Tuesday, October 11, 2005
  our visit to miami-dade animal services
WARNING: i am totally on a rant here. but what else do you expect after i, stacey, visit an animal shelter?

this is where i got leia, too. leya? i dunno how i spelled it for the one week that i was a dog owner. kinda. (it was byron's parents' dog, but i picked her out and i got to dog-sit for like five days.)

anyway, alli had to dispose of poor little esmerelda somehow, so she talked to the animal control people and they said she could bring esme in. as long as she was there, alli figured, she'd take a look at the cats up for adoption. after all, dino needed a friend. that's why esme went to her in the first place.

i stayed over at alli's the night before, on friday night. we ate pizza and watched french kiss. yeeeah, we know how to live it up on south beach. :D we talked a little about esmerelda and how sad the whole thing was. the one thought that consoles me is that 90% of esme's life was spent being a very beloved kitten, nursing on mama and playing with her brothers and sister. the thought that will still tear me up, however, is the fact that she just left the bedroom a month ago. picturing the little kittens when they first started venturing out of the bedroom.. first started exploring their little four-room world (and the porch!).. well, it's a very sobering fact about how she had just started life. i'm very sad that she couldn't have died at my house, with mama there. esme had tried to nurse off of alli's cat dino (young cats do that sometimes), so i can't help but think that nursing would've comforted her.


the shelter

so we were sent to the line where people were there to surrender their animals. yes, that's my favorite place to be on a saturday afternoon.

some folks were bring in some kittens they found behind their house. i, of course, had to go check them out in the box they were being kept in and was immediately relieved that mama had her kittens in my house. these poor things.. they were just tiny. super thin. crusty eyes. one was laying on the bottom of the box and panting. i went to ask for water for them and some nice guy followed me back out and just took the box inside, to put them where it was someplace cooler. oh, it's so nice to be understood! i'm always the girl at wal*mart, trying to get some dumb associate to take the one fish out 'cause the other ones are picking on it and just love it when people look at me like i'm crazy.

the doomed cocker

the guy immediately in front of us was bring in his cocker spaniel. i heard him speaking in spanish with a girl in the line about why he was there. he said he didn't have time to give it the exercise it needed.

when he reached the front of the line, the animal control worker asked him, "is this dog aggressive?" he immediately answered affirmatively. all i could think was, lady, way to go giving him a damn excuse. "just so you know then, sir, he will be put down. we won't adopt out animals that are even the least bit aggressive. i wanted to be honest with you." he then went on to detail about how he tries to attack everyone, he took the dog to the groomer and he went after all four of the people there. i had pet the dog already by this point, mind you. while the lady tried to stress to the guy that the dog would be put down (so you may as well just pay the euthanasia request fee, sir, rather than the surrender fee, is what she was saying), i pet the dog again. he made a face at me that made me snatch my hand back. so, okay, the guy may have a point. but still - the dog had never bitten anyone, he was nice to his owner.. is that really grounds for a death sentence? and why did the guy change his story? i stood there muttering "asshole" under my breath the whole time he was being interviewed by the animal control worker. then as they led the dog away, i got choked up. when it was our turn to talk to the lady, i just blurted out, "how can you do this job?" i see what she was doing; she was trying to make the guy take the dog back. most people, (people with hearts, mind you), that had taken care of a dog for a year+.. if they were told the dog would have to be killed.. well, that may make people think twice about surrendering it, right? blah.

this was a cocker spaniel. i've heard that breed can be aggressive. another reason why people should go to the pound and adopt a mutt that they like rather than just buy a random dog because it fits the breed/look you want. (need i remind you that they have purebreds at the shelter ALL THE TIME?) my sister who bought the mini dachsund didn't listen to my bit of advice on that and three years later has a dog that snaps at her son. but she wanted a cute little wiener dog. and now she wants to get rid of it. she was going to put it on the free ads in the paper. if i had been there in person when i heard this, i would've smacked her. yes, the dog is a jerk. but the dog loves her and she loves the dog. she at least owes it more than giving it to god knows who.. how would she feel if dummy poco went to an abusive home? or to people who gave up on poco after a month and then what.. ?
don't get me started on my other sister who bred her lab for a little before fixing her.

