We paid a little visit to Sproul Plaza in UC Berkeley yesterday, the famous birth place of the Free Speech movement. Tallulah was with us to share the story of her recent arrival to CA from a Louisiana dog fighting case to a group of students who were focusing on animal welfare topics.
It was a thrill to see this dog trotting along on campus - in this special place that holds so much history. Back in 1964, students here were inspired by the struggle for civil rights, and when UC authorities tried to ban on-campus political activities, the students rebelled and history was made. Their protests and impassioned speeches sparked an unprecedented wave of student activism and involvement, not to mention some awesome music.
We had to pay a quick pilgrimage to the Cal Bear on our way to class. Tallulah wasn't so sure about that big, stiff-bodied dog thing - but after a few sniffs, she was satisfied that he wasn't a threat and we were on our way.
The students in the class were kind and gracious. As it turns out, most were only vaguely familiar with the Vick case and its relevance in opening doors for dogs just like Tallulah. When asked what they thought a dog from a fighting case might be like, many explained that they would've expected Tallulah to be "aggressive" or "dangerous" to both people and dogs. It was a reminder to us how much work still needs to be done to help young minds learn the history including the milestones of the animal welfare movement, as well as the nature of the dogs that the movement has been defending. Hopefully Tallulah had some impact there.
All in all, it was a great day of lessons for everyone. The class learned about 'pit bulls' and trends in the animal welfare world regarding canine victims of cruelty, and Tallulah learned about the fun of Universities. She couldn't have been more comfortable in her role. During our presentation, she sat calmly at our feet, begging treats and when she tired of that, she circled the room and greeted every single student within reach with warm and appreciative eyes. This is one special dog and one very special cause.
With many thanks to everyone who welcomed us on the UC Berkeley campus. May the spirit of student activism in support of fair and humane treatment of citizens expand to include the Tallulahs of the world!