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How did you know your dog was "yours"?She was this little scrap of fluff: tailless, with a massive hernia that touched the ground when she walked, a severe heart murmur, a skin condition, and shall we say less-than-perfect mental reasoning skills. My mother rescued her and some other puppies from an awful puppy mill (which we later managed to shut down) that kept her and her siblings locked next to a dryer in 100+ degree heat with hot air blowing on them all day, intending to let them die or actively kill them because they were “damaged goods.” If they didn’t die of heat exhaustion, the plan was apparently to drown them. My mother got these puppies out of that house and found them homes. My wife — in her compassion — saw the smallest, most deformed of a lot and fell in love. She decided we would keep the puppy and see how much we could help it.We named her Olive.I didn’t want her. I looked at that dog and all I saw was vet bills. Mountains of vet bills. And I was right: over the course of two and a half years, that dog cost me a fortune. I also thought it was cruel to leave her alive in her condition. I mean, heavens above, she had a hernia the size of a fig, on a body not much bigger than a cantaloupe! But she seemed happy, and the vet said she didn’t appear to be in any pain, so keep her we did. I still didn’t like her. Her first night with us she somehow managed to find her way into the bed and, being too scared to jump the six feet down (we sleep on a very low floor bed) proceeded to poop everywhere.I wanted to kill her then. Not quite literally, but when one wakes up in dog crap from a puppy for which one does not care, one has strong feelings.But then something…shifted. It might have been when she got out of the house and came running toward me with unbound delight. It might be one night while I was reading and she perched precariously in my lap just enough to cover my book, and stared up at me with those big brown eyes. Hell, it might’ve been when she attacked my annoying sister-in-law. All she did was bark in her shrieky way and run full gallop at the woman, but it was enough to make my sister-in-law jump back. Which was funny. Whatever the case I grew fond of that little puppy.And then she got sick. She got sick and her hair started falling out and she developed a couple of abscesses. We took her into what has become our regular vet because his office was the only one open, and in the middle of treating the abscesses and trying to determine the cause of her hair loss, he noticed the hernia and gave us his opinion: without treatment, little Olive wouldn’t last the year. The hernia would twist and she would die an awful death. At the same time, he thought she was having some hormone issues and recommended spaying her as a solution to her issues, in addition to some steroid treatments. There was a chance that, given her heart condition, she would die if she were put fully under, but he thought he knew a way to make sure she was safe and offered to do both treatments for a very, very low amount of money. We agreed, and she went in for surgery. We went to work.It was one of the most stressful days of my life. I must have called six or seven times to find out how she was doing. But they were always very patient, and she cane out of surgery alright. Our vet — Dr. Bob in Alvin, Tx, a real local treasure — said that she should be monitored overnight by us, instead of being left at their kennel, and because I didn’t get off work until 10 o’clock, offered to drive back down around eleven when I got home and help me get her sorted. So that’s why we did. We went into the office, opened the door to the kennel…and there she was. She looked tired and a little drugged.But then she saw me. And her face lit up. And she gave me a little bark and shook her taillless little butt. She was happy to see me. And I was so overcome with emotion and happiness that she had survived…well, at that moment, the little scrap of fur became mine. From that point on, she was my dog, and I did everything I could to take care of her. Eventually the vet bills became quite high, because she needed multiple treatments and special medicines, but I didn’t care. Olive was family. And she was always so happy.About a month back she started bleeding in her mouth. Lots of little sores popped up. We scheduled a vet appointment for a week in the future, the earliest date. But it got worse, and she got exhausted. Could barely walk. We took her to an emergency vet, and they did what they could, have us some steroids, sent us home. A day later it was worse. My little Olive was struggling to breathe. We took her back into the emergency vet.She had something called Evans syndrome.Apparently, her immune system thought her blood was an enemy, and was destroying her red blood cells. She was losing blood and couldn’t stay oxygenated. I asked the vet what we could do, and she just kind of looked at me and…I knew.I never expected it to happen. Olive had pulled through so many times before. We thought of her as a miracle dog. But I guess I got greedy. This was one miracle too many, and there was no treatment option. If we didn’t make it easy for her, she would go badly, and it wouldn’t even take the full night. So we made it easy for her.Olive was my dog. She was my little girl. She trusted me. Even as she was going she kept her eyes open to look at me and my wife. She expected to go home. But she never did. I failed her. I didn’t keep her alive. I didn’t save her. But in the end she trusted me to make the pan go away. And that, at least, I could do. And it was so peaceful when she passed…she could finally breathe. She finally looked comfortable. I have to think it was the right choice because it was the only choice.I knew she was my dog when I first picked her up from the vet. I knew she was my dog when she made my sister-in-law nervous. I knew she was my dog when she chewed on my hair, and watched tv with me. And I knew she was my dog when I had to watch her go. When I had to give her up. To give her back.She is still, and always will be, my dog.
