#SmilingDog

I have to say something.

Some may understand. Some may not agree.

Yet, I have to say something.

The story of Diggy is both sad and upsetting. If you haven’t heard, though it seems to be everywhere on my newsfeed, Diggy is a dog whose picture went viral due to his smiling face. Due to the popularity of his picture local authorities took note and threatened to take him away from his brand new home because he looks like a Pit Bull and the area that he lives in has Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Despite numerous pleas that Diggy is not a Pit Bull at all, but in fact an American Bulldog mix, and has a DNA test to prove it, his fate is kind of unknown.

Now, I’m glad that Diggy’s story has garnered so much attention. His ordeal has provided the chance to bring some much needed attention to the unfairness that is BSL. People have been given the opportunity to see just how damaging BSL is to families and how it kills dogs simply due to what they look like. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happened. Instead, of opening up a larger discussion on BSL, the focus has been kept on this one dog. The problem is that even saving this one dog from being a victim of BSL does not actually address the root issue: BSL.

I’m not going to lie, of course, and say that I don’t have a personal opinion on BSL because as the owner of a Pit Bull how could I not. I love my dog and I don’t like anything that targets my dog based on stereotypes.

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#smilingdog

Still, my logical brain doesn’t agree with BSL simply because it’s inherently unfair and biased. My understanding of BSL from what I’ve read (which can differ from area to area) is that it is based on a checklist and features that Pit Bulls typically have. If your dog fits within any of those parameters, then your dog could be apprehended. The main problem I have with BSL is that it is meant to target a specific breed of dog, yet a “Pit Bull” is not an officially recognized breed of dog. There is the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog, which are commonly all labeled under the nickname of “Pit Bull.” It doesn’t mean anything. It’s almost synonymous these days with calling a dog a “mutt” or a “mixed breed.” If people aren’t sure what type of breed a dog is, then they just seem to label it as a Pit Bull. For reals, I have read plenty of stories about dogs that clearly looked nothing like a Pit Bull, yet they were labeled as such in the article. I mean honestly, how could a tall, skinny dog with a Golden Retriever-like coat be labeled a Pit Bull at all? Even more upsetting is that BSL is based on stereotypes. Am I denying that people that have been bitten by bully breeds are lying? Absolutely not! However, why should all dogs suffer as a result? Do we still believe that all poorer people are lazy? All Jewish people are cheap? All Hispanics are Mexicans and immigrants? All women “asked for it”? No, because we know stereotypes are just that; stereotypes.

Last night as I perused my newsfeed I came across two articles about Diggy. One was a report on the fact that a veterinarian had run a DNA test on him and confirmed that he is an American Bulldog. The other was from Woman’s Day magazine and the tagline stated that the reason Diggy was in danger of losing his forever home was “absurd.”

Give me a moment…

Of course, it’s absurd! It’s absurd that a dog may lose a home just because of what he/she looks like. It’s absurd that a girl was in danger of losing her therapy animal, which was a Pit Bull, because of what he looked like. It’s absurd that a long-haul truck driver lost his dog because he dared to have a heart attack while he was passing through a town that had BSL in effect. It’s absurd that people choose to live in their cars in order to keep their dogs, or spend an enormous amount of money keeping their dogs in kennels because they aren’t allowed to keep them where they live. It’s all absurd. These dogs have never done anything wrong. They have loving homes and great owners, but are suddenly in danger of losing their lives anyways.

Furthermore, the fact that one of the main arguments people have used in favor of freeing Diggy is to say that he is an American Bulldog really displays just how little understanding there is about BSL. Bully breeds are usually what BSL targets with Pit Bulls being the main bullseye, and if it walks like a Pit Bull and talks like Pit Bull, then it surely must be a Pit Bull. Still, proving Diggy is not a Pit Bull doesn’t explain why it’s not okay for him to lose his home. It doesn’t address why he deserves to stay.

I guess the point of this post is to say that Diggy, the smiling dog, is not alone. BSL affects more than just this one dog and more than just this one family. When did we condone blanket punishments based on a biased and unclear stereotype? Let’s talk about the larger havoc that BSL wreaks, raise awareness about it, and see if we can find better ways to stop all dog attacks. (*cough*leash laws*cough*) I want owners who have misbehaving or dangerous dogs to have to take responsibility for their inability to be responsible owners. Do I enjoy getting attacked by the same Chihuahua every time I walk my dog and have it bite Simon’s face? NO! Is it okay that I’ve complained three times about this dog and yet it still gets to run around loose without supervision? NO! Yet, there are laws in place for dogs like mine who have never done anything, but look a certain way.

