Me and My Evil Face

Comments on fuzzypinkslippers.com:

I’m sorry, didn’t you JUST lose custody of your dogs because you were unfit to own them? Do you really think it’s fair to a helpless animal to take her on when you guys can’t even take care of yourselves? What’s going to happen if she gets sick and you’re faced with a giant vet bill you obviously cannot cover? I understand the desire to have a pet, but she deserves to be with people who have the financial and physical capacity to take care of her.

Pet ownership is not a right, it’s a privilege. A pet is not a toy, and unless it’s a service animal, it’s certainly not meant to solve the owner’s life problems. The owner is responsible for the animal’s well-being, not the other way around, so your point concerning the positive effect she’s had on your family is moot. In your response to my previous comment, you mentioned that “we lost custody of the dogs last year because our house was unfit to be lived in and we couldn’t pay the thousands of dollars in fines that they were going to charge because they had to stay in the shelter while we lived at my grandmother’s house. It wasn’t because we were unfit.” – you’re clearly missing the point and/or not learning the lessons you should be learning from that experience. If you are unable to maintain your home in a state that is considered fit for habitation, you are unfit to own pets. It’s not about the house, it’s about you. The house didn’t get to that state on its own. I realize that I sound very callous, but this is a live animal we’re talking about here, and your track record indicates that you were unable to maintain custody of your pets when the going got tough. I understand your desire to make it out to be everyone else’s fault, but the bottom line is that when you take on a pet, it becomes your obligation to look out for its best interest. It is not the Humane Society’s (nor the vet’s) obligation to provide you with a safety net for the care of an animal you took on willingly – I can understand how such programs could help people who ended up inheriting someone’s pets, for instance, but this was a conscious decision on your part to take this obligation on mere months after other animals were forcibly removed from your care. Pets ARE a luxury (and you got a purebred, too, fantastically enough), and they shouldn’t be owned by people who will have to rely on payment plans and food aid should the tiniest crack occur in their current financial situation. They deserve stability.

You blog constantly about the difficulties your family goes through, difficulties which are clearly neither temporary nor easily resolved. Forget about yourself and how she makes *you* feel for a second – is it really fair to put an animal that will get attached to you in a situation where, at any given moment, these difficulties could spill over again and you could end up having her forcibly removed? You’ll say that anyone could end up in that situation – yes, anyone theoretically could, but for you, it’s not a hypothetical scenario, it’s happened before.

Having a pet isn’t about buying toys for it at Petsmart – it’s about taking on a multi-year obligation to do everything in your power to live up to the trust the animal has placed in you. The reason we have so many animals in shelters is that people seem to forget this all too easily. It’s not fair to the animals because they’ve done nothing wrong.

P.S. The Humane Society link you posted contains text that begins with the following words: “you’ve always managed to give your pet the medical care she deserves, but due to unexpected circumstances, you’re faced with vet expenses that are far beyond your ability to afford them.”

1. “You’ve always managed” – you haven’t.
2. “unexpected circumstances” – they’re not “unexpected” if you willingly go out and get a dog. It didn’t magically fall in your lap – you actively sought this animal out.

The first link was just a bunch of nonsense. “But I have to wonder about people who simply don’t have the resources to care for a pet in the best possible manner. Shouldn’t they be able to experience the joy, love and companionship that a pet provides?” – NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. If you cannot care for a pet *in the best possible manner*, you should not have a pet, end of discussion. I cannot stress this enough – it is NOT a right, it’s a privilege, and when you are entrusted with the care of an animal, that is a sacred obligation that you must fulfill. If you cannot take that on, you should not own an animal. Sure, everyone *wants* to experience the joy love yadda yadda, but what people want does not dictate what they should be able to get. If you want something of that kind, you have to work for it. I’m sure everyone wants to experience the joy and companionship of marriage, but that also requires some work – surely you wouldn’t advocate tying people down and forcing them to marry against their will just so someone else can experience “joy” and “companionship”? So why is it okay to force a helpless animal into potentially dangerous and definitely unstable circumstances?

