Friday, March 8, 2019

Today is International Akita day

Mourning Hachi at the train station
Today, March 8th, is the anniversary of the death of Hachi, the faithful Akita who became a symbol of loyalty worldwide. Hachi had a happy life from the time he was adopted as a puppy by professor Isaburo Ueno, who loved him as though he were his own child.

Happier times - baby Hachi in 1923
After Ueno suddenly died of a stroke at the university, Hachi spent the next decade of his life mourning for his guardian, his protector, and the love of his life, continually returning to the train station where he'd last seen him.

Hachi watches and waits for Ueno, who will never return
Hachi was a gentle dog, and a peacemaker. He never started a fight, but it was said that, when forced to fight, he never lost. When he saw one dog attacking another, he would stand between the attacker and victim, and if the attacker persisted, Hachi would make him stop. Hachi was respected by the other dogs who came around the station. If dogs started fighting over scraps of food left over from the stands around the station, they would immediately stop when Hachi walked over.

Little known fact about Hachi: He had descendants, but sadly, none of them were pure Akita. His only known offspring were the result of his mating with a Fox Terrier named Debbie. One can only imagine how valuable Hachi's descendants would be today.

Professor Ueno's widow, Yae, recalls a bittersweet memory:
"Every episode of Hachi is unforgettable for me. But the most unforgettable one was the pathetic way Hachi acted when Ueno died. When we put Ueno’s bedding into the outdoor storage, Hachi sniffed out the smell of Ueno there. He went inside the storage and did not come out for a few days. I felt almost heartbroken to find Hachi cuddling in Ueno’s futon. Then, when we were conducting Ueno’s wake in the living room on the “seventh” night after his death, Hachi suddenly pushed the glass–sliding door open and came inside the living room. He then walked toward Ueno’s coffin and crawled under it. He lay down there, as if he had found an eternal place to rest, with his head down and his legs stretched out. He refused to move from there no matter how hard we tried. Observing how deeply Hachi missed Ueno, everyone present shed tears. Now, everything has become only a fond memory. I am unbearably sad, not being able to see Hachi at Shibuya Station any longer. He always greeted me affectionately."
People who knew Hachi noted that he always seemed to be sad. He didn't have it easy after Ueno's death. Although there were people who loved him, he was sometimes mistreated. On one occasion, when Hachi was asleep under the stairway at the train station in the winter, an employee threw a basin of water on him to make him leave.

Hachi's sorrows ended on March 8th 1935, when he was reunited with Ueno in the ethereal realms.

References -
The last photo of faithful dog Hachiko breaks our hearts

Hachiko: Solving 20 mysteries about the most famous dog in Japan
Japanese Movie - Hachiko Monogatari [Japan DVD] DA-5853

Monday, February 25, 2019

Ode to a beloved pet, murdered by a pit bull

There's a little movie that plays 'round and 'round,

Replays every scream, each and every sound,Not always in order: surreal, Kafkaesque,The three weeks I spent waiting for death.

Spanning two Mondays, and then several months more,Waiting for justice, and peace to restore.It's a story of the cruelty of hope,And if justice and sanity reigns...nope.

The stain that was left on the wall,The place where he finally died in the hall,And the last bit of warmth shared to me,Was a stream of pee,On my kackis knee,And I didn't care,My dog's eyes locked in a stare. 

And how I rocked holding him, and cried:Why Why WHY?And I caressed those velvet ears once more,And wept until sore,Before I went next doorto implore"Would you be a willing pallbearer?"And I took some scissors, and cut a bit of hair.And I put it away in a filigree box,A piece of my friend, his coppery locks.

I remember the drive with his body in the back of my car,To the place where we had our last au revoir.There's the blanket, his shroud, to remember him by, And a kind man met me at the gate, and gave me a few more minutes for a final goodbye. 

Then passed a few weeks,

and I got the call to pick him up....

all of him

in a little wooden box.

