Sympathy for the Devil: Softening Michael Vick’s Image

Let me first state my biases right up front. I am not a football fan. I do like sports, so this blog is not about “hating on jocks”.  I’m a fan of basketball and baseball.

I voted for Barak Obama out of a pure place in me based on his assertions to work towards things and get our country headed in a better place. I voted for him because I honestly think he has what it takes to make some needed changes. As for his knowledge of dogs and the ripple effects of his forgiving Michael Vick, I doubt he has really considered all there is to consider.

The HSUS and PETA have yet to make a dent in the real troubles facing dogs in the USA IMHO. That trouble is a lack of legitimate education for dog owners and the issues surrounding the breeding of dogs. The other issues which are just as pressing is the euthanizing of dogs in shelters that have not been evaluated properly or maintained in humane ways. On these fronts they both have been extremely ineffectual in educational matters despite all the money they have raised and have in their coffers to “help dogs”.

I am big a fan of dogs; especially pit bull dogs. If anyone knows anything about me they know I cannot stand abuse to dogs for any reason by anyone.

`Tis the Season

When President Obama called and thanked the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Michael Vick a “second chance” I knew things had really hit an all time low in the cultural zeitgeist about Vick. It really started to go down hill when Bill Maher an admitted dog lover said even he forgave Vick back in the summer of 2010.

All this Vick sympathy started to get rolled out ion high gear back in the fall when 50 Cent started twittering about Vick and how he was a good guy and would be a good dog owner bla bla bla…they are friends so it makes sense, Fiddy is just trying to help his home boy. And then the sports pages in Philly began to give Vick press for his football accomplishments, with headlines calling him “top dog” and other canine references.

Once Christmas and the holidays were in full swing Vick’s PR machine, the HSUS, the NFL and Vick’s own team of handler’s all went into overdrive and all of his people started a narrative about him wanting a dog.

Sure he might have opined about it but the machine that surrounds him pushed the idea. Everyone chimed in because let’s face it, Vick is now a cash cow for the Humane Society, the NFL and controversy, or even curiosity sells more than non controversy, which is why this was getting so much press attention.

In the court documents it plainly states that Vick was instrumental in the killing of dogs while he was in involved in dog fighting. However due to the fact that Vick has money and his lawyers somehow were able to convince Judge Henry Hudson to not charge him on animal cruelty charges, he alas did not get charged with animal cruelty.

The media says he did which is nice that they are saying truthful things in relation to his crimes. But the documents that came from the court do not have that in their charges on file, in the system there are no convictions of animal cruelty and abuse on Michael Vicks record. This guy was absolved of those animal cruelty charges in legal terms.

Vick was convicted on gambling, interstate dog trafficking and other dog fighting conspiracy charges, but not animal cruelty, despite his own admission to drowning, electrocuting and hanging dogs.

Vick did almost 2 years time not the 5 years maximum time for his crime, which is the maximum in Virginia for dog fighting. Vick gets out a month early from jail and then goes back to playing football for millions of dollars. That is his payment for years of killing and fighting dogs? That is paying a debt to society?

Vick was killing dogs when he clearly did not have to he had other options. He was able to extricate himself from that life, and he knew better too, let’s face it he knew it was a crime.

 After all this is a pro football player that knew what he was doing was illegal. He was not some kid without educational opportunities or chances to get out of the hood; he stayed in because well, he must have wanted to. He admitted liked it on a spiritual level. In the court documents he talks about how he and his cohorts got a “high” from fighting and killing the dogs.

In contrast Carlos Olivero was convicted of dog fighting in 2009 in Florida; he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is also not a football star, hasn’t any real money for big attorneys or connections. You get the picture. He is still in jail and did not do half of the nefarious things Vick and his cohorts did.

Vick has had his chance to get his advocacy going.

It’s plain to see from any interview that Vick is handled; by many people from religious councilors to PR people, The NFL; to whom he is simply an employee, they own him on all accounts. This is the same with all celebrities.

