Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Zero-K Bulldog Fundraising Event

You’ve probably heard of 5K and 10K running events – but Zero-K?

Welcome to the annual fundraising event for Buddies Thru Bullies, a South Florida organization that specializes in English Bulldog rescue.

According to their flyer, this event is perfect for two- AND four- legged couch potatoes.

"Don't bother to get up," it says. "NOT participating is a requirement!"

That's right - all you need is a sponsor sheet and you're on your way to helping this wonderful organization rescue and find forever homes for the English Bulldogs in their care.

Until I met long-time Bullie lover Judy Ditfurth, who volunteers for BTB, I was unaware of how enchanting these special doggies are. Judy has loved…and lost…many critters in her life, but it was the loss of her Bulldog, Daphne, that started the connection between us. For that, I will be forever grateful to angel Daphne.

For more information on supporting the Zero-K Event visit Buddies Thru Bullies and click on Newsflash.

Chris Davis
Lighthearted Press

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My morning at the Arizona Humane Society - by Debra J. White

The words below were written by Debra J. White, a very special person who is a passionate advocate for animals in need. I was so moved by what she wrote I asked if I could share her story.

Here are her words:

I couldn't get the number out of my mind - 1,000 cats turned in during one week in June. To write an editorial for the local paper, I asked the AZ Humane Society if I could sit in the lobby for a bit and observe. The hour poked a hole in my heart. Even before the shelter opened at 9 there were cars in the parking lot. I spoke to one woman who said she wanted to get rid of them, jabbing her finger at two dogs in her car. I asked why. They got too big. A shivering puppy waited his turn. As soon as the doors opened it didn't take long for the lobby to fill up with mostly cat owners or Good Samaritans who found cats. There were cats in boxes, bags and old suitcases. The lobby sang with the sounds of meow.

Nearly every bit of space is occupied by cats. Cats cats cats. There are dogs but the overwhelming number of unwanted animals are cats. One cat recovered from a gunshot wound. A dog brought in by the rescue team obviously outgrew his chain. There were hideous scars around his neck.

Worker after worker made the same comment. It's the same every summer. Nothing changes. Even the sign they post that says if you leave your animal here it will be euthanized is not a deterrent. And the litany of excuses is enough to make you gag. I'm moving and I can't take my pet.

On my way out, I stopped in the thrift shop. A woman barges in looking for her husband. She gripes about the wait in the shelter and says she's not hanging around another minute to turn in a kitten she allegedly found. She says she'll take it back to the neighborhood and let it go. I ask if she'll give me the kitten. I'll wait at the shelter. She dumps her in my lap like a sack of potatoes. I turn in the confused and befuddled kitten covered with debris. She is one of hundreds competing for a loving home.

That is a typical morning at the shelter. By the end of the day I was told they'd have 100 more cats turned in.

I await figures on how many people use their public spay/neuter clinic to finish my editorial. Now I will get numbers on the county shelter which will probably be similar. And on the drive home, that hole in my heart enlarged and I couldn't stop the tears. I don't expect one editorial to change the world but if I convince a few people to spay or neuter their cats then I've done a good thing.

Debra J. White

When I told Debra how moved I was by her story she added these thoughts:

In my 13 years in Phoenix I have seen a slight drop in puppy litters but I have seen absolutely no change in kitten litters. None. Keep in mind we have spay/neuter programs. County fixes cats for free (with private funds). Humane has a clinic and there is another service called Altered Tails. Still, it is not enough but we keep trying.

To learn more about Debra please visit her website.

Chris Davis
Lighthearted Press

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Pit Bull's Final Act of Love

Yesterday, the unthinkable happened to me.

A dog ran out in front of my car on a very busy street. I slammed on my brakes, but the car continued to skid on the wet road. The truck next to me hit the dog, who was thrown back into my lane and I ran over it.

The dog happened to be a Pit Bull. For any of you who believe all the awful things that are said about this breed PLEASE READ ON.

I pulled over and ran back to the dog. Two police officers were already at the scene and on the phone to animal control. There was blood everywhere, and even though the dog was badly injured it was trying to stand up. I was hysterical – I think perhaps I was in shock. I told the dog I was very sorry about what had happened. The only thing I could see in his beautiful eyes was forgiveness.