My once private refuge, my sacred garden, 
Is now unhallowed ground, my heart can't seem to pardon, So there's the slow death of flowers that bloomed,Instead of life..... something else loomed,

There's still a stain on the floor,There's a hole ripped in the door,My other dog did that, while I locked her away,It was she who alerted me to the fray,The one who was silent, and thrown on his backBy a granite- like beast steadfast in attack,The rest of the pack bayed, but did not join in,The owner who said nothing, but wore a proud shifty grin,And neighbors with shovels, golf clubs, and hoes,So it plays out of order, and that's how it goes.

Sometimes, the movie just starts on its own,I can be miles and miles away from my home,Something triggers the rolling of picture frames,A sound, a recounting, something looks just the same.The resulting ostinato, like the needle caught in a record's groove,My heart is racing, I can't breathe, I can't move.

I return to that time and place, with the notion,Paralyzed by the images spinning in motion.

The movie that is easily triggered to play.Inscribed in my memory, Memorial day.Plays again, each time I see that ugly head,I pass by its home, and I have to dread,If it will be him, through the screened door, I spyIf for some reason, I have to pass by,And it roars a primeval and terrible sound,And again, that damn movie, goes 'round and 'round.

This is dedicated to anyone who was privy to watching a pit bull attack, perhaps you have been told "Just Get Over It". There's an ever expanding community of us who understand.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Dog attack report - 2018 final

North America closed out 2018 with 40 fatalities from dog attacks, 31 of which were committed by pit bulls. (status updated due to corrections of old cases)

In addition to the fatal maulings, 623 North Americans were maimed or disfigured for life by pit bulls. It's important to note that even if someone is not mauled to death in a pit bull attack, their lives and the lives of their families are often irrevocably changed.

The elephant in the room, the thing nobody nobody wants to talk about, is the number of innocent pets and farm animals tortured to death every single day by loose pit bulls. It adds up to tens of thousands per year. And those animals who survive pit bull attacks are often never the same again -

Can we blame pit bulls? Dick Johnson weighs in: "That depends on how you define blame. We certainly can't pretend this bloodbath isn't happening. But on the other hand, pit bulls are simply doing what the breed was designed to do - nothing more, and nothing less. So the fault for this slaughter falls on those who insist on trafficking pit bulls into unsuspecting communities."

More alarmingly, the trends are getting worse. While pit bulls have killed more Americans than any other breed in every decade since 1851, in recent years pit bulls are killing more Americans than all other breeds combined, but a large margin. We will detail the breed distribution in a subsequent article.

In 2018, pit bulls and pit mixes killed over 3 times as many Americans as all other breeds combined. It's not from being starved, beaten or mistreated, as pit bull activists are quick to claim after every horrific pit bull attack. Do retrievers need to be starved, beaten and mistreated to make them retrieve? Do pointers have to be starved, beaten or mistreated to make them point? Of course not. So why the absurd claim that a purpose bred bloodsport dog needs to be starved, beaten and mistreated to make them do bloodsport?

Some naive pit bull activists will say, "my pit bull wasn't bred for bloodsport", which is fallacious. One might as well say, "I didn't raise this caucasian shepherd to guard my house" - it doesn't matter what purpose you think you bred it or raised it for, genetics will manifest. As the dog matures, it will begin manifesting it's genetic imperative, whether than be herding, pointing, retrieving, guarding - or bloodsport.

It's high time for real consequences. Those who traffic pit bulls into their communities need to be held strictly accountable for any violence done by those pit bulls. No token fines, or vaccination tickets. There must be heavy financial penalties, and jail time must certainly be on the table.  Attacking pit bulls need to be put down, no exception, and the owners and other responsible parties need to be targeted financially, and with prison time as appropriate.

References -

PDF of 2018 cumulative figures
Pit bulls killed 30 times more animals than human sadists
Animals 24-7 2018 dog attack report
DBO 2018 dog fatalities report
Dick Johnson, life coach and victim's advocate