Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Fu Manchu


Fu Manchu's story has already been told in Pit Bull Nation. It was a horror tale deluxe. We had just married, myself and Scott and were living on the corner of Homer and Henderson. It was cool little house with gables and a porch swing. We had Roy and Ray, orange tabby brothers. Fu was a big black chow chow who lived on the streets. He'd been turned out by a crack dealer and all the neighbors knew his awful story. Thing about Fu. He just wanted a home and to be loved.

So, enter me and Scott. He had a mess of problems. Matts embedded in his coat. Cherry eye, a weird eye issue where the lid is turned outward and easily corrected with surgery. See, we used a vet on Oak Lawn who took care of the birds and cats. Oh, yeah. We had Buddy by this time. Buddy was a little bitty gray kitten we got at a couple weeks. He was living a hideous life in a crack house and we pulled him out of the dumpster. For extra cash, we were painting the crack house apartment doors green. I think we made $50 for an all day sweltering nasty day slapping that green paint. And, there was little Buddy. He and I were instant friends. He'd start yelping when I moved to the next door, so I'd scoop him up and move him along with me. I don't think he was able to even walk at this point. He was literally on death's door.

Scott told me on the way home to find Buddy a home. No more pets. Buddy had different plans. He sunk his tiny little claws into Scott's chest like he was scaling a big mountain and mewed. Scott looked down at his pathetic face and said, "I guess you don't have anybody, do you?" From that moment, I knew we had ourselves another cat. Buddy was a real trip. He was his own little cat from the getgo.

Back to Fu. He needed neutering, the cherry eye and all kinds of things, but first, he was infested with heartworms. He had to go through the whole pre-treatment which was very nasty and dangerous. A lot of dogs can't handle the poison from the preventative meds and die. Fu made it through till it was time for the double arsenic injections. He was neutered and the cherry eye fixed. Then, Fu was ready to get on with the life of being a pet.

He had a bunch of skin issues from living on the streets and eating God knows what. We got him on a good diet and I'd take him out on the front porch and brush him down in the evenings after I got home from work. Our favorite song at the time was "Fell on Black Days" by Soundgarden. I'd sing that song to Fu and hug on him for hours. We lived right across the street from Emeralds and Coconuts, a shop that had been there since the 70's. Lulie had a lot of cats, both in the store and roaming. Grey Boy was my favorite. I'd spend hours trying to get him to let me pet him.


Fu and I would walk all over our neighborhood. From the first day he moved in he was so proud. He wanted everybody to know he belonged to somebody. He had so much love in his heart. How could anyone have ever dumped him to fend for himself? I got him a beautiful purple collar and a matching lease. It was the color of kings and royalty. Fu Manchu was surely that. He was king of the hood with a majestic carriage. You could almost watch him float by.

About that time, we'd begun planning a move to California. We got side jobs to save money. It was around Christmas and Scott hired on part time at UPS to help with holiday shipping. I got a part time job at Lover's Lane Animal Hospital. This was long before I began to mistrust conventional vets. They gave a discount to workers' pets, so I wanted to get Fu's teeth cleaned. On the day of the appointment, I spent three hours giving him a spa treatment. His skin had healed up and I bathed him and brushed out that lustrous fur of his.

The loud speaker came on at the vet and called me to come upstairs immediately where surgery was performed. I knew something was wrong. I got to the operating room and there was Fu, dead on their table. They'd given him a huge dose of Sodium Pentathol and killed him. Dead. This dog had been through everything. He'd survived heartworm and the awful treatment to kill them off. He'd survived living on the streets. And, today, this terrible day, killed dead at Lover's Lane Animal Hospital.

We took him home and buried him out in the yard. What happened that day was amazing. Fu had touched so many lives. People started hearing about Fu dying and began coming over to pay their respects. They were still coming when it got dark. Hours later.

