Anything Lime


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Animal Rights category.

To get to the other side

Woke up 30 minutes late. Had a mental breakdown while trying to dress myself. Wore my hair up because of the matted-down sweaty look from having slept on it. Typical morning stuff.

I was finally on my way to work with an estimated time of arrival of 9:07 – math I did while sitting at my first of 17 red lights – when I saw an innocent creature attempting a death-defying feat. A turtle was trying to cross the road. In the land of normalcy, you drive by, maybe ignore the turtle or at most think a good thought for it and hope it makes it across. In the land of Whitney, this falls into the CATASTROPHE!! column and ranks right up there next to a bomb in a maternity ward set to go off at the sound of a baby’s cry and blow the entire Midwest off the map. Needless to say I re-focused my energy and made this turtle my first and foremost priority. Because sometimes there are more important things than hunger and world peace.

I pulled the most illegal of U-turns and parked my car on the wrong side of the road in the exit lane of a driveway headed into a nook housing business buildings. That might be hard to follow or picture in your mind, but just understand that it was risky. And James Bond-ish. Well, more like Jack Hanna meets James Bond. Yeah, that’s probably pretty accurate.

I got out of my car – other vehicles flying past – and looked forward at my little shelled amigo who had by now made his way into the center of one of the two lanes on this road. Cars were honking and swerving to miss him. My heart pounding, I got the scare of my life (or so it seemed at the time) when a big black Escalade came speeding toward the turtle. It seemed to happen in slow motion as I flailed at the driver, and then the turtle and I seemed to perform the same series of movements as though we were a pair of synchronized swimmers moving through a choreographed routine. Both of us extracted all of our extremities into our mid sections. My head was completely buried in my arms and neck, wondering whether I should even look up. My heart broke at the thought of him being squished, but I lifted my head and was overcome with a feeling of relief. I puffed up my chest and took commanding steps into the road. Horns were honked, middle fingers were thrown, but I managed to STOP TRAFFIC WITH MY BODY in order to grab the turtle. And by God, I was proud.

He was much bigger than he looked from the side of the road. I scooped him up with both hands and ran him to his destination – the other side of the road. He poked his head out a little and showed me his eyes. This is why I save animals – because even though he couldn’t speak to me and tell me he was grateful for the lift, I knew he was. And that makes it worth it. That look in his beady little eyes makes it worth having run into traffic. And being called “crazy bitch!” by the passersby who apparently had an estimated time of arrival that was much later than 9:07.

I carefully got back into my car and tried to avoid touching anything with my turtle fingers. I started thinking about how that’s a great way to start the day. Saving a turtle from the middle of the road. Putting him in a safe place. Well, ok, maybe not a “safe” place, but at least the place where he was headed. Ok, well, maybe not even close to a safe place. In fact, wasn’t there a fence right there? So what now? He gets across the road, discovers there is a fence and then TURNS AROUND? WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THIS TURTLE HOME AND TUCKED HIM INTO MY BED BECAUSE THIS WORLD IS REALLY NO PLACE FOR A TURTLE!

The rest of the way to work I thought about where else I could have put him, maybe over the fence? Maybe driven around until I found a happy turtle lake for him to bathe in? GEEZ?! WHY IS BEING A GOOD SAMARITAN SO FREAKIN HARD?!

I arrived at my office at 9:12 feeling lousy. I figured I’d just try to distract myself by going through my to-do list and throwing myself into non-turtle tasks to get my mind off of the fact that I might or might not be seeing a mound of shell and turtle sauce on my way home from work. Patrick called after about 20 minutes, and the conversation was filled with a lot of frustration on my end. “I’m sorry, Patrick, it’s not you,” I explained.  “It’s just that I’m not sure I found the safest place for that turtle.” Needless to say I’ve since been committed.

We discussed a few other things – bills, plans for the day – before the conversation circled right back around to where it started – my amphibious acquaintance.  Patrick hesitated a little before asking, “Where is the turtle?” He asked in a way that was of utmost seriousness – a tone that I knew meant he was planning to swoop in and save me as he so often does. I knew just by his asking that he was going to go find that turtle.

“You don’t have to go there, Patrick, I will go after my meeting at 10 and move him,” and then I thought, I just hope he’s not dead by then!

Patrick decided that checking on the turtle would make me feel less stressed. And relieving my stress would relieve his stress. So he left the course, which is 25 minutes away, to go check on my turtle. He never found the little guy, but he thoroughly inspected the situation and figured that the turtle likely made a short trek along the edge of the fence before finding refuge in some nearby shrubbery. Patrick said he’d probably followed his senses toward water and was most likely basking in the nearby lake just beyond the fence. Then Patrick told me that the turtle was no doubt thinking about me and how grateful he was to have met me. And this is the story I am going to tell whenever people ask me how I know Patrick is the one.

