I lean back and close my eyes when I realize I've been focused on the same spot on the monitor for I don't know how long. These eyes have got to last me several more decades so I better not burn them out too soon. I decide to go for a washroom break. I walk past all the stalls, staring at the tops of people's heads, at their desk plants and posters and toys. In the washroom, someone is in one of the stalls having a conversation on his cell phone and I think to myself that there should be an app which tells the caller on the other end of the line if the person he's talking to is taking a crap - like a little alarm that goes off and a synthesized voice that goes, "WARNING WARNING. YOU ARE CURRENTLY TALKING TO SOMEONE TAKING A CRAP." I think I could get rich selling an app like that.

Back at my desk, I open up a bunch of please help this dog emails from a high kill shelter in the States and there are photos attached and I look at their faces behind kennel doors, staring out at me like there might be some hope. I flip over to the online news and Japan is falling apart and drowning. Cars, ships, houses floating by like plastic toys in a bathtub, people in shock, not yet crying, not yet mourning. I move the mouse to go back to my work screen and my computer freezes. I wait for a couple of minutes in case it decides to start working again. I look out the window. The weather reporter on the radio this morning had said the precipitation would stop. It hasn't. It's snowing now.

I restart the frozen computer, throwing away at least half an hours work. I work until lunch. I go out, buy some soup, come back into the building. I wait at the elevator. The elevator doors open. Three men inside. One is older, in his fifties, handsomely dressed in a suit and fitted 3/4 length wool coat. Head full of hair with elegant grey strands as if placed there by a designer, combed back with pommade. Well manicured but not too well manicured. Just rough enough to not be misconstrued.

With him, attentive to him, are two younger men, in their twenties, baggy jeans, one with a sports team jersey, the other, a red sweatshirt, both in over sized, stuffed winter jackets.

The two young men are listening to what the older man is saying so it's not that any of us are being rude, but they don't acknowledge me with a greeting and I don't acknowledge them with one.

They exit the elevator. I enter. The doors start to close and as the three men walk away I hear a snippet of what the older man is saying:

" ... and for a young black man, he wasn't too out of control."

The younger men snort.

I'm back at my desk, drinking the soup, browsing Facebook. Somebody's bored at home being sick. Somebody's happy about last night's game. Somebody has a new puppy. Somebody needs to find homes for puppies. Somebody needs signatures for a petition. Somebody is angry at the world for not being vegan enough. Somebody is angry at the world for not being considerate enough. Somebody is angry at the world. I click off Facebook and go back to my emails. I look again at the pictures of the dogs in their kennels. The emails are a week old so the dogs are probably dead by now.

Suddenly, I am angry at the world. I look outside and it's raining and I know I'm going to have to ride home in that freezing rain and I'm angry at the weather. I'm angry at people who make casually racist comments on the elevator. I'm angry at people who converse while shitting. I'm angry at my soup for not being as good as it was yesterday. I'm angry at my computer for crashing. I'm angry that I'm going to lose an hour this weekend because of daylight savings. I'm angry that I have to bear witness again to the slow death of my dog. I'm angry at the day for not being over. I'm angry at being angry and maybe I should just get on Facebook and yell at people over and over and over again like some self-righteous prick and I'm watching the black water crawl across a field, drowning everything in its path or carrying everything away and I see the fires burning and the buildings collapsing. I see an airport surrounded by a dark lake. I see a city being washed away. I see the nuclear reactors at risk. I see the death toll rising. I see the faces of the people not yet mourning and yet the mourning will come.

I'm sitting in my comfortable chair in my comfortable office in a comfortable building with a little rain sprinkling outside. The anger subsides and for a moment there is nothing.



10 Comments to “Friday”

  1. The Japanese have shown over and over how gracious their relationship with this Earth is, and how resilient and resourceful they are.

  2. I've only just discovered your blog. Your photos are terrific for the dogs. I'm clear down in Texas, and it's just so damn sad that this plight, the plight of our domestic pets has gotten so horrible bad. It's the same everywhere isn't it? It makes me so angry.

  3. Fred says:

    Thanks, Walks With Wolves. Glad you like the photos.

  4. Cathrine says:

    As I read your piece this morning, I found myself getting angrier and angrier: who the *H3LL* is he to be confronting me first thing with all this *SH1T* I can't do anything about!?! I mean, why doesn't *HE* get off his *A55* and quit B1TCH1NG???! Maybe he should come *HERE* where that many die needlessly *every FSKING DAY*???! Does he think I'm made of money? Time? There's already the dogs, the cats, Delwar's wife's operation, Ali's sister's medicine, Joakim's brother's leg, Zia's wife's school fees.... ARRGGGHHH!!!!

    Then I got to the end.

    Oh.

    SO, okay, I'm slow, but I got it.

    For what it's worth, you aren't alone.

  5. Jo says:

    Another piece of extraordinary writing - as if the photos weren't enough. So glad to have found you.

  6. Then when it seems like there's nothing, and there's no point, you take your camera and go down to TAS and help one more dog find a forever family.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I read this post last night and thought "Exactly how I feel." Then I ran across this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LqSHfkLvHk

    It was made by a guy called Eldad Hagar and he rescues dogs in L.A. I watched this video of little Edie and couldn't stop crying. I haven't watched all the videos yet but I've watched a couple and they're heart breaking. Just think of all the dogs that have been put down for being "aggressive" and "unadoptable" after a 5 second assessment. All they need is one person to believe in them.

    Anyway, I guess my point is, life can be crap but then there are people like you and Eldad Hagar.

  8. Gina says:

    I remember after 9/11 counting my blessings: no one I know had died in any of the attacks. I kept waiting to hear that someone did -some distant friend or relative.I was lucky. Unbelievably lucky.
    After the Indonesian Tsunami-a similar feeling. After Katrina, first I got hit with how devastated things were and how powerless we all are . Then Haiti. Then all of the political unrest.
    When I woke up to the news about Japan, my first thought was my friend in Hokkaido. And friends that might be hit by the Tsunami. I went to work, holding my breath. I was lucky-seemingly, though I am still waiting for shoes to drop.
    I have been walking around with a smile on my face each day as I leave for work. I am so lucky to have a part time job. I know people who are fighting for theirs/about to lose theirs. I work with cancer patients and it has taught me that nothing is guaranteed and that, tomorrow-"it" could all be taken away from me or someone that I love or care about.
    I do have to admit to being worn out in a deep way. As if it is all getting to be too much.In yoga class and other practices-"they" give you their airplane analogy-telling you to place the oxygen mask onto yourself first-taking care of yourself so that you can then take care of and help others. But boy are "we" getting hit by a lot lately. And even if I am lucky and everyone I know is O.K., it is such a cumulative load to bear long term. I would desperately love some sign things are going to get better, one some level, any level.

  9. Biscuit says:

    Someone just sent me this pic:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Real-Men-are-Kind-to-Animals/199905080358#!/photo.php?fbid=10150167562310359&set=a.10150126145650359.327019.199905080358

  10. Fred says:

    Biscuit, that's a wonderful photo.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.
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