Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Who are these people who wake up in the morning, and decide they want to run miles and miles with their dog by their side? I certainly understand dogs need a certain degree of exercise, but there are other options available to insure this gets done: You walk your dog to an open field, take it off the leash, let it run around until it gets tired, then you take it back home, and put it back in the house. Then you can go running for 26 miles, and your dog can get back to what it really wants to do anyway, which is sleep. Instead, these people run all over the place, while the dog struggles to keep up with his tongue hanging and spread out like red carpet. I could see if this were the Iditarod, where dogs run for miles and miles in snow and biting cold temperatures. But its not, so give the dogs a break. Otherwise, they'll turn on you in the middle of the night. I know this for a fact.

I need to do some research as to whether there is maternity leave for men at my company or in general. It is just as important that I get to see all of the wonderful feats of strength my baby will accomplish during the first three just like my lady will. Plus who knows if she will need help or a break or something, and if I am at work saving the world, that just cannot happen. Or, even better, after her maternity leave is expired, I could take paid leave and play daddy for three months, and then send the child to daycare after 6 months. That would be ideal and everyone wins. Of course I sincerely doubt that something like that is in place, which means I would have to be trailblazer and spend a fortune in court fees trying to make this happen.

If you all would be so nice as to go this site, put in your name and email address, and then vote my blog in the best personal blog category. I didn't start writing this blog to win any low budget accolades, but dammit I think this is within reach, so I want to win. If all 14 of you vote, then that's a start. And if you need to create an alias or two, then by golly do what you need to do.

13 comments:

Kawana Cohen-Hopkins said...

Yous should be able to take paternaty leave.

~kawana

m.g. said...

do you live out in/near hyattsville? if so, did you cross paths w/ the shootout situation this morning?

rashad said...

m.g.,
i stay right by dupont now, but i'm about to check the wash post site to see what you're talking about

Sled Dog Action Coalition said...

Dogs suffer terribly in the Iditarod. For the facts, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://www.helpsleddogs.org.

Here's a short list of what happens to the dogs during the race: death, paralysis, frostbite of the penis and scrotum, bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons, vomiting, hypothermia, sprains, fur loss, broken teeth, torn footpads and anemia.

At least 136 dogs have died in the Iditarod. There is no official count of dog deaths available for the race's early years. In "WinterDance: the Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod," a nonfiction book, Gary Paulsen describes witnessing an Iditarod musher brutally kicking a dog to death during the race. He wrote, "All the time he was kicking the dog. Not with the imprecision of anger, the kicks, not kicks to match his rage but aimed, clinical vicious kicks. Kicks meant to hurt deeply, to cause serious injury. Kicks meant to kill."

Causes of death have also included strangulation in towlines, internal hemorrhaging after being gouged by a sled, liver injury, heart failure, and pneumonia. "Sudden death" and "external myopathy," a fatal condition in which a dog's muscles and organs deteriorate during extreme or prolonged exercise, have also occurred. The 1976 Iditarod winner, Jerry Riley, was accused of striking his dog with a snow hook (a large, sharp and heavy metal claw). In 1996, one of Rick Swenson's dogs died while he mushed his team through waist-deep water and ice. The Iditarod Trail Committee banned both mushers from the race but later reinstated them. In many states these incidents would be considered animal cruelty. Swenson is now on the Iditarod Board of Directors.

In the 2001 Iditarod, a sick dog was sent to a prison to be cared for by inmates and received no veterinary care. He was chained up in the cold and died. Another dog died by suffocating on his own vomit.

No one knows how many dogs die in training or after the race each year.

On average, 53 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it across the finish line. According to a report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, of those who do cross, 81 percent have lung damage. A report published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine said that 61 percent of the dogs who finish the Iditarod have ulcers versus zero percent pre-race.

Tom Classen, retired Air Force colonel and Alaskan resident for over 40 years, tells us that the dogs are beaten into submission:

"They've had the hell beaten out of them." "You don't just whisper into their ears, ‘OK, stand there until I tell you to run like the devil.' They understand one thing: a beating. These dogs are beaten into submission the same way elephants are trained for a circus. The mushers will deny it. And you know what? They are all lying." -USA Today, March 3, 2000 in Jon Saraceno's column

Beatings and whippings are common. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "I heard one highly respected [sled dog] driver once state that "‘Alaskans like the kind of dog they can beat on.'" "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers...A whip is a very humane training tool."

