RIP, Spot
February 23, 2004 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Some animals are more equal than others. President Bush's dog Spot, "a beloved member of the Bush family for nearly 15 years" was put to sleep this weekend after a series of strokes and declining health. Jeb Bush did not attend the funeral, having been busy this weekend protecting his ban on euthanizing beloved family members.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (52 comments total)
 
dogs = people?
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:37 AM on February 23, 2004


Ok, I'm a little slow. Could you explain how these links are relevant to each other?
posted by 2sheets at 11:37 AM on February 23, 2004


Heh. Good stuff.
posted by ColdChef at 11:43 AM on February 23, 2004


I think it's the "It's okay to kill animals but not people" concept. Of course, I disagree and found the FPP poignant.
posted by Dantien at 11:44 AM on February 23, 2004


Damn, they put the wrong White House resident to sleep.

[/obligatory]
posted by xmutex at 11:45 AM on February 23, 2004


2sheets: You're being intentionally daft. They're relevant to one another (and they create a striking juxtaposition) because one could create a strong argument that it's absurd to endorse/accept putting down a suffering animal (my heart goes out to the first family, even though they're a bunch of fascists) while insisting that everything possible be done to prolong the life of an irreversibly suffering person.
posted by trharlan at 11:45 AM on February 23, 2004


Also: Sorry your dog died, George.
posted by ColdChef at 11:49 AM on February 23, 2004


I think the biggest difference is that we don't eat people. We eat animals all the time. Plus pets tend to live rather short lives. We're used to them dying, and we have fewer emotions and rituals tied to their death.

While we can generate some wonderful hyperbole by linking these two things, it seems to make more sense to me to think of them as very different.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:52 AM on February 23, 2004


Of all the arguments that could be made about letting catastrophically ill people die with dignity, comparing them to dogs has to be the worst.
posted by rcade at 11:53 AM on February 23, 2004


I think the biggest difference is that we don't eat people.

Easily remedied.
posted by 4easypayments at 11:54 AM on February 23, 2004


rcade: You could compare them to throwing out a half-eaten tub of McDonald's french fries.
posted by xmutex at 11:55 AM on February 23, 2004


I think the biggest difference is that we don't eat people.

The same taboo applies to dogs, in western culture.
posted by waldo at 11:57 AM on February 23, 2004


What will the tail wag now?
posted by alphanerd at 12:03 PM on February 23, 2004


I don't think I'm the one comparing dogs to people, rcade. I thought the most striking part of the White House's statement on killing Spot was how he was a "beloved family member." The entire article evokes stories of the dog equating him not as a pet but as an equal member of the Bush family. I think it's a stretch for a person as morally devout as Bush to claim technicality of species as the justification for killing what he'd see as a "creature of God" he has so much of a connection to. This man thinks stem cells have souls and yet he doesn't think God will take his dog when the time is right?

Both of these cases are about people using their power to make themselves feel better. George Bush put a "family member" to sleep because he felt it was right to do so. Jeb Bush is leaving a complete stranger in vegetative torment for the same reason. This isn't about me thinking a dog and a human are the same. This is about the Bushes thinking a dog should suffer less than a human just because they actually care about whether it's in pain or not.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:10 PM on February 23, 2004


This may well be a wonderful example of the vision and imagination of the current occupant of the White House: he names his dog Spot....spot on.
posted by Postroad at 12:15 PM on February 23, 2004


I think the biggest difference is that we don't eat people.

Speak for yourself.
posted by scody at 12:16 PM on February 23, 2004


Of all the arguments that could be made about letting catastrophically ill people die with dignity, comparing them to dogs has to be the worst.

For those that have previous experience with pet euthanasia, I think it's a very powerful argument. If you've seen the way sick pets typically die, and compared it to the way sick people typically die, the obvious question isn't "why don't we treat grandma like a dog", but "why do we treat a dog better than grandma?"
posted by vorfeed at 12:17 PM on February 23, 2004


"George Bush put a "family member" to sleep because he felt it was right to do so."

Says you. And you do so in the context of some wobbly Rube Goldberg logic construct designed to make Bush look bad. Well, I think you're assertion is poo. Says me. So there.

And seriously. This is it? This is what you come up with to bash Bush? The man is a train wreck. His family is screwed up. His record is screwed up. He can't speak intelligently without pausing to think between words. And you want to poke him in the ribs over killing his pet?

