Saturday, December 18, 2010

A hero's passing - rest in peace my dear friend

It is with great sadness I learned of the passing of fellow animal advocate, rescuer and friend Marjorie Banks. Marj was a pillar of strength in the rescue community who will be sorely missed. True to her passion Marj's voice for homeless pets remained vocal right up to her last breathe. Rest in peace my dear friend - you are the best.

"God saw u getting tired and a cure was not to be. So he put his arms around u & whispered come with me. With tearful eyes, we watched and saw u pass away. Although we love u dearly, we could not make u stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest.. God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hey you, can you help me carry the stone?

Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?

Hey you, dont help them to bury the light
Don't give in without a fight.

Hey you, out there on your own
Sitting naked by the phone
Would you touch me?
Hey you, with you ear against the wall
Waiting for someone to call out
Would you touch me?

Hey you, would you help me to carry the stone?
Open your heart, I'm coming home.

But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.

Hey you, out there on the road
always doing what you're told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?

Hey you, don't tell me there's no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Whiter Shade of Pale

Zoe Monster & Bam Bam
We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels cross the sky

I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
the room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away


So it was said later
as the mirror told it's tale

That his face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale

There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see
I wandered through my playing cards

Maggie Dawg

as the mirror told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale
and would not let her be

although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed

Ellie Mae

And so it was that later
as the mirror told it's tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale

Rest in Peace my sweet friends - you left your mark deep inside my heart with a whiter shade of pale.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mulligan's Travels

A very sad and painful Mulligan 
 Today is a day of celebration for our Mulligan.  It was four years ago that we "adopted" Mulligan from the Walton County Shelter.  Mulligan's determination to survive was a journey full of ruts and misery.  His journey started as he dragged his crippled body down a lonely deserted road in rural county.

I stumbled on Mulligan when visiting the shelter to pick up a beagle.  Since he was picked up as a stray the shelter was required to hold him the standard period.  Otherwise, he would have been euthanized to end his suffering.  Since the shelter wouldn't release him early in case "his owner showed up to reclaim him" all I could do was put a hold on him and wait.

Not everyone agreed that rescue was an option for this boy.  Obviously, adopting out a crippled dog would be "complicated" but adoption was the furthest thing on my mind as I made that choice.  My intention was to see if I could help this poor dog and if not at least offer him the dignity of being there while he drifted away.

I named him Mulligan because after all he had been through he deserved a "second shot".  Once we got Mulligan home I took him to three vets for an evaluation.  All three reached the same conclusion - he would never walk again, he was suffering and the only option was to end that suffering. 

As I pondered my dwindling options I wrote a story about Mulligan's woeful story and an angel appeared.  A complete stranger located thousands of miles away offered to pay for an examination and any treatment at the Universitry of Georgia to see what options we might still have.

With that Mulligan and I began our travels to seek out help.  Everyone at the teaching hospital fell in love with Mulligan.  Our options were limited with the only possible solution coming from performing an MRI and if the problem could be located to immediately operate to repair his damaged disk.  During his exam Mulloiagn was non-ambulatory, had a body condition score of 1/5 (quite thin) with numerous open wounds resulting from dragging his hind-quarters.  He had severe muscle atrophy on his rear muscles related to the paralysis.  To add to his troubles Mulligan was also heartworm positive.

With little or no rear limbs and tail (which were present during his initail exam) the decision was made to proceed immediately with the MRI.  Still, since there wasn't any medical information on how long Mulligan had been "down" his prognosis still remained guarded.  Mulligan's MRI was done on December 20th, only a few short days before Christmas.  I went home and prayed for a Christmas miracle.

Mulligan's myelogram revealed a compressed lesion to the spinal cord.  Holes were drilled in his spinal cord to allow the swelling to decompress.  With all the discouraging news I had recieved this seemed to be the glimmer of hope for Mulligan's recovery. After all, even if he couldn't walk if he wasn't in pain we could deal with that.

The numerous notes on Mulligan's prognosis and aftercare we marked with one final comment from staff - it read "Mulligan is a such a sweet dog.  Thank you for entrusting us with his care.  This sweet boy had one the hearts of everyone he met.

They told me Mulligan would be at the hospital for several days and we wouldn't really know much till then.  I joined a support group called DisabledDogs on yahoo and started researching everything I needed to know about owning a crippled dog and I waited.   Visiting Mulligan the next day raised my spirits.  He came through the surgery and was happy to see a familar face.  Now, all we had to do was wait.

