Monday, December 31, 2007

Shasta finally recognized by city

There will be no more hassles and long waits, arguing Shasta's case as a certified, service/guide dog, though she be a restricted (grandfathered) dog in Ontario. She is finally filed as a Service/Guide Medical Aid both in ACC and the city.

As sick as I was, I had a friend drive me to ACC. Bullie owners MUST appear in person with all the requirements that only the restricted breeds must provide. How much a dogs looks can change in just one year is beyond me, but they require a frontal and side mugshot, along with an updated description of an restricted dog, along with any updates and vet papers (originals)regarding rabies vaccinations.

This year I decided to beat the last day rush, as I knew I was ready and fired up to finally not go through the hassle of getting sent to City Hall and fighting for months for what we legally shouldn't have to go through each year. I didn't care if I needed to lay on the floor, I was not leaving until our rights were acknowledged and the way I felt, the floor would have felt good to me rather than standing.

As was expected, everything 'seemed' to go through easily enough...that was, until the clerk told me I owed $70.00. I also have a cat, Enok, that costs me $20 for his yearly tags, but Shasta being a certified service/guide dog is NO FEE as she isn't a pet, but a medical assistant.

I told the woman she had made a mistake and I was only here to give Shasta's yearly documentation (I also bring her certification papers even though they should be on file) and recent pictures, but my fee was for Enok only that comes too $20.

I received the usual, 'Oh! I'm new. That's why you gave me all those other papers. I'll have to check with someone else to see how we can help you.' Off she went into an office and I could hear my name mentioned several times. I'm not surprised, they had heard enough from me last year that my name must be as familiar to them as the mayors.

By this time, I was down on my hunches no longer able to stand from all the pain. Shasta was totally focused on me even with someone bringing their St. Bernard, 18 month old horse that was taller than me when standing tall. She had helped herself to all the dog treats on the counter in just a couple of gulps and knocking everything over as her owner looked at her misbehaviour adoringly. I'd hate to see his home.

Meanwhile, Shasta with the reputation of a killer dog was sitting and minding her manners with the grace of royalty. Her eyes never leaving me the worse I got even when asked to be petted by one of the staff members. It was the staffer that said out loud, 'I can't believe how calm, mannerly and focused she is on you.' I was glad to hear it as there were some people in line that were keeping their distance from her. Silly, for one, as she was muzzled as per Ontario law and two, her manners were impeccable and I knew there was a large possibility of other pets there also.

A woman took me to a chair while she told me she would be right back as she was looking at our files. Only a few minutes passed after that and the woman came back apologizing for this long delay, but assured me Shasta was now on file as a Certified Service/Guide Dog and she promised me that from here in, I will no longer have to go through anymore waiting and delays. She simply needed her up-to-date yearly pictures and there was no need for me to bring her service certifications anymore.

London, one of the most anti-bullie cities in Ontario has finally acknowledged her for what she is. A beautiful, legally grandfathered, Certified Service/Guide Dog.

I've been bed ridden ever since, but with fond pride, I look and hug my Shasta and say, 'We finally DID IT!'

So, no matter how difficult (even impossible), remember the story of Shasta and I and know you can over come all things. You just have to want it bad enough and believe in what you're doing.

Happy 2008 to all of you and may all your dreams come true too.

Conners, Shasta & Enok

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On a personal note...

To those that follow my blog and see that I haven't written much in the last few months, I want you to know it's not because I've become disinterested in blogging. Far from it!

I have been in bed in a Chronic Fatigue flare since the weekend of Shasta's and my birthday in October. Never did I expect our exciting weekend would make me suffer so long, although I knew I would be useless for a week or two and expected that gladfully. It's one of the consiquences that having good times brings, and normally I took my punishment with the good feelings that it was all worth it.

This time however, a couple of weeks didn't happen and I'm still in bed most of the time and exausted, foggy minded and in pain when I'm awake. Sometimes in sleep too and it wakes me up.

I can't prepare for Christmas with no decorations or gifts bought and have to get Shasta to the vets for her rabies vaccine before the year end for her 2008 license somehow.

Somewhere without me realizing it, it went from fall to winter and hard to believe Christmas is yet about here. Emails have gone unread and through my fogginess I signed up for two things over the phone which I can't remember what. Under normal circumstances, I would NEVER do such a thing, but I assume it must have sounded good for me to do that as there isn't much fun in being down for the count for all these months.

So, in case I forget... both Shasta and I are wishing you all the very best of the season no matter how you celebrate.

For those that celebrate the same as we do, have a very merry Christmas and the reason we celebrate.

Conners, Shasta & Enok

Friday, December 14, 2007

'Best friend' bites tot

This story was in the London Free Press in the same city I live in and I'm just livid.

Here is the story right to what the mother thinks happened and yet the toddlers mom still sees the dog as at fault, or...was giving up the dog to be put down her way of getting off for many of the errors written right in this article and who knows about others that may not have appeared.

To think that Price got away with child abuse and neglect by the police, Children's Aid and Jay Stanford, London's manager of environmental services of London's City Hall, all because she handed over the dog to be destroyed.

It was her that was negligent. She left her dog to babysit her toddler on their own, as she openly admitted, she has done 100 times before in the play room, only this time the dog bone was in there.

