How To Spot an Animal Social Justice Warrior

There’s something happening in the animal world, something sticky and kind of ugly, and we need to talk about it.

You learn to spot patterns when you’ve been around long enough, trends that start in one area but quickly pick up steam in your own neck of the woods. And that, my friends, is what I’m bringing up today: the emerging trend of the Social Justice Warrior, and how that relates to people in pet care.

sjw

I think it’s pretty clear that I am a big proponent of animal advocacy, from the first blogathons to my work with hospice and this very site, which I’ve written for seven years now in an attempt to keep an open dialogue on important pet topics. I am a huge fan of people who work so very hard and selflessly to make a difference, and this is not who I am speaking of today.

I have also seen a less pleasant side of people, those who use their issue of choice as a shield to build up their own ego and bludgeon others, often at the expense of those very people who are trying to improve the world for others, while tarnishing their own cause by association.

What is an animal social justice warrior, exactly?

While the term “social justice warrior” started gaining momentum with the Gamergate brouhaha specifically in reference to progressive views and speech, the prevailing wisdom is that the term has evolved to encompass a wide array of armchair activists who care less about outcomes and more about dogpiles. No one has specifically defined what it means in our sphere, so I’m just going to go ahead and do it right here.

It matters to us, as animal welfare advocates, healthcare providers, and educators, because we’re often the ones being targeted. Here’s what I’ve observed, over and over:

  • It starts from a good place.

Most of the time, people start on a course of advocacy for an issue they truly believe in: maybe it’s ear cropping, or vaccine safety, or feral cat rescue. Good topics that good people can get behind, which is why it is so hard to call them out. But then something goes sideways.

  • Facts become less important than emotion as time goes on and the ‘army’ grows.

As momentum builds with a social justice warrior’s campaign, enemies are identified and the followers are called upon to ‘take them down’ on social media, which can be annoying for a large pharmaceutical company but devastating for a small business owner or individual. Sometimes it’s very hard to dispute the ugliness of the original offense (like the guy who killed Cecil the Lion), but other times the dogpile results in something far worse than the original problem: people losing jobs, people erroneously identified as child predators. By the time the error is identified, the damage has been done.

  • Methods are as important as ideas.

When a social justice warrior really gets going, they often work to recruit others to the cause. Sometimes those people demur, not because they disagree with the original idea, but because the seek and destroy tactics make them uncomfortable. They become the enemy. There is no allowance to exist in parallel.

  • There is no room for discussion.

This is when you know the game is over, so to speak. Are you allowed to point out an erroneous fact? No. Question a topic? No. At this point, the social justice warrior’s ego has become more important than the actual topic at hand, and no amount of reasoning will change their mind. In fact, it only makes them dig their heels in more. You’ve just given them one more ‘enemy’ to bounce off of.

What does this mean for you, the pet lovers of the world?

If you’re the owner of a small business, rescue, or work with an organization, you may find yourself in the crosshairs for some or other perceived wrong. I’ll talk about what does and doesn’t seem to help in another post, because it’s happening more and more.

How to Spot an Animal Social Justice Warrior

But even you, the general audience out there on the web, has a role to play in this. Before joining a cause or supporting an advocate, ask yourself this:

 

  • How do they respond to constructive criticism? With acknowledgment, or anger?
  • Do they have a revolving door of bullies who they claim are always trying to silence them? Do they ever talk to someone with an opposing view in a respectful dialogue?
  • How do they encourage action? Do they link to legitimate organizations doing real world work, or is it limited to online petitions, reviews, and Facebook arguments?
  • What emotions are they playing to? When you look at their page, do you feel empowered to make a positive difference, or just angry at the world?

If you think this is about one person, you’re wrong. I can’t even point to any one in particular because the truth is, there are too many to list. People like this don’t help the causes, they hurt them. They make animal advocates look bad, incapable of compromise, cooperation, and nuance. Be aware, and ask yourself what the real goals are before liking, sharing, or sending money. Real advocacy exists, but this isn’t it.

We still have lots of work to do, but this isn’t the way to do it.

 

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Bring ‘em Inside!

The Ohio legislature is now considering a bill that would make it illegal to leave a dog tethered outside in extreme temperatures. The Capital Area Humane Society says it received 30 – 40 calls every day about animals left outside when it’s too cold for most of us to even take the garbage out. See […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Happy 2016

Apparently I am incapable of blogging more than once a month.  No matter how good my intentions are.

