I am making this post to announce a profound shift I have experienced at my current job in Montreal at “Bark Avenue”. I have been there since November, so not terribly long, however, I feel like there is this tectonic shaking taking place in my being that brought me to the Kitchener-Waterloo SPCA to meet an elderbull, Clementine, on April 4th.
I have joined lives together with this beautiful pit bull that was inconclusively surrendered or found as a stray in Ontario. Ontario in 2005 amended the Dog Owners’ Liability Act and Public Safety Related to Dogs Statue Law Amendment Act (DOLA) placing a ban on pit bull “type” dogs, only permitting grandfathered (born before 2005) pit bull’s to remain in province, with various stipulations like muzzling in public spaces, and when in private settings, to acquire “consent” from the owners of that space. Ridiculous little things, but missteps are lethal. Those who were birthed post-2005, if not transferred out of province or into one of the new fostering pit bull rescues is killed. I cannot dare entertain the proper term euthanasia because they are not good deaths.
The mappings of Clementine’s body allude to a life of breeding, neglect, and excessive steroid use for whatever reason. Her nipples sag, her vulva is prolapsed, various non-cancerous growths on her body, missing and spaced out teeth, questionable scars, and numerous skin conditions that leave her salt n’ pepper fur a mess.
Piecing some sort of story together through her body does not show any sort of deterrence for happiness in her spirit. Elderbull, sure, but the way she bogies makes me question her 12+ age! She is the most heart-breaking soul to have ventured into my life.
It is interesting navigating the political terrain surrounding pit bull’s. I can walk her here, but not there. Even though Montreal (Quebec) is a friendly place for these dogs there are still burroughs with bans in place and mentalities that spread. Just the other day the City of Montreal announced a greater city-onus for the animal population, dissolving some of the SPCA’s responsibilities. Of course one of the changes they plan to implement is regarding pit bull’s to catch up with the rest of North America’s stance.
Pit bull’s are politically charged nonhuman animals, in a way that few scholars and activists have truly comprehended. Heidi Nast and Harlan Weaver have begun to tackle these questions, which is exciting. You can gleam so much from the lives of pit bulls, including : stories of white labour workers, slavery, racism, boars, masculinity, politics of place, queerness, nonhuman animal oppression, reproductive exploitation, human-animal power dynamics, white saviour complexes, and implications of all of this = the deaths of hundred’s of thousands of pit bull-type dogs a year.
I will certainty be writing more about pit bull’s in the near future, but this post is dedicated to Clementine – I hope I can provide a lovely little life for this darling who has endured, who has seen and felt things unimaginable.