That Time I Saw a Ghost

If my title got your attention, then I’m going to begin this little tale with a caveat just for you:

I don’t know that what I saw was actually a ghost.

Ghosts are defined as the souls or specters of the dead. I’m not even close to being convinced that it was the soul of a departed person that I saw. The fact is, I don’t know what the thing I saw was. And you don’t either.

The Weird-Shit-O-Meter

When I was younger, I saw a few strange things. I still don’t know whether I imagined them or whether they were some sort of bizarre cosmic hiccup.

When I was a teenager, my family lived in a house purported to be haunted. Lights would dim and brighten, and we’d laugh and say that it was our ghost, Goosey (the nickname of the man who’d lived there.) Although friends weren’t too fond of the strangeness with the lights and the general creep factor of our house, it didn’t bother me. I did once see a strange shadow moving on the staircase landing, but that’s as close as I came to ever spotting anything outside the norm. Continue reading

Puppy Mills Are Not a Laughing Matter

I rely on my conscience (and do my research) before jumping on every bandwagon. But this is a bandwagon I felt compelled to hop on. GoDaddy made  a new Super Bowl ad public today, and it sparked immediate controversy. It makes light of a serious problem—puppy mills, and online puppy mills in particular. The response to the ad was so vehement that GoDaddy pulled it from the Super Bowl line-up and removed it from its YouTube page.

In case you haven’t seen the commercial yet, here it is:

Maybe you laughed. Hey, I’m not judging; I laugh at a lot of things others would deem inappropriate. But I’m not laughing this time. I’ve seen firsthand what the demand for purebred and designer dogs has created.

The GoDaddy ad makes its “puppy farm” look quaint. Here’s a litter of adorable, well-kept puppies raised on a farm and hauled in the back of a pickup truck—rural Americana all around. It’s not safe to transport dogs in the back of a pickup, but I’ll let go of my indignation on that one because there’s a bigger story here. Those picturesque puppy farms don’t exist and the surprise twist at the end of the GoDaddy video where the breeder callously says, “Ship ‘em out!” hints at it—puppy mills are a business. Put plainly, they’re dog factories.

The Puppy Mill

shiba inu puppy

This is my dog Toshi at 10 weeks old, just after he joined our family. Toshi was removed from a puppy mill by a rescue group that purchased him at auction because he was “defective.” Closer inspection by my vet revealed him to be perfectly healthy.

I worked for a dog grooming school years ago. The owner would invite a local puppy mill owner to bring in dogs. It was a charitable thing—the mill existed, and there was little anyone could do to prevent it from existing, so the school owner figured that at the very least the students could occasionally get the dogs cleaned up. But getting clean was the least of these dogs’ problems. Continue reading