Thursday, August 4, 2011



Cruise you are making me sing

Now you have taken me under your wing
Cruise, we both know you're the best
How can they say you're like all the rest

Cruise, we're both travelling so far
Burning out fast like a shooting star
Cruise I feel sure that your song will be sung
And will ring in the ears of everyone

Saving our children, saving our land
Protecting us from things we can't understand
Power and Glory, Justice and Right
I'm sure that you'll help us to see the light

And the love that you radiate will keep us warm
And help us to weather the storm

Cruise, you have taken me in
And just when I've got you under my skin
You start ignoring the fears I have felt
'Cause you know you can always make my poor heart melt

Please don't take what I'm saying amiss
Or misunderstand at a time such as this
Because if such close friends should ever fall out
What would there be left worth fighting about

Power and glory, justice and right
I'm sure that you'll help them to see the light
Will you save our children, will you save our land
And protect us from all the things we can't understand?

Power and glory and justice for all
Who will we turn to when your hard rain falls?

David Gilmour - Cruise

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Georgia Tale - The Fallacy of "Fates worse then death"

It's the memories of success that we will forever remember, it's the nightmares of failure we can never forget. 

Once you've worn out pairs of rescue shoes it's easy to be jaded by all the horrible cases of rescue failures that you stumbled over along the road.  It's easy to forget that dogs add so many cherished memories to our lives.  It's easy to overlook the effect how these cherished moments have helped build and define our character.  We've been exposed to the worst of what mankind has to offer with our experiences with shelter dogs. How could we expect anything different emotionally to evolve from that?

But have we lost the ability to step back and see the lighter side that dogs bring to our lives.  Why do these same creatures who have endured this abuse not be symptomatic with the same emotional shortsightedness?

Could it be that dogs simply gravitate back to a true purpose in life - that purpose being to celebrate living rather then festering on dying?  Dogs who have endured suffering far greater then we humans can tolerate quickly seek out healthy alternatives - dogs just want to run and play - they want to be able to sniff things - they treasure the soft touch human words of praise.  For dogs life is about living, even if that living means moving on from the past.  Dogs don't want us too feel sorry for them either - they want us too love them unconditionally in the same way they love us humans unconditionally.

When I was still green in rescue - still wearing those same shiny new shoes I didn't understand the significance in restoring not only a dogs trust with humans but more importantly restoring a dogs purpose in being a dog.  That purpose is found in running in circles barking at squirrels, it's in finding new curiosity in chewing newly found shoes, it's in simply getting their little heads rubbed.  If we humans can't restore those life values too our rescues then we truly have failed. 

A Georgia Tale

Camilla - Elbert Animal Control "mug shot"
In January of 2007 I was asked to take in a beagle named Camilla from Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter. No one else wanted her.  Her family who dumped her at a rural high kill shelter didn't want her.  No one from the community wanted to adopt her.  No one in the rescue community wanted her either.  In fairness, Camilla was in horrible physical condition.

I looked at her picture for days.  Kept telling myself "you can't save them all" but I don't think I did a very good job selling that argument.  In the end it kept coming back to one person in the background caring enough to hold Camilla out with those eyes that screamed "why not me?"

Camilla was about five plus years old and was suffering from a severe skin condition.  She was missing half her hair with huge raw red skin under her neck.  One would assume that if rescue was about saving dogs from a "Fate Far Worse Than Death" the logical disposition for Camilla would be a humane ending to life as she knew it.

Still, I was haunted by those wide starring eyes.  As my finger started zeroing in on the delete key I slowly paused.  Rather then make this judgment call myself I decided to let Camilla make that choice.  Instead my fingers quickly dialed the number of a rescue friend who sent me her story and I told her to "go pick her up".

Camilla's skin condition didn't seem to respond to the many treatments we tried.  Her vet bills quickly climbed into four digits with little to show for our efforts.  We tried skin specialists looking for allergies, we treated every parasite known to man - yet the only thing that seemed to blossom from it all was Camilla's amazing resilient spirit.  Too a causal observer, Camilla seemed to be just another extremely curious and happy beagle. 

She loved running through the yard sniffing everything along the way with her tail flipping side to side in the wind.  I started taking Camilla to adoptions not to necessarily find someone too adopt her but too show people the horrible results of neglecting an animal.  Camilla's special diet, special meds, vet visits ect made this sweet girl extremely "high maintenance" that virtually excluded most potential pet owners who weren't looking for a project but simply wanted a family pet.

Still, I fell for Camilla's "charms" realizing that quite possibly Camilla had found her forever home. 

