Thursday, 9 February 2012

Moving Forward and Bringing Positive Changes with Hector the Pit Bull and the Ronald McDonald House

Hector the Pit Bull, showing his positive side
This post may upset or offend some, and while this is NOT my intention, I am going into this hoping that a positive and progressive approach can be started with the help of one of the Vick Dogs, Hector. I have never made it a secret that I share my home with cats and a Bichon Frise and I have not shared my home with a Pit Bull type dog. I have also never hidden the fact that it was Hector and his family who have propelled me into becoming an active voice for all animals, through the Vick Dogs. I understand the need for Pit Bull type dogs to be viewed the same as every other dog, just as much as I appreciate the things that make them different and nice to be around. Yes, it all started with Hector and his family, and it has grown to what I am proud to say is a little community of people who respect and appreciate the dogs and their people vs. that other business and the man at the head of it.

There is also another side to this McDonalds business, the Ronald McDonald House. A place where families go when a child is sick or ill. In fact, I was pretty close to needing this service as I waited to see what my daughter's fate was, last summer, after a near fatal peanut exposure. I know how important it is for families like mine, who are out of town, and are worried and scared than most people can imagine. Considering what the situation was, and which hospital my daughter was rushed to, I was fortunate that I could sleep in her room. I was also fortunate that IF I needed a place to go to relax and to take one of the 11 nights to get my energy back- this option was there, for me. An option as readily available as friend's homes who were also in the city. What you read below, what I offer as a way to move forward is so infused with everything about this failed campaign and my personal relationship to it. Including Hector The Pit Bull, Vick dog extraordinaire. We talked about it, and we agreed that this would be one hell of a commercial for everyone. Not one about food or necessarily a "you owe us", but one that could open a world of acceptance for people and for Pit Bull type dogs. I see further than that, I see a lot of healing that can happen for a lot of people through a lot of dogs. All dogs and all people. It also means that more people will know what happened to at least one Vick dog, and know whatever they thought ugly or negative was wrong. This whole paragraph is not something I shared, at the time, because I was not sure I wanted to be so personal. How can I not be, though? When it is through the Vick Dogs and seeing for myself what Hector is able to do for people. That it is because what I see in him (and the others) that I have decided upon who my daughter's working dog will be. Yes, I have been paying close attention to Hector, and I am glad I did.

So, I ask you all to think about what has happened since the airing of what should have been a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign for McDonalds' McBites that completely and irrevocably became a PR nightmare for them. People were offended and hurt that this one place that sits within all our memories so fondly could betray us. It is understandable that pain and anger would ensue. With everything the media portrays, every person they have helped stand behind what literally kills members of our families, it is terrifying. This is an international company, a company that sees its restaurants sitting in every corner of the world, a world that is not kind to Pit Bull type dogs. A world where every dog who reacts becomes a Pit Bull. Not always the case, but, there are no issues or concerns about the people it hurts. We see governments deciding they may have got it wrong with BSL, and we see people thinking this is the only option- that BSL is a good thing. We know it is not. We know that this handful of people who use and abuse any dog, the handful who choose to fight dogs for sport, and yes, even the only part of the history that people cannot seem to shake, has made it bad and hard for everyone. I have seen people of all ages, races, and walks of life who share their life with dogs who fall under the Pit Bull umbrella. I have gotten to know some of you through the Facebook version of the Little Engines. I enjoy it and I love that there is an opportunity to show the world  that some of its population has got it wrong. I love that we are able to show that not everything is bad, and what is, should be dealt with. I love that we are able to all stand together and share how much we can learn from the Vick Dogs.