We went on and moved to San Francisco after that. My dreams of Fu Manchu and me saving the world were shelved for a while. I'd fantasized about Fu looking for wrongdoing in the animal world and rescuing them like superhero. Like the old school chow chows who once had been bred to guard the tombs. That was what chows did thousands of years ago. I would have to do this on my own. I was very sad about Fu's death. It was so unfair. He wasn't ready to go. But, life had other plans and my world was about to be turned upside down.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Chapter Three - Blue Lou

A long period of drug abuse and drinking from Schnuppie to Dallas. That's how many years of misjudging and forgetting I tried to do. I had one dog, Willard during this time. I was around 17 and just starting to experiment with L.S.D. and the like. Willard was another scruffy dog, but I was in no position to be trying to care for another soul. We were a mess in Beaumont, Texas, but that's another book.

Jump to Dallas in 1989. That's the year I sobered up. A friend brought me a bird, a blue parakeet who'd been abandoned. I was finally able to give shelter to a needy other, so Blue Lou came to live with me. We were allies in the storm, he and I. He was a singer and a joyful little soul.

He was with me when I was trying to get sober. I will never forget that. What I found out from Blue Lou was this. Parakeets are over bred to sell in pet stores. They attract many of the wrong types. I've heard lots of sad stories over the years about mistreated birds. I've come to know a few personally. In all this over breeding, most of these birds die a young death and that's what happened to Blue Lou.

He got very weak and sick. Back then, I didn't know much about how to keep animals healthy with a good diet and such things. I've learned a lot since then, but during that time, I was subject to the misinformation you got from vets. I was at their mercy like most uninformed people.

I rushed Blue Lou to the bird hospital in far North Dallas. I was married to my husband, Scott at the time and we lived in a little house on the corner of Homer and Henderson, just east of Central Expressway in mid-Dallas. I rode the bus all the way out to the vet hospital and on the way home with no answers, little Lou died in my arms. I remember sitting out in front of our house. We had a porch swing and I sat there for a long time very sad. I was crying and thinking.

This was a turning point for me. I didn't know what I was going to do, but I knew it was something. The universe had big ideas, though. It always does.


Chapter Two - Schnuppie

Stern Schnuppie Shooting Star. That was her name. She was that dog. I got her like life does things for you. My mother was a hardcore alcoholic and drug addict in a small town. It was a place where everybody knew everybody's business. It was the 60's and a crazy time when people started to lighten up about drinking a little bit. Seemed like everybody wanted to party. My mother was friends with some of the Beaumont elite and somehow that included the McFaddins. I didn't know them, but then, I never really hung with the rich folks. That was my sister and mother for you. They had a lot of influential running buddies, those two.

Anyway, the McFaddin mansion is a huge draw now in Beaumont and when I see pictures of the place, I think about one thing. I think about Schnuppie. Again, I don't have one picture of her, but can see her so clearly in my mind's eye. She was beautiful. Schnuppie was a pedigree Schnauzer. The McFaddins had two dogs, sisters, they'd purchased from their breeder. That was a lot more prevalent back then, breeding and buying your dog. That was the thing back then. Scnuppie's sister had epilepsy and suffered from extreme seizures, so they decided to give Schuppie up so they could better care for her sister. That is how I wound up with Scnuppie.

Now this. Me getting Scnuppie was an early example to me of how the universe takes care of you by putting lives like mine and Scnuppie's together. I didn't know it at the time, but that scheme of things has become a ruling factor in the way I live. Whenever I start to try and control things, I remember there is a greater plan at work. If I step back and wait, magic things happen. Magic things like Schnuppie.

She and I were instant comrades, me and Schnuppie. We were inseparable. Like minds. We went everywhere together. We'd walk up and down Calder Avenue, to town and back. We'd wind ourselves up at Mr. Henry's stand on the viaduct and share a dozen tamales after a long hike. You didn't mind the heat so much back then. We were young and the world was ours, mine and her's.