Why is Japan so safe?I have spent quite a bit of time in Japan, not living there, but doing business there. So maybe not quite as much of an expert as some.I agree with 90% of the answers here. The ones that don't seem to ring quite true are the ones that imply that there's just as much crime in Japan as anywhere else, but it's just not reported, or it's ignored by the police as they co-exist with the Yakuza.Yes, the Yakuza represent organized crime in Japan. But my experience is that they don't commit crime on law abiding citizens. They provide 'services' that might not be looked on as desirable by most of society to those who seek out those services. They look after their interests in perhaps, shall we say, indelicate, maybe even occasionally violent ways. But unless you're looking for trouble, trouble won't find you. They won't break into your home to steal. They won't mug you on the street.And yes the police have an improbably high rate of solving crimes and getting convictions, some convictions being dubious.And yes, there is bullying in Japan and there is some sexual violence.But in my experience none of this accounts for the huge discrepancies between Japanese crime rates and western crime rates.A business colleague of mine tells the following story. He grew up in a tough neighborhood in Philadelphia. On his first business trip to Japan he noticed vending machines on the streets that sold beer. He was amazed. He couldn't understand how this could be legal. What stopped teenagers from buying beer? Even more improbable, what stopped punks from smashing the machines and stealing all the beer? Not one would still be standing in his old Phili neighborhood.Finally, he couldn't stand it any longer, he had to ask his Japanese hosts what the story was here. Upon hearing the question they looked at him a little strangely, not sure they understood the question, and then after finally assuring themselves that they heard correctly, their answer was simple:"Because they know they're not supposed to."This was a uniquely cultural answer that my colleague didn't at first understand. Of course they know they're not supposed to, all kids all over the world know they're not supposed to, but the difference in Japan is that kids believe it - at least far, far more than believe it in many other parts of the world. The difference is the unique culture.This issue of culture was mentioned in some of the answers, but not highlighted much. To me, the unique culture is a huge reason for why common crime, especially crimes against property, are so rare in Japan. The culture of societal shame is a very powerful force. And you don't just shame yourself. You shame your family, your friends, your community, your business colleagues.This is why you see very public, very visible and very sincere apologies from the presidents of huge companies when their company has done something wrong and has in some way hurt or cheated their customers. In fact an admission of guilt and a deep and sincere apology with genuine remorse can go a long way to getting the average citizen a much reduced punishment from the law.To understand this you need to understand a little about Japanese history. Until you've been to Japan it's difficult to understand just how little livable land there is on the islands. Probably 80%, maybe more is too mountainous to use. So everyone is cramped into a small space and historically, trying to get along, with paper walls, meant you had to behave. Especially in the old feudal system where a Samurai would as soon cut your head off at a stroke if you annoyed him. It didn't take long for societal norms of politeness, honesty, non-confrontation and so on to take hold.Japan is of course thoroughly modern today, and have whole heartedly, even enthusiastically embraced western ideas and adapted them to their culture, but the culture of shame for misdeeds has never gone away.UPDATESome have pointed out to me that there is a dark side to Japanese culture. That the Japanese are very tribal. That they consider themselves culturally superior to everyone else. That they can at times be dishonest in their extraordinary politeness, as a way to mask their disapproval or even disgust of non-Japanese people and their ways.This is true. I've witnessed it myself. It also explains their atrocious behavior in WWII.They've also pointed out that the culture is slowly changing. Also true. It's slowly becoming more westernized all the time. Including in areas relating to crime, especially among youth. I understand that the beer machines of my example are now getting phased out due to growing issues with underage drinking. My story above dates to the 90s.I have also been taken to task for impugning the good name of the Samurai. The Samurai lived by a well developed code of honor known as Bushido. They didn't go around whacking the heads off of people they didn't like whenever they felt like it. Another one of those honorable culture issues. I apologize to any Japanese I may have offended when I made a flippant remark in an attempt to make a point. Still, as in any feudal hierarchy, it wasn't in your best interest to offend the guy at the top who had the power of arms.Nonetheless, those aspects of Japanese culture that may be undesirable in other ways, those right wing elements of Japanese society that wish to return to the old days of Imperial Japan, actually reinforce the cultural prohibitions against common street crime.Japan is still among the safest countries on earth when it comes to street crime, interpersonal violence and crimes against property (Singapore is in the same league), if not the safest. The old culture is still strong.SOME FACTS AND FIGURESFound this interesting website that compares crime rates in different countries.Japan vs United States: Crime Facts and StatsI don't doubt that crimes such as rape are under reported in Japan. Rape is under reported in the US too.Even if you think the Japanese under report crime, it's hard to believe they could mask differences of the magnitude reported here.ANOTHER INTERESTING LOOK AT THE QUESTIONI really like Lim Son Eng's answer:Lim Son Eng's answer to Why is Japan so safe?I don't know how true it is, but it certainly sounds very plausible, and in some sort of way, I hope it is true. Maybe a Japanese native could comment one way or the other.NOVEMBER 2017 UPDATE:Please see the recently added comment from Kentaro Chiba for further insight into Lim Son Eng’s answer, and also into the role of the Yakuza in Japanese crime, as well into Japanese ultra-right wing politics.
