I hope you’re not missing the party over at the new pad. The pups are romping, the cats are scratching, and the snakes are…doing what snakes do. We miss you and we value your readership, so, if you haven’t already, please head on over to well minded, type in your email address so we can be sure to notify you of all the latest news in animal wellness, and enjoy our most recent posts.
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In an attempt to streamline things a bit, I’ve integrated my blog with my business site. I don’t want anyone to miss this week’s installment of “silly state law Saturday” (or anything else, for that matter). Please come visit us at our new home and be sure to subscribe via email. It wouldn’t be a house warming without you!
Our new address is http://www.wellmindedpets.com. We’re still unpacking, so please excuse us if things aren’t perfectly put together, yet. Can’t wait to see you there!
I wrote a few months back about anticipating the release of Blackfish, the documentary about Tilikum, a killer whale captured, then raised in captivity. I must admit, though I’d committed to myself to see it, I let it come and go through the local theaters, thinking of excuses as solid as the ones I use when I skip my workout. It was when I saw it advertised on television that CNN would be premiering the film that I realized if I wasn’t going to the film, it was coming to me. I set the DVR.
It sat in my feed for a couple of days, then yesterday I mustered up the courage and pushed aside denial.
I expected the film to be centered only around the treatment of killer whales and their lives in captivity–why they shouldn’t be in captivity. It was about that, but it was equally about the cover-up by Sea World, mainly, of, not only known concerns about the animals, but about the safety of their trainers. The trainers who universally loved the animals and who built close emotional relationships with them were often kept in the dark and lied to about the reality of the situation they were central to. This was news to me.
I grew up going to Sea World, San Diego at least a couple of times a year. As I mentioned in my previous post about Blackfish, it wasn’t until I was halfway through college that I changed the course of my career from that of a killer whale trainer. What the Blackfish interviews captured from the trainers about how they got started was exactly how I felt. There is just this magnificent wonder. There is a burning desire to be near these animals.
But even if one doesn’t go so far as to become a killer whale trainer, there is still the magic of being in their presence that can’t be denied. Few of us have the means to go to the native waters of these pods of killer whales, so, instead, we go to Sea World, where we can view them close-up in a seemingly controlled environment and score ourselves a hot dog and a stuffed toy in the process. Good ol’ family fun. But at what cost?
If you want to know the answer to that question, see Blackfish, which, here in the U.S. is currently being shown on CNN and is available for order on DVD. I’m not one to cry out boldly about politics and sensitive issues, as I have friends, family, and colleagues on both extremes of the political spectrum. I have close friends who frequent Sea World with their families. I see their treasured photos with Shamu on Facebook. If you’re one of those people, I’m not going to turn on you. I believe you don’t know. Because if you did, you wouldn’t be so proud of those photos. See Blackfish.
It’s akin to my philosophy about eating meat. I’m not going go shun you for doing it. Heck, I’m an almost-vegan who enjoys a beef burger every so often. I get it. But know where your meat comes from. Make an educated choice, not one in denial. See Blackfish before you go back to Sea World.
I practically grew up at Sea World. Though I haven’t been back since my college days, I could still probably navigate the park with a blindfold on. It was like a second home. If I can say good-bye to it, so can you.
My kids (age six and four) watched Blackfish with me. Yes, it upset them, but that’s okay. I want them to know the truth and be able to make their own decisions. I paused the film (thank goodness for the DVR) in several spots to help them understand. A few minutes into the film, they asked, “so we can never go to Sea World?” At the end of the film, my four-year-old daughter declared, “we’ll never go to Sea World because it’s not okay to treat the killer whales like that. It’s wrong.” My six-year-old son sat there in silence with his head down.
And that sums it up. It’s okay for them to know the truth. And it’s okay for you to know it, too. See Blackfish.
You can check out the trailer, here:
What Arkansas lacks in strange animal law quantity, they make up for in quality. So let’s get right to it:
• Alligators may not be kept in bathtubs. What is it with people keeping animals in bathtubs? Same law, different animal and state. What about a goldfish in a bathtub? I mean, that would be a castle, basically. So which state is going to outlaw goldfish in the bathtub?
• In Fayetteville, dogs may not bark after 6:00 p.m. Whoever made this law has not ever owned a dog, lived next door to a dog, or known anyone ever in their lives who has had a dog. Actually, this person has never heard of the species “dog.”
• In Fayetteville, it is against the law to make bats and owls into burgers. Wow. Just, wow. I’m gonna go eat a veggie burger right this second. But just one question: Can I make bats or owls into burgers, or is it the fine bat/owl blend that is outlawed? And what type of cheese would go best on that burger? I lied because that was two questions.