Anonymous comment on LiveJournal:

I am honestly outraged and shocked and felt sick when I saw your blog post; and I pray that little puppy has a long and happy life – neither of which are likely to happen. How the hell you were allowed to own another dog is beyond me but I live in the UK so I have no idea how to alert authorities about this, but rest assure, I will find out from USA friends and see if anything can be done, even if it’s just having someone come by every week or so to check that poor little puppy is OK!
If you have any decency in you, you will give it to a shelter and let it be part of any family, one who can love and care for it properly! As that other poster said, who cares if it is helping you, that is not the point! If I lived near you, I would be in jail for kidnapping that puppy and smashing your evil face in!

I’m assuming that these commenters are actually two different people, since one is from the UK and the other is from around Washington DC.

I know that sometimes people think that they know everything about a situation based on what they read online, but unless you live that person’s life, you can never know the full story. Apparently, because of what happened last year, some people think that I should never be around animals again or that I’m evil or whatever. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. My blog entries, my tweets, etc. are not the full picture of my life and shouldn’t be taken as such. Most of what I talk about online is negative. Most of what I do is rant. I do online what I used to do in a paper journal. I do it to get out the anger and the frustration I have with life because I need an outlet where I do that without hurting myself.

My life isn’t ideal, but I know that the lives of every other person in the world aren’t perfect either.

I have sort of explained what happened last year, but I never wanted to go into the full story because it is long and painful. I did get a chance to discuss it with Debbie before we went to group sessions only. The City of Huntsville also knows most of what went on, and they have never said that we shouldn’t have animals.

When I’ve said that they (the City) said we should try getting a pet or two, that was true. When I’ve said that they would have allowed us to have ours back if we could have paid the thousand dollars (or more) in fines, that was true. When I’ve said that the reason that we even had them at the shelter last year was that my grandmother wouldn’t let us bring them to her house when it was condemned, that was true. (The people from the city were actually going to let us take all four girls to Nana’s house that day or let us let them stay with friends until we could get back into the house–I wish we hadn’t been shut-ins at that point time. And I begged on Facebook for someone who could take them in to please contact me.)

If we weren’t trustworthy with animals, don’t you think that the city would have said something? Don’t you think that my parents and I would have ended up on the news? We didn’t. Yes, my dad had to go to Mental Health Court, on an ordinance violation because the dogs had fleas, the house was filthy, and our house was pretty much falling down. Before you say that the dogs were mistreated because they had fleas, I’ll point out that we had been using preventatives, treatments, etc. and they weren’t working. Animals throughout this region were flea-ridden last spring and summer. No matter what their owners would do, the fleas would stick around.

When I brought up health in the posts and comments back to people, it isn’t because I’m being selfish. Last year, not only did we lose the dogs, we almost lost my mom to her kidney, diabetes, and blood pressure problems, my dad to his depression, and me to my anemia. I almost lost my entire family last year, so thinking of how this little puppy is bringing joy to us and improving our health is my way of saying that I no longer feel like we’re standing on the edge of some cliff, waiting for something to push us over and end everything. She gives me hope and for almost an entire year, I was hopeless. I was ready to die last summer. I was ready to just get it over with because I had no hope. I had nothing. Nothing mattered to me anymore because I was so overwhelmed by everything, by the growing realization that my mom and dad were definitely not going to live forever, and by the grief of losing five dogs. I’ve got a personality disorder that makes abandonment feel like the world is actually ending, and last year I felt completely abandoned. So my feeling happiness because of this little bundle of energy is something that I should get to celebrate.

Part of what led to the house’s condition in the past was our declining health, in addition to being overwhelmed by five dogs. We were too sick to keep everything up properly. But the dogs were taken to the vet when needed. Alice almost never needed to go, but she was the only one that was true for. When Gretchen would lose control for those brief seconds where she would attack one of the other dogs, we would get them apart, assess the injuries, and (if needed) take whoever was attacked to the vet. We would also change the way the dogs were fed or how they’d be allowed to be around one another to prevent attacks. Willow was on two medicines (Enalapril and Theophylline) that were administered every single day. Molly was taken to have surgery for the lumps/tumors that she developed, and when she had abscesses, they were drained, cleaned, and treated per the doctor’s orders. When we’d hear fireworks, Gretchen was given her medicine for the anxiety that the noise caused. And when it was stormy out, we would hold her under the covers and play music for her because it calmed her down. And that last full day of Xander’s life, I sat there and held him for almost 24 hours straight, trying to feed him, get him to drink water, and keep him warm. So, if you think that we didn’t take care of them or that we are evil or something, then obviously you don’t know what you’re talking about because you weren’t there. We did all that we could.