Sometimes life is about sticking your neck out for those who are helpless and can do nothing but duck and cover in the face of danger. And sometimes life is about containing the crazy, which is something Patrick’s become an expert at doing. He knows that I’m not without my quirks, he knows I’m not perfect and he knows that sometimes in the midst of a normal morning I’m going to run into traffic and stand up for a turtle. There are a lot of things about me that people don’t understand. But this is where Patrick is different – he understands everything about me. He consoles me and comforts me and saves me and protects me. And when faced with a choice, he makes a long drive to check on a turtle because he knows just what to do to make me feel at peace.

And that is why I am marrying him.

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For Scarface

I woke up this morning with puffy eyes and a gloomy mood. Yesterday I spent a portion of my day at Orange County Animal Services – a kill shelter in Orlando. Also known as the worst place in the universe, where life hardly makes sense and all that surrounds you is a sense of unfairness and cruelty.

I rarely go to OCAS, in fact I avoid it at all costs. I know what goes on there and try my best to work with rescue groups that pull dogs from such shelters to know that I’m doing a little bit to save them. What’s hard is actually seeing the dogs – looking at them in their cages and knowing that some of them won’t be there tomorrow.

A coworker of mine decided that she was finally ready to get a dog. She and her husband had been talking back and forth about it – he really wanting to get a pet and she being apprehensive. So when she asked a few of us to go with her to look at dogs, we were happy to go along.

Rewind to earlier that day, when I accidentally clicked on an e-mail I had purposely not looked at. It sat bold-faced in my inbox, just seconds away from the trash folder when I clicked on it instead of the facebook alert below it. Immediately I saw his face – a face that will stick with me for the rest of my life. But not because of the e-mail, the e-mail alerting me to the fact that he had only 24 hours left in this world. No, I’ll remember it forever because I recognized it when I saw him later that day. At the pound. Awaiting his fate.

His name is Scarface, which I don’t quite understand because he doesn’t have any scars on his body. In fact, he’s hardly got an adult fur coat, and it’s absolutely flawless. He’s just more than a year old and hasn’t been around long enough to get laugh lines let alone scars. What a short life for a dog.

When I saw him, my heart broke. I wanted to give him one last bit of affection so that he knew that there was goodness in this world. I wanted him to know that if only for a few moments, he was loved.

I held his paws in my hands under the door of his cage. I told him he was a good dog, and I told him not to be scared. I told him that none of this was his fault. He gave me kisses, and I kissed his forehead through the bars of the cage. I kissed him goodbye.

It was one of the saddest moments of my life, and it filled me with anger. Even more, it filled me with ambition. One day I will have the means to help dogs like Scarface instead of just feeling hopeless and kissing them goodbye.

I will never forget his face.


I Admit It…Your Dog Isn’t The ONLY Small Dog I Like

I had a great weekend. We went mini golfing (I got three holes-in-one) and Patrick and I beat the two other couples we competed against. It was a great time. We got some food at Qdoba and then headed to our friend Christian’s house in Isleworth — the very neighborhood of Tiger Woods. (No, I didn’t see him, sadly.)

We walked into their beautiful home to meet his parents and his tiny pet, Bella, a 7-year-old Yorkshire terrier. She and I fell in love right away. She trotted near me and I petted her tiny face and ponytail-topped head.

Bella and I snuggled in-between rooms while I was touring this mansion. She didn’t let the fact that it was past her bedtime keep her from dishing out the hugs and kisses. So when we left her to go play in the pool, I was a little sad. “Bye Bella,” I said as she looked at me with her beady little black eyes. “I love you.”

I turned to the group of people in the pool slamming dunks into the nearby basketball hoop. “I usually don’t even like small dogs,” I said. “But I like Bella.”

The next day I was talking to Patrick about her, and how sweet she was. Again, I said, “I don’t even like small dogs, but I…” and he cut me off to snap at me how I always say that about every small dog I meet.

“Do you like Lola? Do you like Daisy? Do you like Paco?” he said of my neighbors’ and friend’s dogs. (and yes, I like them.) “You don’t like it when people say they don’t like big dogs, so why don’t you just stop saying that and just love all dogs.”

(eh em.)

For the first time since my expulsion from the womb, I had no argument. That’s absolutely right!

I spent the next day and a half wondering why I had said those things in the first place. Why I tend to say it over and over even though it is clearly untrue. Had I become such an advocate for large dogs that I push away the little ones? Is it just a front that I put on? Am I just frontin’?

The only sense I can make of this is that it’s not that I don’t like small dogs, it’s the idea of owning a small dog for all the wrong reasons. I suppose it’s because I’ve met too many ignorant owners.