During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Brooks admitted to hitting his dogs with a wooden trail marker when they refused to run. The Iditarod Trail Committee suspended Brooks for two years, but only for the actions he admitted. By ignoring eyewitness accounts, the Iditarod encouraged animal abuse. When mushers know that eyewitness accounts will be disregarded, they are more likely to hurt their dogs and lie about it later.

Mushers believe in "culling" or killing unwanted dogs, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged or clubbed to death. "On-going cruelty is the law of many dog lots. Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses....." wrote Alaskan Mike Cranford in an article for Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper (March, 2000).

Jon Saraceno wrote in his March 3, 2000 column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens. Or dragging them to their death."

The Iditarod, with its history of abuse, could not be legally held in many states, because doing so would violate animal cruelty laws.

Iditarod administrators promote the race as a commemoration of sled dogs saving the children of Nome by bringing diphtheria serum from Anchorage in 1925. However, the co-founder of the Iditarod, Dorothy Page, said the race was not established to honor the sled drivers and dogs who carried the serum. In fact, 600 miles of this serum delivery was done by train and the other half was done by dogs running in relays, with no dog running over 100 miles. This isn't anything like the Iditarod.

The race has led to the proliferation of horrific dog kennels in which the dogs are treated very cruelly. Many kennels have over 100 dogs and some have as many as 200. It is standard for the dogs to spend their entire lives outside tethered to metal chains that can be as short as four feet long. In 1997 the United States Department of Agriculture determined that the tethering of dogs was inhumane and not in the animals' best interests. The chaining of dogs as a primary means of enclosure is prohibited in all cases where federal law applies. A dog who is permanently tethered is forced to urinate and defecate where he sleeps, which conflicts with his natural instinct to eliminate away from his living area.

Iditarod dogs are prisoners of abuse.

Sincerely,
Margery Glickman
Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org

sixfive said...

voted.

rashad said...

Thank you sir.

soft and subtle said...

I voted but the computer wouldn't allow me to vote multiple times. When trying, it stated I voted from this computer already. A person would have to own more than one computer to vote multiple times or go to a library or computer room @ a college.... I tried. Good luck chief and businesses offer maternity leave to males as well; even when you're adopting.

rashad said...

soft and subtle,
thank you for voting. your vote is important to me. and please get thee to another location so you vote again.

Miss. Lady said...

Sorry so late, however my vote has been submitted.

into the blue said...

According to FMLA, father's can take time off as well. It's not paid time, but they have to give you the time off. Here is the website - http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/.

£ex said...

you know i voted homie

and wow @ sled dog coalition

i'm amazed(and amused) at the speed in which they appeared in your blog, and saddened at the facts behind the storied iditarod. I always wondered what went on behind the scenes. :/

rashad said...

Lex,
Those Iditarod folks were on the case..god forbid Mike Vick ever participated in that..

Donna Quante said...

Don't believe everything Margery Glickman writes about the Iditarod. She has never been to the race, lives in Florida and for some reason has taken it upon herself to trash the organization as well as the race. Many years ago dogs were not humanely treated. No one disputes that. But Ms Glickman needs to step into today. She fails to mention all the health studies that are done on these dogs that will ended up benefitting humans. She has yet to see how much these dogs love to run...you cannot make them do it. As for Ramy Brooks...he didn't beat his dogs. He did use a trail marker to get their attention...and believe me there is a big difference between beating and getting a dog's attention...because they were on melting ice and the dogs wanted to lay down. Had they done that, their fur would have frozen to the ice and that would have been a horrible situation for the dogs.
MS. Glickman was not present to see any of this. Neither was I. But I have had a conversation with Mr. Brooks and I completely understand why he did what he did...it was for the safety of the dogs. Unless you run dogs, you can never understand the full implications of the situation. Margery needs to clean up her own back yard of racing dogs in Florida and leave iditarod policing to the professionals in Alaska.