To kill or not to kill…

The “no-kill” debate has been rolling around the welfare world and the world in general for many years now, and there is still nothing but talk and opinions to show for it.

In my humble opinion, there is no black and white answer to this dilemma as the world stands today. There is no real regulation or oversight of the welfare/rescue world as a whole and too many emotions rule everything!

If people continue to not spay/neuter and dump their animals on the streets and in shelters, there will never be enough space or adequate and proper facilities to keep them forever. What good is keeping all of them alive if they are confined to cages for their entire “no-kill” life? I have seen what happens and it is not humane. Humane can only be determined and solved if enormous changes are made on many levels, and that will never happen for so many reasons, which is incredibly, incredibly sad.

In my humble opinion, there ARE things we can start to do, but they would need those regulations and oversight, and simple laws in general. And with the government and politicians much more interested in what humans think of them than remembering what being human really should be about…none of these things could ever happen…no matter how simple they are.

As with much in our society, there are many people with opinions, many people with good hearts and many people who just don’t care about anything. That is what makes our world our world…and, yes, that is also very, very sad for us all because it leaves all of us going round in circles with nothing ever really happening. It is like a perpetual hampster wheel of movement with nothing to show for it.

In 100 years when we are all gone, it will be the same. How depressing is that for us all.

Happiness…

Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants to feel like they have a life worth living. And everyone wants to have a reason to smile.

For some, those want’s and feelings come easily as they find family, career and the many things those have to offer complete them. For others, such as myself, it is much more difficult.

As I sit here tonight I could be out meeting friends and enjoying meaningless conversation and silly fun. Instead, I am here writing this after a long day working on this new website. And even though I could be out doing what most people probably think I should be doing on a Friday night, I am content because I have accomplished a lot today in regards to what I care about. And that makes me happy.

It reminded me of the feeling I get every time I have spent a day covering a welfare event, or the countless hours I have spent rescuing and working with strays in one way or another. Or, the smile that I always have on my face, and in my heart, after doing something animal-related that I know was important. A smile that I usually can’t control, and a feeling of happiness.

Probably the only time I ever really feel completely happy and that my life is definitely worth living…

Art for Animals…

I was a jeweler/metal smith before I found my way to the veterinary and welfare worlds back in 1997. But, I was born to create so my hands decide once in a while to tell me it is time to do something new.

Recently they decided I should really do something with all the shells, rocks and beach finds cluttering up the window sills around the place I live. So, I listened…

What I figured is that I would make some “touristy” pieces on local wood shingles and wood pieces from the houses being built and sell them to make money for the local shelters and rescues. Thus, the pieces would be genuinely local. I had never painted on wood, and I am not a painter per se’, but fun was main goal anyway.

After a crazy stint of making a few a day, I finally had enough to show. Although I have done many trade shows and events, I am definitely not a salesperson in nature, so I was nervous about the next step. But, I was offered a table at the Renaissance Festival the other day and so I said yes, why not.

It was an interesting experience and I met a lot of very nice people, and I sold a few pieces as well, so all it all it was a good day. Next step…getting them into a few stores. Wish me luck:)

Update 4/2014 – I now have pieces in a local store and the owner is a huge animal lover, so it is wonderful. Thank you to Twigs and Tides!

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Writing and Community Outreach…


Life can be difficult sometimes when you have a brain that wants to do many things and is never fully at rest until you do so. Sometimes that can lead to a vicious circle… sometimes it can lead to good things.

In my case it has been a struggle because all, or most, of my ideas and desires have been big and my mind only so capable of going to step Z from step A. I was given the ability to think big and plan, but the process in between seems to get lost. Maybe it is just because a mind is not always capable of going in different directions and making each one successful…or, so I am told:)

One thing I have learned in my old age is what I can compromise on and what I really want to do at this point. Or, should I say I have learned what I would want to do if I had only one or two desires to choose from at this time.

I have a strong interest in outreach and the world as whole. I have found that I love to write and that has taken the place of my artwork from years ago. I am told that I am good at what I do and have insight and the heart to make a difference.