If it's illegal that a child has to be at least about 12 years old to babysit and I'm not exactly sure if that age is correct, but close enough for this example, what makes this mother think it's alright for her dog to babysit her 22 month old daughter even though she was still in the house?

The other point I'd like to make is that she is blaming it on the breed of dog, as if another breed wouldn't have done the same thing under the same circumstances. She herself said the dog was cowering in the corner of the room alarmed as if she knew she had made a mistake. Does this sound like a VICIOUS ATTACK to you? Even the mother of the child didn't believe so.

Here's something I don't for the life of me understand why she wouldn't be convicted on this. The dog wasn't even registered and since she had the dog for 8 months, had she have gotten it from the Humane Society, ACC or even a reputable rescue, that would have been one of the first things that would have been done prir to her getting the dog.

Obviously, the dog wasn't a pup since they have been illegal for years now in Ontario, so it had to be an older dog. Even a transfer of ownership has to be issued at ACC for the Bullie breeds, so this woman had broken the law and bylaw from the time she first got the dog 8 months earlier. How is that responsibility?

She said she took a chance with the dog, (Pit bull), meaning she wasn't positive her child was safe when she first got it and due to her negligence is now spurting that Pit bulls do not belong in a home with children as if other breeds of dogs have never harmed, maimed or killed a child before.

Between the mother, the city and even Children's Aid to dismiss all this for the simple fact she gave the dog up to be destroyed, there is a genuine problem with this whole story and the system.

I would this have been different if it had of been any other breed other than a Pit bull breed? Would it have even made the media and would the woman have simply looked at it as an accident?

A child is harmed. A dog is about to be destroyed and that's the end of it. Something is drastically wrong with this picture. Please read on.

'Best friend' bites tot
Wed, December 12, 2007

MOM MEDICINE: Melissa Price kisses her 22-month-old daughter, Ava, the day after child was bitten by Mugsy, her family's pit bull. (DEREK RUTTAN Sun Media)

A London toddler is recovering after the family pit bull terrier ripped into her cheek, leaving her with about 25 stitches.

Ava Price, 22 months old, spent several hours in hospital, 45 minutes getting stitches and will likely need reconstructive surgery by age 10.

The pit bull, Ava's "best friend," is to be put down.

The attack occurred Monday when the girl was left alone in a toy room with the dog, as she had been "100 times before," only this time the dog had a bone, said Melissa Price, Ava's mother.

"We had this dog for eight months and we all loved and cherished this dog and at no point did we think that she was aggressive or going to be aggressive," said Price, who has three other kids at home.

"But now, I truly don't think a pit bull should be a family pet," she said.

London police investigated, and no charges were laid.

Price said a visit from Children's Aid yesterday went "fine."

She agreed to talk to reporters about the case, hoping to provide a warning to other families with pit bulls.

Ontario banned the squat, muscular dogs in 2005, the first North American jurisdiction to do so, after a series of highly publicized attacks on humans and other dogs.

Pit bulls already in Ontario before the ban took effect were spared, but subjected to tough restrictions under the law, such as mandatory muzzles when the dogs are in public.

"I love that dog to pieces -- I still wish she was here with us -- and I still do not support the ban on pit bulls," Price said.

"But I do not think a pit bull is a good family pet, especially if you have small children."

Ava Price, 22 months old, received 25 stitches on her face; the pit bull will be put down.

Despite a painful looking gash yesterday, Ava happily sipped back juice and climbed around her mom's legs.

"They were best friends," said Price of Ava and Mugsy. "She would hop on (the dog's) back and ride her like a horse, and they would chase each other all around the house.

"She's going to miss her."

As her mom spoke, Ava puttered around the living room coffee table, eating and dropping some hot dog pieces.

"She's dropping hot dogs on the floor for the dog," said Jenny, a community support worker that visits the family through the city's Hostel to Homes program.

Like other relatives and friends in the busy home yesterday, Jenny -- who declined to give her last name -- praised Mugsy as a good- natured dog loved by Ava and Price's other children.

Ava's siblings said they were devastated to learn Mugsy would be destroyed.

"I'm sad," said Nicholas, 9.

Added seven-year-old Mariah: "I want (Mugsy) to come back, but we can't have a doggy."

On Monday, Mugsy had a bone in the toy room, said Price, who thinks Ava must have tried to take the bone.

She imagines Mugsy bit Ava in an attempt to get the bone, but instead tore into her right cheek, which was left hanging.

Price was in the kitchen, about two metres away, and said she didn't hear anything.

But a cousin who was visiting heard a whimper, went into the hall and found Ava sitting on the floor and holding her cheek.

Mugsy was in the corner, "looking frightened," said Price.

"I truly, honestly believe the baby was playing with the dog . . . Judging by the bloody trail marks, it looks like the baby was trying to take her bone and (the dog) bit her face," said Price.

"I always had an understanding there was a chance of a pit bull being dangerous, but I gave this dog a chance."

Mugsy has been quarantined with Animal Care & Control, said Jay Stanford, London's manager of environmental services.

"The owners have signed over to have the dog be destroyed, so they have taken responsibility," said Stanford.

The family could be charged under a city bylaw since the dog wasn't licensed, he said.


- Ontario banned the powerful, broad-shouldered dogs in March 2005 and slapped restrictions on existing ones.

- In London, the dogs make up about four per cent of the city's 25,000 licensed dogs, but chew up a quarter of the time spent on animal control, a city report says.