With Schnuppie, life didn't seem so bad. I didn't mind my mother's drinking and erratic behavior, because I had Scnuppie to care for and her to comfort me. We were soulmates. Even that time my mother came home late at night that time after a long Houston shopping trip and wearing a weird tiger-striped bathing suit with a fishnet vee-plunge down the front. On top of that, she had on a black and white mohair poncho. She picked up a steel baton and told my sister, Schuppie and I she was going to put us all out of our misery and beat us to death.

Now this might seem a little bit strange to a more normal person, but it was every day behavior to the likes of us. The three of us, my sister, Schnuppie and I laid there in our side by side bunk beds of compressed pretend maple and prepared to die. I don't know what changed my mother's mind, but I guess she lost interest and I'm still here. Everything was better with Schnuppie. We loved tv and movies. Books and reading. I'd read out loud to her from my favorite books like Jane Eyre and all those gothic Victoria Holt novels I read over and over. We'd go down to the Obanion's and sit at the magazine rack and read True Confession magazines in the hot lazy afternoons. Both Schnuppie and I had adult taste and we liked a dirty story.

We ended up living across town and I was in high school, my freshman year. Schnuppie got lost at one point and I was lost without her. It went on for about a month and then one day I got this really strong feeling. The universe again. I could feel Schnuppie and looked up. There was a ball of gray down the road and I called her name. Loud. It was Schnuppie and she was running hard and fast to me. She must have jumped about three people-lengths up into my arms. It was one of the best feelings I'd ever experienced. Before or since.

My mother was committed to Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane. It was Christmas 1969 and we broke her out with the help of my dad, the one who had the new family. I guess he was feeling a little guilty and since it was Christmas and all, he drove the getaway car. My mother had to get out of town and got work in Jackson, Mississippi. We basically cleared out in the middle of the night. My mother told me Schnuppie couldn't go since we were riding the Greyhound to get to Mississippi and they didn't allow dogs. Schnuppie was given to the family who'd been keeping her when she was lost and I never saw her again. I think of her every day. Like I said. She was that dog. I know Schnuppie is up in heaven waiting for me. I can feel her just like I could that day she came running down the street to me. It's another something from the universe for people like me who love animals. On one side, you witness all the horror and the sadness of things people do to animals. But, on the flipside, you get the treasures of life itself and the incredible great beyond. Here's to you, Schnuppie.




Sunday, July 19, 2020

What I know is dogs...Chapter One - Gypsy


It all started back in 1960 or so. I got a baby sister and a dog. I called her Gypsy. The dog, not the sister. My dad was a schoolteacher where I went to first grade and also drove the school bus to get us to work and school. The same place. Oh, yes. My dad was also the Baptist preacher where I went to church. So 24/7, he was the leading man in the movie of my life.

I don't have a picture of Gypsy. She was shaggy like a small version of the dog in My Three Sons. But, Gypsy was dark gray rather than a light shade like the tv dog. I think his name was Tramp. Gypsy would run out to the school bus every morning and bark while I boarded and when we got home, she'd be there waiting for me. Gypsy was my best friend.

Anyway, life was good. Except for a couple of things. My mother had a nervous breakdown after the birth of my sister and had to be hospitalized. My sister and I were farmed out to relatives. I don't know where my sister went, but I was pulled from the first grade and sent to an aunt and uncle in Tyler I believe. I don't even remember the town, but I wound up spending the days in a nursery school where I was older than everyone else. It was a dirty place and smelled like dirt and dirty children.

When my dad came to collect me from the aunt and uncle, we didn't return to our country house, big white clapboard farmhouse with wild kale and polk salad growing out back. We didn't come home to Gypsy. My mother was still in the hospital. I was taken to her parents, Buddy and Do's house in Beaumont. It was a cool house on the corner of 11th and Harrison Street. I would spend the greater part of my childhood in this home until later when it was sold to Dan Blocker to build a Bonanza Sirloin Pit and Dunkin' Donuts in its place. The Dunkin' Donuts is still there all these years later.


Anyway, my dad had news for me. He was married to another woman. She lived down the road from our old farmhouse and had kids of her own. Her daughter was my friend from school. Daddy told me the daughter had Gypsy now and for me not to worry, because Gypsy had a good home. It was a win/win, right?