What has your experiences with pitbulls (dog) been like?Hard. Worth it, but hard.This was my experience with my pitbull. Our boy was found by a friend on a morning stroll. Tiny and scarily thin, she walked the neighborhood she found him in to try to find an owner—at least a mother dog. No one recognized the flea-infested pup and no one wanted him. She brought him to me. We discussed his fate as we watched him strut around my living room.“That puppy has worms,” I observed. My friend turned to me, incredulous.“How do you know?”“’Cause they’re coming out of his butt,” I replied, indicating.The decision was made that he would stay with me, I’d nurse him back to health and find a more suitable home. After all, I was 19 and living at home—I knew my parents wouldn’t want another pet (1 other dog, 3 cats, and a few small pets as well).I took him to our vet, got him de-wormed/vaccinated and weighed (4.8 lbs.) and found out his age (about 5 weeks).“He should really be with the mother at this age,” the vet informed me. “Not just for nutrition, she needs to teach him how to be a pup.”I looked down at the dirty puppy, bundled in towels, on my lap. He was working on shredding his bedding—he certainly was active.That night I took him outside every hour, on the hour, to relieve himself. After 24 hours, I was finally able to see more waste than worms in his droppings. His little bloated stomach began to slacken, it just made his bony frame more startling.His aggression began with my other dog, a senior lab/beagle mix. It started as play-based aggression and quickly became dominating. This required correction. His energy level was through the roof, and he was growing rapidly. We later found out he is a predominantly pit/Great Dane mix—those long legs!He began displaying dominance-based aggression toward my mother. As she’d try to water her plants, he’d nip at the heel of her pants and try to pull her shirt. “Puppy stuff” some people would say. Maybe, I thought, but he’s getting so big.At about 5 months, he started picking fights with fenced dogs while on walks. I enrolled him in training. He completed every level of training they had to offer. He was great at obedience. Horrible at socialization. At 1, he received major surgery for a knee injury that he sustained during a play session in the back yard. It was a 10-month recovery process. For him, it was painful and probably traumatic. But it guaranteed him a life free of future pain. I just wanted him to be able to run. He needed to run.At 2, fully recovered, I resumed his training. I always had treats in one pocket and his deterrent in the other (emits high-pitched whistle; just jolts him to attention). I exercised him, daily, vigorously. I was consistent with my discipline.By 4 he was secure enough to stop trying to dominate everyone. But walks were still an issue and he was possessive. Feeding time was a matter of dropping the food bowl and running out of the way. I began standing across the aisle from him while he’d eat and methodically desensitized him. One of my favorite things to do now is to lay my hand on his head as he eats, feeling his cranial muscles working as he chews.At 5, we made a breakthrough. He was in peak physical shape and mentally, he was at peace.We named him Stinky; in memory of his humble beginnings we say, but it was just a name that stuck “Stinky Puppy”, he never answered to the more refined names we tried. Raising him was hard work, but dealing with the people we encountered was worse. Whenever I’d express my frustration with his aggression people would nod “…yes…vicious…pitbulls”. I never believed Stinky was aggressive because he’s a pitbull, I’ve met many well-adjust pitties throughout the years. He was a special case and every time he behaved in a way that affirmed certain groups’ stereotypical beliefs about his breed, I’d cringe and vow to work harder. (No one ever said he was aggressive because he’s a Great Dane.)At 5 weeks old, Stinky was emaciated and infested with round and tape worms. The vet informed me that a puppy that young with that bad of an infestation likely contracted the parasites while still in the womb. His mother was either severely neglected, or on the streets. She obviously struggled to care for him, and lost him. I read article after article discouraging people from adopting a puppy so young stating proper socialization needed to be taught by the mother and litter-mates.One time, early on, after a frustrating wrestling match in the back yard with Stinky, my mom came into the house and announced “That’s it, I can’t do this anymore, we have to find him another home.”“No one is going to want him, Mom,” I pleaded “he’s too much to handle and a shelter won’t even give him a chance. He’ll be euthanized.”She reluctantly agreed to give me more time to work with him.He’s an 11-year old senior dog now, who splits his time between helping my dad in the yard (he’s great at chewing sticks) and napping on his Serta doggie bed. I moved out eventually, he stayed with my parents (their request). I knew he was better off in a home with a yard than a small apartment, so I agreed.I visit regularly and make sure to post a pic online for family and friends, he’s so popular. The last few years, I’ve received a lot of compliments on his good behavior, how prompt his responses are and how quickly he learns new things. But I can’t help but smile inwardly every time any one calls him “gentle”, and he is. We’re very proud of his progress, he and I. We just needed a little more time.5 weeks. Playing in the grass on Thanksgiving, a couple days after being found.5 years. Panting, after a romp in the sprinklers. There’s that pittie smile!11 years. Surrounded by the remnants of the tree branch he just shredded. Such a good boy.
What do you think about pet adoption agencies who are so militant and self-righteous they would rather let the prospective pet languish in a cage, instead of going home to an otherwise responsible family that didn't quite measure up to their rules?I actually have some experience with both sides of this topic. I ran a ferret shelter for 15 years, and I’ve adopted dogs over the years, too.I was fairly picky about who adopted my shelter ferrets. It was my job to be sure they went to a good home with people who would really care for them. It broke my heart the times I found out the ferrets were being neglected. People would ask why I needed all this information. They’d say “I’m not adopting a child!” But to me, they were like children to me. Animals are innocent, can’t stand up for themselves, and don’t get to choose where they live or what they eat. I tried very hard to be sure the people who took those ferrets would really take care of them. Being human, I made mistakes and suffered for it.On the other hand, some places wouldn’t adopt to me because one of my ferrets is not neutered. Some places have rules that all other animals must be neutered or spayed, have a fenced-in yard, etc. Some ferret shelters won’t adopt to people with babies or small children because of liability issues.The trick is to strike a balance. I did adopt to people with children, but first, I had to see how the children behaved, how the parents reacted to the kids, and made sure the adult knew it was THEIR responsibility to make sure the ferret was kept clean, had food and water, and got to the vet when needed. Even with older children, I stressed that it was ultimately the parent’s obligation. I talked more people out of owning a ferret than into owning one. (Ferrets do have some special issues that dogs and cats don’t have, so they’re a bit harder to own.)Do I agree with some dog/cat shelters being very restrictive? To a point, but I do feel that some take it too far. I actually know a veterinarian who was turned down for adoption because she owned a non-neutered show dog. Show dogs are NOT neutered or spayed, otherwise they aren’t show dogs. The dog would have had a nice home, obviously gotten good vet care, had a fenced-in yard, etc. but they turned her down because her other dog wasn’t neutered. It wasn’t like she was breeding dogs, just showing them. She wanted to adopt a dog from the shelter as a pet.There are several reasons, I think, why some shelters are very strict. First, if you have a set of rules, it’s quicker and easier to follow them to pick homes. I spent a lot of time talking to people before I’d adopt to them. Public shelters don’t have that kind of time. When I was running the ferret shelter, if people got nasty with me, then I really didn’t want to work with them. It’s my choice. I don’t “sell” an animal like a pet store and end my relationship there. I like to keep in touch, see updates and photos, help with issues, etc. Shelters are not pet stores. Another main reason, in my opinion, is so they can sleep at night. It’s hard working at a shelter, watching nice animals brought in for euthanasia just because the people were tired of them. It’s hard dealing with some kinds of people who don’t feel any responsibility to really care for the animal, or worse, people who abuse animals. So people get tough out of self defense. It’s very stressful working at a shelter.