I would drive that 50 mile trip to visit Mulligan every morning.  On the third day - just two days before Christmas we got the greatest present ever - Mulligan was coming home.

I'll always remember that holiday season as being special.  Our boy survived and his future was now in my hands.  The doctor who tended Mulligan gave me instructions on doing a physical therapy session on Mulligan that involved moving both of Mulligan's rear legs in a bicycle motion.  We had to do this twice a day for fifteen minutes.  Mulligan hated his therapy - he would scoot his body away every time in an effort to escape. 

Meanwhile, his life was started to be more normal as we outfitted him with a cart and his wagon.  After initailly resisting his cart he quickly became a zoom racer which seemed to pick up his spirits.  He was able to be a dog again even following the other hounds around the yard.  The cart also returned his dignity in that he was no longer having to deficate on himself.  With all the extra care Mulligan need we became REALLY close. 

Mulligan in his wagon
Mulligan had stumbled on the one person he could finally trust.  I found a hound with a huge heart who seemed willing to forget his horrible travels.

It would be several weeks and there was little change.  Each morning I would wheel his cart up to his cage and ask him if he wanted to go out.  He usually respnded by scooting over to his cart and off we would go.  This morning would be different.  Mulligan looked at me with agleam in his eye and walked right past me to the door.  I looked, shocked by what I had seen and told him "well, I guess we don't need this anymore" - his miracle was complete.

Over the years, Mulligan has developed into a delightful hound.  His favorite past time was "hunting down and killing" his stuffed bunny.  He was so funny, he would drag his bunny everywhere only to drop it on the floor and start barking at it.  It was a joy to see a dog who had suffered through so much sudden;y become so well adjusted.

Mulligan and  his buddy Toby
Mulligan in fairly good health considering where he came from.  He is about eight to ten years old  now anbd has survived his surgery and heartworm treatment.  Earlier this spring he went down a second time.  Out came the cart as we tried once again to work through this issue.  Since I had already decided to keep Mulligan whether he was able to walk or not this time his illness wasn't as devastating. 

Mulligan was given steroid injections in an attempt to reduce this swelling on his spinal cord.  A few days later he started walking again.  He seemed to have dodged another bullet and went back to his normal activities.  A few weeks ago I noticed he seemed to be more sensative on his hind quarters again raising more concerns.  On Saturday his condition worsened once again, he stopped using one of his hind legs and was walking on only three legs.  I gave his a cocktail of predisone, baby aspirin and pain killer in an attempt to slow down any infection he might have.  Twenty four hours later he was back to walking on all fours again.

While the future for Mulligan is complicated by his poor geneitcs we have learned to take each day one at a time.  I'll be taking him back to the U of G soon for a follow up exam to see what type of medications, diet or other supplements might provide us the bext possible outcome.

Life will give you trials that only make you stronger.  Mulligan has provided me with an insight on never giving up even when facing tremendous hurdles.  I wouldn't trade those experiences for all ther riches in the world - we have our miracle boy and today's his day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Memories of a Friend

As we look back on the year we are thankful most of the hounds lived through the abyss.  This was supposed to be the opening of another holiday of good cheer. 

I met Bam Bam on what was supposed to be a routine trip to Chattanooga to pick up a basset sitting on doggie death row.  This would have been our eighth holiday season together.  Instead of cherished time together we are left with nothing but the fond but distant memories of days past.

Bam Bam had been dumped at the shelter after surviving a litter of puppies where only one pup lived.  That pup got snatched up by rescue but Bam Bam was left behind.  Not that she was the picture of health - in her skinny weakened state with gobs of hair loss - she looked a mess. 

Once knew a man
Been everywhere in the world
Gave me a tiny glass ball
Said it would do me good
Never believed it would until
We met in the dark and cold

Old man - he'd seen most everything
Gave me a piece of good advise
Said you would do me well
I couldn't really tell until
For years I've been loving you

Now it seems things were not so strange
I can see more clearly
Suddenly not killing I found my way
I know the old man would laugh
He spoke of life's sweeter days
And in his eloquent way
I think he was speaking of you
You were so loyal
You didn't have to say a thing

But I remember that old man
Telling me I had seen the light
Gave me a small paper book
Insisted he was right
I only heard him slightly
'til I heard you whisper
Took you in my arms

Dear old man
Wise old man
Fine old man, now

Sitting on the hillside
Watching all the dogs and cats die
I'll feel much better on the other side

Life goes on here day after day
Now that you are gone
Sometimes I don't know if this is
living the way I'm supposed to be
Sometimes life is so eerie

Been here once
Been here twice
Don't know if the third's the fourth or
The fifth's the fix
Sometimes I deal with numbers
But if you want to count me count me out.

