Junior BSL Fighters
This story was written by the daughter of a friend of mine. Macey Ferren has a strong passion for her animals, especially her family's pit bulls, and she is following in her mom's footsteps in her efforts to defend the breed.
Congratulations to Macey for receiving the Honorable Mention for her paper! I'm proud to have you on our side, Macey!
(If you would like to leave a comment for Macey, please forward it to me, and I will be sure to get it to her.)
The Story of Hope
This is a fictitious story of a young girl who has been diagnosed as a blind youth. This isn't based on anyone person, but on anyone affected by Breed Specific Legislation (B.S.L). B.S.L is the banning of a specific type of dog, for whatever reason the head honcho of B.S.L can come up with. Right now B.S.L is focusing on banning the American Pit Bull Terrier, more commonly known as the Pit Bull. In fact in Denver, Colorado any dog that even remotely has the characteristics of a Pit Bull is taken from the owner and put to sleep almost if not immediately. In fact Denver has the highest rate of dogs being put to sleep because of B.S.L, which has been called the Holocaust of America, because so many have been killed. The following story is of a young girl whom was affected by B.S.L directly.
Four years ago I was diagnosed as a blind thirteen year old girl. My name is Cassie by the way. My sight had slowly been slipping for a long time, until finally I was diagnosed as blind. When I was told this my whole world seemed to crash. That would mean that I wouldn't ever be able to go to a public school, see my parents' faces, or even walk out my front door on my own again, or so I thought.
About a month after my diagnosis I was informed that a Seeing Eye dog had been donated to me. She was a three year old Pit Bull rescue. Apparently it wasn’t uncommon for a Pit Bull to be rescued from someone abusing them, or fighting them. She had belonged to somebody who had decided to that they didn't want her anymore and left her in an old car lot. Someone had called the shelter and said something about a disturbance by the old lot, that they'd heard a dog barking and they wanted somebody to come out and investigate it immediately. Well when they found her she was very sickly skinny, so bad that she could barely walk. No one at the shelter wanted to take her, because of the things they had heard in the papers and things, calling her breed vicious, dangerous animals that attack without warning. They day before she was due to be put to sleep, somebody suggested that they try to get her trained to be some sort of therapy dog, and that's how she came to stay here with me.
Her name ironically was Hope, which is something that I kept, even though the doctors had told me over and over that I had less than a 20% chance of gaining even some of my sight back. I was skeptical about getting a dog at first. I was blind and couldn't do very much, let a lone take care of a dog. When my mom and dad brought her home, I soon realized that I was wrong about a lot of things. With Hope I could go for walks outside and do other things that would otherwise have been impossible without her. Hope was somebody I could talk to, unlike human people. She didn't try to understand how I felt or told me that it was normal to feel what I was feeling.
She was just there comforting me. I like to think that she was listening to me, letting me talk, when I couldn't find the words to say around people. Soon I became very attached to her. She opened up a new world that I hadn't been able to experience since my diagnosis. She was my guardian angel, sent straight from Heaven to earth, by a God that loved me very much.
About a year after receiving Hope I had been given terrible news. I had just gotten home, from taking Hope for a walk and my mom told me that she needed me to listen to her very carefully and take what she said very seriously. She sat me on the couch and told me that B.S.L had come to Denver and that we had 48 hours to take Hope to an animal shelter or she would be confiscated. It was like hearing the doctors diagnosis all over again. I felt tears roll down my cheeks.
I finally found my voice and asked, " Can't we just get an apartment or stay at a hotel somewhere until we find someplace safe to take Hope to ?" Clutching Hope with all of my strength dad told me that not many places allowed dogs to stay, let alone a Pit Bull. Dad couldn't leave his job, because he wouldn't be able to find another one in time, and we were too short on cash to move that soon or even go to a hotel in the next state.
We were going to have to give up Hope, which was something I was beginning to do myself. If I had to let Hope go, I wouldn't be able to do the things that I did now, and getting another Seeing Eye dog just wouldn't be the same, because I had grown so attached to her.
Nothing was going right and I still couldn't see.
The day that we took Hope in was both a good and bad day. Dad had already gone inside with Hope, mom and I were waiting in the car. About five minutes after my dad had gone in my eyes began to blur. It wasn't normal for my eyes to do anything and this started to scare me. I couldn't see out of the blurriness very well, but I could make out distinct shapes. I informed mom and she started crying, which scared me even more. I didn't see the reason to cry until she told me that she thought I was gaining some of my sight back.
As soon as dad got back into the car we drove to the doctors to tell them the news and have my eyes checked again. They told me that I was beginning to see again, and that maybe with just the right amount of therapy and the right amount of time, I just may be able to see clearly again. This cheered me up, but I still missed Hope terribly.
Christmas approached faster that I thought possible. Every time I was asked what I wanted, I would simply reply, Hope. I hadn't forgotten about her, she was still my angel. She was out there somewhere, wondering what she'd done to be sent away again. I had gained my sight back, about a month after Hope had been sent away. The doctors said that it was a rapid change and that I would most likely have to use glasses for the rest of my life, but my eyes were fine. They told me that it was about a one in a million chance that I would be able to see, yet there I was on Christmas night opening presents with mom and dad, something I thought I'd never be able to do again.
I had just opened the last of the presents, when someone knocked on the door. Dad looked at mom and they went to see who it was. I sat there feeling grateful for what I'd gotten that Christmas, but I soon realized something inside of me felt empty. I realized that Hope wasn't there, and that she probably wasn't going to be in that house ever again. I didn't try to stop the tears that welled up in my eyes, I just let them fall, crying for my guardian angel. Even if I didn't need her to see, I still needed her in my life.
A few minutes later I felt something wet on the back of my arm. I turned to find something staring at me. It was Hope. I didn't even need to be told because somehow I just knew. I hugged her and cried harder than I had when we'd had to give her up in the first place. I asked dad if she was really here to stay and asked if B.S.L had left Denver. Dad told me that he'd gotten a better job in Oregon, where B.S.L wasn't likely to strike. He said that we'd be able to move and keep Hope for as long as I wanted to. I told them that if they thought that I was going to give her up again that they were crazy. Mom told me that I would have different responsibilities with her, now that I could see again. I would have to take her for a walk every day, make sure she had food, all of the normal things that came with having a dog. I realized that Hope was here to stay, and that no one would be able to take her again. It was the best Christmas ever, not only because I had Hope and my eyesight, but because I knew that there were other people who had kept hope like I had, and it paid off in the end. I could finally see what had helped me cope with being blind, and all it took was a little hope.
This story is dedicated to the thousands and thousands of people who have been affected by B.S.L. If people learn more about it and take matters into their own hands, by educating others, we may have a chance to stop it in its tracks. Just like in this story, all it takes is a little hope, and some action, to change something.