I am 17, and my parents are going to kick me out on my 18th birthday in August to make me homeless. What do I do? I don’t have a driver’s license or a bank account. My parents say that I cannot find a job but that I am “free” to do so once I leave.I am one of 3 sons, and we were all told from as young as I can remember, “You have until you’re 18 to live here and eat my food and use my utilities. As long as you live here, you will obey my rules. My house, my things, my kids, my rules.” This was not my parents’ position just to “make me homeless”. Homelessness was not their intent. Us boys achieving independence and self-reliance was the intent.My parents lived through the Great Depression and World War II. My Dad was a B-29 bombardier in the Korean War, but before that he was one of 14 children of a tobacco farmer (and moonshiner), and that meant that he had to work hard for every meal he ate. My Granddaddy was a little, wiry, freakishly strong, backbreaking worker of a man. Daddy always told us (and so did his siblings) that the young un’s were Mama’s until theywere big enough to hold a hoe and shovel, at which point they became Granddaddy’s labor force. Granddaddy would often say he couldn’t afford to hire help, so he just made it instead.My Mom is a first-generation American, the daughter of Itish immigrants who fled Ireland due to the depths of poverty and hopelessness turn-of-the-century Irishmen endured. Hours in Irish fields were just as long and hard as what my Dad grew up in, and my Mom’s folks knew there was no future for them at home. Irish children died of hunger routinely or were basically sold off to various ‘labour houses’ to perform backbreaking manual labor for pennies a week. Upon arriving in the US in 1910, in Birmingham, Alabama, my grandparents found work of the same type as in Ireland: crop gathering, mining, menial household chores-type work wherever it could be found.Feeding a family in those conditions was a tribulation. It was very common for children to strike out on their own as young as 15. My Mom stayed at home with her folks until at 18, she met my Dad on leave in 1956 in Pensacola, Florida, where she was visiting cousins, picking strawberries and tomatoes for 2¢ a bushel. My Dad joined the Air Force by lying about his age to get in, in 1949 at the age of 15, to get off the farm and “make some real money”—the princely sum of $82 per month! And free medical and dental, and even paid vacation. Unheard-of in 1949 on the shale flats and hills of rural Tennessee tobacco country. By 1956, Daddy had gone from an Airman 2 to an O-1 bombardier from 1951–53 (battlefield promotion) and back down to WO-4 after the war when he reclassed as an Air Policeman, for which he was paid $399 per month. They married in 1959 after he got out of the Air Force. He took his GI Bill and went to flight school and electronics school, eventually becoming a commercial-rated pilot and an Electrical Engineer just as the Space Race shifted into warp drive. He landed at NASA and TRW Space Systems (from which he retired after 33 years).Mom had no education beyond high school and secretary school, working as a store clerk, a farmer’s market secretary, a Ma Bell telephone operator, a doctor’s receptionist, a medical bookkeeper, and even a Census taker, collections agent, and construction secretary. She finally fetched up at DCAA and retired as a Federal auditor.Even after such a life, my Daddy found himself to be restless—he often said he didn’t know what to do with himself, living at 3113 Leftwich Street, Huntsville, Alabama in 1965. Their house had a small back yard, too small for livestock or gardening, so in 1969, he found a delapidated old farm in Lincoln, Tennessee, and that’s where I lived until 1976, when I absconded to the military.Theirs was a rags-to-JCPenney-clothes story, and every chapter was written in sweat and tears. My brothers and I were raised on a feeder farm by hard-working, no-nonsense people who were themselves the children of hard-working, no-nonsense people.Being shown the door at NLT 18 may seem cruel to the modern generation (of Americans) who’ve never once had to scrape potatoes out of the earth with their bare hands (like me and my family did), or catch a cow that didn’t want to be caught, or pluck chickens or gut fish, or scrub the bristles off a hog’s hide just to have supper.My parents took me to the Lincoln County Health Department when I was 14 to get my work permit, and they found me my first job—minimum wage of $1.65 per hour (not $2.00, because it was a restaurant…an ice cream shop). I had to give every cent to them for room and board and gas to and from the Hyde Out. If I was lucky, I kept $2–3 for myself.I couldn’t wait to be 18 and get the hell out of there! I mean, I literally couldn’t wait—I joined the Navy at 17 (with Daddy’s blessing and Mom’s not knowing until it was too late to stop it).For many people of my generation, getting kicked out at 18 was a liberation. It was very hard to live at home with the endless labors of being a farmer’s child.I vowed that my eventual children would not be raised so close to the dirt that they had to dig it out from under their fingernails every night. I vowed that my eventual kids would not have to go fishing after school to have meat for supper. Once I was finished with military service, I bought a place in the country to raise my kids on…but it is no farm—feeder, truck, commercial, or otherwise. Just some acreage 20 miles from my job where I can plant tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers, where I don’t hear sirens every single day, or have neighbors 30 feet away, but guess what I told my kids?“You have until you’re 18 to live here and eat my food and use my utilities. As long as you live here, you will obey my rules. My house, my things, my kids, my rules.”I also told them, “You think I’m hard on you, but I never wake you up at 3:00AM to feed the cows, chickens, and hogs and bring in firewood and eggs before you go to school. I don’t make you cut firewood or 12 rows of okra (okra cutting is torture), or bend your back picking bush beans. I never make you clean rabbits or deer for the freezer. I don’t make you sit out back and shuck corn and shell peas for 10 hours. You two have got. It. Made. I make you mow the lawn and pick up your dirty clothes. I make you load the dishwasher. I make you brush your teeth. I make you bring the garbage cans up. I make you do your homework. I’m a bastard, aren’t I?”I made them study and work hard on schooly things because I had already figured out that kids their ages would be adults left behind without college degrees. My hard work and theirs allowed both to attend and graduate the University of Alabama. They’ve done quite well for themselves, and I never have to give either one a cent. I went back to school myself, though not UA because of cost, taking 8 years of night school and correspondence courses to earn my own degrees).None of this was easy, not for any of us.Life is hard. It takes work.And you have to start young.Your parents are doing you a favor. They are not saying to you, “Get out, we hate your guts,” they are saying to you, “Get out and make your own way, and you must start young.”You must adopt the proper attitude: this is for your own good, and only you can see to your own good. Who stays with Mom and Dad til he’s 30 has crippled his own independence and gumption. Get-up-and-go. Drive. Ambition.If you have none, you become a leech rather than a worker bee.