Along with that ownership dynamic Vick has a huge debt to repay them; he is worth millions to the NFL (and now the HSUS) so they are just protecting their investment. I can’t expect the NFL of all organizations to understand the ripple effect they’re actions of forgiving him will have on the collective consciousness; especially young men in regards to empathy for dogs and dog fighting. The NFL is after all pretty much only concerned with football. 

The HSUS is simply a fund raising operation that works under the guise of “helping dogs”. Yea they do some good stuff now and then, but by and large they are a bloated organization that has millions in their coffers and not much has changed in the US in rearguards to dogs and better welfare for them. Yes they are involved in some high profile dog - fight busts, but is that helping dogs on a daily basis? What substantial programs have the HSUS created to educate dog owners and educate shelters? The machinations at the HSUS seem to be mainly interested in media of big events, like dog fighting.

It makes sense why they would use Vick to raise money. The idea that Vick is doing charitable events and educating kids about dogs and dog fighting is ridiculous at worst and tragically comical at best. It is slightly surreal and it only holds partial water in the fact that Vick did it, and he can say “hey kids getting caught was really bad, don’t do it”, If he reaches a few kids that’s great. But is he reaching them properly?

Vick thinks he needs the HSUS and he or his people think that an alignment with the HSUS will somehow show that he trying to be educated and give back. Not to real dog people in the know it does not. For many of us it is a dog and pony show and no real education is being spread to kids, or the general pubic. It appears it’s all for Vick’s image and the HSUS bank account.

How many educational events has Vick done? A dozen or so in a year… Eh, not really a big number. He only plays football from August to January if he makes the super bowl that is, and football is one game a week at that.

That is only 5 months out of the year he is playing football; you’d think his speaking events about the dangers of dog fighting would be at least above 50 appearances by now. I mean it’s not like he doesn’t have help setting up the events.

How long would it take for Vick to shoot a 35 second commercial aimed at young kids and get that aired during football games?

Where is the big message to the world Vick is really interested in ending cruelty draped with the flimsy notion dog – fighting a “sport”? It’s pretty lame output so far all these guys. I know that the NFL just gave a large sum of money to stop dog fighting in Philly and that plays well in the media. We’ll have to wait and see if the contribution makes an impact on the ground. At least it is something.

In contrast look at the work that Vick’s former dogs Leo and Hector do year round to educate people. Leo www.ourpack.org/leo.html 

Hector http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/HectorThePitBull

You can even take a look at the Dog Town episode from Nat Geo with Vick’s dogs as another really amazing example of education about dogs.

Those of us that get out and spread the truthful word about dogs on a serious level are working towards making a dent in the ideology of kids that think dog fighting is cool or that pit bulls are monsters. We’re usually doing so on a shoe - string budget, you’d think a big football celebrity that said he “wants to be an advocate for dogs” could do twice as much. But alas he has not. I’d give him and the HSUS about a D for a grade so far.

Who is educating Vick?

The real question is who is educating Michael Vick about dogs and dog ownership so he can actually educate kids! What was discussed at these so-called educational events? The last I checked, Mike Vick, Wayne Pacelle and whomever else he has on his team have zero credentials in dog owner education. So just how effective is this PR dance for anyone except for Vick and the HSUS?

Actions, real honest actions at educating oneself as well as changing one’s ways are seen when they are sincere through actions and when they are not sincere it’s just as easy to spot. It appeared when Vick was on 60 Minutes he was at best performing a series of prepared statements. I saw no real sincerity or admission of guilt for what he did, for killing dogs. It appeared he was sorry to have been caught and not that sorry for what he did. Where was his empathy and humanity, the acknowledgement that he killed dogs and is truly sorry for doing that?

To this day there has never been a public apology from him for what he did to those dogs or to the dogs that had to endure the living conditions at his “ kennels”. No mention of the dogs that lived and made it out to be examples of true courage. The dogs that made it out ok, and are living in the world are remarkable examples of strength and endurance, just stunning beings that were able to endure pain and suffering and isolation and then really forgive people and move on.