Now, what I want to do is find a way to combine my writing and outreach and make that difference in a new way. Examiner.com aside, I want to be part of something and finally find my home…

If you happen to know of an animal organization, paper, magazine, etc that could use someone like me…please let me know:)

Donations…a study in psychology

Even after many years in the non-profit world, I am constantly amazed, and sometimes shocked, as I open donations.

More often than not, they are sent back with money and I know that they are doing so because they care about the cause. There are people who send monthly, and there are some who have been donating for years. Many are senior citizens who note that they are 80 plus years old and apologize that they cannot give more. Each one, the type of people that every non-profit hopes to reach, and are thankful for.

But, it is the others than continually amaze me. Some are sent back with clippings from other organizations or religious pamphlets, some are sent back with nothing but the paperwork we sent them, others are sent back with a very nasty note such as Fu$% Yo#. And, yes, there are even some who send back the card with 5 cents included….and a nasty note.

It takes more time to do these things than to just throw out the appeal, but there is a definite point to what they do. I continually ask myself what IS that point? Is it because they need to make a point? Is it because they feel they have the right to express themselves because we are a charity? Is it because they do not trust anyone anymore?

This process is, at times, a study in human psychology. And honestly, there are times that I worry that one day one of the donations will contain something harmful to me. That alone makes me wonder about the world and the lengths that people will go to to express their opinions.

In the meantime, I will devote my time to concentrating on the people who care and hope that every non-profit and charity out there does the same. We are nothing without them.

Bite This Book…A smile for me and Evie

Perhaps because of my books about animal welfare and work to help humans understand animals, I was recently asked to take a look at a special new book. Feeling honored to be part of the process, I eagerly opened the digital version and a smile broke out on my face as I reviewed the pages.

The smile was a result of seeing such a simple, colorful and entertaining book make such an immediate impact…not only on me, but my dog Evie. Why Evie? Well, because the pages are full of rhymes and poems written by a few unique dogs for all other dogs. As I read to Evie the first poem called “Happy Walk,” it was difficult not to relate. Evie, after all, has quite the nose and our walks consist of stopping every second so that she can smell. As I read the words “pee pee” she looked over at me, wondering if she needed to go outside. The same happened when I read her “The Squirrel” as Evie has a strong love/hate relationship with the word “squirrel.”

This happened many times as I read aloud the different sweet poems; Evie’s eyes getting wide and her ears perking up as I laughed and giggled at some of the words that reminded me so much of our life together. And, what makes the book special is that behind the seemingly simple theme is a more complex and important message. One being that author Lony Ruhmann wanted to communicate the needs of dogs who have been abused or neglected and to encourage adoption, and what better way to do so than help humans understand what they are really saying!

Evie and I wholeheartedly agree that any way that we as humans can help needy animals of all kinds live a better life is worth the time and energy. We also know that reading aloud to your dog not only brings you together, but it can now also help us be better people for our furry friends.

More Information can be found at: http://www.bitethisbook.com

Animal people vs people who like animals

Sometimes the difference between real animal-people, those who naturally have a connection, and those who just like animals, is very obvious.

I have often been told over the years that animals are nice to me that are never nice to anyone, and it always surprises me as I would have never thought these particular animals were unfriendly. In the veterinary hospitals where I worked, I was always the one that got sick animals to eat when no one else could. Perhaps it is because they sense something in those of us who genuinely care and understand.

Tonight this revelation made me smile yet again as I sat with my body half way in a carrier petting the girl that I had just trapped a week ago. She has been through hell the last few months living on the street and in a crazy situation for a few days before I got her back from her spay. Last night I took her to my neighbors house and set her up in a big crate with a bed and lots of food. She was very stressed and so I wanted her to have a quiet and calm place to rest for a few days while I figured out what to do with her. My apartment is anything but calm with a crazy kitten running around.

I was not sure what I would be dealing with when I visited tonight and was not surprised when she hissed and growled at me when I first opened the cage door. Knowing that food is always a good offer of friendship, and that she would remember that I had been feeding her for a few weeks before she was tricked into the trap, I made a tasty bowl of fishy food. As I slowly showed it to her over the edge of her safe box, she glared at me with distain and fear. Food may be good, but she was in no mood.