For American combat veterans who fought and survived through the recent wars, what training did you receive that you now think was superfluous, and what training did you wish you had that you would want the younger generations of troops to receive?I can’t speak for other branches, but saying I was extremely disappointed with Army training is a gross understatement.Before I continue, I want to preface this with a core belief I have about how pretty much any training in general should be conducted (whether we’re talking about tennis, dancing, kickboxing, or whatever):The only way to consistently do well at something is to train the basics over, and over, and over, and over again, into oblivion.I do Muay Thai kickboxing, for example, and good instructors are all very similar: they rarely devote time to teaching fancy stuff, and they don’t make you do stuff that’s a waste of time.(Not me above, but in case you don’t know what Muay Thai, that’s what it is.)If you have an hour-long Muay Thai class at a reputable gym, you’ll spend time doing the same things over and over that you’ve already been doing for months and years. I’ve been training Muay Thai for 5 years, and I still do the same exact drills that I did the very first day I started. Your entire class is devoted to doing the same thing over and over.Training cannot be too repetitive. In fact, I would argue that repetition is the definition of training, and if you’re doing anything else besides repeating the same fundamental things over and over, you’re simply not training.This may seem like an overly aggressive and unrealistic standard to most people, but then I would simply propose that those who believe it is unrealistic shouldn’t go anywhere near the Army. Or, this may seem too “boring” and “too simple to be true”. In that case, I would say if you believe that, you are simply wrong and have never trained in something before. (However, the sad reality is that the Army simply needs soldiers, and they’ll take anyone. I don’t know if it has to be this way, but it simply is. Sure, you can argue America has the best military in the world, but don’t get all hooah and patriotic on me, now: in my opinion, that only speaks to the lower quality of other countries’ militaries.)Went on a tangent there. Going back to my original point:In my experience, the Army does the exact opposite of this type of training. No one really cares about the stuff that actually matters. It’s not that they even devote time to teaching fancy stuff: it’s that they really don’t devote time to anything useful.Spending a few hours every other month to “refresh” a skill is not training. But that’s what the Army does (with the exception of basic training and some other purpose-built training courses that most people don’t get the opportunity to go to).I’ll say it again: spending a few hours every other month is not training. That’s a seminar, or an introduction, or a recap. It does not, by any stretch of imagination, qualify as training.Off the top of my head, here are the 3 problems with Army training in general:You devote the majority of your time throughout your Army career doing stuff that doesn’t matter.The training is conducted to low standards and doesn’t take place very often.Most soldiers don’t actually want to train.Since you asked a very specific question, I’ll format my answer in the way that you asked it, by answering both parts.What training did I receive that was superfluous?Hundreds of hours over the duration of my term was devoted to anti-sexual harassment training, “sensitivity” training, and anti-DUI training (and countless other nonsense).Warrior Leadership Course (WLC) - this is a month of death by PowerPoint, and it is supposed to teach you how to become a better leader in the Army. I learned a few new things, but I can’t remember anything really good that I took away from that course, other than the fact that it was required for me in order to get promoted as a non-commissioned officer. I remember a large portion of it was dedicated to learning how to fill out forms (that no ones used) and writing memorandums (which barely anyone does).We trained to become janitors. We swept sidewalks, pulled grass from the cracks in the street, scrubbed bathrooms, etc. If the Army wants janitors, they need to hire janitors.“Oh, okay Soldier, so you’re better than everybody else? You don’t want to do your duty and clean, just like the rest of your battle buddies? You wanna sham and just go play Call of Duty in your room all day?”That’s the response you might get from a leader if you ask why you’re pulling grass from the cracks in the street for the third time this week.What training do I wish I had?More of the same training we received in Basic Training. Let me explain:The hard part about this part of the question is that “technically” we got all the necessary training. However, we simply didn’t train those things enough. There were extremely low standards, and this causes soldiers to not be able to perform consistently well at anything.The other problem is, if you complain that you’re not getting enough training, the leadership will tell you to practice on your own time.Well, sure, but that’s kind of hard. Practicing radio communications, patrol tactics, etc. That’s something you need to be practicing with your actual unit, not in your free time. You should be able to relax in your free time, if you’re actually gonna spend time training with your unit during the day. We’re all humans.In fact, if we didn’t spend hours every day doing janitorial work or PowerPoints, then all those hours could be devoted to actual training.But, the other side of that coin is this: most soldiers don’t actually want to train. It’s the sad truth. It’s an organization filled mostly with low quality people who don’t do what they’re supposed to do. In my mind, we’re soldiers training to go to war, but most soldiers treated the Army like… something else that’s not the Army. I don’t know what organization they imagined they were part of, but it was not the Army.In Afghanistan, a majority of my time was spent going out on patrols. We had to talk on radios, and people sucked at it. We had to plan missions, and people sucked at it. We had to shoot at the Taliban, and people sucked at it. We had to be quiet while walking through the woods at night, and people sucked at it. We had to