I asked the officer if there was any way to keep the dog from moving. He glared at me and actually said the words all animal lovers dread hearing – “It’s just a dog!”

I know the officer was concerned about getting attacked, but his complete lack of compassion for the suffering animal was hard to witness.

Then a car stopped, and a man and woman came over to help. I asked them if they had a blanket to cover the dog, thinking it might help to comfort it. The man, William, brought over a yellow baby’s blanket, borrowed from the child inside the car, and ever so gently knelt down and tenderly covered the dog.

My heart was moved beyond words as I saw the dog look up at William with what I can only describe as love. And then the bloody tail of this broken dog began to wag!

At that moment everything shifted. The police officer, touched by William’s kindness, took out a short leash and attached it to the dog’s collar. He turned to me and said “Look, he’s wagging his tail – he just might make it!”

Animal control took the dog to a local vet, who determined the injuries were so severe there was no choice but to euthanize him. He was brought back to the county to be cremated. I asked the county if they would release him to me so I could take care of his remains, but they refused.

I couldn’t save this dog, but there is one thing I can do…I can give him a name. I have decided to call him Hero, after the dog in my book, The Shelter Dog.

Yesterday, the unthinkable happened. I hit a dog on the road, and my heart broke into a million tiny pieces as I watched a horrifying scene unfold before my eyes. But then a man named William put a yellow baby’s blanket on a dying Pit Bull, and everything changed.

Be at peace, Hero, and know that in your final moments you softened hearts and manifested miracles…all with the wag of your tail.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

What do Mother Teresa, Mariah Carey and The Empire State Building have in common?

The answer is the Empire State Building went “pink” for the release of a Mariah Carey album, but refuses to go blue and white for Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday this August.

Like so many people around the world I was deeply touched by Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to helping the poor and the sick. When I read about the doubts that had plagued this small Albanian nun I suddenly felt very close to her.

Back in 1996 a friend of mine (Ron, on the left) was travelling through Calcutta. He decided to “stop by” and see if it was possible to meet Mother Teresa. “Absolutely,” he was told, “but she can only give you 15 minutes.”

Ron tried to explain what it was like to be with someone who was 100% present....totally in the moment. We don't experience that very often. For 15 minutes this magnificent being gave him all her attention, and then she was on to other things.
The Empire State Building honors a diverse list of holidays, people and events, including Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Frank Sinatra, Pope John Paul, Martin Luther King, Princess Diana and, yes, last year’s celebration of Communist China.

Honoring Mother Teresa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, on the celebration of her 100th birthday doesn’t seem like a poor fit with past celebrants.

Either I’m confused…or this is just dumb.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

June is Adopt-a-Cat Month!

Even after sharing the last 12 years with my four sibling kitties it STILL surprises me that my current furry family is all feline!

What surprises me even more is how much I love them. After all, I’m a life-long dog lover!

I didn’t actually go looking for cats.

My dog, Jake, found them outside and invited them in to become part of our family. I always felt that Jake, my dear shelter dog, remembered what it was like to be homeless, so he understood the plight of this little family of feral kittens.

Jake was WAY smarter than I was. Yes, those kittens needed a home, but it turned out I needed those kittens, too. There are no words to describe how much magic they’ve added to my life!

I still remember the first time I was sitting at the kitchen table and the
pantry door opened. Out jumped a cat who had been sleeping among the cans of soup. That’s one of the charming things about felines – they love using multiple dimensions! When was the last time you saw a dog sleeping on top of the refrigerator?

People who have never shared their life with a cat may have a lot of misconceptions about these feline wizards. I certainly did. I had always heard they were aloof, not playful, and basically existed to be waited upon…pretty much the opposite of dogs.

Boy, was I wrong! They are compassionate, joyful, playful and LOVE to receive as well as give affection. I remember being very sick last year, collapsed on the bathroom floor with food poisoning. My cat, Molly, curled up next to me for over two hours until I was able to drag myself back to bed.

June is Adopt-A-Cat month. If you have been thinking about adding some furry joy to your heart and home I hope you will think about visiting your local animal shelter and bringing home a feline companion.

Actually, bring home two – they LOVE friends as much as we do!