people suck

so then the lady behind us had just a gorgeous dog. big, beautiful, mostly-white mutt. she overheard alli tell me it was a no-kill shelter and exclaimed, "oh, thank god, i feel so much better." i was instantly disgusted and all i could think was, "this lady is not going to feel OKAY TO ANY DEGREE about abandoning this dog." i understand people have circumstances, ya dig? but this poor dog, it deserved better. it stood in line wagging its tail, with no clue that its future for who knows how long was a lonely cage in a stinky shelter. i think if you have an animal that depends on you, that loves you, that trusts you.. if your circumstances require you to not have it any longer, you owe it at least finding it a decent home. find a relative. talk to your friends. don't just abandon it. and all this outrage came out in a disguised wondering out loud. "well, that just means that they keep them here until they're adopted. and what if they're not?" i said to the lady. "is that really even better than being put to sleep? having to live in a lonely shelter for the rest of your life?" she shut up, knowing she had not found a friend that would understand in me. whether what i said was true or not - i'm no even going to ponder the thought - i hope it made her think a little. dogs are just.. so loving, so trusting.. dogs get sad when you leave to go to work. can you imagine the depression at an animal shelter?

excuses, excuses

i may be being too judgmental. maybe the lady had a valid reason for getting rid of the dog. maybe it tries to, i dunno, eat her every time she goes to sleep. okay, i would understand that. but i am a regular reader of craigslist and see entirely too many giveaway pet ads saying, "I'm moving," or "My new apartment doesn't allow pets." gee, you think you should've taken your DOG into account before CHOOSING that apartment then? and what, they don't allow dogs in phoenix? i'm just over people and the way they throw away their pets. if you want to be able to shed your animals when you tire of them, get a fish.

fish sidenote

i went to clean my betta's bowl the other day. i put him in a tupperware container with water, as usual. so his new water can get to room temperature, you know. i went to check on him later in the day and he was gone. gone! so i am guessing elliot got him. ate him. sorry, little phinneus!

instant karma

alli, bless her, went into the shelter with the idea that she would adopt the least adoptable cat there. "three legs? one eye? bring 'em on." she was excited to see the polydactyl cat, but i told her that's actually a bonus for some people. it was a beautiful cat anyway. a beautiful white and ginger cat that looked like it was wearing mittens. :)

i spent my time playing with some tiny black kittens and a hyperactive tortie kitten that i wish i could've taken for byron while alli checked out the cats. she inquired about a nice black medium-haired cat that was honestly just the sweetest thing ever. a grown-up cat that meeped for attention! and she would sit there while you held her, purring.

onto the second cat room, where alli saw a big bruiser girl of a cat. a surrendered cat. "she's been here since august!" alli said. wow. all the other cats' intake dates were in october. this poor girl cat had been sitting in her shelter cage for a month+! alli asked to hold her. the cat obliged. and then the cat shed all the hell over her. we noticed the random lightning streak on her back of white fur. both were dino traits, so alli knew it was her cat. during my cat search (for which elliot was my reward), someone said to me that picking out a pet was something like falling in love; sometimes there's just something about an animal that makes you know it's yours. and it's so cute how that actually does happen. i knew elliot would be a good cat under all that cowering exterior. alli knows she will love jass. yes, her name was jass, but don't worry - alli is renaming her to a bond girl name.

she's picking her up tonight. i'm so happy she did such a nice thing. good karma for alli!

i had an idea while i was there, after seeing all those cats and peeking my head into the dog rooms. i wouldn't even go in there, though; cats are a little depressing at a shelter, but dogs are heartbreaking. there are something like 300 animals at that facility every day... yet, every day, people are paying hundreds of dollars for dogs from breeders and pet stores. and then they wind up with dogs like my sister's dachsund.. because they were looking for breed/status over personality. so i think, fine, if you want to buy a dog, go ahead. but first, you have to take a tour of your local shelter. find a dog you like there. play with it. and if you're still okay with buying a dog over saving one, go ahead. i think that'll get you a bit of karma as well. unfortunately, there is no one to implement this idea. the best idea i can come up with is pelting people at pet stores with cream pies, PETA-style, if they haven't done their shelter tour. pelting, ha ha, no pun intended.
I read stuff like this and realize even more why I love you as a friend! I had to stop even looking in the shelters. I start crying and want to take all of them home. I'm a firm believer in that you get a pet, it's yours for life, theirs or yours, whichever comes first.