Once you know how dogs gather information and make decisions, how they learn etc.… knowing what dogs go through will take on a whole different meaning. Once you actually understand dogs it changes the game.

This is where Vick and a whole lot of other folks that are claiming to help dogs could use a lot of help.

The media:

During the holiday week between Christmas and New Years Eve the media really focused on Obama weighing in on the Vick chatter. CNN’s Don Lemon actually said that we have “forgiven” people that are murderers, why not Vick? Really? The last I checked when someone was caught and convicted of murder they get life in prison, in some states the death penalty. Are murderers forgiven by the victim’s family or friends maybe? They have not pardoned Billy the Kid after all these years but we should let Vick off the hook for a handful of public appearances and some lite jail time? Oh yea and he throws a mean football.

Don Lemon tries to tie up the piece by saying that it’s like “LeBron James leaving Cleveland” and people “should not hate on these guys”. It is?

Since when is leaving a team for more money and better players and killing dogs even in the same realm of human actions?

The same sympathetic tone was interjecting all over the news cycle. Richard Lui and others on MSNBC took the angle of “why can’t we forgive the guy” look Obama did, this was the standard line from the media during the holiday week. Really?

This must have come down from on high, oh yea Obama said it was ok to forgive him.

Tucker Carlson says Vick should have been “executed”. While I think that is too extreme; because it really lets him off the hook, he gets to be with god and all that. It was refreshing during all this sympathy for Vick to see someone in the media have a visceral and human emotional reaction to the killing of innocent dogs by a millionaire football player. He later came back out and said it was too extreme. At least Tucker had the balls and the guts to say it.

The killing of innocent dogs by a millionaire football player That is the factual narrative, or how about “millionaire football player gets sweet deal for killing dogs”. But this redemption from “dog fighting” nonsense is ludicrous.

When the media makes light of his cruelty and takes the tone we should “ get over it” they make a large portion of their viewers sick.

Bear in mind Vick was not ordered any psychological counseling as part of the sentencing. Instead he took the religious road to rehabilitation.

The God loophole

Religion and God, the last time I checked was an IDEA, not a concrete quantifiable way to measure progress for a sociopathic man. In fact the recent Elizabeth Smart case involved a man that claimed he was “speaking with god”, god was the reason he was doing the heinous acts he was convicted of. Now Vick is talking with God and his pastors and they are helping him with his deep seeded interest in killing dogs?

Anyone can create or reconfigure the meaning of any version of god and religion and make a whole lot of loopholes in order to get away with doing things in the name of god or be removed from responsibility for saying some prayers. Real repentance is seen in actions not words.

After all millions of people were killed simply because they did not want to accept or believe a version of “god” so when you look at the whole of all religions they are filled with bloodshed in the name of god.  So why not simply say a few prayers; shed a few tears and wha la, cured! Ok, sure why not. That is a pretty sweet deal indeed.

This line sums it up for me from the movie Angel Heart when Robert De Niro’s character says “ there is just enough religion in the world to make men hate, but not enough to make them love” that about sums up religion for me. Religion could also be considered a flawed and incredibly out dated mode of self - evaluation or self - improvement IMHO. Some religious scholars even weighed in on Vick and commented that they were worried about his not having to receive psychiatric help based on the length of time he was involved in killing dogs.

The judge nor the prosecuting attorney did not order any psychological counseling because why? Because it was yet another special consideration for Mike Vick the dog killer, he did 2 years not 5, no animal cruelty charges and he got out a month early without the stench of psychological counseling to boot. I guess his prayers were answered.

Every scientific study into humans that are sociopathic killers of humans shows that killing animals is a sign that humans are/were potentially their next victims. Not always but when it is found; it’s usually 99.9% accurate.

I’m all for people having the choice of religion and a version of God that they deem fit for themselves but when it serves as a loophole for doing harm and then using it so no real consequence is delivered and no education is implemented I’m skeptical of its efficacy.

The message this sends about dogs, empathy and responsibility is a bad one for kids.