I won't forget
All the times I've waited patiently for you
Yet tonight alone again I'll wait

I remember when you used to look so good
We did everything we possibly could
Riding all over town
You can go ahead if you want
Hateful people put you down for being around
We were just walking through life hand in hand
I was thinking of you but
They were thinking of another plan.

When I saw the way it was and where I was supposed to be
I was twitching so I turned and saw a vision to hard to learn

That everyone I saw just another part of the plan
But, you can go ahead if you want to
'cause nobody's got no papers on you.

Your parting sends shockwaves down my spine
When the iceman sees his ice is melting
Won't be there on time
Hope they find a rhyme
For their little minds

Served my time
Served it well
Your death rocked my world
Tore holes through my heart
Write the rules in the sky
But ask your leaders


Day after day, night after night
What is happening and have you been alright?
Got to go but will see you again.
Thankful memories of you
My dearly departed friend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A special day for our special Beagle girl

Beagle's Shelter Mug Shot
 Today we celebrate our litlle "Beagle's" gotcha day.  It was nine years ago that we raced time to hurry down to the Spalding GA "gassing" shelter to rescue a poor scared beagle that dozens of advocates had sent to me.  At the time Spalding used to post the urgents with a troublesome line that included "this dog will be available until 4:30 PM......meaning at 4:31 the dog would be loaded into Spalding's "Gas Chamber" and killed.

We almost didn't make it - a traffic wreck on the interstate could have easily lead to "Beagle's" demise.  After pulling in with only minutes to spare I paid the twenty dollar adoption fee and headed back to find my dog.  What I saw was a terrified little beagle girl who drove her nails into the cement as I hoioked up her lead.  Her kennel cage was within seeing distance of "Ole Smokey" and I do believe that Beagle thought I was there to drag her into the chamber like so many that went before and never came out.

Beagle in 2001
Beagles have that highly sensitive nose which could sense the smell of death that drifts through the air every night at killing time.  After struggling with a determined girl who wasn't going down without a fight I finally was able to load her into my truck - she threw up the whole way home.

I had never intended to keep Beagle - after all, she wasn't a basset. I started calling her "Beagle" so as not to get attached.  Beagle had other ideas - after all, she's still here.  Through the years she has always been a bit on the skittish side with strangers - even been known to take a nip at someone's ankle if they got too close but she has also developed into the sweetest friend one could ever have.

Beagle has her routines but the funniest is her bedtime routine.  Every night she insists on crawling into bed to get her neck scratched - give her daddy a kiss and wander off to the end of the bed to sleep.  Her world is safe.  Since Beagle really didn't do well when I wasn't around I started taking her with me everywhere I went.  This extra attentionj has paid off with a very well rounded personaility she has developed.  While she now tolerates other people she still loves her daddy best.

Home at Last - Home for good
It's hard to imagine my little beagle girl is now approaching ten years of age.  She is the one who got me started in beagle rescue.  It was her survival that gave me reason to oppose the use of gassing for any shelter animal as cruel and unusual punishment for dogs who were guilty of nothing except the misfortune of having an irresponsible owner who dumped them in a gassing shelter.

Not to say that Beagle's "rescue" wasn't without challenges.  All of life's true rewards come through our tenacity to struggle and overcome.  It would take six months before little Beagle figured out the housetraining thing.  For years she's been an "ankle biter" whenever faced with strangers she didn't trust.  Patience has paid off through the years and Beagle has adjusted to all the confident beagle thjat she was supposed to be.  Today's her day = Happy Gotcha Day my little Beagle friend.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Am I Too Young at Heart

Now you wanna know the reason
Why I’m finished with you?
Well I had to be a hunter again.
To make life feel new again.

'Cause there's just a few things, honey

I'm not old enough to do for you.
And they're the things, momma
You never care to do.

