Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hillbilly Shining

A few years ago, I, like so many other rescues hit a real rough spot. I got audited for two years and the I.R.S. came into my home...yeah, dumb me...for 8 months. Because I'm honest to a fault, I had years of receipts dated and itemized for dog and cat food, supplies, treats, leashes, vet bills, boarding, you name it.

Reunion Rescue takes a lickin'
The I.R.S. had a field day. The last day the agent was here...and she made me crate up the pit bulls as, like most, terrified of pit bulls....well, the last day, she let me in on a little heart to heart. I had been so stupid, actually fixing her lunch and getting her liquid refreshments, water, coffee, tea. She told me she'd run over and killed her kids pet cat and lied to them about it.

The decision was handed down and some huge arbitrary amount was given to me to pay. The unbelievable angle was I didn't even make that amount those two years. On a side note, 8.5 years later, the state of California re-adjusted my taxes and let me know last December that I owed an additional 1600 dollars. They'd neglected to mention it for all these years, but
and Reunion Rescue keeps on tickin'
did add an additional four thousand one hundred and twenty five dollars in penalties and fines. Shouldn't they penalize themselves for not noticing for 8 and a half years? Oboy.

Here I am sitting in the midst of a house filled with California dogs and being hijacked by the state. Thanks a heap!

We have a landscape business and it's hard to make a living during drought and other weather issues like heat waves, frost, etc. We manage though and just like Reunion Rescue, somehow put one foot in front of the other and get through it.

During that terrible time and over the course of four years, I submitted four complicated and massive offers in compromise to the I.R.S. Finally, they accepted the fourth and I'm currently satisfying my debt with the government.

When that was going on, I re-modified my house payments, declared bankruptcy and kept rescuing all the while. I get over four thousand emails and messages a day, many of which come from hoarders and rescues shutting down and getting rid of house fulls of animals. To Reunion Rescue's credit, we never rehomed or altered our standards one iota during this awful time. I continued to save animals and each is safe in a forever home to this day.
Reunion Rescue rescue dogs

Around the third submission of my offer in compromise, a man distraught by taxes and grief plowed his airplane into the I.R.S. building on Research Blvd. here in Austin. This sort of pressure causes those with less fortitude to succumb to hopelessness. I saw people have their homes foreclosed and lose their pets during this terrible time.

Well, we were terribly broke. I couldn't leave the animals to get a day job, so I took a job at La Quinta as the graveyard room clerk. That experience nearly killed me. I was working during the day here with the animals and our landscape business, then all night long at La Quinta. It was a trying experience to say the least.

After a night of dealing with drunks and leaks and power outages, I then had to prepare rubber egg patties and the breakfast buffet. The smell of those eggs was nauseating. Driving home was a challenge and I fell asleep at the wheel more than once.

I was recently involved in a lawsuit in which the person's lawyer committed what's called 'civil
More Reunion dogs
extortion' and threatened to embarrass Cindy Marabito if she didn't back down. What came after was something like 250 pages of complaint. As tedious as it was, I still wondered what the judge must have been thinking about when he was reading the list of our tired inventory. Old, beat up couches...remember, I am in broken down old backpack sprayers. I said I was honest to a fault and had listed every paperback book, toothpick, towel...stuff nobody, even me, cared about. Imagine my surprise to see my dirty laundry listed in boring detail. Boy! Was I embarrassed!

Everyone has troubles. To be able to get through life and remember that is key. I'm very lucky. I don't think I could have lived with myself had I ever given up any of the animals. My advice to anyone out there who's facing hardship as I did is to keep the faith. Those animals are depending on us. We are all they have. And what they give us back...well, you can't put a price tag on.

In my book, Pit Bull Nation, I quote a tea bag which got me through some rough spots. It said, 'know that you can move through any tide.' And I know that.

Thank you from Reunion Rescue for giving me the opportunity to serve God's beautiful creatures.

1 comment:

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