January 2007 marked another significant event for the hounds.  It began what would be a highly contentious battle with our county government and animal control seeking to lower the number of hounds residing at my residence.  While in it's original "plea offering" the county insisted on my surrendering all but three of my hounds which I refused, the county attempted to "sweeten the deal" by offering to "allow" me to keep the original fifteen hounds I had before I started doing rescue. 

Once that offer was on the table I gave some consideration to the proposal.  It's also interesting in the fact that I had been advised by an "unnamed source" who worked inside our county's "justice" circle that if my case went to trail I would be found guilty and have all my hounds removed.

Threats and intimidation never have worked with me.  Having to choose just three of the hounds when I knew I had eight, writing about about the rest for years would have been an impossible choice to make.  While this new offer would spare me those difficult choices of which hound was "good enough" to save and which I should just say "oh well", those considerations quickly became obscure when my thoughts went back to Camilla and the rest of our foster dogs.  When our famed "animal rights attorney pressed me for a response too her "extremely generous offer" I replied with the following comment:

"Allison, what part of advocating for sentinel creatures allows me to take beagles who are sleeping around my bed and send them to our shelter where the county will kill them.  The number of dogs I will agree to "dump" in order to save myself from your threats of twelve years in jail is ZERO.  If the county wants an alley fight on this issue you will be surprised as too who ultimately gets bloodied up."  With that statement I launched into an all out battle to save not just some of the hounds but all of them.

As our case made it's way through the media, bobbed it's way through the court system I made sure each step in the process was a painful embarrassment to the county.  I may know little about spelling but what I do know is human nature.  I knew the public would not support killing dogs simply because they were accused of violating a poorly written draconian dog barking law. 

In the trial, we were found guilty - just like my source had predicted.  But in her court ruling the judge refused too consider including putting a limit number on the number of hounds I was allowed to keep.  While I was sentenced to 24 months in jail and allowed to serve that time on probation the hounds were finally safe.
Despite Camilla's suffering she could care less about the court ruling.  Life returned to normal, her tail never seemed to stop wagging and she still ignored my every command.  While we never gave up on finding a cure for her illness her treatment plan focused on preventing her condition from getting worse.

Camilla had good weeks and she had not so good weeks as well.  Through it all I became tremendously attached to this little girl and by the summer of 2008 considered Camilla as one of my own.

Destiny sings a different song
A life Far Better then Death Georgia and her new mom 

During an adoption event a little more then six weeks after our trial a woman approached the cages where the beagles were, asking "that beagle was still available."  I looked over and saw little Camilla hopping on her back feet trying to get this woman to pet her raw skin.  I started too explain all of Camilla's health issues and suggested some of the other beagles might be a better choice when she abruptly cut me off by saying "I'm not interested in the other beagles - this one is talking too me.  I want to see THAT beagle"

Low and behold Camilla was speaking to her, wagging her tail and working real hard to get her attention.  After a lengthy discussion about Camilla's health issues she was adopted.

From time to time over the next few months I would see Camilla on her trips to Petsmart. You really couldn't tell who was happier, Camilla or her new proud mom. But what you could see was a gradual improvement in Camilla's overall health. Six months and over $1,200 in vet bills later Camilla is no longer Camilla in name or body. Her new name is Georgia and she has completely recovered from her illness.

Georgia - Mission Accomplished

Georgia has a beautiful beagle coat, has added six pounds to her once skinny frame and serves as a perfect example why we shouldn't be so quick to judge whether there ever is a fate far better then death. Certainly you would have a difficult time convincing Georgia or her mom of this ridiculous assumption.

A Life Far Better then Death - Georgia and her new

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Walk into splintered sunlight

Walk into splintered sunlight

Inch your way through dead dreams
to another land

Maybe you're tired and broken
Your tongue is twisted
with words half spoken
and thoughts unclear

What do you want me to do
to do for you to see you through

Just remember, a box of rain will ease the pain
and love will see you through

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Casey's Special Day

Casey - April 2011
Today's a special day for our Casey Boy.  It was nine years ago that Casey was adopted from the Spalding Shelter.  The old saying that "it was destiny which brought us together" applies to how Casey and I met. 

I had made the long drive to Spalding's infamous "gassing" shelter after reading a post about a basset girl who "would only be available until May 9th - 4:30 PM.  I always despised the shelters "signature line" because I knew what it meant was that at 4:31 PM the doors to the shelter would be locked and any of the pets left standing would be loaded up into the shelter's "home made" gas chamber and killed.

How could anyone not love such a sweet boy?
I arrived at the shelter about an hour early after learning my lesson when I adopted our beagle "Annie".  Not knowing the shelter's policy on "promptness" I almost didn't make it after getting stuck in Atlanta's infamous traffic. 

