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Aug. 23rd, 2013

All The President's Pets

So you want to criticize Obama? Okay, that's fine. There's a lot of things you can criticize him for, like the NSA spying on everyone's emails and phone calls (and to the agent reading my blog- can you go pick me up some Chipotle? I'm hungry!). Or you can criticize the president for authorizing those drone strikes that seem to blow up everything except the terrorists. You can even criticize him for having the government eliminate 90% of its system administrator positions out of paranoia of another Edward Snowden. Which, for the record, is a stupid thing to do, since the system administrators are the ones who help stop the hackers from getting in. Depending on your political views, you can criticize him for his views on gun control, Obamacare, the potential government shutdown... I won't judge you even if I disagree with you. Politics is a very fraught issue (especially in my family- remind me to tell you some of those stories someday).

But you know what I will judge you for? If you complain about the Obama family not adopting a pit bull as their new pet. And yes, that link leads to an actual factual, real-life editorial written by a woman who thinks the President needs to send a message with the kind of pet he has. And to do that, he should adopt a pit bull from a shelter.

There's a couple problems with that: firstly, either Sasha or Malia (or possibly both) have animal allergies. I know a lot of animal lovers don't believe animal allergies can be a debilitating problem, but my father is violently allergic to anything with fur or feathers. If we are going somewhere where there might be animals of any kind, my dad has to take a prescription histamine blocker so he doesn't go into shock. Portuguese Water Dogs are about as hypoallergenic as an animal can be: they still wouldn't work for us because my dad's allergies are so severe. However, I am also allergic to dogs (although to a much, much lesser extent than my father is) and I am alright around most curly-haired dogs, including Portuguese Water Dogs. Assuming that Sasha and/or Malia's allergies are more like mine than my dad's, a Portuguese Water Dog is a good choice for them.

Secondly, pit bulls can be dangerous. This is not true of all of them, but the fact remains that they are bred to have their jaws lock onto whatever it is they bite. Several people in my city seem to die every year in a pit bull attack. This is not to say that they are all dangerous: Sharky the Pitbull is a friendly dog that loves kittens, children, and baby chickens. At the end of this post I'll embed a video of him playing with some of his little friends, because it's very cute. But Sharky is also very well-trained. His owner got him as a puppy, and she was able to train him well. A lot of the pit bulls in shelters are adult dogs, and often they were trained for dog-fighting, or neglected and abused, and that does not make for Sharky-like pit bulls. A friend of my family works for a no-kill animal rescue, and she is one of the few people who is authorized to work with the pit bulls they end up with, because she can control them. She's a fairly large woman, 6'2” tall and 250 pounds, and she is extremely strong. She has also been bitten quite a few times and hospitalized twice after being attacked worse than usual. She loves dogs, but if you were to ask her about whether or not a family with kids should adopt a pit bull, she would tell you “fuck no.” I have seen the scars she has gotten from work, and I have to say, any dog that can do that to a woman that size probably could do a lot worse to anyone smaller. She would be the first one to tell you that you can have friendly, sweet pit bulls, but she would also tell you that adopting an adult one from a shelter is probably not a good idea unless you're specifically trained to handle them, like she is.

Again, this is not to say that all pit bulls are dangerous maniacs: Sharky is a great example. However, that sort of thing does need to be taken into account if you're going to get a dog.

Thirdly, and this might just be cultural baggage showing, but at least where I'm from, there is a huge stigma attached to the idea of suggesting that an African-American family get a pit bull. Where I grew up, the stereotype is that pit bulls are “criminal's dogs,” that people who own them are more likely to be in gangs, or drug dealers. To me, suggesting that the Obamas get a pit bull pings me as really blatantly racist. Again, this could just be a local culture thing from where I grew up, but... I don't know, it's pinging me as offensive. I remember after the election in 2008, when Obama told his daughters they could get a puppy, I remember some “haw haw I bet they're gonna get a pit bull, lulz!” from some unpleasant individuals who seemed to have less of a problem with Obama's policies and more of a problem with his heritage. It does just come off as offensive to me, suggesting that the president get a pit bull.

I realize that I might not be the best person to discuss this topic, because in all honesty, I don’t particularly like dogs. I’m actually quite frightened of them, unless I know the specific dog quite well. I don’t exactly dislike them, but I don’t particularly like them, either. Maybe someone else who has more knowledge about dogs would be better to write this sort of thing, but hey, I do what I can.

Anyway, that's enough of that. Have some Sharky, because he really is cute.

Nov. 24th, 2012

*bangs head repeatedly on desk*

(due to potentially offensive nature of this post, it will be going under a cut. Please don't click if you are sensitive to discussion of assault. Or idiocy in general. Because this is some damn stupid shit- seriously, this actually managed to offend me. And I don't get offended all that easily.)