So this flim-flam clown
Found him a flim flam town.
And his flamingo
Showed him how to tango.
And when they tangoed
It'd send his heart's a ‘flutter.

Teased him 'till he'd stutter.
Sweet to surrender
And so sweet surrender?

In sweet surrender.

Ahh, sweet surrender to life.

But now you're gonna go out
And get yourself
A reputation.

But I'm gonna have to show you
Where to start.

And then you're gonna bring back
Your little reputation

And prove to me
What I could not prove to you.

'Cause I was just too young at heart.
I'm just too cold,
Just too hard to care.
Just too hard, 'right?

To surrender?

If you could
Just surrender
Love would heal the mess we've made.

So give it up, 
It 'aint gonna be no good
It keeps goin' 'round and 'round.
You hurt me.
Then I hurt you again and again and again?

All that's left to do, ah.
Is give it up, Ahhhhhh?

No, no, give it up
And surrender,

Sweet surrender.
Surrender for love?

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Chains of Memories Left Behind

To my dear sweet Zoe - gone too soon

Moonshine time
Thoughts of you
Spinning round
As thoughts do
I just wondered if
your eyes still shined
As they did
When you were mine

I can see
in a dream
Thoughts so clear
and jewels that gleam
Would your eyes
Still sparkle then
If we were, once again

Jewel eyed girl please come home
Jewel eyed girl don't leave me alone

Lovely girl
Can you see
Where it is
You're meant to be
Where you lay
Your head tonight
May the stars
Find you light
So am I
Sitting here
Moonlight glistens
On my tears
Is this all
That we could find
Chains of memories
Left behind      

Jewel eyed girl please come home
Jewel eyed girl don't leave me behind   

 Fleetwood Mac 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Do you come from Bury Town?

For all my stalker friends a song adaptation from Pretzel Logic - enjoy - if the shoe fits.

I'm not one to look behind; I know that times must change

But over there in Bury Town they do things very strange
And though you're not my enemy
I like things like they used to be
And though you'd like some company
I'm standing by myself
Go play with someone else
I can see by what you carry that you come from Bury Town

Don't believe I'm taken in by stories I have heard
I just read the Daily News and read between every word
And don't think that I'm out of line
For speaking out for what is mine
I'd like to see you do just fine
But look at what you wear
And the way you cut your hair
I can see by what you carry that you come from Bury Town
In the beginning we recall that the word was hurled
Bury Town people got to be from another world

Leave me or I'll be just like the others you will meet
They won't act as kindly if they see you on the street
And don't you scream or make a shout
It's nothing you can do about

It was there where you came out
It's a special lack of grace
I can see it in your face
I can see by what you carry that you come from Bury Town

Sunday, August 1, 2010

With eyes that just stared

Ellie Mae with eyes that just stared

Some of them standing, some were waiting in the line
As if there was something that they thought they might find
Taking some strength from the feelings that always were shared
And in the background, the eyes that just stared

Casey a victim of abuse

What was it brought you out here in the dark?
Was it your only way of making your mark
Did you get rid of all the voices in your head?
Do you now miss them and the things that they said?

On your own admission you raised up the knife
And you brought it down ending another life
When it was done you just threw down the blade
While the red blood spread wider like the anger you made

Bam Bam - Rest in Peace

I don't want this anger that's burning in me
It's something from which it's so hard to be free
But none of the tears that we cry in sorrow or rage
Can make any difference, or turn back the page

"Murder"  - David Gilmour

Friday, July 30, 2010

Broke-Down Palace

One of my favorite places to take Maggie and Zoe to was our frequent visits to the Klamath River. Maggie loved the water's edge. Of course, no trip was complete without playing our favorite song "Broke-Down Palace". This one's in memory of maggie and her sister Zoe Monster. Even though their departure left a huge void in my life, they will always remain close in my heart with all the memories we shared.

Broke-Down Palace
Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

Fare you well my honey
Fare you well my only true one
All the birds that were singing
Have flown except you alone

Goin to leave this Broke-down Palace
On my hands and my knees I will roll roll roll
Make myself a bed by the waterside
In my time - in my time - I will roll roll roll

In a bed, in a bed
by the waterside I will lay my head
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul

River gonna take me
Sing me sweet and sleepy
Sing me sweet and sleepy
all the way back back home
It's a far gone lullaby
sung many years ago
Mama, Mama, many worlds I've come
since I first left home
Goin home, goin home
by the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul

Goin to plant a weeping willow
On the banks green edge it will grow grow grow
Sing a lullaby beside the water
Lovers come and go - the river roll roll roll

Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul

When you entered my life we began a journey. Together we traveled through good times and you were there to help me through the bad days.