Please. Please do better. Find some outrage. Pass on the simpleminded pap.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:20 PM on February 23, 2004


[quote]I think the biggest difference is that we don't eat people. We eat animals all the time.[/quote]

So just because we do something, that makes it okay? It's okay to kill animals since we eat them anyway?

Funny how easy it is to make that argument when you are the one in power.
posted by Dantien at 1:03 PM on February 23, 2004


My condolences to the Bush family on their loss. I'm sure their dog had brought them much happiness over the years.
posted by vito90 at 1:15 PM on February 23, 2004


And seriously. This is it? This is what you come up with to bash Bush? The man is a train wreck. His family is screwed up. His record is screwed up. He can't speak intelligently without pausing to think between words. And you want to poke him in the ribs over killing his pet?

Huh? I don't seem to recall saying that this is the crux of the anti-Bush movement or that it should be one of Kerry's talking points, y6y6y6. I'm not sure where the idea that "this is it" came from. Jesus, you must be a treat at the breakfast table. "We're out of milk." "Is that the best you can do? People are starving in Africa! DO BETTER! And pass the sugar."

Daring to suggest you might actually want to (gasp!) participate in the discussion at hand about euthanasia and right-to-die, are you suggesting by your first statement that Bush didn't think putting his dog to sleep was the right thing to do?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:22 PM on February 23, 2004


This would be a better discussion if people would read the articles.
posted by subgenius at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2004


Plus pets tend to live rather short lives. We're used to them dying, and we have fewer emotions and rituals tied to their death.

Um...what? You know, no matter how many animals I've had that our vet has had to put down in the last 30 years, I don't ever, ever get used to it. And in my family we certainly don't have fewer emotions tied to their deaths. I think the death of our last dog was harder on my father than the death of his mother, in fact. And when our current dog goes, my God. That will be extremely rough on everyone.

If you want to speak for yourself on that one and say that you don't care that much when your pets die, that's fine. But I debate the word "we" in your argument.
posted by Hildegarde at 1:29 PM on February 23, 2004


"It's okay to kill animals since we eat them anyway?"

Well, yes. But that wasn't the point I was trying to make. Just trying to articulate why we make a distinction between people and pets. Obviously we make a distinction. Seems fair to wonder why.

"Jesus, you must be a treat at the breakfast table."

Now you understand the burden my family and friends must endure. Your spoof is frighteningly accurate. Have we met?
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:32 PM on February 23, 2004


This is getting sillier by the minute. Like PETA's infamous Chicken Holocaust comparing the plight of poultry and concentration camp victims, it accomplishes nothing but to demonstrate one side's utter lack of perspective.

Jeb Bush's treatment of Terri Schiavo is obscene because a state has no business usurping a catastrophically ill person's right to die. Her legal guardian established after years in court that she had expressed wishes not to be kept alive in that condition. Whether anyone agrees or disagrees with that decision, we ought to find common ground in the notion that a person deserves to make that decision for themselves -- not the government.

Trying to score points on this issue with a dead pet is laughable.
posted by rcade at 1:35 PM on February 23, 2004


So the Bushes didn't put the dog down in order to stop its suffering, but to feast on it's 15 year old beloved corpse?

Good to know.
posted by Hildegarde at 1:37 PM on February 23, 2004


This man thinks stem cells have souls and yet he doesn't think God will take his dog when the time is right?

Unfamiliar beliefs are always hard to understand. What distinguishes civilized people from barbarians is whether they react to the unfamiliar by trying to understand it (civilized) or by ridiculing it (barbaric). This thread consists almost entirely of barbaric comments. I hope it's a matter of a group of civilized people just having a bad day, and not what it looks like.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 1:48 PM on February 23, 2004


For those that have previous experience with pet euthanasia, I think it's a very powerful argument. If you've seen the way sick pets typically die, and compared it to the way sick people typically die, the obvious question isn't "why don't we treat grandma like a dog", but "why do we treat a dog better than grandma?" posted by vorfeed

I have to agree. I despise the Bush family as much as the next liberal, but my heart goes out to anyone that has to make this decision...be it family pet or family member.

I had to put my cat down after 21 years of being my best friend. It's been a year and a half, and I still get weepy about it. The decision to end a pet's pain is not an easy one, nor should it be.

But the GW Bush family's private decisions on how to manage a health issue with their pet does not equate or relate to Jeb Bush's insanity in Florida.
posted by dejah420 at 1:53 PM on February 23, 2004


dogs = people?

In this case, dogs > people.


he doesn't think God will take his dog when the time is right?