• In Fayetteville (animal issues, Fayetteville?), it is unlawful to walk one’s cow down Main Street after 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Perhaps the cows need a nap after church. Or maybe they interfere with happy hour. One can only guess.
• In Fayetteville, it is illegal to kill any living creature. All is awash; I love you Fayetteville!
In conclusion, alligators are a statewide problem, and Fayetteville has issues. Period.
I can’t wait to check out California (my home state) next week!
If you need a recap:
Law information source: stupidlaws.com and dumblaws.com.
Our teen thing, B, is taking a law class this semester, and he is surprised by how much he’s enjoying it. He likes it so much that he and his law class buddies have taken to spending some of their free time looking up and debating silly laws. Last week, he started reading some of them to me, and we were laughing so hard we were crying and gasping for air. Of course, many of them are silly today because they were only really applicable during the time they were instated. It’s amazing some of this stuff is still on the books! What’s even more entertaining to me is how many of these laws involve animals.
I was inspired by our new family “game” and wanted to share this great new source of entertainment with my readers, but there are just too many to include in one post, so we’ll be visiting this topic by state in alphabetical order, starting with good ol’ Alabama.
Alabama’s silly state (and city) laws regarding animals:
• Bear wresting matches are prohibited. This law was designed to protect the bears from this inhumane form of entertainment. Is there no limit to the types of animals we will pit against each other? In addition, a person may not surgically alter a wrestling bear. I guess since it’s unlawful for bears to wrestle, then we can only surgically alter non-wrestling bears. Which would be all bears. Sure.
• It is considered an offense to open an umbrella on a street, for fear of spooking horses (repealed). I wonder how many horses currently roam the streets of Alabama. We’ll just get wet…it’s worth it for the horses.
• Elephants may not be placed in electric ovens. Well, there go the Thanksgiving plans.
• It is illegal to marry an animal that is not already a relation. Um. Well. I guess marriage equality does have limits. Apparently animals are considered family members of their owners. And we can marry them.
And my personal favorite…
• If an animal control officer is in uniform, it signifies to the public that he is an animal control officer. So glad we cleared that up.
Drop by next week when we take a look at Alaska!
Law information source: stupidlaws.com and dumblaws.com.
Don’t pets in books, movies, and on TV always steal the show?
I have quite a few favorites, but my current celebrity doggie crush is on Sizzles, from the Charlie & Lola books and TV series. My littles introduced me to the Charlie & Lola books by Lauren Child, and soon after, we saw the characters come to life on the small screen, much to our delight. Honestly, it’s the only kids show I actually enjoy watching with them.
For me, the books and episodes shine because of the dialogue and the illustrations/animation. And it’s quite impressive how closely the animation keeps with the books’ illustrations. The characters are charming and adorable and creative, and they make the most mundane thing seem like an adventure. Every book and episode starts the same way in Charlie’s voice (he’s British, so don’t forget to imagine the accent):
I have this little sister Lola. She is small and very funny…
Charlie is the sweet older brother, and all of the stories are told in his voice. Lola is his adorable (and small and funny) little sister, who he often must rescue from one thing or another. Nothing too dramatic. Things like not being able to find her favorite book at the library or spending all her money at the zoo so she can’t purchase the seal bath toy she had her heart set on. Charlie always makes things right for Lola.
So what about Sizzles? Sizzles is their friend, Marv’s, dog. Lola loves Sizzles, and so do I. Sizzles is part mischief and part love, and has a knowing look almost all of the time, though he doesn’t seem quite as smart as Lola thinks he is. He appears in only some of the books and episodes. Just enough to get you to fall in love and beg for more. And his bottom is just the cutest!
My favorite Charlie & Lola book is We Honestly Can Look After Your Dog, so, naturally, my favorite episode is We Do Promise Honestly We Can Look After Your Dog, which is, of course, based on the book. I won’t debate which is better, but I will say I love to see Sizzles in action. Lola, and her BFF, Lotta, beg Marv to let them look after Sizzles. The girls are in a bit over their heads, but it’s jolly good fun, and *spoiler alert* Sizzles makes it out of the experience just fine. If you are a dog lover who wants to smile right now, please click here and watch the episode. I completely absolutely promise you will love it. Watch with your dog-loving kids, too. Okay, go ahead…let me know what you think, and let me know how madly in love with Sizzles you are.
But you can’t have him. He’s mine. Sizzles can do anything.