As celebrities glorify the idea of the purse dog, the pet industry has expanded — providing matching outfits for owner and pet, stylish carrying cases, diamond-studded collars and …gulp… strollers. (This has always boggled my mind — why push a perfectly able-bodied dog around in a stroller? It’s not like you see a 30-year-old businessman being pushed around in a stroller by his mother at Ikea on a busy weekend, so why do that to our dogs?!)

Because it’s impossible to tote around a golden retriever in the latest style of purse sold at a chic dog boutique (barf), the problem clearly exists only among small dogs. (Which, by the way, don’t enjoy wearing fluffy tutus or velcro shoes no matter how cute and little you think they are.)

And, as the demand for stylish small dogs increases (the tinier the better seems to be the trend), the more unethical breeders take advantage of such an opportunity and the more puppy mills engage in the kind of breeding that can only be categorized as animal cruelty. The puppies are sold to pet stores like Pets of Bel Air in Hollywood that was once home to the dogs of Paris Hilton and other celebrities. In a recent investigation, the Humane Society of the United States found that the animals sold at Pets of Bel Air came from puppy mills across the country. Read the whole story here.

While breeding, as “ethical” or “responsible” as it may be, continues to overpopulate the country, there are homeless dogs in shelters that also need homes. So my first instinct when I see a dog like Bella, a wonderfully friendly, adorable tiny dog, is to feel resentment toward her.

I know, I know, it’s not the dog’s fault. But being as small as she is, she sure makes a great scapegoat!

The problem is that there is a common misconception that only breeders provide healthy and smart dogs. People assume that they can only get a young dog or a purebred dog from a breeder. They also assume that if they go to shelters they’re getting a used product, or a dog that comes with health problems or personality disorders. If you also believe this, slap your own face. You are the problem.

I’m providing a call to action for this passionate ramble: if you’re looking to adopt a dog, go to a shelter. Petfinder is a great tool to narrow down your search and also search by breed (yes, there are purebred dogs in shelters! And puppies!) and find dogs close to home. Also check out your local Humane Society or your county’s animal services shelter. There is a life in every cage, and every one is worth saving.

For more information about puppy mills, or to find out how to help, check out http://www.stoppuppymills.org/

And, for those of you who still would rather go to a breeder to pay $1200 for the most expensive breathing accessory you’ve ever owned, scroll down. I’ve got a few suggestions for you as well.

Alternatives to owning a tiny dog for the sake of accessory:

1.) A stuffed plush dog. I know, it sounds ridiculous. But, you can dress it up, carry it around and name it “Princess Priscilla Bean Montgomery Sableton” without having to deal with the the responsibilities of actually owning a dog. Plus, while it’s sitting in a stroller wearing a hat, sunglasses, Puma sneakers, cargos, a hooded vest and a giant $ chain, no one will be able to tell that it’s not alive. Plus, just look at this thing. The resemblance is uncanny.

Yorkie plush toy

2.) Buy a hamster. The lifespan of a hamster equals the amount of time a fad lasts. And, because a dog is a trend, you’ll have to deal with it long after you no longer want to be accidentally peed on in public. So, this hamster is perfect. You won’t have to worry about it after the trend is over, because it will by that time have gone on to a better place. Also, it’s small enough that you might step on it, which is just like any dog you’d spend a zillion dollars on. This specific model of hamster comes with its own cup carrier (purse strap and designer logo sold separately).

Tiny cup hamster

3.) Find a hobby. Get a life. Don’t sit around and treat your dog the way you would treat a human baby. I’d tell you to just have a human baby to solve the problem you have with mothering your dog, but I think it’s for the better that you not procreate. So, stop treating your dog like a baby, stop making him wear a bib when he eats, stop feeding him with a tiny spoon. Find another way to spend your time. Join a book club or make some friends. Plant a garden. Or learn how to crochet (but don’t crochet a sweater and booties for your dog!)

Garden Tools

<steps off soapbox>

Sorry for the raw anger that is deeply woven into this post. It’s not your fault, Bella. And of all the small dogs I’ve met, I really do like you the most.


Take Action

No surprise that the Bush/Cheney administration, the same administration that wants to drill for oil in the natural animal preserves, has taken the carelessness toward conservation one step further. Yesterday the Grey Wolf was taken off of the government’s protected species list. This means that the killing of wolves is now permitted. While some argue that the population of wolves has increased to a point where they are no longer threatened, it’s more likely that Bush did this as one final attempt to raise his approval rating. There’s nothing like granting a bunch of rifle-toting Bush supporters an opportunity to shoot wolves.

Prevent the meaningless killing of wolves. Sign the petition

You can read more about it in news articles posted here and here and here and here.