Hmmm...dog spelled backwards...


Jeb Bush's treatment of Terri Schiavo is obscene because a state has no business usurping a catastrophically ill person's right to die.

I guess it's her tough luck for never having committed a capital felony in Florida... [/irony]
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:53 PM on February 23, 2004


Some people being purposefully dim in this discussion...

Watch a dog suffering from a painful and incurable affliction slip into quiet peace from a simple injection from a merciful veterinarian.

Then watch a human suffer and die from a painful and incurable affliction without the aid of euthanasia.

Then maybe this high-minded concept will reveal itself to you. It's not an attack on Bush, it's an attack on the views he holds.

So, relieving the suffering of a loved family member is the right and honorable thing to do, as long as they are of the proper species.

I'm sorry his dog had to be put down. I hope he has the opportunity to visit Spot's grave every day in Crawford after the elections.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:53 PM on February 23, 2004


Lets not mischaracterize the Schiavo case for expediency. That case has nothing to do with her right to die or to live; to the best of my knowledge, she never voiced her choice, so the only rights she has are those of non-interferrence. It has to do with her husband making a legal claim that she be allowed to die, regardless of her wishes, arguably to make things easier on himself. I do agree that the state should have nothing to do with that, including the courts ruling that she be slowly starved to death at her husband's request.

When I've put animals down, I've done it with a lethal injection from a Vet, or a bullet. If you want to compare Spot and Terri's cases I think you have to include that whole death by starvation factor in there somewhere.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:09 PM on February 23, 2004


You guys all have it wrong. People who choose to die go to Hell, so it's inhumane to let them - even if they really want to, to "get out of their pain," they can't be anything but misguided. Animals can't sin and aren't immortal anyway, so mercy killing is fine for them.
posted by abcde at 2:09 PM on February 23, 2004


In order for the "high-minded" analogy to work, Spot had to let his owners know beforehand that he wouldn't want to be kept alive if he was suffering grievously.

Or are the civilized people in this discussion suggesting that family members can decide on their own to put down grandma when the time comes?
posted by rcade at 2:10 PM on February 23, 2004


Also, restricting medical support of someone so that they can die is a sin for those who approve (and perform) it too, I'd think. But since animals are under the dominion of man (and for the reasons above), it's much different.
posted by abcde at 2:12 PM on February 23, 2004


Okay, you knew I'd post here sooner or later...

In the Bible (in Genesis, specifically) God gave mankind (men and women) dominion over the animals. We are in charge of them. We have the right to decide what to do with their lives, and we have the right to have a beloved pet put to sleep if it comes to that.

Biblically, it is God who has dominion over human lives. He is the one who has the right to decide matters of life and death over us, or to delegate those sorts of decisions in certain circumstances.

So basically the distinction between people and animals only exists in a Biblical worldview (I guess I could say religious worldview-I don't feel qualified to discuss this from the viewpoint of other faiths.)

BTW I cried for three whole days after we had a hamster euthanized once. But as the vet wisely pointed out, love has no size...
posted by konolia at 2:14 PM on February 23, 2004


Here I was thinking the governments weren't supposed to be religiously partisan...
posted by Hildegarde at 2:16 PM on February 23, 2004


This particularly hits home with me at the moment. My beloved greyhound, Trailways, is aging and ailing. He's 12 1/2 years old (which is old for a retired racer); we've had him 10 years. He has difficulty getting up from his blanket by himself (he can do it, but with difficulty), so I help him up. He can no longer manage the stairs down to the back yard. But he still has a healthy appetite, and still begs to go for his daily walk, even though his gait is now slow and stilted. I know that one day soon I'm going to have to make a decision. But every day as I help him up, I ask myself, "if this was, say, mom, would I have her put down because she had trouble ambulating by herself?"

What complicates matters is that frequent trips to the vet are out of the question; Trai has always been terrified of the car, and trying to get him in right how hurts him more than getting up from his blanket. For the meantime, once he's up on his feet, he doesn't seem to be in pain, and though he no longer play-bows or happy-dances, he still comes to me for petting and gives his greyhound "smile." It's a tough call, and making the same call available to humans sort of frightens me.
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:17 PM on February 23, 2004


Wulfgar: According to Michael Schiavo's attorney and other sources, the court ordered to remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube because of testimony that she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially:

"Terri had numerous conversations with her husband, Michael, and also with other family members. All three of those individuals testified at the trial, and the court found by clear and convincing evidence that Terri did not want to keep alive -- stay alive artificially. She said no tubes for me. I never want to be kept alive artificially. And the court's order was on the basis of her spoken declarations."
posted by rcade at 2:18 PM on February 23, 2004


Or are the civilized people in this discussion suggesting that family members can decide on their own to put down grandma when the time comes? - rcade

No, we are suggesting that something is seriously wrong when grandma herself cannot choose to die.
posted by vorfeed at 2:43 PM on February 23, 2004


the discussion at hand about euthanasia and right-to-die

Please. The discussion is about axe-grinding, and advancing a "gotcha" on the Bushes. That you would post it, XQUZYPHYR, reeks of a lack of class.

