River the Rescue

There are many stigmas held against rescue dogs that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some of the stigmas people may believe is that, rescue dogs can not be trained and will have behavioral issues. Another is that rescue dogs can’t be purebreds. The final, and largest, stigma is that rescue dogs are given up because there is something wrong with them. In reality, most dogs are given up to shelters because of moving, personal issues, no room, financial reasons or even lack of time. Some of the dogs in shelters have lived a hard life and have a rough and abusive past, but that does not mean the dog is “broken”. Take River for example.

River’s Story

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River waiting for treats.

River, a two-year-old Black Mouth Cur mix, was rescued by Jill and Jay Waddell, when she was just six months old. River had gone through some difficult things in her short life. River originally came from an abusive and neglectful situation, spending most of her life in a crate, without any bonds with humans or dogs. When she was rescued from that situation and brought to a shelter, she faced several families who adopted her and then quickly returned her. It can be assumed that it was due to the fact that River needed some extra time and attention.

Jill and Jay met River and ended up adopting her and renamed her River to stick the theme of their previous two dogs named Canoe and Kayak! They were a little wary at first after hearing how families had brought her back, as anyone would be. They soon realized why she had been brought back and started to fit the puzzle pieces of her past together.

River started out pretty aggressive. While she never hurt anyone, she would bite their clothes and pull or jump all over them. They observed this behavior mainly in the backyard. This led them to believe that her crate had been in the backyard. She would also start to panic whenever there was any sort of yard equipment in her rescuer’s hands, such as a rake. This led them to believe that River had been previously been abused with yard tools. River also liked to lick anything metal, which they assumed was a form of her self comforting, since most of her life at that point had been in a metal cage.

River  had no concept of how to be a “normal” domesticated pup. She didn’t know how to play and did not know how to act around people or dogs. Jill and Jay eventually went to a trainer for help with helping River. The approach of the first trainer was not a good fit, which involved reacting to the negative behavior in a negative/ punitive way.  Instead, they discovered the best way to deal with the aggressive behavior which was River’s fear reaction was through love. Whenever River got riled up, they would sit with her and just hold her tight–even when she would try to wiggle out, they showed River that, no matter what, she had a family who unconditionally loved her and would always be there for her. She would softly tell her nice things and showered her in love. She would do this as long as twenty minutes until River felt safe enough.

River Today

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River being patient.

Fast forward to now, River is a completely different dog, even though she is still a work in progress. She is only two years old, so she still has quite a bit of energy. She has even received the title of being the business partner in the organization of the Rescue Dog Olympics in Atlanta. “She doesn’t have any actual assistant responsibilities,” Jill had joked. However, River’s job does entail lots of emotional support and snuggles. She is constantly loving on her family as well as everyone else. She also loves to run, play with toys and now knows how to have fun with other dogs. Just by giving River the love that she so desperately wanted and some extra time and care, Jill and Jay were able to completely transform her into a beloved member of the family.

At the moment, Jill is training River to become a therapy dog for chronically ill children.  She says that because River has so much love to give to others that she would make a great therapy dog to those in need. River still has a lot of work to do, since she still has so much energy and loves to jump on people to show her love, but will still make a great therapy dog in time.

River’s Impact

River is just one example of the countless rescue dog stories being made every single day. Rescuing a dog from a shelter as opposed to buying one directly from a breeder has so many benefits. By rescuing a dog saves two lives: the life of the dog rescued and the life of another dog in need that can now come to the shelter due to the open space. Most rescues are already spayed or neutered and even microchipped. Most adult dogs are already potty-trained and with a rescue, the workers will be able to tell you about the dog’s unique personality. According to the ASPCA, about 3.3 million dogs are brought into rescue shelters while 1.6 million dogs are adopted each year. By adopting a rescue, you can help shelters bring in more dogs that are in need and keep the euthanization rates low.

Rescue dogs have so much potential that more people need to see, which is a reason Jill started the Rescue Dog Olympics in Atlanta. It’s a dog lovin’ festival and dog party on Sunday, March 10, 2019 in Piedmont Park.  It’s a chance for people to do something fun with their dogs and for families looking to adopt to meet some great rescue organizations and find their new family member. It’s a way to spread awareness to the greatness inside every rescue dog and to show just how much they deserve to be loved for their entire lives.