I think looking back, Gypsy was the beginning of my obsessive compulsive animal rescue life. Later on, I'd get into pit bull rescue. I had a lot in common with the pit bulls, all of us society outcasts and none too thrilled about it. I had an understanding with them, those dogs. But, that would come much later. For now, I had to get over Gypsy. I can still see her face and hear her yappy little bark when the school bus would pull up to our house. She made all the kids happy when she'd greet us and put a wonderful curly que on a kid's day.

It would take many years for me to get over Gypsy. I still don't think I really am and it's been over sixty years. Our house was down the road from the lady who wrecked our maybe not so happy home. We were about a country block from her mother's home, another little white clapboard with wild kittens where I'd spend many of my formative years. And, right next door to her was the county livestock auction barn. I'd see many things there, like cattle prodded inside with their horns shorn off and dried blood dripping down their frightened skulls. It was a terrifying place. The whole area was. Terrifying.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Goodbye to Murmur

MISS MURMUR, MY IMPERFECT PERFECT DOG
? - January 9, 2020

Miss Murmur somehow came to be lost and alone in the extreme heat of a southern California desert.  I
have no idea how she came to be there, where she came from or for how long she wandered alone.  Fortunately she was found and taken to a shelter in Bakersfield.  She was adopted by a family, but was immediately returned to the shelter - why? because the family learned she "WASN'T PERFECT" - she had a heart murmur.  When she was returned she was placed in the 'euthanasia wing' and scheduled to have her life ended.  A wonderful employee at the Kern County shelter saw something special in her and called Cindy Marabito, the founding director of Reunion Rescue in San Francisco, California and Austin, Texas to ask for help in trying to save the dog.

As I viewed the long lists of new puppies online over a Valentine's Day weekend, I saw an ad titled "SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP THIS DARLING GIRL".  Looking at the photo of a sadly pathetic dog who obviously needed someone to love her, I called immediately; the timing of my decision turned out to be critical.  During my lengthy interview Ms. Marabito had suggested the perfect name for this special dog, "MURMUR".  I've been told in the past I have always adopted dogs nobody else wanted - it's true, I've always preferred adopting a dog who needed me most.

Reunion Rescue went to work immediately from Texas to get Murmur out in time.  People were waiting outside the shelter to save her on the Monday morning she was due to be euthanized  - just a day and a half after my call.  She was taken in briefly by a volunteer family who kept her with them until Murmur's transport to me in the Bay Area was arranged.  When all the volunteers had been gathered, Murmur's journey began.  When she finally arrived, she was so ill and frightened she had to be laid down on the sidewalk in front of my home.  The marvelous couple who brought her the final miles of the trip and I spoke briefly and they left with my permanent gratitude and thanks.  I took her up in my arms, carried her into the house, up the stairs, and placed her on her very own brand new comforter on the floor next to my bed.  She collapsed into a deep, safe sleep and never again left my side.  I have always felt terrible Murmur suffered through so much fear, trauma, and then rejection.  I can only say the family that deemed her unworthy and imperfect, had no idea how truly perfect and wonderful Murmur was.

The shelter employee, Ms. Marabito, and I were not the only ones who found Miss Murmur special.  The group of volunteers who transported her to me were so moved and inspired by Murmur and her story that they formed their own special animal transport group THE STREETS OF BAKERSFIELD, and since Murmur's first transport in February, 2009, they have transported more than 5,000 rescued animals to their new "forever homes".  THE STREETS OF BAKERSFIELD still exists and continues to transport rescued animals to their new homes - a continuously stellar and dedicated group of volunteers.

Almost two years after I adopted Murmur we moved half way across the country to a tiny rural village of slightly more than 100 people where Murmur found new dog and human friends, as well as the love of lots of open space.  I knew she needed her own special companion and after some local searching I mentioned to Ms. Marabito I was looking for a companion for Murmur, she said "I HAVE THE PERFECT DOG FOR YOU AND MISS MURMUR!" - she was right.