And this evil person that you are so quick to judge has had animals every year of her life except this last one. We’ve had cats. We’ve had dogs. We’ve had hamsters. We’ve had guinea pigs. We’ve had fish. Our cats lived to be almost twenty, except for the one that went to live with my grandmother and ended up getting hit by a car. We took our guinea pigs and hamsters to have surgeries, get medicines when they were sick, etc. And the payment plan that I brought up is because my mom and dad have been using the same vet clinic for thirty years and have always paid off their bills–including the months-long treatment of one of our cats for hemolytic anemia (a treatment that the vet thought was unnecessary because she figured the cat would die in a few days, but she lived another 10+ years), the treatments for another cat’s ongoing issues with kidney disease and asthma, the c-section that had to be performed on one of our guinea pigs, the surgeries Molly had. We take care of our family members, which is how we view our pets.

Last year, before we lost them, I tried to quit eating so that we would have the money to feed and care for them. I know that wasn’t the smartest thing to do now, but I was willing to be hungry if it meant keeping them fed. I would have sacrificed anything for them. And I would do that for Amy, too.

We’ve got one dog now. One little dog. One we can afford. One we can take care of. One that isn’t overwhelming us. One that we would all do anything and everything for. If you can’t see that, then maybe you shouldn’t read my blog or follow my tweets or read whatever it is that you read that lead to these awful assumptions. Please keep your nasty comments to yourself, not just for my sake, but for my family’s because they get to deal with the anxiety attacks and depressive spells that I have every time that I get one of these comments. You may think that you mean well, but these comments are cruel and hurtful and they really do impact me. I know that admitting that means they might increase, but not admitting it means that I’m not stepping forward and saying how much this stuff actually does impact my thinking and my daily life.

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

2 thoughts on “Me and My Evil Face”

  1. People love to talk big over the internet. Ridiculous threats are made every day by small people who really do not know what they are taking about. I feel sorry for people who bully over the internet, because if they try so hard to make someone else feel so bad, they must be very insecure.

    Janet, if you actually bother to get to know her, is a strong, beautiful, selfless, caring woman who has been my friend for many years. Despite all she’s been through, she still takes time out of her day to leave kind words to many of us on our Twitters and Facebooks. The same treatment is given to her pets, aka her FAMILY.

  2. If you have to leave a comment behind a computer screen to ‘anonymously’ hurt someone’s feelings, something tells me you don’t think very highly of yourself and your life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Because if that’s how you make yourself feel better, by putting other people down (in a cowardly manner, might I add), then that just pretty much sums what kind of human being you are and what sort of life you live.

    People like that who claim to ‘love’ animals and ‘wants what’s best for them’, actually don’t. They are more concerned about their 5 minutes of e-fame. They judge people without getting to know them, and make assumptions based on vague blog entries, tweets and so forth. Someone who is a genuinely considerate person, would have contacted Janet PRIVATELY and aired their concerns, giving links to places which they thought might help, etc. Not make a show and spectacle of their so-called ‘caring’ opinions.

    As a huge animal lover and someone who has known Janet for years, I can honestly say I cried when I read about what her family had to go through. I had no idea her family’s living situation was that bad, because she hid it so well. Though maybe that was just me being a bad friend and not paying enough attention, which I feel incredibly guilty about. But she never asked for pity or sympathy. She may have vented about certain aspects of her life like we all do every day. But she never asked for anything from anyone. Even when her family were struggling, they tried. They did their best. Yet there are people out there who couldn’t give two hoots about their animals, who HAVE the finances to care for them, but simply can’t be bothered or choose not to. I know which one I personally find more sickening.

    Oh, and to the anonymous UK poster? I happen to live in the UK, too. Maybe one day actually grow a pair and show me what you look like to put a face to those anonymous comments – Because I’d happily give you a hard, dry slap for your ignorance.
    Friendship was the last thing I wrote

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