All this leniency towards Vick sends the message that dog fighting is not so bad, and that as long as you have money you can get away with it for the most part. That is by and large that is the message that most high - powered people send when they get in trouble, it could be a celebrity caught drunk driving or it can be Dick Cheney in some legal trouble, pay some money and buy your way out of it. That is what the law of the land really is on the planet.

I interviewed young kids outside the courtroom on the day Vick was sentenced. You can see some of the interviews in a video piece I did for Current TV’s website, called Vick Fair shake or Shakedown.

One young man prior to hearing the horrific acts was very upbeat, said he knows Vick is a “dog lover”, watch the young man’s change in emotion at the end of the film, after he comes out of the court room and he hears of the hangings and the drowning of dogs. His face says it all.

This is the reason why we should not omit the heinous acts of violence that Vick did when we discuss his life, so that kids young men will not gloss over his “dog fighting” past, as his past is far more cruel than allowing dogs to fight.

Hip Hop and youth culture’s attitude towards dogs.

If you do not think that pit bull dogs are still a large part of youth culture, especially in hip hop circles you have not been watching hip-hop videos.

The largest at risk group to be involved in dog fighting is 13 – 18 years of age. That is pretty much the same demographic of kids listening to hip - hop and watching football. These kids, mainly young men are being desensitized and educated in some way about dogs / pit bulls and dog fighting. Are they really getting the best message here with the Vick leniency?

I like hip - hop, I’m first generation hip - hop I came up as a youth in the 80’s and hip hop was part of the new wave and punk rock scenes.  It is primarily the music I listen to these days, not all of what is out, but enough to know what’s what in the culture. I am not some 45-year-old white dude trying to figure out what these kids are saying. I understand the culture and the language and the mindset. I know what it is to be “hip hop”, to have that “make something from nothing”, the “on the grind” world view. I live it, but I also do no harm in my pursuits.  

As KRS One said “Rap is what you do, Hip Hop is what you live”.

The common attitude in hip-hop culture is that Vick did his time; and so what these dogs are made to fight. No real big deal, they are more concerned with football, or doing their thing, I get it; it has to do with a lack of education o the subject at hand, dogs.

Vick’s name is littered in the lyrics of many hip hop artists like Snoop Dog, Rick Ross to name a few…and the pit bull dog makes appearances in dozens of videos by artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Tyga, Young Jeezy and many others.

The images in these videos are pretty docile dogs in non-aggressive scenarios, which are good for pit bulls image, and I applauded the video directors and the artists for not portraying the dogs as aggressive/mean etc. This can be a god thing for the dogs to a certain extent, but the dogs are also right there as accessories, as property as a symbol.

I’m not casting aspersions onto anyone and their treatment of their dogs and the dogs are placed in videos as an accessory.  The community of hip - hop is pro Vick, and has not focused on or is all too concerned with the overall humane treatment of dogs. I’m not hating on people here; its entertainment and I get that.

I bring this up because it relevancy resides in the fact that kids ages 13 – 18 are the largest at risk group to get involved in dog fighting. Vick could step into the breach here and put some focus on education for the artists and the fans of hip hop, if he wanted to. He is loved in hip - hop and with all the money and the attention hip - hop gets it would be nice to see some people from the hip hop world step up and lend a hand or a voice to better educate people about dogs, especially pit bull dogs.

The standard message in our collective culture is that dogs are to be owned like property and when it comes to pit bulls the standard mindset in the hood is that they are bred and built to fight.

Which is not true. Why? Genetics are not carbon copies meaning the vast majority of dogs bred to fight are not motivated to do so genetically, and the reason why so many “pit bull type” dogs are bred is because to get a dog to actually be equipped to handle the rigors of a fight dog life; well it’s difficult to produce that one or two dogs. Many dogs get tossed aside in the process in various ways. The lucky dogs become pets in good homes and the unlucky ones well…you get the idea, it’s not pretty.