build shelter in grape fields in near freezing temperatures at night, and people sucked at it. We had to have enough food and water, and people somehow sucked at that too.Everything we had to do, most people simply sucked at it. I sucked at a lot of it too, and I’m not trying to subvert my own responsibility, but a big part of that is because the majority of our time was spent not training.We literally had one job, and we didn’t train for it.Instead, we spent most of our time going out on poorly-planned missions, doing God-knows-what for God-knows-what-reason, getting shot at, shooting back, and going back to base.It was complete insanity.So to answer concretely: I wish we had trained most of the same things we learned in basic training over and over and over again. That is what the entire 12-hour duty day (or however long your leadership team decides to keep you working) should be devoted to when you are at home at your duty station.I started this answer with the notion that I’d try to temper my cynicism, but that’s hard for me when people ask me about Army training. So take what I’m saying with a grain of salt, and all that.There are realities that I didn’t really understand during my term, and over time I’m starting to understand those. I’ll also humor the notion that maybe what I’m saying is, in fact, unrealistic.Maybe, too, this is what drives the necessity for special military unites (Green Berets, etc.) I don’t know though, because I haven’t been apart of any of those organizations.Hope this answered you question, thanks for the A2A.Footnotes Warrior Leader Course (WLC)
Can you share your experience as a homeless person?As many of you know, I was homeless when I was younger. Life on the streets is hard, harder than you can possibly imagine.The first night was terrifying. I knew I was going to die. I knew I was going to get stabbed by other homeless people for my boots and sleeping bag, and God forbid they discover I had £38 in cash, they would probably slit my throat for that. I was going to get AIDS and I was going to die. It was a certainty.The first time I came across a group of homeless people that night was when I tried to find a place to sleep in an abandoned building. One happened to see me trying to climb through a broken window and told me it was a bad idea. That's where the prostitutes took their punters, and where the local heroin dealers plied their trade. I had no idea about any of this stuff, so I was glad of the advice.The person who told me to stay away from that building told me he and a few other homeless guys had a place in the park nearby and I could come along if I wanted. I knew the park and knew it was open on all sides, so I could get away if anything went sideways, so figured I had nothing to lose.Those guys asked me what happened to make me homeless. I told them exactly what my landlord did. I think they took pity on me as they could see I was scared, and let me know what to expect. I discovered how to apply for council housing, where the nearest soup van was and how often it turned up. They told me where I could find food and some of the things they found useful to survive. They were really nice people, and that surprised me. I didn't feel threatened in their presence, but wasn't ready to stay with them.Let me tell you, that first night was petrifying. Every noise was a threat. Every shadow a murderer. It was the start of the coldest winter on UK record at that time and believe me, I felt every bit of it. I was alone in the world. I was cold and I was scared. I'm not ashamed to admit I cried my eyes out that night and didn't sleep a single second. It was the longest night of my life.Early the next morning I got out of my sleeping bag and packed it away. I had a steely determination to sort everything out. I had been told what to do, I was intelligent and I could figure this out. I wasn't going to to spend another night on the riverbank.Number one on my list was to get a council flat. All I had to do was visit the housing office, declare myself homeless and sign some forms. Surely they could understand that I was young, naïve and desperately vulnerable. It should be enough to get me to the top of the list, or at least into emergency accommodation. Well first I had to find the housing office. I never needed to go there before so I had no idea where it was. Luckily there is a council advice centre in the local shopping centre. I went there, made a quick enquiry and walked to the next town to start the process of getting myself somewhere else to live.I decided on my way there I was going to speak to the police after I had finished at the housing office. I knew they couldn't do anything about the illegal eviction as it was a civil matter, but they would be able to punish my landlord and his mate for threatening me with extreme violence if I didn't leave immediately.I got to the housing office around mid afternoon. It took me a while to find it as I hadn't really been to the next town over much before. Walking in, I took a ticket from the machine on the front desk and waited my turn. I was called up to a private booth within a few hours. I didn't mind the wait as I knew I would get some keys at the end of it.The housing officer asked me loads of questions and gave me stacks of forms to fill out. It took ages. Eventually I was called back to a booth where a different officer looked over everything. He asked me why I left my previous home. I gave him all the details. All he was interested in was that I had left voluntarily. If you make yourself intentionally homeless, regardless of the circumstance, you go straight to the bottom of the list. I tried to plead with him and told him exactly what my landlord said, and how he acted. This guy was huge. Six foot four of bad tempered agressive muscle. I was a 9.5 stone weakling. I am not exaggerating when I say that one punch from this man could easily have killed me. The housing officer didn't care about that. All he kept telling me was that what I was alleging to have happened was illegal and landlords can't evict people without notice, so obviously I had done something wrong to warrant it. I hadn't. I rarely ever spoke to my landlord, and had been paying my rent in full, on time every month. I had never been so much as a day late.I asked to speak to another housing officer as I knew I wasn't getting anywhere