A big part of me feels incredibly and intensely sorry that poor dog. He has obviously been bred for the specific reason of looking like that (I say that because how do you even describe that look? Seriously, if he were a human he would be a cast member on the Jersey Shore.), and for no other reason. He may be good at obedience but certainly can’t perform any athletic activities. Truly, if he were even to attempt to run I fear he might pass out before he got more than 5 yards. And what kind of life is that for a dog? He will undoubtably have knee and hip problems from too much weight being put on his joints. I just find it incredibly unfair to breed a dog to look a certain way when you know that it’s going to cause the dog problems and possibly make him be in pain.

Well, clearly my point of view on this photo is not shared by the others that were commenting because there were many negative responses being thrown my way. I was, to my own admission, unaware that this is actually a breed of dog called an “American Bully”, a mix of APBT, Staffie, and Mastiff. And they all look like this. Once I was made aware of that fact I was even more disturbed. Mostly by the fact that I, as well as a lot of other people I know, have been referring to these dogs as a fad by Pit Bull breeders and calling them “Hippo Pits”. But also as a Bully advocate that 1) People are going to automatically associate this dog with Pitties. Because they associate every breed of dog that looks any where close to this with Pitties. So now not only is there another breed of dog for us as advocates to protect, but there’s also another breed of dog for us to try to keep out of shelters. 2) While I’m sure that these dogs have a great temperament (given the types of dogs they are bred from), they all have cropped ears and look like they they’ve been hitting the juice pretty hard. Which will make people think they are aggressive, because people judge dogs on how they look. Which again, as advocates, makes our job that much harder. 3) We already have a HUGE problem of Bullies overcrowding our shelters, and until that gets under control I believe that breeding should be very limited. We just don’t need any more dogs and puppies being sold by backyard breeders when there are thousands of good dogs dying in shelters everyday. RESPONSIBLE breeding, for the betterment of the breed, is one thing, But this is clearly not that! This is breeding a dog for a look and that is all.

The other problem people seemed to have about my comment was the cropping of the puppies ears. I got responses like “Do you know ANYTHING about dogs? You have to chop their ears off before they’re twelve weeks so that they heal properly and they’ll be in less pain.” I was done with being in a “Facebook fight” at that point, because it’s stupid and trivial. But here’s what I said to myself. “Uh yeah, I do know something about dogs, probably a lot more than you do! And what you’re saying is that you have to cut a dogs ears off, and you should do it while they’re young so that they’re in less pain.” Now, I’m one that is against ear cropping. Period. It doesn’t matter what breed of dog it is, Dobie, Dane, or Pittie, there is absolutely no reason other than a cosmetic one to crop a dog’s ears. And why, if you love dogs would you want it to be an ANY pain at all?? And one more point, as far as AmStaff’s go, when it comes to show dogs the AKC prefers natural ears. So there goes your cosmetic argument. It just upsets me. And that’s my personal opinion…which I’m entitled to and don’t need fifteen people calling me stupid or ignorant when I express it.

So there, that was my soapbox for the day.



The Cone of Shame

South Carolina is HOT! This Summer’s heat has been unbearable for almost everyone, but for a dog from The Netherlands it’s downright torture. Roo’s skin simply can’t handle the heat, humidity, and mosquitos that are a pre-requisite accompaniment to it all. Last summer wasn’t too bad…a few hot spots here and there, easily taken care of by a few sprays of Betagen. This summer is a whole different story. He is literally eating himself alive. And so, he is forced to wear the cone of shame…

He is so miserable, but then again, chewing himself until he bleeds can’t exactly be a good time.

Rooney has allergies year round, these include shellfish, duck, grains, and mosquitos. If he comes into contact with any of these things his entire body breaks out into some of the worst hives you’ve ever seen. Come Summertime you can add grass to that list, and even if we are painstakingly diligent about making sure he avoids all allergens (except grass…that’s pretty much impossible) the heat alone is enough for him to break out into a few dozen welts.

I was hoping that after last summer his skin would adjust to living in the South. After all, he’s now been here just as long as he lived in Holland. Unfortunately that just didn’t happen; and it seems like it never will. The vet and I have had many conversations on the state of his skin and she seems to think that it’s just something we’re going to have to try to manage from here on out.

Management, unfortunately, is not an easy task. We’ve gone through countless brands of food, at least three different sprays, several rounds of steroids, added a few oils just to get his skin “under control”. His coat still doesn’t look the way it did when we lived in Amsterdam, and I’m sad to say I don’t think it ever will…unless we make an unforeseen move up North. After much experimentation our current concoction for less itchy skin is as follows:

2 Oatmeal & Aloe baths per week                                                                                    A complete body spray down of “fast relief hot spot spray” three times a day                A spray down of organic mosquito repellent every time he goes outside                          1 tsp of Olive Oil mixed into his food twice a day                                                             1 anti histamine a day                                                                                                       A diet of grain free red meat/vegetable dry food

Whew! Poor thing, I know he’s miserable. It must be a kin to having the chicken pox for three months out of the year….all you want to do is scratch but your parents won’t let you! Hopefully this new regiment will make him feel (and look) at least a little better!