Teeth clenched, jaw sore, heart beating with fury is how I woke up this morning. It’s the same way I fell asleep last night. What kind of people treat an animal that way? Those feelings stayed with me as I left to get coffee.
While the sun poked its head out of the blanket of night, my frustration and anger remained. I wanted revenge, to hurt those who hurt him, to make them feel the kind of pain he is experiencing. I was also aware that my anger was doing absolutely nothing to help Mister Rogers. It wasn’t healing him. It was hurting me.
I shared my frustration with my Austin Facial Hair Club (AFHC) family on our club GroupMe platform which helped ease some of my frustration. While sitting at my normal table at Radio watching the sky change from dark to light, I heard a familiar voice in my head asking a question I first heard over a decade ago while attending a class in Honolulu facilitated by my friend and mentor, Jeffery Rogers.
“So what, now what?”
At the time, I found the question a bit harsh. Yet, over the last decade I’ve asked myself that question whenever I’ve felt stuck in an emotion or victimized. It’s not harsh, it’s honest, and a helpful tool for moving forward.
Mister Rogers previous handlers beat him and used him for target practice. He’s been with us for eleven days after an Angel (literally named Angel) liberated him from that abusive environment and got him to us. During his vet check-up, they found three bullets still lodged in his body, one of them noticeable in his forehead, and after x-rays on his front left leg came to the conclusion that it needed to be amputated.
It’s obvious why I’m so angry. Of course I want to gather my posse and pay his previous handlers a visit, use them for target practice, break their legs, saw one off, see how they like being abused and tortured. My anger is justified, no doubt.
But would any of the above solve anything? Would it help Mister Rogers heal? No it wouldn’t. Therefore, the only person suffering with rage and revenge is me. So again I ask the question: What kind of people treat an animal that way? The old adage applies that hurt people, hurt people, or animals in this case. How much pain must these people be in to beat their dog and use him for target practice? How heavy are the bags of shit they’re carrying around on a daily basis? How low do these people feel? How much self-loathing are they experiencing that to feel powerful they have to do such things to an animal?
My Point A is anger and desire for revenge. My Point B is peace of mind and solutions for Mister Rogers. How do I get from Point A to Point B? By asking the above questions, putting myself in their shoes, imagining what their lives are like, empathy. No amount of revenge will help them or Mister Rogers. Plus, I’m not in the karma police business. I’m in the saving animals business. Violence isn’t something I’m very good at. Loving and saving animals is.
As I write this, Mister Rogers is standing next to me, his ass wiggling with excitement like a kid on Christmas morning. He has no desire for revenge. He’s happy right now. He just wants to play. In his behavior lies my lesson: Forgiveness.
Mister Rogers, despite everything he’s been through, is a fantastic, ass-wiggling, playful, smiling fool who seems extremely grateful for his new surroundings and simply wants to play with Vito and Barker Posey and be close to us.
As far as his healing goes, we will move forward with his two surgeries. The first to remove his enormous balls and the bullets from his body, the second to amputate his front left leg. Then we’ll move on to rehabilitation and him getting used to being a tripod. From there, we will train him. With his loving and gentle personality, he’s got Pit Crew (our all pit bull therapy group) written all over him.
Not only will we shower Mister Rogers with love, we will do the same for his previous guardians, energetically speaking, who obviously need it as much as Mister Rogers.
Luckily for Mister Rogers, he has the amazing support of Love-A-Bull, Bully Ranch, and the AFHC behind him. We will be there for him and each other, because dealing with this shit isn’t easy. But it’s what we do. And we’re really fucking good at it.
The surgeries are going to cost at least $2,000 plus the costs of rehabilitation and training. We understand if you’re angry reading this post because we are too. Please turn that anger into something positive, like supporting Mister Rogers in his healing. We recognize that there is evil in this world. However, there are far more people willing to help and give. I believe that. Mister Rogers is betting his life on it.
There are a few ways you can help. You can donate on our page. You can also donate on Love-A-Bull’s donation page. You can also do your own fundraiser on Facebook, using Mister Rogers’ story and choosing Love-A-Bull as your charity.
Any additional proceeds will go toward supporting other dogs in our adoption and foster programs. We can’t do this without your help. Thank you so much for supporting our mission and Mister Rogers. We will post regular updates on Mister Rogers’ progress.