Sunday, December 19, 2010

Alex Hoff, Age 13, Completes School Project On Illegal Dog Fighting...

Stock photo and blog post by John Hoff

Several months ago, I was away from my son for a few weeks, driving a truck down in Florida, when I encountered some posters being given away to raise awareness about the crime of dog fighting. The posters highlighted a $5,000 reward being offered by the Humane Society of the United States for information leading to the successful prosecution of individuals involved in this hideous and inhumane practice, like Michael Vick.

Click here for more info and an image of the Humane Society poster.

All the way from Florida I took one of the posters with me to give to my son, because I knew the idea of a large monetary award being offered for a small amount of information would fascinate him. I firmly believe my child will one day be a millionaire. He is always thinking, "How can I make some money?"

Initially, he was only mildly interested in the poster, but then one day he asked me...

...if he could have the poster. It turns out Alex had a speech project for one of his 8th Grade classes, and he needed a topic. Trying to come up with something that would work, Alex thought of the reward poster. My son's instinct that "dog fighting" was a good topic was apparently reinforced when my son viewed my blog (he does this every so often to keep up with what I'm doing between periods of visitation) and saw a video of Council Member Don Samuels addressing the topic.

And so my son threw himself into his project, even to the point of looking closely at every pit bull we passed in the streets of North Minneapolis to see if its ears were clipped. Clipped ears, my son told me, are a possible sign of a dog involved in dog fighting. I didn't know that. My 13-year-old taught me something I didn't know.

In fact, when I hauled a dead pit bull off the street and bagged it up for Animal Control to collect after the Thanksgiving weekend, my son wanted to view the animal and see if its ears were clipped.

And so we went outside together and looked, solemnly, at the dead pit bull. I was glad my son wanted to do that--look at a tragically slain animal for clues about its life--because it would help to toughen him up.

The ears, as it turned out, weren't clipped. Alex agreed the dog was "pretty" and it was a shame it was dead. He said this in a flat masculine tone, not full of crybaby emotion, and I was glad. My 13-year-old is becoming more of a man every day. One day he will do grizzly, bloody and terrible tasks in defense of women and long as I do not fail in my fatherly duty to "man him up." These are the times I do not regret leaving the wonderful life I had in Seattle, to be near my son and a meaningful part of his life, despite numerous difficulties. This is what brought me to North Minneapolis. Moments like this. Solemnly looking at a dead dog with my son on some routine weekend visit, instead of seeing him twice a year and asking, well, um, would you like to visit the Space Needle, maybe?


Last week, Alex completed his speech project and this weekend he told me, proudly, about his high scores. The dog fighting poster--which had been rolled up, stuffed in a duffel bag, and then spent months kicking around my house--was carefully tacked up and displayed during my son's speech.

While I am glad for my son's success with his speech project, the fact remains that dog fighting is probably taking place in North Minneapolis ALL THE TIME. If residents of North Minneapolis see signs of it, we need to make reports.

Dogs can't dial a cell phone.


veg*nation said...

way to go, Alex!! :-) real men don't need to act out their massive insecurities by torturing dogs.

Sarah said...

Awesome! I write the blog, that you linked to and I'm so happy to see one of my posts helping educate people about dog fighting. Thanks for the link!