Upon arriving I was informed that the fine people at Basset Hound Rescue of Georgia has beat me there and snatched the girl basset.  With a sigh of relief I did ask if they had any beagles who I could adopt instead, after all 150 mile round trip was along way to drive for nothing.  Little Annie (who ultimately earned the nick-name Beagle) had so won my heart I thought well why not another beagle?   As usual, the reply came back "go look for yourself".

Casey before his surgery
Wandering towards the back of the kennel I noticed a small chocolate looking beagle.  Even though his card listed this as being his "last day" he wasn't on the urgent list I had brought so once again I headed back to the office to "get his story". 

As I ask why the brown beagle wasn't on the "urgent list" the response of  "well, nobody would want a one-eyed beagle" I snidely remarked back "well, I guess your wrong there, because that's just what I was looking for a good one-eyed beagle" to adopt.  Here's your twenty bucks - what paperwork do i need to sign?"

After a quick ceremony where I named my new beagle "Casey Jones" he was leashed up and out of there we went.  I hadn't really noticed his eye until I got him in the truck and we were headed for home.  It was obvious that he had an eye injury that needed addressed so I quickly called the hounds vet (who somehow was on speed dial) to see if Dr Yeomans could squeeze us in. 

Nurse Zoe keeps a close eye on Casey
Casey was diagnosed with a collapsed right eye probably caused by blunt force trauma.  Dr Youmans suggested it was probably causing him considerable pain.  Casey was scheduled for surgery the next morning to remove his eye.

His surgery was a complete success - so now I had that $500 one eyed beagle that I "was looking for".

Casey was probably only several months old when he somehow found himself in a gassing shelter.  Since I can't imagine any responsible person not taking an obviously injured beagle to the vet for treatment I can only assume that Casey was the victim of domestic violence where after the "warring" humans make up he became a reminder of someones darker side.  Doesn't matter - their loss and my gain.

Casey - October 2002
Casey's been a wonderfully sweet beagle boy.  He was never made available for adoption - after all he was bestowed with a great "dead head" name that I certainly wouldn't "waste" on a beagle I was re homing.  I did take Casey to adoptions quite frequently so that others could see what a "fine one eyed beagle" I had found.

It's hard to believe that nine years have gone by so quickly. Casey's close to ten years old now and over the years his name has shifted to Casey BOY - after all, he's still my boy.

Here's too you Casey Boy - on your special day!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Weight

I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead;
I just need some place where I can lay my head.
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No!", was all he said.

Take a load off Annie, take a load for free;
Take a load off Annie, And you put the load right on me.

I picked up my bag, I went lookin' for a place to hide;
When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin' side by side.
I said, "Hey, Carmen, come on, let's go downtown."
She said, "I gotta go, but my friend can stick around."

Go down, Miss Moses, there's nothin' you can say
It's just ol' Luke, and Luke's waitin' on the Judgement Day.
"Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?"
He said, "Do me a favor, son, won't you stay and keep Anna Lee company?"

Crazy Chester followed me, and he caught me in the fog.
He said, "I will fix your rack, if you'll take Jack, my dog."
I said, "Wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man."
He said, "That's okay, boy, won't you feed him when you can."

Catch a Cannonball, now, to take me down the line
My bag is sinkin' low and I do believe it's time.
To get back to Miss Annie, you know she's the only one.
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Zoe Monster - Has anyone seen my momma?

Zoe as a young puppy 
It's hard to believe a year has passed since helping our Zoe Monster cross the bridge.  Her, Maggie and Bam Bam are all together again along with the other hounds who have passed.  Slowly the heartache of losing Zoe has been replaced with the thousands of memories of our time spent together.

Zoe was born at a puppy mill in Oklahoma.  As a small puppy she was ripped from her mother's care and transported thousands of miles across country where she ended up in a south Florida pet store.  A nice family bought Zoe as a puppy only to realize caring for four small children along with a rambuncious puppy was more then they bargained for.  That's where Maggie and I found Zoe.

Meeting dem cows
With all these memories it would be impossible not to think about my Zoe.  She touched my heart in so many ways that she will always be a part of me I will never forget.  Slowly, the tears and sadness were replaced with a smile that reflects the love we shared.

I always knew I did good for Zoe but I still hope her last few hours weren't ones of suffering for her.  Zoe truly deserved my love as she brought about an inner peace that I can never thank her enough for. 

While we don't really know what happens to our pets after they pass from our hands it is my hope for Zoe that she is back with her momma as well.