And I like your mandatory shelter visit idea!
You rock.
Actually, before you bitch at people about not being able to move a pet. Just think if you were REQUIRED to move, couldn't stay in that apt, and how poor you think you are. You couldn't FIND an apt that allowed pets (so many when I moved to Livermore) or you had to pay $1000 deposit to have pets, and even then you could only have 2 cats (yes they do this) or the dog had to be under 75 lbs (yes they do this). So instead of thinking people are super insensitive and decide to take an animal to a shelter in hopes that it gets adopted because if they TRIED to take it will them, THEIR life would be that much harder. despite what I know YOU think :P I think human life has more value than animal.
oh yeah and btw, we just had to pay 220 bucks to find out Nya's leg bone is crushed at the knee and there's nothing we can do about it, except later pay more money to get part of it cut off (when she's done growing) and you can bet that if something major happens again, she will have to go to someone that can afford to pay to fix her, cause we can't even send Bayvin to daycare, I'm not about to continue spending hundreds on a dog.
exactly the kind of answer i'd expect from you, ering; thanks for not letting me down.

1) sure, there are apartments that don't allow pets, but there are apartments that do allow pets. find one. i had to do apartment hunting myself in april and knew well enough to skip right over all the "no pets allowed" ads.

2) every apartment has some stupid deposit requirement, but do you really think people actually pay that crap? i should have paid $125. i have a friend who should have paid $200 and another who should have paid $350. i lucked out with my landlord, while my one friend just didn't mention her cat and the other snuck it in. people quite often look the other way when it comes to those types of things.

and okay, can i just say that you suck? "I think human life has more value than animal." this is never a question of life or death for the PERSON, ering, so don't act like it is. it's a "person must actually look for an apt. that allows pets" or "the dog could very well be put down" question. and if you even dare to say the human's ease of finding a place to live is more important than the dog or cat's happiness and *ability to continue to live*, then i feel sorry for you. after all, that human took on their pet as THEIR responsibility.

and like i said, if your situation actually demands it.. then find an alternative for your pet! i know a couple who took in a stray that did not get along with their pug at all. didn't fit in their lifestyle. so they found the stray a new home, which was perfect for it. happiness all around. but they didn't just drop it off at the shelter.

sorry about your vet bill, ering, but the way you talk about it makes you look like a very, very ugly person.

if you think this is mean or whatever else, go ahead; you are very aware of my feelings and my passions and if you want to provoke me, expect me to be speak my mind.
see that is the issue, you can't see anyone elses point of view when it comes to pets, if its different from yours, its ugly. people get pets, because they like them, they totally feel like they can offer them a better life, shit happens. They have to give them away or have to take them to a shelter. And about the apartments, you're lucky in florida, cause when i moved to Livermore, I found about 3 apartment complexes I could AFFORD to live in, none of them accepted pets, and only ONE had an apt available and I was lucky I responded to my phone or I would have been shit out of luck. Stuff isn't always so easily over looked, you don't get to luck out sometimes.

And feeling so horrible about a person that has to take a pet to the animal shelter and can't do anything about it being put down, they aren't purposefully sending it to its death, the animal shelter is. And there are people that think PETS are PETS, they can't pay the bills, they can't do your taxes for you. You always have to do what's best for YOU, not what's best for your pet. And like out here in california, you can't always give away your animals to someone because there are so damn many out here.

And excuse me for thinking that I could get a pet and everything would be fine and I could afford to feed it and get its shot, I didn't expect it to be stupid and bust its leg and have to put money on a credit card to keep it, or I wouldn't have adopted it. Don't worry I'm an equal opportunity hater, because I'd feel the same way if it was the cat.

But also to put a post up and bitch about how other people have to live, you should expect to get shit for ripping them a new one.
agh, i don't even have the energy to read your big, ugly response. and i can't even begin to tackle how screwed up it is for a girl who doesn't even have a job to complain of financial woes.

conversation, ended.
Wow, I cat fight over cats! This is better than the blog!

I know, Stacey and Larke can Jello Wrestle for a $200 gift certificate to petco!

Actually Stacey, but reading the comments, my comment was.....

How could you give your beta fish a DEATH SENTENCE for cleaning his bowl and leaving him in range of your cats?
Been reading several of your cat fights. Sounds like this girl is very unhappy because life may not be how she wants it right now. She also sounds very close minded, not acceptant of other opinions. Life sucks for you. Maybe your energy would be better used at bettering yourself and becoming happy again.
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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