A tradition of the Halloween holiday, besides dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, and consuming pumpkin-spiced goods, is watching the movie Hocus Pocus. It’s a movie that’s become synonymous with holiday, and ever since I was a kid it is the movie to watch on Halloween. When I was younger, planning to watch Hocus Pocus on TV was an event, at least in my family. In fact, I can distinctly remember being terrified during the part of the movie when the witches attack the kids as they’re driving a getaway car and Winifred tries to pull Max through the window. These days, however, Hocus Pocus has become even more meaningful, and the magic all started when a little black cat started coming to our porch a few months ago.
Meet the newest member of our family: Binx, the black cat.
Binx pretty much adopted us as his family when about four months ago he started coming around for food and pretty much never left. Originally, he was a pretty feral cat and who would run away any time he heard or saw a human. We knew he was coming around to eat at the small bowl of dry cat food we leave out on our porch (for a couple other neighborhood cats that we feed), but soon the strangest thing happened…Binx and Shadow (one of our other inside cats) started to fall in love.
You see, we have a metal screen door and so we like to be able to leave our front door open with just the screen door closed. At night our cats, Orion, George and Shadow, love to sit in front of the screen door and watch the world outside. Well, night was also the time that Binx would always come to visit our porch and before we knew it our cats and Binx started talking to each other through the screen door. In particular, Shadow would wait for him at the door and they would meow and meow at each other, rub against the screen door on either side, and fall asleep staring at one another through the door. Even when it was time to close the front door Shadow would jump on the front window’s ledge while Binx would jump up and sit on a tall planter that sits against the window on the outside and they would continue to stare at each other through the window. It truly was magical to watch their interactions with one another.
So, of course, it was an easy decision to officially adopt Binx into our family. He truly is our Halloween cat. Given his coloring, bright orange collar, and the time of year the name Binx seemed to fit him best.
Maybe it was fate, magic, or just Hocus Pocus…whatever you want to call it..I’m just glad he’s ours.
P.S. Let us know which Halloween movie is your favorite in the comments below!
I recently came upon an article entitled Dog Given Up For Being “Too Big” Gets New Life, New Job. It was a story about Lupine, a dog from Arizona, who was given over shelter for being too big, and she subsequently has become an ambassador for large dogs. When I first saw this article I have to admit I wasn’t surprised. It’s really a sad day when I find that I’m not surprised over another inane reason someone uses to justify giving up their dog. Yet, when I read this article it really struck a chord with me because I could relate. Of course, I’m not saying that I could relate to deciding to give up my dog because she or he got too big, but I can definitely understand having a dog that grows much bigger than was initially anticipated.
You see, as a newly rescued puppy my mom and stepdad took Simon to his very first veterinarian’s appointment and was told that he would probably be about 40 to 50 pounds fully grown. Now, I know this was an educated guess since he was part of a litter of stray puppies that was abandoned at one of our local firehouses. No one knew what kind of breed or rather breeds he was, and any guess we made never seemed to fit him quite right. However, whenever we took him anywhere anybody that saw him swore up, down and sideways that he was a pit bull, and for a long time we too simply thought he was a pit bull as well.
Weeelllll….as you can tell from pictures of a more adult Simon he pretty much turned into a mystery of a dog. Don’t get me wrong, he does seem to have some pit bull in him, but personality/behavior-wise we also think he might have some labrador or boxer mixed in (or maybe even dalmatian, especially given all the spots he has on his stomach and legs). Particularly, given his coloring most people these days ask us if he’s a boxer-mix. Still, he ended up turning out a lot bigger than we originally thought he would be. Instead of only being about 40 to 50 pounds, he ended up weighing in at about 75 pounds fully grown. iUnexpected Twist!
Seriously, talk about having a dog that ended up being “too big.” Plus, along with weighing 25 pounds more than we thought, he also grew about six inches taller and a bunch more inches longer than we thought he would get as well. Yet, I can’t imagine Simon being any other way. His big and tall appearance is an essential part of him (no kidding, I know). While there are some instances I don’t like his size—like when he can reach some food left out on the counter because of his long legs and tall stature. However, his size can also make it easier for him to reach my cheek to give me a kiss.
Size Simon turned out to be.
Now, here’s what I’ve discovered from being owned by “too big” of a dog: a dog is a dog whether big or small. All dogs need exercise, both mental and physical. All dogs deserve to be walked, and have play time, and most importantly they deserve to have people that love them. Most importantly, a dog is only as well-behaved as its owner encourages. Sure, perhaps a smaller dog can’t do as much damage at one time, but they can still cause damage, be unruly and poorly behaved, and even aggressive. For instance, I have these neighbors that many years ago had two bigger dogs (about 60 pounds each) and due to lack of training, socialization, and just plain interest from their owners they just weren’t nice dogs. They were scared of people, didn’t react well to anyone, and were basically almost always left out in the backyard. Fast forward to present day and these same neighbors now have two small dogs that are exactly the same as those previous bigger dogs behavior-wise. So, what’s the common factor here you might ask? The owners. It’s the owners. Bad owners=poorly behaved dogs, no matter what size they turn out to be. Of course, a bigger dog does take up more space (or maybe they’re just a bigger lap dog), and consume more food (or perhaps they’re great French fries sharers, if that makes sense), but I can’t say there’s much of a difference between having a 50 pound dog versus a 75 pound one. Big or small a dog has so much love and companionship to give. All they need is someone to give it to and it seems that Lupine ended up with exactly the right people for her.