Mr Hub's adoption was secured, but he had been through terrible traumas; he is one of approximately 200 surviving dogs from a dramatic rescue operation amidst hundreds of others tragically discovered dead or missing.  After some months of recovery, veterinary care, evaluations, etc..., and the gathering of wonderful transport volunteers, Hub began his journey from Texas.  He landed by private plane in a tiny nearby airport thanks to a wonderful young couple.  An excited volunteer from my own little town drove us on the last leg of the transport back home - she was completely overwhelmed learning how many thousands of people volunteer nationwide every single day to help animals get to their new families.

Upon entering his new home for the first time, there was none of the usual posturing between newly introduced dogs for Hub.  Instead, Murmur welcomed him inside with a huge smile, kissed him immediately all over his face, and said "WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG TO GET HERE?  WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU!  WELCOME HOME - I'M YOUR NEW DOG MOM, MISS MURMUR!!!!!"

It was a mutual love fest for eleven years.  And even though her muzzle had turned mostly white, Murmur continued to be beautifully enthusiastic in her love and joy at being alive, safe, and part of a family.  She woke up smiling with kisses for Hub and me, then she was ready to hustle and bustle as "head of our household", with places to go, things to do, and people to see.  She was always a very "paws on" mom to her beloved baby, Hub - he couldn't get away with a thing!  She still had her comforter and Hub has his "comforter cave".  The two of them were busy at work day and night watching over me, as well as the birds, bunnies, squirrels, deer, and neighboring dogs surrounding our home.

Murmur was always at my side - keeping watch and knowing she was safe with me.  She never lost her fear of being without water, so the water bowl was always full.  Without Murmur and Hub, my life would have been less joyful, without as much laughter, and without their constant companionship.  All my dogs have always been my family, my mentors, my guardians, and my teachers.  Each day Murmur inspired me to be a better and stronger person, to be thankful, and reminded me life is worth living.  I am so fortunate - she brought Hub and me happiness and inspiration every day.

Murmur's story was one of brave survival despite fear, loneliness, and deprivation of basic necessities for life in the dangers of extreme desert heat.  And her story was one of total rejection for no good reason - her loving, "imperfect" heart kept beating strongly all her life.  Hers was perhaps not the most dramatic rescue story, but it was an ordeal that was traumatic enough.  The point being, that every lost dog, unwanted dog, elderly or imperfect dog, dog in a shelter, dog needing to be "re-homed", or dog headed toward euthanasia, is a dog that if given the chance to live and be happy, can make a positive difference in this world and in others' lives.

My much loved Murmur made a difference not just in the lives of Hub and me, but to the lives of thousands of people and other animals in her own quiet way.  By inspiring all those who helped rescue and transport her to see and respect her absolutely perfect and generous heart, those individuals have continued to carry that love forward to many others.  Miss Murmur's single rescue has inspired me, Reunion Rescue that continues its' outstanding daily dedication to rescuing, sheltering, and finding safe and loving homes for animals in need,  and so many others who have since that day in February, 2009, volunteered to help more than 5,000 rescued animals and families find life and joy together.  My joyfully resilient and perfect Miss Murmur was living proof of the potential every rescued animal has to bring love, hope, and purpose into others' lives and our world.
 
We love you dear Miss Murmur.  Hub and I know you are now watching over us from amidst the stars.

MISS MURMUR 1.JPG

Saturday, November 25, 2017

#themtoo movement for animals at risk under Trump

The Trump administration is currently doing away with all protection for animals. One by one, animal programs are being wiped out with a simple signature courtesy of Donald J. Trump.

Trump's appointed pick as Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, tweets regularly about hunting and even installed a hunting and killing video game in the cafeteria.

The Trump sons, Don Jr. and Eric, love killing animals and post photos of their activities all over social media, often donning the offspring in look-alike hunting gear.

One of the most truly evil Trump moves has been to authorize the killing of hibernating bears and wolf pups.

Practically no animal does not come under fire.