You taught me to slow down and take in life.
You taught me the value of compassion. For your love had no boundaries.
You taught me things about life, about myself that I might never have known.

Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple pleasures — sharing a sandwich on the side of the road, smelling each and every blade of grass along the way and of course, the importance of keeping up with our naps.

Your pace was much slower, except when it was time to eat but we never missed a beautiful flower, a sinking sun or a morning's brilliance.

Once you've walked as a hound does, you discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows — that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essence all its own, each day a gift from God.

You too, were my gift from God. I honestly believe you were sent to save me from myself.
together, we learned the true measure of love. The steadfast, undying kind that says, "It doesn't matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together."

Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race. And you will learn humility. The look in your eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence.

You saw me complete with flaws, a person who could be cross and angry, stubborn, moody or rude, and yet dismissed them all the same. You choose to love me despite my human flaws.
I am a better person because of the time and memories we spent together.

While your time here was much too short I will be left with a life time of memories that we shared together.

Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day I will follow you down the trail you paved with your love. I will find the strength to let you go, knowing your life's mission is complete.

Your time was much too short but I knew that the day would come where we would have to part. I would be left alone with only the life's treasure and lessons you left me with.

I borrowed your spirit, just for a short while, and during these brief years you generously left enough love, every inch of your spirit and heart, until one day there was nothing left.

You taught me the ultimate gift of helping you pass when you needed me most. I'll always remember you as the young playful pup who made me laugh., not the tired girl who's pain brought me tears and great sorrow.

Deep down I always knew that this grand journey would end. I knew that if I gave you my heart it would be broken into a million pieces. But I gave you my heart because that was all you ask of me.
When the time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place I could not foresee, I gave you both one final gift as I whispered how much I loved you and let you run free, young and whole once more.

"God speed, my dear sweet girls," until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again.
I will think of you always, always in my heart.

God bless your souls for sharing your life with me . . . and adding so much to my existence.

It's Just A Box of Rain

Little Bella, our twelve year old senior who joined us last month must think she died and went to hound dog heaven. Not only does she spend her day in the company of a whole lot of equally lazyold hounds but here crazy daddy makes her listen to American Beauty every morning.

This bed sure beats the concrete floor at the shelter her last owners dumped her in. It probably is much better then exiled to living outdoors as well.

Words by Robert Hunter; music by Phil Lesh
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

Look out of any window
any morning, any evening, any day
Maybe the sun is shining
birds are winging or
rain is falling from a heavy sky -
What do you want me to do,
to do for you to see you through?
this is all a dream we dreamed
one afternoon long ago

Old sleepy eyes Agnes prefers the comfort of the couch while watching the morning news.

Walk out of any doorway
feel your way, feel your way
like the day before
Maybe you'll find direction
around some corner
where it's been waiting to meet you -
What do you want me to do,
to watch for you while you're sleeping?
Well please don't be surprised
when you find me dreaming too

Then, there's Sydney who always knows how to make himself comfortable.

Look into any eyes
you find by you, you can see
clear through to another day
I know it's been seen before
through other eyes on other days
while going home --

What do you want me to do,
to do for you to see you through?
It's all a dream we dreamed
one afternoon long ago

Obviously, not impressed with the morning's music selection.

Walk into splintered sunlight
Inch your way through dead dreams
to another land
maybe your tired and broken
Your tongue twisted
with words spoken
and thoughts unclear

Our other "ole gal" Belle

What do you want me to do
to do for you to see you through
A a box of rain will ease the pain
and love will see you through

When the floor doesn't work, it's time to go back to bed
Just a box of rain -
wind and water -
Believe it if you need it,
if you don't just pass it on
Sun and shower -
Wind and rain -
in and out the window
like a moth before a flame

An idea that has legs....happiness is sharing a warm bed with friends

It's just a box of rain
I don't know who put it there
Believe it if you need it
or leave it if you dare
But it's just a box of rain
or a ribbon for your hair
Such a long long time to be gone
and a short time to be there