The dogs in all this conversation about Vick are an afterthought for most people unless you are “in dogs”, or pit bull rescue / advocacy. It is just like this in the media and at the White House and in the NFL, hell even the HSUS wanted to just kill all of Vick’s dogs, and now we see that was a colossally bad idea. Most people unless you are a pit bull owner/lover or a dog lover don’t really know the devastation that breeding fight dogs wreaks on the sheltering/rescue canine community. It gets no real attention. The ripple effect of this public high profile forgiveness towards Vick is blurring the true ugliness of his past. That is the danger here; it will not be used as a way to educate kids.

The general consensus in barbershops and bars is Vick did his time and we should all move on. Many of would like to “move on” but Vick has been as they say in hip - hop “ Vick has been whack on his grind to school the kids and help dogs on the real”.

What the real narrative should be.

As I stated I don’t care about football. I know millions do and hey that’s cool. However consider this, when a child or hikers go missing get a pro football player go look for them, don’t use dogs.

The next time you get on a plane know that a dog at some point made that plane and that air - port safe by sniffing it for explosives.  Yes some of the best search and rescue dogs are pit bull type dogs.

The next time you ponder what life will be like when all these doomsday scenarios play out and we are back to square one think about getting a dog don’t stock up on footballs.

I’m sure precious football, or for that matter the religious books will protect you from the looters, or perhaps football will be able to catch food, dogs can also smell clean water so you can survive BTW. Generally if one is lucky enough dogs will be protection and alert systems when there is no electricity. It was said to me once by a very astute person that “it’s better to travel with a dog than a gun, as no one can take the dog from you and use it against you”, just something to consider.

What really has me vexed and millions of others consternated by all this sympathy for Vick is the continuous lack of respect and gratitude that is not afforded to dogs. Sure they get the 30 seconds on the news for a laugh, and of course the heroic fire alerting people saving dogs all get airtime. However; the next time some human sets a pit bull type dog up to fail and it does the media will be all over the story.

 What about dogs as a member of our society to be respected? Is there even a canine history museum in existence?

What about the history of dogs as a link to the human race so we were even being able to survive? The debt we owe dogs is immeasurable and yet the get tossed aside and disregarded on may levels.

In all this talk about Vick, yet no real mention of dogs, not just the Vick dogs, but dogs in general. No statement from the White House on the fact 5 million dog’s die in shelters each year.

You’d think that someone over there might have said  “why don’t we mention that people can go out and adopt a dog” or ”go out and volunteer to help dogs in shelters”, or donate food, blankets etc.… in this season of giving and forgiveness, nope none of that was tossed out from Obama’s camp or the media or the NFL. Nope not even the HSUS was offering any overt motivation to help out dogs in shelters this holiday season. Nope it seemed that propping up the fund raising face of the HSUS was better than driving people out to shelters to adopt a dog, help out or donate goods.

Amazing! In the season of giving and forgiveness the NFL, Obama and the HSUS chose to forgive a sociopathic dog killer and try and warm up the American public for him to possibly one day getting a dog? Talk about surreal and disconnected empathy.

Here are some suggestions and ideas for the media, Vick, the HSUS and the White House and for that matter anyone else that may want to weigh in on dogs, please consider focusing on these topics.

Make the mandatory sentence for the involvement in dog fighting at least 5 years or more.

In addition; mandate that people convicted of dog fighting and animal abuse must receive psychiatric counseling for one year for every year they were involved in the animal abuse or dog fighting. With a minimum of 2 years of counseling for new offenders.

All persons convicted of dog fighting and animal abuse should be required as part of their sentencing and education to take classes and or study the effects of punishments and abuse to dogs. This means studying with credentialed dog behaviorists and humane dog trainers along side their human behavior councilors. Criminals are given extensive reading work and testing, and fully supervised hands on work/observations with dogs that are being rescued and rehabilitated from abuse.

This would hopefully ensure the material is understood first hand. The goal here is to teach empathy through understanding.