It's just like when Clinton's dog Buddy got hit by a car, and the Freepers took the opportunity to make tasteless Vince Foster jokes.

Grow up.
posted by rocketman at 2:56 PM on February 23, 2004


Freepers?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:59 PM on February 23, 2004


Or are the civilized people in this discussion suggesting that family members can decide on their own to put down grandma when the time comes?

This isn't a woman who's merely sick and elderly; she's been diagnosed as braindead and comatose for almost two decades. The reason her husband has this decision is because she is clearly permanently incapable of making it herself. Most legality assumes the spouse followed by next of kin as arbiter of these decisions- Jeb Bush overrode that because, essentially, he felt like it.

So basically the distinction between people and animals only exists in a Biblical worldview

Biblical worldviews being irrelevant to legality, this would prove that Bush is a hypocrite then, wouldn't it? If religious morality is the excuse for euthanizing a dog, it certainly has no legal authority in the decision to forbid euthanizing humans. If God has dominion over human lives, then what right does Jeb have to place dominion over Schiavo that should be relegated to a mere animal? If George has the right to have Spot put to sleep because God gives him the right to have dominion over animals, then by your logic, Jeb is defying God's dominion by taking control of a human living and dying into his own hands.

The alternative is that they are not using a Biblical worldview, in which case they are just hypocrites.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:04 PM on February 23, 2004


konolia-- I can't find a good link, but I think your interpretation of "dominion" is wanting. In college, I had the good fortune to to listen to a Hebrew scholar discuss exactly what "dominion" meant, in context. Of course, I have forgotten the entire lecture.
posted by trharlan at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2004


XQUZYPHYR, your posts in this thread have not acknowledged any difference at all between dog life and human life. Do you agree that any qualitative difference exists? If so, then I suggest that you might pick up the trail of Bush's reasoning at the place where you find the difference.

If you cannot find a qualitative difference between dog life and human life, then please explain why we don't solve the plight of human homelessness in the same the SPCA solved the its cases of dog homelessness 3 million times last year.
posted by coelecanth at 3:45 PM on February 23, 2004


coelecanth, of course there's a difference between human and animal life. I'm not arguing that there isn't; I'm attacking those who are suggesting that's my argument and then use that accusation to set up straw men such as, for example, that I apparently equate pest control with genocide. Nice.

My argument is not about the differences between human and animal life but the similarities in their perception to those who attach a humanistic bond to something that isn't human. Personal bonds are exactly why we keep some animals as pets while calling others of even the same species vermin or call different species food. Personal attachment applies not just to living things but even personal items. Tell me you've never had a friend who came close to calling his sports car a family member.

No, Bush's dog wasn't human. But from the way his feelings and stories about Spot are expressed, he loved that dog like a human family member and likely mourns its loss as though it was one. For that, I offer the president my sympathies, having felt that pain myself. Is a dog's death, or a car breaking down, equal to the death of a human? NO IT'S NOT, is that perfectly clear now? But does that lessen, regardless of irrationality, the emotional pain that the person connected to its deterioration holds? It's amazing how those outraged at the drive to let Terri Schiavo pass on scream "how can you kill this woman like an animal?" can then attempt to make Bush feel better by in essence arguing "relax, it's just an animal."

Spot being a dog and Terri being a human doesn't affect the fact that their respective family members express sadness over their irreversible suffering. I support both euthanasia and right-to-die. The desire to end suffering has not a damned thing to do with where the suffering sits on the food chain.

This isn't, and never has been, about some silly, stupid straw man accusation of equating humans and dogs. It's about the hypocrisy of choosing who has the right to declare irrational emotional attachments to foreign objects worthy of deciding what lives and dies. Schiavo is forced to suffer, because the desire to end what someone with a personal connection sees as suffering is outweighed by the "rational" moral/religious construct of "preventing her killing." But it's okay for the humainstic bond with Spot to waive at the moment of euthanasia because, after all that humanistic attachment, we get to revert to biology. He's just a dog. Or the old standby, the Bible says it's okay. Well, that settles everything then.