Without thinking I did what I have done so many times over the years and talked to her. I showed her the food, moving it closer and closer, and let her sniff. She was very hungry and it was not long before she devled into the bowl with vigor, all the while watching me through the corner of her eye. As she ate I moved closer inside the cage and touched her head slowly. She jerked back and hissed and then went back to eating.

Ten minutes later she was letting me pet her as I continued to speak to her slowly and softly… and a few moments after that a wonderful sound of purring was heard. Her posture relaxed and she was tempted to roll on her back and show me her belly…so tempted. Her head moved into the palm of my hand and the look of distain turned to calmness and perhaps a little love…I like to think:)

In the meantime my neighbor had come in and was sitting on the floor a foot away from her, watching the process. His mouth hanging open because he said she would not do anything but hiss and lunge at him through the cage and he was not sure how to deal with her.

He likes animals…

Do you have any experiences that made you know that you are an animal-person rather than a person who just likes animals? Evie and I would love to hear from you!

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How would you answer?

I was recently asked the questions below, how would you answer!? …

Generally speaking, how has working in animal rescue affected your perception of pet owners? Have your experiences changed your views on animal issues in any ways? And have you noticed any changes in the behavior and attitudes of pet owners themselves since you began?

I began my “rescue career” in 1997, shortly after taking my first job in the veterinary field. A neighbor ran into hospital and said there was a litter of newborn kittens and their mother in a trash bin and the truck was going to come and crush them. A few hours later I had the entire family at my house. I remember asking myself how someone could do such a thing to their pet. Many years later I am not shocked at anything anymore and sadly just shake my head when others show dismay at the horrible things they hear. I have had the unique experience of dealing with pet owners in the veterinary field as well as those who unfortunately contribute to the rescue world’s woes. For me, this insight into both worlds has highlighted the many things wrong with our society. From the man who does not want to neuter his dog because he feels like it is a personal attack and also wants “just a few puppies,” to the woman who does nothing for the sick cat living outside of her apartment, other than say “poor thing” as she walks by with her dogs. There are so many pet owners who just do not understand how their actions affect the world, or are just unwilling to take the time to care.

Like others who have had hands-on time in the welfare world, my experiences have changed my view of many things. It is difficult to live life oblivious to what is going on around us once you literally scrape frozen stillborn kittens off of a sidewalk or pick maggots out of a dog that was shot and left to die. It makes you much more aware of the responsibility we all have to be good people. On a positive note, I have met many wonderful and good people over the years who devote themselves to making a difference.

Although the rescue and veterinary worlds have become a stronger public force for animals over the years and more people are educated, there is still much that will never be solved. What happens when you drop your pet off at a shelter will never be fully comprehended and Pit Bulls will always be misunderstood. Helping owners understand the need to spay and neuter will always be a struggle, and what really happens when you throw your pet outside to fend for themselves will never be completely understood. Unfortunately, pet owners are human and each makes their own decisions for their own reasons. Therefore I cannot say that I have noticed any widespread changes among pet owners as a whole. Those who care and want to be educated are.

Spay/neuter clinic…

Yesterday was a crazy day for us all at the spay/neuter clinic. 70 cats, three Dr’s to start with, new vet students, volunteers and a camera crew from China…all cramped into two rooms.

Many of the females had already given birth somewhere outside, several were brought in with their kittens and the rest were pregnant. There were also plenty of big-headed Tomboys in the mix. Seems that there were more friendly ones than usual, but that could be because they just seem to stand out among the crowd.

Marc Sellinger, founder of Rock St Cats brought in many as usual, which was great.

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The more eyes the better…

Anyone who truly cares about something and making a difference knows the frustration of not being able to do so on a grand scale. It just occured to me as I was helping post things to the board here on the site that anyone who visits the site and sees all the posts about animals in urgent need may learn something and be moved enough to want to take action…and they may then pass that on to someone else and so on, and so on…

So, all we can do is try and try and try again…