Words are Mightier than the Sword

Imagine being able to take down a mighty dragon four times the size of you using only your words. That is exactly what happens in Skyrim. This video is an advertisement for a game called Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which contains impeccable artistic detail along with an intense storyline. From a vague point of view, this video game is basically about fighting dragons, solving puzzles, and stealing cheese wheels from the local shop owners with pretty detailed graphics. However, there is something that is much more powerful than a sword, and that is the power of words. This paper will discuss, in detail, the riveting and powerful message Skyrim has to offer about how one’s voice is the most powerful tool imaginable.

In the video, the narrator touches upon the previous game, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, when he says, “The Elder Scrolls told of their return. Their defeat was merely a delay. But the time after Oblivion opened, when the sons of Skyrim would spill their own blood…” A short synopsis, according to Wikipedia, is that “Oblivion‍ ’​s main story revolves around the player character’s efforts to thwart a fanatical cult known as the ‘Mythic Dawn’ that plans to open the gates to a realm called ‘Oblivion’.” This sequel to the Elder Scrolls IV suggests that the dragons only returned, thanks to the Mythic Dawn opening the gates of Oblivion. The main mission of the Elder Scrolls V is to defeat the main dragon, Alduin (also called World Eater), from destroying the world (or at least the empire of Tamriel, as that is where all of the Elder Scrolls games are set). Seems like your classic science fiction, mythical, dragon killing game, right? However, if you noticed in the video, the main warrior in the video screamed something in a strange language at a dragon.

The player in the game, called Dovahkiin (translated means “Dragon Born”), discovers that they contain the soul of a dragon that allows them to use Thu’ums (translated to “Shouts”) using a special gift called “The Way of the Voice”. The player is directed to a group called the Grey Beards, the only mortals ever known to possess the gift of using Shouts. The Grey Beards teach and explain to the player how to use and obtain Shouts. When the player gets to one of the main mission of the game, “Alduin’s Bane”, we learn that the only true way to defeat the dragon is by using the Shouts learned throughout the game. The dragons also have the ability to use Shouts along with the player. In the most basic sense, most of the game is a duel with words.

Elder Scrolls V proves that the only way to truly win the game is by using one’s voice. At the first defeat of Alduin, he says “What twisted words have you created?” This is an impacting statement that suggests how powerful using one’s words can be. Just by using one’s words in the game, one can breathe fire, breathe ice, force a dragon out of the sky, control weather, and so much more. In the video at 1:07, one can see the Dovahkiin used a shout called Unrelenting Force that stuns dragons and throws humans back a few feet. One can see how the shout ripples through the dragon and into a mountain, proving how powerful Shouts can be. When one gets farther into the game, the player can learn a word that can literally force a dragon onto the ground and makes it impossible for the dragon to fly away. Some words are helpful in the calmer moments of the game, like one that can create a calming effect on people around the player. Other words have a more insidious agenda like the shout “Marked for Death”, whose definition can speak for itself.

Similar to the game, we also have the ability to use words that can calm others or “mark others for death”. Unlike the game, we can’t just say one single word and expect everything to go as planned. Regardless, the game still shows how much words can accomplish. With words, we express emotions or reveal intentions or create chaos. Words have numerable effects on others, but we need to be careful how we use them.

The game also has two groups that teach the player valuable lesson in game and in real life. The Grey Beards emphasize restraint, forethought, and careful choices of using Shouts to the player. In the game, it’s learning to control the rampant destruction some Shouts have. In the real world, it teaches to use the right words at the right time. The Greybeards counterpart is a group called the Blades. The Blades have an unrestrained use of the Voice for defense. In the game, one of the members says “If they had their way, you’d do nothing but sit up on their mountain with them and talk to the sky, or whatever it is they do. The Greybeards are so afraid of the power that they won’t use it.” In real life, this could apply to a time one has said something mean to a friend in an argument, which we have all done.

The entire game revolves around the idea that language is something that has many consequences, good and bad, and that we need to live and learn how to use the right words at the right time. The game has multiple lessons to be learned. Overall, the main lesson to be learned is one’s use of words. Without speaking, we could never communicate with one another. We could never socialize, ask for help, make jokes, and so many other things. Words can bring us together or tear us apart. Words can start wars and bring peace. How we use words for the greater good is up to us to decide. Thinking before speaking is another big lesson in the game as one needs to think about which shout to use and when. As an NPC, Farengar Secret-Fire, says in the game, “Remember, your mind is the greatest weapon you have.”

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Official Trailer HD.” YouTube. YouTube, 27 Feb. 2011. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33ZrRjrOawc