Passionate About Going To The Dogs

"I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am." - Unknown

I do; knowing I'll never get there, I still do. It's only fitting to close out February's "Passionate About" posts with something I feel very strongly about - helping the innocent little four-legged creatures of this world find loving homes.

If you're asking what this has to do with a fashion blog I'll show you. For starters, how would you like to give a dog a new coat?



Mr Spashionista and I literally found this dog in a ditch on our way into town one Sunday morning. He was suffering from Demodex, which is a hereditary form of Mange, joints that had doubled in size due to infections, and starvation. It took me three days to find a vet that would even see him, and he was only given a 10% chance of survival.

Less dramatic by far, but no less important, this dog was prematurely separated from it's mother and full of parasites when I picked her up from an acquaintance's yard because I was told she and her litter mates were headed for a facility I knew would euthanize them.



Now I'm going to tell you that if it were up to PETA both of these dogs would very likely be dead. I know that many fashionable people lend their names to PETA campaigns, but if you are a member or contributor you should know the facts as they relate to rescue and adoption.

It's been well documented from public records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by PETA Kills Animals that PETA "killed a staggering 89.4 percent of the adoptable pets in its care during 2012... According to records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA killed 1,647 cats and dogs last year while placing just 19 in adoptive homes. Since 1998, a total of 29,398 pets have died at the hands of PETA workers."

The organization also supports Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) which, according to Stop BSL, are laws that "ban or restrict certain types of dogs based on their appearance, usually because they are perceived as “dangerous” breeds. A breed ban usually requires that all dogs of a certain appearance (“targeted breed”) be removed from [a] municipality. After the effective date of the ban, dogs in the municipality that are identified as targeted breeds are usually subject to being killed by animal control, though in some cases, such dogs may be saved if relocation is an option."

In many cities and towns that have BSL ordinances the little brindle pup pictured above in the first two photos would be killed because he clearly has Pit Bull characteristics.

According to Humane Watch in 2008 the Humane Society "paid less than one-half of one percent of all that money to organizations that do hands-on dog and cat sheltering—the functions its TV ads suggest are HSUS's main focus". In an interview for North Carolina's WRAL Wake County SPCA Executive Director Hope Hancock stated "groups like the Humane Society and ASPCA do good work. The problem is that many donors think they're the parent groups of local shelters, but they're not."

There's an excellent article about the collective impact PETA, ASPCA, and the Humane Society have on ultimately undermining the very causes Americans have contributed $300,000,000 per year for them to champion called Who Is Really Standing For Animals that I encourage every pet lover to read. The piece, which makes a solid argument for the "No Kill Equation", states that "Nationwide, there are four million animals being killed in our nation's shelters every year. Animals entering the average shelter in America today only have a one in two chance of making it out alive and in some communities, only one out of 100 do. This is a national tragedy." For every child that needs a loving home there are four dogs waiting for the same privilege.

The point of this post is not to criticize.  It is to present information you may not have been aware of, to encourage you to examine these issues for yourself, and most importantly to act based on your own conclusions. There are well-intentioned, decent people working within each of these organizations. But, in many cases, the machine has become too big to best serve it's own cause.

Below are my personal feelings on the subject.

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If you live in Nashville and would like more information please check out No Kill Nashville and Concerned Citizens to Reform MACC (Metro Animal Care and Control). Lots of fashion related posts next month, I promise. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go hug my dogs.

Do Your Best - Results May Vary

This is only my sixth post and already I have met some wonderful ladies through their comments on SR. I think that warrants a little more personal information from me. An addendum to The Palsy.

I live in a little house just outside of Nashville, Tn with my husband and my two dogs. I can't drive so I spend the majority of my time at home. I'm not from Tennessee but I've come to appreciate the scenery and the peace and quiet that comes with living in a rural area. I'm not exactly the outdoorsy type. Scratch that, I'm not even close to the outdoorsy type. My idea of camping is only one bathroom and no computer. Two years ago this week our home was nearly destroyed by the 2010 flood aftermath aka the Army Corps of Engineers' genius plan. It has taken us this long to rebuild it with no shortage of amazing people stepping up to help - some of them from as far away as Liverpool, UK. We're not quite done with it but our involuntary remodel has resulted in a better, more accessible house than we started with.

My dogs have a big fenced-in yard to run around in and I walk with them for exercise. As I get older I've come to understand that any mobility I have is a privilege and it's use it or lose it time.  Four years ago I had to have neurosurgery to repair a cervical vertebra that had literally turned onto it's side and  left my right arm completely numb. It was likely the result of my efforts to become the world best Spastic Chef. Whatever; it was surgery or inevitable paralysis. As I've approached and passed the half century mark on this planet I've also had to work through a severely pulled hamstring, sciatica, and carpal tunnel - in my palsy hand of all places!

Poor me. Boo hoo. Nobody cares about any of that when they meet me. It's up to me to do the best I can to look as good as I can muster at any given moment so I can engage the people I'm interacting with. After my neck surgery I wore a scarf around my neck brace. It didn't occlude the brace, it just showed I cared enough to wrap it in something beautiful. Likewise until my neck healed I couldn't wear pants that had buttons or zippers so I found the prettiest skirts or pull-on pants I could and made sure the elastic didn't bunch and was covered up. It was the best I could do.

There are days when I don't feel like wearing much makeup or fussing over my clothes (yes, really) but I've set things up in such a way that even if I'm in a rush I know how to make myself look presentable. I'm sure all of you have seem the fashion makeover shows on TV. Don't you find it odd that they never makeover a Palsy? That's because their rules only take into account bodies that move correctly with clothes that fall over lines that are not twisted by spasticity or caught in the spokes of a wheelchair. Their bags won't sit in the crook of an elbow encased in a crutch, their stilettos are the ideal setup for a Spaz pratfall in 0.02 seconds.

So what are we, chopped liver?

The rules are different for us. I've figured out a few of them and I'll be sharing them here. It is my sincerest wish that all of you reading this won't hesitate to share your particular challenges and any workarounds you may have found.  It's high time we showed the world what we're made of!