I have experienced the insult and the anger with and for each of you who has felt the offense, fear and hurt this ridiculous campaign has caused. I am part of the Pit Bull community, because I have put myself there. I too will eventually bring a dog into the home, where people will judge me. As part of the community, I feel it necessary to point something out. I do not like the aggressiveness and the anger that is being displayed. I do not like seeing people so consumed with fear and outrage that, while representing me, my friends and these dogs I work every single day to present in a positive light, that people are not looking at what can truly happen here. I am not an opportunist, but, let me tell you, when I see an opportunity to do something good and positive, you better believe I will take it. Placing demands on McDonalds and saying they owe us this, and they owe us that is ridiculous. Waiting for it to simply go away, is not something I foresee happening in the very near future. Some things take a little more to overcome, and sometimes, it is justified. In absolute fairness, they did publicly apologize. But, sitting on this end, I too fear this is not enough. Not enough for us, and not enough for them. After all, how can we not be concerned with how this will go on to affect the donations that some Pit Bull owners have given to the Ronald McDonald House? Or what we are doing, saying and feeling, and then acting out on is going to affect the kids and families who do need this option. Again, in all fairness, there is a bigger picture involved here.

I want to encourage everyone to share that we CAN move forward, and in a rational and positive fashion,  help achieve something for not only Pit Bulls, but for ALL animals. The most valuable lesson I have learned from my year in being one small piece of the Vick Dog journey, is this: Chances are worth being given. If a chance was not taken on the Vick Dogs, so they could go on and lead by example, how many of you now would not have the dog beside you? How many things would not have changed, had it been decided that there was no use for giving them a chance? I know you know the answer to that. I offer each and every person a way to take that example, which was positive and progressive and continue on with it. I offer each of you to help see Hector and his friends lead the way. I offer each of you the chance to stand behind working to see Hector and his friends become the face of change, and yes, it is with McDonalds in a Ronald McDonald House commercial. We want to petition them to use a real dog who has overcome. A real face of moving forward and being positive. A real therapy dog who is comfortable in front of the cameras and being with children.. How many children has he taught about overcoming? How many patients has he visited and gave a much needed smile and boost to? He is willing, his parents are willing and I am willing. This may be a bit of great PR for the dogs, but, do you know what else it is good for? It is good for each and every animal who needs a chance. It is also good for people, to know that it is possible to move forward and heal from any pain. And it is excellent for every single person with a dog who would like to give back to the community. Learning more about Hector can open a whole new world to many,many people. Learning about Hector will make people curious about the rest of the Vick Dogs, where they will learn even more about all that is possible. And most importantly, people will be able to see that all dogs are created equally, and it is the certain charms and quirks of the individual that stands out. Yes, seeing Hector and friends CAN do all this. And it should be a commercial for the Ronald McDonald House.

I encourage each of you to come and join us, as we work towards a positive end. This is a major corporation with a large reach, and yes, they do have one of the most wonderful facilities available to children and their families who need such a service. This can work out for everyone, if we all just sit and think of what can be accomplished. Putting a little pressure on to see this happen is not a bad thing, despite what anyone says. It can be a win-win for everyone. And in the end, isn't that all we want to see? A chance for everyone to be able to show a softer side and what great work can be done when people and animals work together for healing?

I have chosen to once again use Facebook as my tool. It HAS worked before. Click the link and put your name behind positive. Use what you have to make it better for the dogs, and the people who love them. I cannot think of a better dog to lead this pack of people to a positive outcome and even more positive change. Please click and stand with us as we work towards a Ronald McDonald House commercial featuring Hector and friends.

As always,
Nikhi xo

1 comment:

IndigoWheeledTerrierJones said...

McDonalds recently BANNED a therapy dog from working in the Ronald McDonald House , because he was a PIT BULL. So they wont be doing a commercial like that any time soon. Trust me. That dog was looking forward to his first day of work , then a call came and told him he wasn't needed and the reason he was not needed was because of his breed. Mc Donalds corporation have done our breed a disservice on more than one level , at more than one time. So yeah , I am sorry they do owe us. They owe us a lot. They owe us more than their feeble apologies and excuses, they owe us more than their backpedaling , and their BS. What they owe us , they cant possibly repay , because they have not only done us a disservice , they have done the children they have pledged to help a disservice by denying them animal therapy , because of a dogs breed. What they have done is pretty irreparable. No money , no commercial not really much they can do , can fix this situation. Boycotting them and hitting them in their BILLION DOLLAR pocketbook, is about the best thing animal lovers can do. My family does not eat Mc Donalds , even before this , because of their dietary choices, but my folks think we dogs are worth more than any NUGGET of any apology, financial gift , or commercial they could ever possibly give us.