Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bob Dylan's dog poem

A poem Bob Dylan wrote when a teenager is up for auction:

Little Buddy
Broken hearted and so sad
Big blue eyes all covered with tears
Was a picture of sorrow to see
Kneeling close to the side
Of his pal and only pride
A little lad, these words he told me
He was such a lovely doggy
And to me he was such fun
But today as we played by the way
A drunken man got mad at him
Because he barked in joy
He beat him and he's dying here today
Will you call the doctor please
And tell him if he comes right now
He'll save my precious doggy here he lay
Then he left the fluffy head
But his little dog was dead
Just a shiver and he slowly passed away
He didn't know his dog had died
So I told him as he cried
Come with me son we'll get that doctor right away
But when I returned
He had his little pal upon his knee
And the teardrops, they were blinding his big blue eyes
Your too late sir my doggy's dead
And no one can save him now
But I'll meet my precious buddy up in the sky
By a tiny narrow grave
Where the willows sadly wave
Are the words so clear you're sure to find
Little Buddy Rest In Peace
God Will Watch You Thru The Years
Cause I Told You In My Dreams That You
Were Mine
Bobby Zimmerman

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cats and ice cream and the 4th of July

July 4th is the day we celebrated Roy and Ray's birthdays. Way back in 1991, Roy and Ray wandered up to our house. We weren't their first choice. We lived in an apartment complex in Dallas and the two brothers had knocked on several other doors before winding up with us. They'd earned nicknames around the community like Scratch 'n Sniff.

Scott was the one who insisted on adopting them. I wasn't big on cats at the time, but let Scott wear me down enough to welcome them. We named them after ourselves, Roy being Scott's middle name and mine, Raelynn.

We knew nothing about caring for cats. Much like our fellow average Americans, we believed vaccines were not only good for our pets, but would protect them against disease and keep them from harm's way. We were told to feed them Friskee's, so we followed suit. For years, Roy and Ray lived on Friskee's wet cat food.

Of course, I know better now, but back then, I believed everything the vet told us. What blows my mind is they're still telling people the same thing and getting away with it, getting away with murder. Ray developed a disease which caused crystalization in his urinary tract. Roy develped chronic renal failure. Had I known then what I know now, I'd feed raw and they'd never have been vaccinated. Certainly, not as many times as they were given toxic and deadly vaccinations. When I look back at their records, I feel somewhat like Shelley Duvall in 'The Shining' when she read Jack Nicholson's manuscript and realized her husband had gone nuts.

Catster sent a reminder this morning in memory of Roy and Ray's birthday. I recalled giving them ice cream one year to celebrate. Not a good idea. This was long before pet companies came up with safe ice cream for animals. Today, I give the cats some healthy organic yogurt.

Happy birthday, Roy and Ray. We miss you today. Thank you for introducing me to the world of cats. Like the man so wisely said, 'there are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.'

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Khaleesi's dragons

Ok, so we're diehard Game of Thrones watchers. For a little back story, the tortie....far Witch's Toe. Two years ago, five kittens were orphaned by some loser who ran over their mom. The kittens were only a little over three weeks old. In between hard to place foster dogs, I took in the little family.

They had their own house, separate from the main house which holds the actual cat sanctuary. This way, the five could be quarantined and weaned on kitten replacement milk mixed with raw diet.

The only issue the kittens had was flea infestation which was safely cured with edible diatomaceous earth. They truly are the healthiest specimens of life this old rescuer has ever seen. After a month, they combined forces with the elder statesmen and women in the habitat. I couldn't give any of them up, so here they stayed.

Whatever issues the older cats had seemed to mellow out with the advent of these kittens. They rescued us. I was going through a horrible experience in rescue at the time, so these kittens really did save my life. I sent their photos to Clare, the window to the feline alliance. Amazingly, the tortie connected with Clare, telling her, "I've got the witch's toe! I've got the witch's toe!" To date, neither Clare nor myself has the slightest inkling what the definition for 'witch's toe' actually is.

Over the past couple of years, though, her powers of 'toe' have revealed the nature of a very tricky little sorceress. The other night, for instance, she was kicking on the backrest of their recliner when I was about to walk out of the room.  Before I knew it, she reached out and nailed me right in the elbow. It felt like I'd been struck by hot lightening.

She, and the other four, are not mean cats. They are a rowdy lot, very inquisitive, but like Khaleesi's own  dragon children, affairs of the heart. Imagine being gifted with five little cheribs to care for like I have with the kittens. I make certain they are healthy, well fed, nurtured and that no harmful pharmaceuticals will ever come near them. In the state I live in, that's more difficult than busting Khaleesi's dragons out of the city of Qarth. Really.