Zoe had a blessed life living with the hounds and me.  Our time spent traveling with Maggie and then Cleo where the happiest time of my life.  While she always had a comfortable place to sleep, was surrounded with the love from the hounds and I, Zoe's momma was not so blessed.  I've often thought about the contradictions of life that had Zoe sleeping on my warm bed while her mother slept in a small cage for probably her entire life. 

Zoe overlooking the Klamath River
While Zoe loved the attention and the belly rubs that came with being a cherished pet, Zoe's mom only knew the role she played as someones breeding stock.  Zoe enjoyed life to the fullest - Zoe's momma was deprived of the chance of simply being someones devoted pet - someones best friend.  While Zoe slept on a warm blanket did Zoe's momma sleep on a wood floor or wire mess?  While Zoe always had the best of food - the best of vet care - did Zoe's momma even know there were people who cared? 

While Zoe's eyes would light up when she saw a small child did Zoe's momma ever get the chance to play with a child?

To many leaders in our No Kill movement the cruelty that puppy mills represent is taking a back seat as they stumble through excuses on how puppy mills don't contribute to the regional pet overpopulation issues that continue to haunt our public shelters. 

Even more offensive is the posturing that these leaders are taking, willing to "compromise" with those groups like MoFed and the NAIA who have spent years defending irresponsible breeders like the one who "owned" Zoe's momma.

Maggie and Zoe - match made in heaven
I can't accept this rationalization with breeder interests I despise in order to hitch my wagon to this new fang led No Kill Nation movement.  It is in Zoe's honor and the memory of Zoe's momma that I will recommit myself to opposing puppy mills and the cruelty and misery they breed by refocusing my efforts to educate others on the politics and political deal that brushes aside puppy mill cruelty in order to justify this new fang led movement. 

Sweet dreams till we meet agian

Sacrificing my principles while chasing a No Kill dream that is full of smoke and mirrors is not a road I will travel. 

Instead my voice will be reserved for speaking out against irresponsible breeders who want us to look the other way while they continue to use and abuse the innocent victims of puppy mill abuse that deny hope for Zoe's momma. 

That's the least I can do for my Zoe Monster.  Rest in peace my sweet girl.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Memory's from the vault - my love on the air

Two of our treasured Miami Dade survivors - Sydney and Agnes

Sydney a few months out of MDAS

No one will hurt me again
No one will cause me to lie
No one will control me by pain
No one will cause me to cry

I was looking for love
In wandering eyes
Like a ship trying to fix on a beacon
I learned how to sigh

Sydney Barrett
On the ribbon and wires
It's a habit that's so hard to weaken

No one will ever manipulate
Make me promise to do or die
No one can make me hesitate
What can I lose if they try

I was looking for love
Like the very first time
Didn't realise love never left me
Contradicted - conspired

Agnes a few weeks out of MDAS

I connived and designed
Nothing on earth could arrest me.
Reception is hazy
When you put your love on the air

Our Agnes
Always knew it was crazy
To put my love on the air
But I only communicate
When I put my love on the air

You don't have to consummate
Love on the air

Sunday, April 17, 2011

All I see are dark eyes

Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside
They're drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide
I live in another world where life and death are memorized
Where the earth is strung with lover's pearls and all I see are dark eyes.

A cock is crowing far away and another soldier's deep in prayer
Some mother's child has gone astray, she can't find him anywhere
But I can hear another drum beating for the dead that rise
Whom nature's beast fears as they come and all I see are dark eyes.

They tell me to be discreet for all intended purposes
They tell me revenge is sweet and from where they stand, I'm sure it is
But I feel nothing for their game, where beauty goes unrecognized
All I feel is heat and flame, and all I see are dark eyes.

Oh, the French girl, she's in paradise and a drunken man is at the wheel
Hunger pays a heavy prize to the falling gods of speed and steel
Oh, time is short and the days are sweet and passion rules the arrow that flies
A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes.

Bob Dylan - Dark Eyes

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mulligan's journey's cross the bridge

This morning I sat with Mulligan stroking his head as he passed on to the bridge.  Over the past few days his condition went down hill as he once again lost the use of his hind legs.  Making this decision is the hardest one a person can make, but ultimately giving Mulligan the gift of ending his suffering is what makes our bond so sacred. 

I first saw Mulligan at the Walton County Shelter - he had no use of his hind legs and for all practical sense little chance of surviving his stay. I pulled him not to save him but to at least give him the dignity of being put to sleep with someone who cared. Despite being told by three vet's that euthanasia was our only option Mulligan proved an entirely different future was ahead of him.