Mr. Vick if you want to be an advocate for dogs as you said when you were sentenced and if you are sincerely interested in helping dogs and having people start to believe your sincerity in your desire to change. Look no further than your current home of Philadelphia PA. The shelters and rescue organizations that are in the city of Philly are always in dire need of money for operating efficiently and humanely. You can write a large check to these folks and help immensely and immediately. Hint hint the NFL can match you if they’d like.

We’ll see how the new anti dog fighting campaign goes in Philly that the NFL is backing. Hopefully it will be effective. At least you guys stepped up on that, thanks.

To the politicians…

The pet care industry is a 50 Billion dollar industry, I do not have the breakdown, but I would guess that dogs are a huge part if not the biggest part of that economy. Why is this relevant? Dog owners vote and this latest statement about Vick being forgiven by Obama, may not sit too well with dog owners when it’s voting time. In these dark financial times dogs are the one aspect of life people can count on and will find the money for. I would caution the White House and others not to offend or forget about the voting bloc of dog owners and dog lovers.

The NFL is a 9 billion dollar industry, and they only operate visibly to the public 5 maybe 6 months out of the year in prime time that is. Dogs are 74 million strong each and every day.

Each day in the US 13,698 dogs are euthanized. That is 5 million dogs a year. Half of those dogs are thought to be “pit bull type” dogs, some 2.5 million a year that is 6,849 “pit bulls type dogs” that are killed each day.

Breeding and selling of dogs in this country is appalling, people think China is bad when it comes to dogs, look no further than right here in the US. If you have not seen the HBO documentary Dealing Dogs then you really have no idea the severity of the issue. The breeding issues in the USA are a large part of our over population problem of pets in shelters and rescues.

Breed Specific Legislation - 100’s of municipalities, in far too many states and cities have some type of anti pit bull laws, and many more places are considering banning and killing pit bull dogs. Despite the millions breed specific legislation costs to enforce, the fact that bite statistics are not down but have held steady for the past 40 years, fatalities due to dogs have also held steady or increased. PLEASE someone with power and influence stop the senseless and economically unsound practice of banning “pit bulls” and other breeds.  The identification of a dog’s “breed” has zero to do with the dog’s soundness. Humans are responsible for making safe, humane decisions about dogs’ this comes through proper education not by banning dogs.  20 or 30 deaths a year at worst are attributed to dog bites, out of 74 million dogs and 300 million humans anyone can see there is clearly no epidemic by any “breed” or “type” of dog.

Stop the inhumane practices of harming dogs to “train” them by professional pet dog trainers. It may not be an issue for some, but when you are in the industry of pet dog training you see countless dogs damaged in some way by hacks and charlatans parading around as some sort of whispering gifted dog psychic and they are not remotely qualified to teach people and train dogs or decrease fear and aggression in dogs. They are stealing money from people, wasting time and causing behavior issues that make dogs unsound. Help change the laws to protect companion dogs and dog owners from abuse in dog training.

JOBS You want jobs? You might want to look at the sector known as pet care. Why? Because there are millions of jobs waiting to be created if someone would take the step and speak with some of us that are in the industry.

Think I’m overstating this? I started making money as a dog walker 10 years ago and now I own two very well established dog-training businesses. In the past 10 years no matter the economic climate I have been able to more than adequately sustain my family and live a life without working for someone else.

If I can do this on both coasts mind you; millions of others out here can as well. In this economy who would not want a job that could pay a starting salary of $30 an hour or more, and have flexible schedules?

The challenge is finding and getting the education for people interested in doing work with pets so the job can be done effectively, safely and with the assuredness of the pet owner and care provider that the dogs are well cared for. It can be done though.

There are very inexpensive and expedient ways to educate and implement people into paying positions in their communities. I’m not hard to get a hold of so if this does make it to the White House blog roll, get at me and we can start a dialog on how to create jobs in pretty much any type of community no matter the economic condition.

Education. You want to get kids into math, science and history, you want better grades have them learn through working with dogs. I guarantee you will have their attention. I’ll be starting an after school dog education program in 2011 for a high school in New Jersey. Many more schools and kids could use something similar it’s not that difficult people you just have to do it.

