Adorable Foster Pups; Cruel & Unusual Documentary; Utah Air

The majority of my day-to-day existence currently is spent taking care of these three wonderful puppies I'm fostering: Puck, Thebe, and Petey. They all went to adoptions for the first time this weekend.

Petey was adopted immediately. No matter how much I foster, it never gets easier. I always end up bonding and falling in love and my brain starts to try to trick me with little snippets like, "This is your little soul mate dog...". But I remind myself that fostering in and of itself is vital. And because of fostering, these puppies have a chance to find their forever homes.

Before I was able to foster them, all three were at the shelter and had no chance at survival. Two in their litter had already passed away. Their mom was all skin and bones, and in turn couldn't care for or nurse them. They were all extremely underweight and had worms. After turning my upstairs bathroom into a sweltering puppy incubator, they are now all really plump, healthy, and playful.

Today Puck and Thebe went on their very first walk. They made it half a block before they just wanted to play and try to rip off one another's puppy jackets.

Cruel & Unusual Documentary

In other news, I recently watched a documentary called Cruel & Unusual that I stumbled across at the library:

This documentary is an unflinching examination of transgender women in men's prisons. Five individuals describe their experiences undergoing inhumane and humiliating treatment including rape, violence, solitary confinement and denial of medical care.

It was pretty heart-wrenching and unimaginable, what the women in the documentary had endured. For instance, Anna had started hormone therapy before being incarcerated. Once there, she was refused treatment and put in solitary confinement (to protect her; but also isolated her from human interaction for years). She attempted suicide.

Denied surgical intervention, another woman castrated herself while incarcerated. In my own experience, without testosterone my body betrays my mind's hard-wired map and the pain of being mismatched is indescribably unbearable. And that would be nothing in comparison to what these women experienced. As the documentary puts it,

Once an individual begins estrogen treatment, their body stops hormone production altogether, which is akin to denying a woman hormones after a hysterectomy. Coupled with the psychological effects of returning facial hair and losing breasts, transsexuality in prison becomes an untenable situation amidst the general terror of prison.

Even though the topic was infuriating, it was a good documentary that was also inspiring and informative.

Northern Utah #1 in Nation for Worst Air

The air here is killing me. My eyes are burning. My lungs feel strained when I walk outside. After bicycling I'm gasping, even after wearing my Sportsa Respro Mask (a mask I'd strongly recommend - it filters out city pollutants and I need new filters for it, pronto. Without it, it feels like there are a thousand needles in my lungs).

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Northern Utah air worst in nation
The air quality in northern Utah was the worst in the nation Sunday, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The news gets worse: The dirty soup isn't expected to lift until mid-week, according to regulators and forecasters.

Sunday was a red-air quality day in every county the Division of Air Quality monitors. They include Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber and Cache counties. And air quality for today and Tuesday is predicted to be the same. Read More >

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, between 2001 and 2005 Salt Lake City averaged 29 days a year with an "unhealthy" rating on the Air Quality Index--the level that's considered potentially harmful to the entire population, not just those with respiratory issues. And now, 5 years later, it's become worse (because the beautiful mountains here "trap" the pollution in; referred to as a "soup bowl").

The EPA measures six major pollutants: ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead and particulate matter or soot, much of which comes from cars. The effects of most pollutants are transient; get out of the bad air and you'll rapidly improve. Not so with ultrafine particles, defined as those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which have a cumulative effect. According to John Balbus, M.D., chief health scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, the known carcinogens in these particles can pass through the alveoli, the sacs in our lungs that filter toxins, and straight into the bloodstream. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, as many as 64,000 people a year in the United States die prematurely of causes that are related to air pollution.

There's something absurd about a world where walking and bicycling are a health hazard. I guess the best I can do is to continue doing my best not to contribute to it, and harp on and on about anti-pollution Respro masks. Who make safety look so chic!

1 comment:

  1. I was telling my best friend Ava about that documentary. So sad : /


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