Sadly, Diggy’s story isn’t the first and he certainly won’t be the last dog affected by BSL.  So, please, support Diggy, but not just because he’s a cute, smiley dog who deserves his forever home. Support his case because you don’t agree with BSL and want to give a voice to the many other dogs that fall victim to this policy.

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#smilingdog

Update: What does it mean exactly to be Tropiclean?

I know that it’s taken quite a bit longer to produce this update on the Tropiclean bathing system. Originally, I intended to do a week-by-week review for four weeks and share my thoughts on how things were going. However, after the second week of using the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment system I was convinced that I did something wrong.

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In my initial review I was cautiously optimistic about the Tropiclean system. After the first time using it to bathe Simon and Rosee it really seemed to help their hotspots on their stomachs, they smelled great, and felt super soft. I did notice a bit of extra shedding, but I wasn’t really concerned…at first.

The second week of using the shampoo and treatment did not go well at all. We (meaning me and Monica) used both products the exact same way, yet afterwards the pups didn’t look nearly as nice. In fact, their coats looked very dingy and dull and they felt kind of grimy. They were gross.  The whole ordeal was terrible. So, naturally I assumed that we didn’t do something correctly. I was assured that we messed up some way, shape, or form in the bathing process. Maybe we didn’t let the shampoo and treatment set for long enough? Perhaps instead of waiting for five minutes we only waited for three? Did we not rinse them thoroughly? Seriously, I must have done something wrong!

Unfortunately, as the week went on Simon and Rosee just looked worse and worse. They were shedding like crazy. You couldn’t even touch them without your hand coming away with a handful of dog hair. Moreover, their skin was extremely flaky. I thought they were going through a purging phase, mainly due to the salicylic acid in both the shampoo and the treatment. (I know I’m comparing dog’s skin to human’s skin in this instance, but I’m grasping at straws for an explanation.) By the end of the week I was ready to bathe the pups again to see if I could stop the madness!

Sadly, baths for week 3 passed and week 4 came and went and there was no improvement in Rosee and Simon’s skin. In fact, their shedding problem and flaky skin just seemed to get worse. Pretty much immediately after they were done with their baths and completely dried they were covered in flakes and anytime they even moved it was just hair everywhere. I mean, they were just washed, but I didn’t even want to touch them because their skin was so gross.

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It didn’t seem to matter how well we rinsed them to ensure all the soap was gone or how long we left the shampoo and treatment on them to ensure penetration, nothing made a difference. We gave their backs an extra scrub with the grooming mitt and spent a whole extra minute rinsing them, but it was mostly all for nothing. I’m pretty disappointed because I wanted the Tropiclean bathing system to work so much! I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Now, before I give my final opinions, I do have to be honest about another issue that popped up while using these products. Of course, I can’t say specifically that the Tropiclean products caused this particular issue. At the same time, this issue didn’t start until we started using these products. So what is the issue you ask? The issue (I know, seriously, how many times can I write that word?) is that Simon has started to react badly anytime we go to put either of the products on him. He sort of gives off a warning growl and curls his lips a little, which is sooo not how Simon acts. Luckily, in these moments he can be easily distracted with treats, but I don’t like that he has this reaction in the first place. It is almost as though he’s telling us that he doesn’t like the way the products feel on his skin. Again, I can’t prove that the Tropiclean products are 100% to blame for this bad reaction of Simon’s, yet it didn’t start until we began using this bathing system. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…

In my honest opinion I wish I had never used the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment system on Rosee and Simon. Before using these two products the pups had never had problems with shedding or flakes, yet after using them their skin has been nothing but flakes and major shedding issues. Plus, both pups are still pretty itchy and are constantly scratching and licking their sides and necks (two major itchy spots for them).  Then, there is Simon’s obvious dislike of the products and I just can’t justify buying this again. I actually don’t even want to continue using it, but I also hate the idea of wasting a something that was paid for. The only pro of using the Tropiclean system has been that it did get rid of their red hotspots on their stomachs. However, it seems that we traded one problem for at least four more!

I guess to be Tropiclean means to be anything but clean.