We got Summit’s eyes fixed about 3 weeks ago.  Everything went smoothly although they aren’t looking normal yet.  We have reached the stitches-are-dissolving-and-his-eyes-are-goopy-and-disgusting stage.  :)

He is very much an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of dog.  For example, we went snowshoeing the other day, and Marlin went into the outhouse for about 60 seconds. When he stepped out, Summit was shocked to see him and didn’t know who he was.  LOL.

The nice thing about that aspect of his personality is that he’s really easy to distract if he is doing something naughty like harassing the cats.  I lazy throw of a toy is enough to draw him away.

Coulee has been playing with him like crazy.  It’s super nice to see.  She doesn’t bully him nearly as much as she does Lacey and they can actually sustain play for 15-30 minutes at a time.  (Usually when Coulee plays with Lacey it deteriorates after a few minutes and we have to put a stop to it).  Lacey has been like Jeckyl and Hyde with Summit.  She can go from wrestling with him to snarling fiercely in the blink of an eye.  She’s usually more inclined to play with him outside in the backyard or when we are out on a walk but not always.  For a while I was thinking she wasn’t feeling very good but she isn’t showing any other signs so I think it’s just her being crabby.

Lacey’s fur has grown back and you can’t even tell she had surgery on her back not that long ago.  That’s pretty much it in “dog news”. :)

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Unofficial Photography Project

So I’ve tried a few 52 week projects. I’ve even tried a 365.  And I’ve failed to complete them all.  But what I have enjoyed is the photos I get out of them when I put the effort into it.  So I’m going to be doing an unofficial 52 week project this year.  I’ll be roughly using prompts from the “Creative 52″ book by Lindsay Adler as well as some “shot ideas” from Charlotte Reeves’ book “Dog Shots”.  I hope to essentially plan a shot then go out and do it.  I find if I don’t, I just do the same old, same old. Over and over and over and frankly it gets dull.  It was OK when Summit was growing so quickly as I was basically just documenting the changes.  But now that his growth has slowed down to a dull roar, I want to start capturing something a little different.

My last attempt at a 52 week project was two years ago.  The prompt was Colour and I loved the shot of Coulee that I got and I wanted to try and get the same photo of Summit.  It worked out perfectly.

Then seeing as we were out and about, we took some other colourful photos as well.

 I’ve got a few more I still need to edit too.  I’m already glad I’ve made the effort for the project.  It’s nice to do something different every now and then.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Friday Funny: Snow Pants

Poor little doggie. Have a great weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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My resignation from the world of dogs

elkhound

I come from dog people. Not the ones caricatured on Best in Show, or the ones who join clubs or show them. I come people who just enjoyed being out with dogs–maybe with a gun, maybe without one.

Dogs were the greatest joy when I was a child. I didn’t have many friends growing up, and I’ve always sort of been “odd.” So when I could come home and spend time outside with the dogs, it was the greatest time of my life. I can still remember those long, seemingly endless summer days when I was out in the woods and the fields the family dogs.

But those times are over.  All I’ve ever written about dogs is attempt to recapture what has been lost and will never be recovered.

To that extent, I’m torturing myself thinking that I can ever be in a place to enjoy the presence of dogs without all the baggage of the greater dog society looming over me.

I have to cut things that are poisoning to my soul. The continuous fighting over training methods, feeding regimes, vaccine schedules, and the true breed standards is nothing but pure arsenic.

Yeah, you people have gotten to me. It’s taken a while.

Sometimes, I let it lapse, but then I see something like I saw yesterday, where someone was “saving” two Trigg foxhounds from hunting and didn’t even know what kind of dog they were. The dogs were going to “enjoy” a wonderful life where they got to go to play dates and lots of treats.

Those dogs would almost be better off euthanized.  Those dogs will be babied and coddled until one of two things happens. Either their baying gets on the nerves of their rescuer or her neighbors or the hounds go off on a nice cat hunt and wind up tearing a suburban tabby into a few pieces.

Then they’ll be euthanized.

Virtually every problem dogs face comes from us, and I just can’t correct it anymore.

People are wrong. People are assholes.

Dogs are generally better than the people promoting them.

But you cannot deal with the dogs without dealing with “dog people.”

And I just don’t fit in anywhere.

For the sake of dogs, I think I’m better off keeping my mouth shut, and I’m probably better off walking a different direction.