The times we live in

Sure dogs have it good here in the USA, but in the grand scheme of things they are considered property by law. Dogs can be taken away without any substantial reason by the law or animal control; they can be killed by police officers for merely barking at the wrong time. Think I’m over stating this? It happens at least 3 times a day in the US that a law enforcement officer kills a dog, maybe more than three times a day, three a day is 1,095 a year.

Dog “trainers” and owners and TV dog whisperers can abuse and torture dogs in the name of “training” and get away with it. Essentially we humans are able to toss away dogs without too much of a consequence. Vick and his history sadly prove that.

Don Cleary at the National Canine Research Council alerted me to this fact at a seminar we recently did together, the AVMA in their “US Pet Ownership Demographics Sourcebook 2007” it showed that only about 3% of the thousands of people polled thought of dogs as property, the vast majority thought of dogs as family members or companions. Yet the law does not reflect this.

Recently we all saw the effects of madness in Tucson AZ. The media is now focused on civil discourse and extending kindness and the like. It’s about time. Maybe we can extend this new interest in civil discourse to talking about Pit Bulls and dogs in general?

Perhaps a change in the laws across all of the United States reflecting that dogs are not simply property, they are companions, family, friends, co workers and fellow travelers on this planet in search for a better life. Any lawmakers listening?

 After all if GOD is an idea and religion is a concept, then why can’t we have dogs recognized as something more than disposable objects? At one time dogs were the foundational companions to forge a better life in the USA, the world…they served a purpose far beyond fitting into a picture that a human has of himself or herself and the dog then completes their narrative they have chosen for themselves. That is not entirely a bad thing, but it is when the dog is an afterthought.

Maybe that is the trouble with the modern human canine dynamic, the dogs need us more now than ever because us humans have messed up the planet. But some of us well, we’re too busy with other things to actually create a bond and understand dogs in order to help them.

We also need dogs more than ever. Why, because dogs are the closest thing any human can get to knowing and having a relationship with something pure, innocent and “god like”, unfettered with the human faults the dog is a god among us.

Some schools of thought are that dogs are here to teach us how to be kind, how to be patient, how to communicate with other beings that do not speak our language, how to have empathy.

I know I have said this many times before in blogs and in teaching scenarios, but dogs are the only animal that has forged an alliance with humans for the pursuit of a better life than we’d have without each other. Dogs sought us out we did not have to subjugate them. That should tell us something about the intrinsic connection dogs have with us. Remember dog spelled backwards is god.

Don’t Judge a Dog based on your supposed interpretation of the dogs “breed”. IE: Prejudice.

Pit Bulls, real honest to goodness Am Staffs, APBT’s or Staffie bulls are rare. A zillion look a likes are running around, so stop trying to identify all the dogs you see. It is about behavior. To that end the behavior of people in the media and on the fringe that malign these dogs are the real bullies, the real menace. The people that “think” hey know what they are speaking about are the worst kind, because they know in their heart of hearts they don’t know anything about “pit bulls” other than they don’t like them, well to those people I will say this; That is not a good enough reason to ban pit bulls, kill pit bulls or keep hate speech going.

One thing you will not find in the pro pit bull camp is the refusal to believe that yes, some dogs get caught up in some horrible situations and end up doing bad things. Where is the understanding from the anti pit bull crowd, that dogs are the by - product and the result of human behaviors, human actions, humans are the bigger brained species and we should to take a full collective responsibility for all dogs because we are an empathic species, are we not?

Once we ALL start understanding the concerns, which is dog behavior and how human behavior effects that, we’ll be well on our way to addressing everyone’s concerns and actually decreasing problems associated with dogs in general. Until then we’ll have what we have now. Is this good news?

Perhaps our world has gotten too big, too fast, too consumed with money and power and fame and greed and wealth and celebrity to really help the innocent and not look past evil acts, for it runs the dangerous risk that we may not learn and grow from them. Perhaps these are the tenor of our times, perhaps; but I’d like to think that it’s all the more reason to get really involved and help out and create the change we all so desperately need and want.

We’ll see….