While I wanted to give Mulligan every opportunity to fight on I was never going to allow him to suffer. While I will mourn his loss I will forever remember the feeling of great accomplishment when Mulligan took his first steps, the laughter he brought as he chased his poor beaten stuffed bunny around the room, the moans he used to let out when he didn't want to do his physical therapy and the look he would give me letting me know how much he appreciated everything we had been though.

In better days with his pal Toby

True to his couraqgeous nature Mulligan fought this illness with determination as well.  Now he is free to prance and run - and join the other hounds who passed before him.    Rest in peace dear friend.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Saving Simone

The recent passing of Michael Ethier was a shock to the local beagle rescue community.  Michael shared a passion for beagles and was  avid at making sure none were killed "on his watch".

A few years back I adopted a sweet beagle named Simone to Michael after he fell for her sweet beagle charm.  Now with Michael's passing it has come to my attention that Simone and four of Michael's other beagles have been being kenneled since his death.

I have always believed that once you commit to rescuing a shelter dog you make a lifetime commitment making sure that dog is safe.  Tomorrow we go pick up Simone - she will come back here and join us as one of the pack.

Through the years Michael assisted - was responsible for saving hundreds and hundreds of death row beagles from Georgia shelters.  It would be simply tragic and heartwrenching if ANY of his personal companions ended up in a shelter because he couldn't save them.

It's equally tragic that his hounds are probably desparately looking for their Michael - who will not return.  Dogs don't know about separation - they don't understand death - all they understand and expect is their master being their to comfort them - feed them and keep them safe.  His hounds must be suffering dearly with his loss.

WE, the rescue community need to save Michael's hounds.  We need to do this not only as a tribute to Michael - but also because it is the right thing to do.  Michael's hounds - Simone - Lani - Towne - Rosie and Freckles deserve better. 

Here's the rest of Michael's hounds

Lani was rescued from Douglas County Animal Control about four years ago.  Lani is up-to-date on vaccinations, HW negative, and will come with clean teeth, as the veterinarian who is boarding her will clean her teeth prior to adoption.

Two years ago Lani had become paralyzed in her rear end, unable to walk and unable to get around without pulling herself around by her front legs.

Throughout Lani's ordeal, Michael doted on her, carrying her around and even building her a cart so she could walk on her own. Little by little, Lani improved, but it was slow. Then, at about the six months mark, Michael took her to the Blessing of the Animals at his church, and it was right after that that Michael put the cart away; Lani had begun walking around as if she had never been disabled. Michael, being a spiritual person, always believed it was time and prayers that made Lani well. Other's might suggest God worked his miracles through Michael's hands and heart - we'll never know - but what is known is Lani must be missing her Michael just terrible.

Can someone please step up and take this girl in?

Townes - Call me handsome -

Michael rescued Towne's mother, Paisley, who was pregnant, from one of the local animal control facilities.  Soon after her rescue, Paisley delivered Townes and his six brothers.  Michael kept Townes, who is named after one of Michael's favorite musicians, and found homes for the other five puppies (one died shortly after birth).  Paisley passed away a few years ago.

Sweet Rosie
Micael took in Rosie a couple of years back after she was found by a rescue group in the Dahlonega area and running down the road.  Since then she's known nothing but Michael's love and care.
Rosie needs a warm place to rest her head.  She is house trained, UTD on her shots, H/W negative and super sweet.  Please help this girl out.


Not much is known about Freckles except that Michael loved him dearly too.  He is neutered, UTD on all his shots, house trained and desparately needs
someone to fill the void Michael's passing has left.

Dr. Laura Alston, has physical custody of Michael's beagles, and has asked for help in finding homes for them. If you are interested or know of anyone who is interested in adopting one of the beagles, please contact Dr. Alston at Dr. Alston has two veterinary clinics. One is South Hall Veterinary Hospital, 3640 Mundy Mill Rd, Suite 178 Gainesville GA. 30504 Tel: (770) 532-4449; Fax: (770) 535-2773; the other is Ark Veterinary Hospital in Buford. The beagles are going to be listed individually on Petfinder, and Dr. Alston and Nancy will be screening potential adopters.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Closing my eyes with sweet memories of you

Now it's the same as before
and I'm alone again

With no sorrow for myself
and blaming no one else

Closing my eyes
you standing there

Now it's the same as before
You've touched me with your love

Though you're in my heart
We're still a world apart

You call this a happy meal?

Back to the time
searching for a dream

No use to try anymore as before
someday I'll die, and maybe then I'll be with you

Closing my eyes
to hear people laugh
they're all alone
not knowing
where to go

Is it asking too much
When the question is what to do
with the life I have
It seems I know nothing now
except my love for you

With the strength in my hands
to go on feeling your smile