So here’re two paws (one from Simon, and one from Rosee) up to all you “too big” dogs out there.
Let’s just say your size means you have even more love to go around.
The story of Diggy is both sad and upsetting. If you haven’t heard, though it seems to be everywhere on my newsfeed, Diggy is a dog whose picture went viral due to his smiling face. Due to the popularity of his picture local authorities took note and threatened to take him away from his brand new home because he looks like a Pit Bull and the area that he lives in has Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Despite numerous pleas that Diggy is not a Pit Bull at all, but in fact an American Bulldog mix, and has a DNA test to prove it, his fate is kind of unknown.
Now, I’m glad that Diggy’s story has garnered so much attention. His ordeal has provided the chance to bring some much needed attention to the unfairness that is BSL. People have been given the opportunity to see just how damaging BSL is to families and how it kills dogs simply due to what they look like. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happened. Instead, of opening up a larger discussion on BSL, the focus has been kept on this one dog. The problem is that even saving this one dog from being a victim of BSL does not actually address the root issue: BSL.
I’m not going to lie, of course, and say that I don’t have a personal opinion on BSL because as the owner of a Pit Bull how could I not. I love my dog and I don’t like anything that targets my dog based on stereotypes.
Still, my logical brain doesn’t agree with BSL simply because it’s inherently unfair and biased. My understanding of BSL from what I’ve read (which can differ from area to area) is that it is based on a checklist and features that Pit Bulls typically have. If your dog fits within any of those parameters, then your dog could be apprehended. The main problem I have with BSL is that it is meant to target a specific breed of dog, yet a “Pit Bull” is not an officially recognized breed of dog. There is the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog, which are commonly all labeled under the nickname of “Pit Bull.” It doesn’t mean anything. It’s almost synonymous these days with calling a dog a “mutt” or a “mixed breed.” If people aren’t sure what type of breed a dog is, then they just seem to label it as a Pit Bull. For reals, I have read plenty of stories about dogs that clearly looked nothing like a Pit Bull, yet they were labeled as such in the article. I mean honestly, how could a tall, skinny dog with a Golden Retriever-like coat be labeled a Pit Bull at all? Even more upsetting is that BSL is based on stereotypes. Am I denying that people that have been bitten by bully breeds are lying? Absolutely not! However, why should all dogs suffer as a result? Do we still believe that all poorer people are lazy? All Jewish people are cheap? All Hispanics are Mexicans and immigrants? All women “asked for it”? No, because we know stereotypes are just that; stereotypes.
Last night as I perused my newsfeed I came across two articles about Diggy. One was a report on the fact that a veterinarian had run a DNA test on him and confirmed that he is an American Bulldog. The other was from Woman’s Day magazine and the tagline stated that the reason Diggy was in danger of losing his forever home was “absurd.”
Give me a moment…
Of course, it’s absurd! It’s absurd that a dog may lose a home just because of what he/she looks like. It’s absurd that a girl was in danger of losing her therapy animal, which was a Pit Bull, because of what he looked like. It’s absurd that a long-haul truck driver lost his dog because he dared to have a heart attack while he was passing through a town that had BSL in effect. It’s absurd that people choose to live in their cars in order to keep their dogs, or spend an enormous amount of money keeping their dogs in kennels because they aren’t allowed to keep them where they live. It’s all absurd. These dogs have never done anything wrong. They have loving homes and great owners, but are suddenly in danger of losing their lives anyways.
Furthermore, the fact that one of the main arguments people have used in favor of freeing Diggy is to say that he is an American Bulldog really displays just how little understanding there is about BSL. Bully breeds are usually what BSL targets with Pit Bulls being the main bullseye, and if it walks like a Pit Bull and talks like Pit Bull, then it surely must be a Pit Bull. Still, proving Diggy is not a Pit Bull doesn’t explain why it’s not okay for him to lose his home. It doesn’t address why he deserves to stay.
I guess the point of this post is to say that Diggy, the smiling dog, is not alone. BSL affects more than just this one dog and more than just this one family. When did we condone blanket punishments based on a biased and unclear stereotype? Let’s talk about the larger havoc that BSL wreaks, raise awareness about it, and see if we can find better ways to stop all dog attacks. (*cough*leash laws*cough*) I want owners who have misbehaving or dangerous dogs to have to take responsibility for their inability to be responsible owners. Do I enjoy getting attacked by the same Chihuahua every time I walk my dog and have it bite Simon’s face? NO! Is it okay that I’ve complained three times about this dog and yet it still gets to run around loose without supervision? NO! Yet, there are laws in place for dogs like mine who have never done anything, but look a certain way.
Sadly, Diggy’s story isn’t the first and he certainly won’t be the last dog affected by BSL. So, please, support Diggy, but not just because he’s a cute, smiley dog who deserves his forever home. Support his case because you don’t agree with BSL and want to give a voice to the many other dogs that fall victim to this policy.