with this one. A woman came and sat in front of me and asked me all the same questions, but seemed more willing to listen to me. She said there were other criteria for immediate assistance I might meet so reeled off a few more questions. Was I a drug addict seeking rehab? No. Was I dependent on alcohol? No. Was I disabled or mentally ill? No. Was I an ex offender? No. I didn't fit any profile which mattered. The council had discharged their duty of care by adding me to the waiting list and there was nothing else I could do.Dejected, but more determined than ever to get revenge on my landlord for what he did, I went to the police station next. I told a constable what has transpired and that I wanted to press charges. He didn't care either. The threats, whilst illegal, came down to his word against mine. He was a successful landlord who had evicted me for some reason, I was a homeless guy with a grudge. It was obvious the police were not taking my side and I was wasting my time.I went back to the riverbank.The next morning I met up with the guys from the park. I told them what had happened and they said they weren't surprised. I asked for some more advice. I don't remember what they told me, but I do remember it didn't help.I picked up a free newspaper from one of the stands in the town on my way back from the park to the riverbank. It mentioned that the winter shelter was reopening soon and gave it's address. I was there the day it opened but was already too late, all the rooms were gone. I went there every day for 2 weeks trying to get a room, and eventually got lucky. They had a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and one of the residents had been caught with syringes. He was being kicked out as I arrived. I took his room and stayed there for a week before I was evicted for some made up reason I don't remember.I went back to my friends in the park, but none of them believed I had gotten a room there as they were so difficult to get.A few weeks later, one of the big hospitals in my town closed down for a complete refurbishment. I saw it as a way to move off of the riverbank to somewhere inside. I scoped out the hospital and decided against trying to to sleep inside the main building as I could be found by the workmen and thrown off site. I looked at the external lab buildings but they were either being demolished or had big alarm boxes on the outside. Eventually, at the very far end of the site, I saw what was to become my home for the next several months. It was an abandoned brick shed. It was full to the ceiling with empty cardboard boxes, but best of all, the door could be secured from the inside. I had a roof over my head, it was dry and it was lockable. I made a tunnel through the boxes to the wall furthest from the door and made a little den. There was just enough room for me to sit up in one direction, and lie flat in another. If I was quiet, no one would know I was there.I needed to make it comfortable. I used several thick cardboard boxes to insulate me from the bare concrete base, and took a load of hospital bedding out of a skip on site one evening when the workers had gone home. Piled on top of the cardboard, it was quite comfortable. I already had a sleeping bag, so I slept on top of the sheets in that.That shed probably saved my life.I mentioned the soup kitchen van which came once or twice a week. Well sometimes it didn't come at all. I was already eating out of bins, but I needed that soup as it was the only warm food I could get. Eventually it's funding must have dried up as it stopped coming to altogether. I had also been careless in allowing myself to be seen taking food out of a bin at the back of a bakery, and the bin was locked away. That was the end of the food. I didn't eat for nearly 2 weeks.Something people don't tell you about real hunger is the pain. Being hungry hurts. Being hungry can make you hallucinate. You can die of hunger with a full meal in front of you as you are too weak to eat it. I came very close to starving to death.Someone told me the salvation army give out food, all you have to do is ask. I made my way to the nearest Sally army church and waited until the service was over before asking to see the vicar. He took me to the kitchen and filled a carrier bag with food. I was too dilerious to notice he had given me a frozen loaf of bread and a load of tins I couldn't open as I didn't have a can opener. What it did have was some fruit, a few slices of ham and some biscuits. That carrier bag of food lasted 3 weeks.I was having a conversation with one of the other homeless guys I knew and he told me that the council didn't just offer their own properties, they offered a service to private landlords too. This was later confirmed in a story in one of the free local newspapers, which also mentioned that the council didn't take all the properties offered, despite having a deficit, as they didn't consider some of the accomodation to be suitable. I suddenly had a new mission.I started waking up early, so I could make my way to the housing office and be first in line every day. I stayed there all day,every day for several weeks until I had a lucky break. A middle aged lady came in and I heard her say to the person on the front desk she had some bedsits to offer. They ended up not being suitable, but while she was waiting I struck up a conversation with her. I told her why I was there and what happened to make me homeless. I persuaded her to give me a chance and we filled out the housing benefit forms there and then. She gave me a lift to her bedsits and showed me inside.As I now had an address, on the way to the bedsits we stopped at the benefits agency so I could register for income support. It would be a few days until I received my first payment.As I had not taken off my clothes in many months, I was desperate for a bath. I had to wait a few days as there was no way I was putting my dirty clothes on again. I slept on the floor as I didn't want to get the bed dirty.Once my first payment arrived, I went shopping. I bought fresh socks and pants, a new pair of jeans and a new t-shirt. I also bought the cheapest shampoo and toothpaste they had. I went home, sat in that bath for hours and fell asleep in a warm, comfortable bed for the first time in months. The next morning I put on my fresh clothes and haven't looked back since.