Anyway, there isn’t much I can do. I am not changing. If I’m wrong, you won’t be hearing it from me anymore.

 

 

 

 

 


Natural History

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The plot to kidnap the Presidential pup is foiled

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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I Think SoCal is Pretty Much Screwed This Winter

If you haven’t heard the news, we here in Southern California are finally starting to see the effects of the massive, gargantuan El Nino the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes. And I think it’s going to be ugly.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Every time we deal with a natural disaster, everyone runs out and gives people tips for preparing and being ready and most people do one or two things but the reality is, there’s only so much time in the day and so many disasters one can prepare for without going full on survivalist. At some point you have to get on with your day and hope you’re not separated from your family when the Big One hits.

The more likely you are to suffer a disaster, the more likely you are to prepare for that particular situation. All Californians know what to do in an earthquake; it’s drilled into us starting with kindergarten (as were nuclear meltdown drills in the 80s when I lived by the San Onofre plant, but in retrospect I’m not sure what good hiding under a desk would have done, really.) The beach roads by my house are helpfully marked with convenient evacuation routes for tsunamis. And after last year, when my kids were whisked out of school while a massive wildfire bore down on my neighborhood, I also revised my wildfire plan. 

earth

I figured since I knew what to do for earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, floods, and nuclear core meltdowns, I had all my bases covered and could relax and enjoy the thunder a little without worrying too much, right?

But no one ever taught me what to do about a tornado.

Around noon yesterday, I got a call from my kids’ school that due to the thunder and lightning, they were not letting kids walk out to their parents like they usually do and each of us would have to individually pick up our kids in the car pickup line or park and go into the school. Fine, I thought, and showed up 45 minutes early to get a spot in line.

About 10 minutes after that, I get a panicked text from my daughter that one of her counselors received a tornado warning on her cell phone.

“Don’t worry,” I texted back. “She probably lives out in the boonies somewhere.”

“SHE LIVES HERE,” she texted back, followed by 10 crying emojis.

Then my phone buzzed. “Tornado warning until 3:45 in your area,” it said. “Seek cover immediately.”

Now by this point all the parents in the parking lot are grabbing their buzzing phones like a scene out of a Steven King movie, looking at each other with a quizzical “What the heck does this mean” look. What’s a warning? Does that mean it’s a little windy? Or does it mean an F-3 is bearing down on our little line of cars?

Meanwhile, my daughter- who has been studying geology in school and has a deep and abiding fear of all natural disasters including tsunamis, super volcanos, and the San Andreas fault, is calling me in tears because she got the text as well and now she’s convinced we are all going to die, and I am trying to reassure her everything is fine while a small part of me started thinking about tying myself to the flagpole with a slip lead.

Being the cautious  type, I pulled out of the pickup line and parked the car so I could go inside the sturdy concrete environs of the school and join a teeming mass of alarmed parents, none of whom knew what a tornado warning actually meant. A smaller but hardier number remained stubbornly in the parking lot, because in the Southern California school jungle, The Wicked Witch of the East fate is an acceptable risk when it comes to giving up a prime spot in the pickup line.

My daughter requests that we not leave the school grounds until the tornado warning expires, which happens about half an hour later. Most people do not wait, rolling their eyes at the National Weather Services’ overabundance of caution and running off into the winds, umbrellas inside out. I learn later that most of the county schools were ordered to shelter in place, but not us. Fortunately for all involved no tornado actually materialized, because it probably would have eaten up the vast majority of minivans in the region, leaving no one standing but the school principal and us, while my daughter says, “Told you so.”

On the way home, my phone buzzed again. FLASH FLOOD WARNING, it said. STAY INSIDE. There at least was something I knew what to do with. Avoid creeks.

I came home to find poor Brody curled in our laundry room, the only windowless room in the house. My friends in the midwest reassure me that a tornado warning is a big deal and instead of playing Bejeweled in the car one is supposed to run to the center of the house- in my case, our laundry room- and pull a mattress over your head.

My point in all of this is, you can prepare all you want but there’s still always going to be something you just never thought you needed to be able to handle, and that’s probably what is going to get you. And when that happens-

If that happens-

Look to your dog for guidance. He’s the only one with any sense.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Hey, guys, is this a dog or a bear? Internet mystery solved…

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Jagger

Jagger, a shih-tzu who lives in Nice.
RIVIERA DOGS

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