Saturday, August 29, 2009

Focus and Clarity

Four months ago, when Liberty was still at the vet after being hit by the car where rescuers found her, when we were trying to figure out what would happen to her when it was time for her to leave the vet, a woman from a local rescue was talking to me about her and kept saying "wow, she reminds me so much of my girl". Probably in shock from actually considering bringing another pit bull into my already full home, I didn't make the connection. But that woman, and more so her dog, were "famous" in a way. Because of one particular man who returned to work this week. You might have seen the dog. I'm sure you've heard of the man.

That cover dog is Sweet Jasmine, one of the dogs rescued from Bad Newz Kennels, likely born there, through the blessings of God and hearts of people that never fail to amaze me, not destined to die there. For her first four years of life, we don't really know what happened, though there is a great deal of evidence that it was nothing short of torturous. For her final year, Jasmine had a loving family, other animals that she lived peacefully with, and a truly blessed final few months, before she was hit and killed by a car this week. Many in the pit bull community consider Jasmine's cover article to be a major (positive) turning point for our breed. I hope that's true. And yes, Liberty does look a great deal like her, down to the wonky ears, questioning eyes, and pouty lips.

The temperament, too, seems similar. To read about the dogs as they recover from those disgusting horrors is to read about Liberty. The fear, the hiding, the timidity - and the relentless love for people. From day one, Liberty would cower to the ground, tail glued to her belly, refusing eye contact... and do it while crawling towards the person she feared; wanting so much to be by them, even certain they would beat her. That's the heart of a pit bull. So unwaveringly full of love it puts the rest of the world to shame.

And we should be ashamed.

We will remember that man's name for decades to come. Partly because he can throw a ball. More because of the unspeakable acts he now claims to be sorry for. Whether he is or he isn't truly sorry, I can't and won't say. Because I choose not to spend more time dwelling on him than is absolutely necessary. I can't focus on the evil in the world - there is too much of it. I have to focus on the beauty.

I have to focus on the full body hugs I get from Liberty every time I come home. I have to focus on the way she gently licked away my tears last week at the end of a sad movie. I have to focus on the way her tail wags when anyone - Trevor, Aslan, Fiona, Oscar, or myself - walks into the room where she is napping. I have to focus on the jello-like wiggles that overcome her body when she sees a human. The pogo-like bouncing when she realizes it's someone she's met before. I have to focus on the uncountable numbers of people that say "oh, she's so beautiful - what a sweet face!" and not the handful that say "she looks mean" (it must be the pink collar, or maybe the Tinkerbell tee-shirt.)

I have to focus on Hector, Zippy, Jonny Justice, Leo, Sweet Pea, Uba, Iggy, Audie, Grace, Jhumpa Jones, Ernie, Frodo, and Teddles. And on Sweet Jasmine.

And when I think about Jasmine, as I have often this week, I will think about the wonderful, peaceful life, over-flowing with love that marked the end of her time in this life. She deserved that.

Rest in peace, Sweet Jasmine. Your gifts to this world weren't about being unusual at all, but about how very typically pit bull you were. It's clear to me we could use a little more of that.


Blogger Catherine said...

Dammit, first Ted Kennedy's funeral Mass on C-Span, now this. Poor sweet babies. My verification word is "sulfood" - and my soul has had a workout this week and could use feeding.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This was beautifully written.

8:53 AM  

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