Witch's Toe, we really call her that is the divine princess. Her sister, Spook, is all black and named for one of my favorite Top Cat characters. Marshmellow was thought to be a girl and called Darcy until we discovered she was indeed a boy when the vet went to fix him. Freddy is a brown tabby with spots just like Marshmellow and the bothersome little brother. Every family has one. Douglas is colored blue and white much like a blue nose pit bull with the attitude to match. He can be a grumple-stiltskin.

On days when I get a bit too stressed from the woes of rescue work, I go into the cat room and feel the love. These sad days when there are so many animals in the overcrowded shelters and not enough homes, I know this one family will never feel pain or anything bad. They will only know the good things life has to offer. These little dragons are safe.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Daisy dies in Austin, Texas

Daisy was a beautiful coonhound mix at the Austin Animal Center. Thought to be around four, Daisy was offered up to three different adopters and taken back to the shelter three times. Rather than ask what are we doing wrong with this dog and look at her as an individual with individual needs, the shelter killed her.

For a week, we have been networking Daisy. I've written two articles about her and crossposted until my finger were numb. She never even had a decent photo taken at the shelter, so the same one has been used in both articles and again in this blog.

Today, Daisy is dead. 'Humanely euthanized' was the term sent out by the rescue coordinator who turned down the only rescue offer for Daisy. No reason was given, but several others have stepped forward with similar experiences at the Austin Animal Center, formerly Town Lake Animal Shelter.

"I called the reference you provided me and told me to contact - that was Paul O Neill with Midland Animal Control.
Based on that conversation, AAC cannot send any animals to your facility."

We telephoned Mr. O'Neill at Midland Animal Control to investigate the reasoning behind Austin Animal Center's decision to not adopt Daisy to Bully Beds of Midland. He simply replied he didn't want them adopting any animals other than 'his'. He then slammed down the phone. Nice guy.

This is wrong on several levels. Primarily, 501(c)(3) non profits are federal entities and speaking as the director of Reunion Rescue, not obligated to operate in a specific region. Unless Mr. O'Neill is serving on the board of directors at Bully Beds, his demands are meaningless. Except for one important item...Daisy is dead thanks to Paul O'Neill and the rescue coordinator at Austin Animal Center.

The shelter has been in the news recently in regards to their attempted no-kill efforts and inability to attain no-kill status. The same rescue coordinator has issued several notices about overcrowding and the shelter being 20 to 30 cages short with euthanasia as the only option. The shelter recently sent a truckload of animals to the notorious Houston SPCA which had to be intercepted and turned around by animal lovers familiar with the Houston SPCA's history of killing tens of thousands of innocent animals.

This shelter is willing to send a cargo of innocent animals to almost certain death, but would rather kill Daisy than allow a loving and capable rescue group save her. Several rescues and citizens have offered similar stories in which animals were killed at the Austin Animal Center for various reasons. One underlying theme seems to dominate each of the stories. Each of these bad experiences was reflective of the shelter's paid staff and rescue coordinator behaving as if the animals were their personal property.

One local offered that the rescue coordinator is 'very careful about approving new rescue partners.' Careful is one thing, but using one's position as a headquarters to dole out living animals to personal preference goes beyond the pay grade.

An internet site provides a keen look at the control freak.

It's difficult for you to trust people.
You make lists for everything in your life.
As much as possible, you need to do everything yourself.
When it comes to social gatherings, you prefer to do the planning. 
You rarely think that you're wrong.

These are just a few of the boxes which can be ticked. When animals are dying, because the city has hired a control freak to decide just which rescue groups can join the club, we got a problem...right here in River City.

Daisy was killed not because she was un-adoptable, but because the people in charge at Austin Animal Center refuse to ask for help when making erroneous judgements. They were willing to place Daisy three times in the wrong environment, but due to a personality glitch, would not allow a solid rescue to prepare Daisy for the proper home. That is what rescues do.

If Town Lake or Austin Animal Center does not begin to change, dogs and cats will continue to die. There simply are not enough rescue groups to fit their preferential mold.

We, the taxpayers, are funding individuals to carry out their own personal agendas rather than do their jobs...running a shelter which is attempting to become no-kill.  It takes a village to become no-kill, not just one person running their own show.

We are sick of saying, 'rest in peace,' for dead dogs like Daisy. It's time to wake up and stop the senseless killing.

As this last word was being typed, an urgent email from Town Lake shelter arrived. "AAC is in a space crunch for large AND small dogs today, many small dogs stayed.   If you can come down NOW and empty a kennel, the pups will be so grateful and so will your animal shelter!

AAC is open 11-7 every day and remember there is never a fee for the fabulous AAC rescue partners!"

How many of these animals will die due to personal preferences and popularity contests?