That's a logic that I would call shameful. It's a logic that the religious and moralistic who deign themselves the arbiter of emotional rationality should call sinful.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:35 PM on February 23, 2004


As much as I dislike G.W. Bush's presidency, his policies, and his general lack of intelligence and character, my heart goes out to him and his family at their loss. Two weeks ago, my beloved Sheltie, Ian, was diagnosed with cancer. I spent my entire savings paying for his surgery. Although they took out the largest mass, there were two that could not be operated on.

I had to make the decision to sign the euthanasia papers before surgery. Luckily, he made it through and is home. Although he is acting like his old self, I know it's only a matter of a couple of months before I have to say good-bye for good.

I didn't cry when my mother died...for good reason. When Ian became ill, I discovered a new talent. I can drive, clear-eyed, while tears pour down my cheeks.

I truly feel sorry for the Bush family. Now they should all go home to Crawford, permanently, and mourn.
posted by Beansidhe at 5:00 PM on February 23, 2004


It doesn't appear that anyone's pointed out that Terri Schiavo is still attached to a feeding tube thanks to a blatant violation of Florida's constitution by Jeb Bush, so I'll go ahead and point that out.
posted by oaf at 8:21 PM on February 23, 2004


Trying to score points on this issue with a dead pet is laughable.

Well, I thought it was pretty funny, in a graveyard whistlin' kind of way.

Not as offensive as this though : I bet he wouldn't drop his grandma!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:40 PM on February 23, 2004


I'll chime in just to say, yes, what Ynoxas said.

If you'll all pardon a self-link, I dealt with this, not just to a pet extent, but parallel to a civil rights battle, a long time ago, and I've still yet to see why we can let our beloved 4-legged friends die with dignity but not our beloved bipeds.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:03 PM on February 23, 2004


My great-grandmother was in a nursing home for the last seven years, with the last 3 being pretty horrible. Last month she had a stroke, and was no longer able to swallow food on her own. She had a DNR order, so our family sat with her day and night for two weeks as she starved to death. It was a long and painful ordeal for her, and her final minutes of life were agonizing. Can someone please explain to me the twisted reasoning as to how THAT is preferable to just giving her an injection and sparing her from this barbaric death?

Vorfeed was right, we really do treat our pets better than our humans. If you tried to starve a sick pet to death, you would probably be thrown in jail for cruelty to animals and would be asked why you didn't have them humanely euthanized.
posted by gatorae at 11:25 PM on February 23, 2004


It doesn't appear that anyone's pointed out that Terri Schiavo is still attached to a feeding tube thanks to a blatant violation of Florida's constitution by Jeb Bush, so I'll go ahead and point that out.

And I would like to point out once again that, despite Mike Schiavo's attorney claiming that Terri obviously would have wanted to be slowly starved to death, that is an inhuman act, and shouldn't be condoned by anybody. I loath Jeb Bush more than many (if not most) on this website, but if we can't find the common decency to put her down humanely, than fuck all the legal and enlightened arguments about the constitutionality of willfully letting any being starve to death. Give her a shot or keep on feeding her. Please do not try and equate the mercy killing of an animal with letting someone starve to death. They aren't the same thing, and they don't say the same things about those of us who damn well ought to know better.

Beansidhe, I've owned many Shelties in my life (I have one now named Smoky). Without going into specific histories, I'm heartbroken for you. My best to you and Ian, and please give him a squeeze for me.
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:40 PM on February 23, 2004


Wulfgar:

My only complaint with what you say is timeline.

Give me the choice between 2 weeks of starvation or 20 more years of machine-provided semi-life, and I'll pick the former.

If there is even a slight hint of consciousness in her, her current predicament must be horrifying on a level I can't even imagine.

Shorter is better. Even if shorter is more painful.

Of course, that is only my opinion. I am in favor of euthanasia via injection more than the slow starving to death.

I cannot understand why when you reach the point to remove the feeding tube, why can't you just give a shot then? I'm not being facetious at all, I truly don't get it. You are assuring their death at that point. Why not just speed along the inevitable?

The quote above about too bad that she didn't commit a capitol felony in Florida (to be eligible for the death penalty) is staggeringly profound.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:40 AM on February 24, 2004


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