"The United State Department of Agriculture removed public access to tens of thousands of reports that document the numbers of animals kept by research labs, companies, zoos, circuses, and animal transporters—and whether those animals are being treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. The same goes for inspection reports under the Horse Protection Act, which prohibits injuring horses’ hooves or legs for show.

The agency said in a statement that it revoked public access to the reports “based on our commitment to being transparent … and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals.”
Killed while hibernating

According to Science Magazine, "inspection reports contain little, if any, personal information about individuals. Although the act covers animals like dogs and chimpanzees, it does not cover rodents like laboratory mice. The Humane Society of the United States said in a statement: “This action benefits no one, except facilities who have harmed animals and don’t want anyone to know.”

Wild horses are under the gun, too. In a recent Washington Post article, "It’s an escalating equine-
population problem, and the fiscal 2018 budget President Trump proposed this week suggests a solution: using “humane euthanasia and unrestricted sale of certain excess animals.”

Think for minute about the Trump plan to escalate drug testing. Are you aware of what this means to animals? Animals like beagles and other dogs. Cats and rabbits. Monkeys. Already, under the Trump administration, protection has been removed for these companion pets.

According to a piece in Science Magazine, "The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today removed public access to tens of thousands of reports that document the numbers of animals kept by research labs, companies, zoos, circuses, and animal transporters—and whether those animals are being treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. Henceforth, those wanting access to the information will need to file a Freedom of Information Act request. The same goes for inspection reports under the Horse Protection Act, which prohibits injuring horses’ hooves or legs for show.

The agency said in a statement that it revoked public access to the reports “based on our commitment to being transparent … and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals.”

We are living in the stuff of horror movies. Safekeeping is being removed from the very beings we are entrusted to protect. What kind of society do we live in? The president's daughter, Ivanka, who presides over much of this decision-making owns companies that perform horrible tests on animals. Ivanka Trump's company also sells millions of hats made from skinned rabbits, many skinned while still alive. Both Donald and Melania Trump own cosmetics companies that test on beagles and other pets.

This is not ok. Most Americans do not approve of the horrible treatment of animals under the Trump administration. Show your support by sharing #themtoo.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tell H & M to remove dogfighting fashions

A petition has been created objecting to H & M Department store's dogfighting hoodie.

According to the petition, "dogfighting is one of the most heinous activities that takes place in our society. It forces what is truly our "best friend" to battle to the death for the "entertainment" of humans, and is not only illegal, but an act of brutality against the humanity of the dogs as well as anyone with a conscience."

The photo was taken at the H&M store at Sugarloaf Mills in Duluth, GA. The hoodie displays the wording "Dogfight in Random Alley" in their window. The petition is beseeching animal lovers to object by signing and sharing this petition.

"Most people view such a bold placement to be a statement of what they find acceptable to their patrons, and the culture and mentality of the store's board of directors and investors. We need to let them know that it is not only UNACCEPTABLE, but that we will not walk through their doors with such an article in that store for sale."

"We also need to look at the big picture here. This is not about just one item for sale. This is about a mindset that sees something like this as acceptable. Innocent dogs lose their lives on a regular basis because of people that deem this acceptable."

Citing boycott as a way to empower messaging,  the petition has been released during the holiday season to raise awareness. "We vote with our dollars friends. The busiest shopping season is upon us. Let H&M feel our outrage by our unwillingness to shop in ANY of their stores nationwide.

As a group, we demand that H&M remove these hoodies from their inventory world wide, destroy them, make a pubic apology, and put their money where their mouth is by contributing a LARGE amount of money to a verifiable Anti-Dogfighting Campaign in the United States."

H & M Sugarloaf Mills
Duluth GA
855-466-7467

H & M Corporate
https://www.hm.com/us/contact
Phone +46 8 796 55 00
Fax +46 8 20 99 19
Communications Director
Kristina Stenvinkel
+46 8 796 39 08
Investor Relations


Head of Media Relations
Katarina Kempe
+46 8 5780 85 54