Friday, June 10, 2011

Two Dogs and a Bird Named PHOENIX

Today I am going to tell you a story with a good ending, a story with a sad ending, and a myth.  Which is a lot of stuff to tell you, so I'd better get started!

The first story is about a one-year-old black lab right here in Kansas City, and what happened to him was that on April 28, somebody put gasoline on him and set him on fire.  But luckily, the dog was able to roll around in the grass and put the fire out.  Unluckily, the woman who owned the dog waited until the next day to take the dog to the vet, so he was in pain all that time.  Then when she did take him, she said he was a stray that she found.  But people figured out that he actually belonged to her, and so she was charged for animal cruelty because she didn't get treatment for him right away.

Meanwhile, the dog got named Phoenix, and he was treated for his burns, which were on 40% of his body.  He had to have his ears amputated because they were burned so bad, but he is a very sweet dog, and he seems to like everybody, and he's not holding any grudges.

Phoenix is now with a rescue group called Love4Paws, and he is living in a foster home.  He has been appearing at some pet stores, so that people can come and meet him.  Several people would like to adopt him, but his new family hasn't been chosen yet.

Wednesday the news reported that the police figured out who set Phoenix on fire, and it turned out to be the 14-year-old daughter of the woman who owned the dog.  I was very sad and shocked to find out that this girl would set her own dog on fire.  Oh, and before she did that, she hit him on the head with a shovel.  The only reason the girl gave for doing this bad thing was that she was feeling depressed.

Okay, so here's another story about a dog that was named Phoenix, also because she got set on fire.  This happened in Baltimore on May 27, 2009.  Some police officers saw the smoke and heard the dog screaming, so they ran to help.  One of the officers used her sweatshirt to smother the flames.  Then they took the dog for medical treatment.  The officer who put out the fire said, "This was one of the most cruel things I've ever seen.  It hurt me to my heart."

At the animal hospital, the pit bull, who was called Phoenix or Lil Mercy, had salve and bandages put all over her, and she was also given medicine for the pain.  She was burned on 98% of her body.  Everyone did everything they could for Phoenix, but after five days, her kidneys mostly stopped working, and she had to be put to sleep.

Some twin brothers who were 17 were arrested and tried for what they supposedly did to Phoenix.  The trial happened just this past February, and it ended with what is called a "hung jury" because one juror didn't agree that the brothers were guilty beyond a doubt.  So there probably will be another trial.  But in the meantime, the two brothers have committed some other crimes, so it seems like they will end up in jail one way or another.  Which I think is a good thing.

And also I would just like to say that when people do horrible things to dogs and other animals, it really makes me feel like biting their faces off.  It is especially shocking when kids torture animals.  There are studies that show that kids who hurt animals are more likely to grow up to be adults who hurt humans.  I don't know what the answer is to this problem, but I wish somebody would figure it out and fix it quick, before another dog or cat gets set on fire.

Well, okay, that's enough ranting and raving.  Now I will tell you why these dogs that were set on fire got named Phoenix.  And it's because way back a long, long time ago, in a whole bunch of different cultures, there was a myth about a bird with really pretty feathers and a tail that was red and gold.  And this bird lived for 500 years or maybe 1000, and then it would build a nest and set it on fire and burn itself up.  After which, it was born again from the ashes of the fire, and lived another 500 or so years.

This bird was called a phoenix, and you can find it in the myths of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, and Phoenicians.  But the first people to have the myth were the Ancient Egyptians. Their phoenix was called a benu, and it might have been inspired by a large heron that is now extinct.  The benu created itself from a fire that burned in a holy tree near the temple of Ra, the sun god.  Then at the end of its life cycle, the benu made a nest of cinnamon twigs and burned itself up.  The new phoenix put the ashes of the old phoenix in an egg made of myrrh and took it to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, which means "city of the sun" in Greek.

The word phoenix is a Greek word that means purple-red.  Or it can also mean a palm tree.  The Greek phoenix looked more like a peacock or eagle than like a heron.  The Greeks said that the phoenix lived in Phoenicia, next to a well.  Every morning the phoenix took a bath in the water of the well, and the sun-god Helios stopped by in his chariot to hear the phoenix sing, because the song was very beautiful.

In China, the phoenix was called fenghuang.  It represented the empress, just like the dragon was the symbol for the emperor.  The fenghuang stood for nature, peace, fire, sun, justice, completeness, and fidelity.  The fenghuang did not die and rise again like the phoenix did because it was truly immortal.  But it only appeared during times of peace and prosperity.

Nowadays you don't hear too much about the phoenix bird, but you do hear about the city of Phoenix, Arizona.  Did you know that this city got its name because it was built on the ruins of the Hohokam civilization that was located in the same place long ago?  Maybe people who live in Arizona know this, but I didn't know it, and neither did Mom.

Anyway, I like talking about the mythical phoenixes more than I like talking about dogs that got set on fire.  But I think most people feel the same way about the subject.


  1. The second story was especially sad. People who treat their dogs that way should be put away for life.

    We're glad the first Phoenix is very popular and hope he finds a new, happy home soon.

    -Katie & Zena

    P.S. We like the new layout.

  2. Dear Katie and Zena,

    I thought the second story was very sad, too. I don't even like to tell this kind of story, but I think people need to know that bad things like this are happening.

    I'm glad you like the new look of my blog. I had to walk across the screen a whole bunch of times to get all those footprints on it! LOL

    Your friend, Piper

  3. Dear Piper,
    I am so heart broken when I hear really sad things, I am sensitive like that. I wish people weren't so crazy and stopped doing things just because they can and feel like it. And I was wondering about that "Depressed" girl, I think that is the most maddest act of burning an innocent dog! I wouldn't even put out all my anger to a pillow! I can't BELIEVE how mean people are these days, I wish people would respect animals like the ancient times even if there is a limit to different products and no electricity.


  4. Dear Tas,

    I don't know why that girl burned her own dog, but it's very sad that she did that. Mom says maybe the girl has been abused herself, but Mom also says she is not a psychiatrist, so she doesn't know for sure why people do weird things.

    I'm glad you are much too nice to ever do anything like that, even to your pillow!

    Your friend, Piper

  5. I live in Phoenix,AZ and didn't know that this city was built Hohokam. Lol I don't think people in Phoenix know this. Great stories though.