Do military members have to pay any fee for leave or fiancee forms?NOOOOOOO. You are talking to a military romance scammer. I received an email from the US Army that directly answers your question that is pasted below please keep reading.I believe you are the victim of a military Romance Scam whereas the person you are talking to is a foreign national posing as an American Soldier claiming to be stationed overseas on a peacekeeping mission. That's the key to the scam they always claim to be on a peacekeeping mission.Part of their scam is saying that they have no access to their money that their mission is highly dangerous.If your boyfriend girlfriend/future husband/wife is asking you to do the following or has exhibited this behavior, it is a most likely a scam:Moves to private messaging site immediately after meeting you on Facebook or SnapChat or Instagram or some dating or social media site. Often times they delete the site you met them on right after they asked you to move to a more private messaging siteProfesses love to you very quickly & seems to quote poems and song lyrics along with using their own sort of broken language, as they profess their love and devotion quickly. They also showed concern for your health and love for your family.Promises marriage as soon as he/she gets to state for leave that they asked you to pay for.They Requests money (wire transfers) and Amazon, iTune ,Verizon, etc gift cards, for medicine, religious practices, and leaves to come home, internet access, complete job assignments, help sick friend, get him out of trouble, or anything that sounds fishy.The military does provide all the soldier needs including food medical Care and transportation for leave. Trust me, I lived it, you are probably being scammed. I am just trying to show you examples that you are most likely being connned.Below is an email response I received after I sent an inquiry to the US government when I discovered I was scammed. I received this wonderful response back with lots of useful links on how to find and report your scammer. And how to learn more about Romance Scams.Right now you can also copy the picture he gave you and do a google image search and you will hopefully see the pictures of the real person he is impersonating. this doesn't always work and take some digging. if you find the real person you can direct message them and alert them that their image is being used for scamming.Good Luck to you and I'm sorry this may be happening to you. please continue reading the government response I received below it's very informative. You have contacted an email that is monitored by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Unfortunately, this is a common concern. We assure you there is never any reason to send money to anyone claiming to be a Soldier online. If you have only spoken with this person online, it is likely they are not a U.S. Soldier at all. If this is a suspected imposter social media profile, we urge you to report it to that platform as soon as possible. Please continue reading for more resources and answers to other frequently asked questions: How to report an imposter Facebook profile: Caution-https://www.facebook.com/help/16... < Caution-https://www.facebook.com/help/16... > Answers to frequently asked questions: - Soldiers and their loved ones are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave. - Soldiers are not charged money for secure communications or leave. - Soldiers do not need permission to get married. - Soldiers emails are in this format: email@example.com < Caution-mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org > anything ending in .us or .com is not an official email account. - Soldiers have medical insurance, which pays for their medical costs when treated at civilian health care facilities worldwide – family and friends do not need to pay their medical expenses. - Military aircraft are not used to transport Privately Owned Vehicles. - Army financial offices are not used to help Soldiers buy or sell items of any kind. - Soldiers deployed to Combat Zones do not need to solicit money from the public to feed or house themselves or their troops. - Deployed Soldiers do not find large unclaimed sums of money and need your help to get that money out of the country. Anyone who tells you one of the above-listed conditions/circumstances is true is likely posing as a Soldier and trying to steal money from you. We would urge you to immediately cease all contact with this individual. For more information on avoiding online scams and to report this crime, please see the following sites and articles: This article may help clarify some of the tricks social media scammers try to use to take advantage of people: Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/61432/< Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/61432/> CID advises vigilance against 'romance scams,' scammers impersonating Soldiers Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/180749 < Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/180749 > FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center: Caution-http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx< Caution-http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx> U.S. Army investigators warn public against romance scams: Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/130...< Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/130...> DOD warns troops, families to be cybercrime smart -Caution-http://www.army.mil/article/1450...< Caution-http://www.army.mil/article/1450...> Use caution with social networking Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/146...< Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/146...> Please see our frequently asked questions section under scams and legal issues. Caution-http://www.army.mil/faq/ < Caution-http://www.army.mil/faq/ > or visit Caution-http://www.cid.army.mil/ < Caution-http://www.cid.army.mil/ >. The challenge with most scams is determining if an individual is a legitimate member of the US Army. Based on the Privacy Act of 1974, we cannot provide this information. If concerned about a scam you may contact the Better Business Bureau (if it involves a solicitation for money), or local law enforcement. If you're involved in a Facebook or dating site scam, you are free to contact us direct; (571) 305-4056. If you have a social security number, you can find information about Soldiers online at Caution-https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sc... < Caution-https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sc... > . While this is a free search, it does not help you locate a retiree, but it can tell you if the Soldier is active duty or not. If more information is needed such as current duty station or location, you can contact the Commander Soldier's Records Data Center (SRDC) by phone or mail and they will help you locate individuals on active duty only, not retirees. There is a fee of $3.50 for businesses to use this service. The check or money order must be made out to the U.S. Treasury. It is not refundable. The address is: Commander Soldier's Records Data Center (SRDC) 8899 East 56th Street Indianapolis, IN 46249-5301 Phone: 1-866-771-6357 In addition, it is not possible to remove social networking site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam. If you suspect fraud on this site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the account on the social networking platform immediately. Please submit all information you have on this incident to Caution-www.ic3.gov < Caution-http://www.ic3.gov > (FBI website, Internet Criminal Complaint Center), immediately stop contact with the scammer (you are potentially providing them more information which can be used to scam you), and learn how to protect yourself against these scams at Caution-http://www.ftc.gov < Caution-http://www.ftc.gov > (Federal Trade Commission's website)
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How do I write a rental verification letter?To write a letter showing proof of residence for a tenant, ask the tenant who you're addressing the letter to and what specific details to include. Open the letter with a simple salutation like, “To Whom It May Concern,” and state that you're writing to verify that the tenants live on your property.
What information is contained in a landlord's rental statement?Your rental ledger provides some space where a property manager or landlord will record important information about a payment you've made. This will typically include your name, your address, the amount paid and the date.
What is a rental history?A rental history is a record of your previous rental experiences (of importance to your landlords). ... Understanding your past helps them to predict what kind of tenant you will be if they rent the apartment to you. Specific events provide this information such as: Bounced checks. Late rental payments.
What is a rental statement?A rental ledger is a complete statement (or record) of every rent payment you have made, and the dates that the rent covered. ... A ledger used to keep track of your rent payments and is a useful form of documentation if a tenancy matter ever needs to go before a court.
What is a landlord statement?A landlord statement is a written statement that is used to answer any questions that an entity wants to know or ask about the landlord and his property. This entity can be a government authority or a private business to whom the landlord is applying for financial assistance or general assistance.