Friday, March 30, 2012

The Animal Abuse Awareness Campaign and NASCAR – it’s all about Lily

Lily was a 6 lb. Chihuahua who made her home with Barbara Hitchman in a 55 and over gated community in Menifee CA.

Lily got loose from her home on January 26, 2012. Their neighbor, Larry Edward Jaurequi, came out of his home with a golf club and approached the dog, said authorities.

According to The Californian:

"Without reason or cause, the male swung the club against the Chihuahua as if driving a golf ball off its tee," Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Sergio Rodriguez stated in a January news release. "The force of the swing sent the animal flying through the air. The suspect was preparing for a second swing when he was stopped by people that just witnessed the attack."

Hitchman rushed Lily to a veterinary clinic, where the dog died. The dog's injuries included a lacerated liver, brain damage and a fractured leg.

Mr. Jaurequi was charged with three felony counts and pleaded not guilty to all counts at his arraignment on March 19th. Another court appearance /hearing is set for April 16, 2012 at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside, CA.

A memorial vigil for Lily will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012, at 3:00p.m. at the Menifee Dog Park located at the corner of Menifee Rd. & Aldergate Drive, Menifee, CA.

My dear friend, Kathleen Otto…a passionate animal lover…lives in Sacramento and was following this tragic story. She and her husband, Jack Sellers – of Jack Sellers Racing - wanted to bring awareness not only to the horrific death of little Lily, but to the plight of the thousands of animals each year who are injured or killed by their abusers.

Jack Sellers Racing will be presenting “The Animal Abuse Awareness Campaign” at the NASCAR K & N Pro Series race at Havasu 95 Speedway, Lake Havasu City, AZ on Saturday, April 14, 2012.

The hood of the #15 car, driven by Jack Sellers, will feature Lily’s photo and include the words “Stop Animal Cruelty, Protect The Innocent, Be Their Voice.”

What can you do to help? Here’s what Jack and Kathleen have to say:

“We, at Jack Sellers Racing, are urging everyone to speak up against animal cruelty. YOU can make a difference. Show up at arraignments and hearings for animal abusers in your community (you may not be allowed in the courtroom, but you can show up at the court). Let the judge and the district attorney know that you support the maximum sentence in these cases.

If you want to show your support and are unable to attend the arraignment and hearings, write a letter to the presiding judge and the district attorney handling the case. Let them know you support a felony conviction with a tough sentence and let them know why. You CAN help be the voice for these innocent victims of animal abuse."

If you would like to be “Lily’s Voice” please write immediately to:

Judge Helios Hernandez
Riverside County Superior Court
4100 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501

Please reference Lily’s Case Number: RIF 1201384. Let Judge Hernandez know that you are against a plea bargain in this case and that you support a felony conviction and harsh sentence for this heinous crime against Lily.

You can also contact Paul E. Zellerbach, the Riverside County District Attorney, about this case. Correspondence sent to the DA should reference Case Number DA 291728. Emails can be sent in care of his executive assistant, Laura Topping, to

Letters can be mailed to:
District Attorney Paul E. Zellerbach
3960 Orange Street, 3rd Floor
Riverside, CA 92501

All letters and emails must be received before the hearing date of 4/16/12.

Thank you for helping to obtain justice for Lily!

Chris Davis

Lighthearted Press

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Furry Farewell for Mom

I originally posted this blog in 2007, a year after I had lost my mother to Alzheimer's disease. As the years go by, I find myself missing mom more and more. So, this is for you, mom - and for Lucas, the cat who guided you home.

Dear friends,

For nearly a year I have been holding the following story close to my heart. On March 29, 2006, I lost my beloved mom to Alzheimer’s disease.

Mom was never much of an animal lover, although she did watch over the many dogs who shared our home when I was growing up. She didn’t care for cats at all, which makes this story even more precious to me.

A Furry Farewell for Mom

You need to come quickly,” the hospice nurse said. “I believe your mother is actively dying.

I knew this call would eventually come, but I still dreaded hearing the voice on the other end of the phone. So the Alzheimer’s disease that had ravaged my mother’s mind and body was finally coming to an end. A lifetime of memories filled my heart as I drove to the nursing home. I ran to my mother’s room, but my sister’s tears told me that mom was gone. Sprawled out next to mom was a large, striped cat named Lucas.

Chris,” my sister, Aeylin, said,you would have been proud of this cat – he was here the whole time.”

In the many years I’d been going to the nursing home I had never seen Lucas. The day before I’d gone to visit mom, and stretched out next to her was a large, unfamiliar cat. One of the caregivers told me the cat’s name was Lucas, and went on to say that Lucas comes to be with certain residents when he knows they are near the end of their life.

I watched him curled up next to mom, who was completely unresponsive and had no interaction with him.

Anyone who understands them knows you can’t keep a cat someplace it doesn’t want to be. Lucas was there because he chose to be there.

When I got the phone call the following morning and came to say goodbye to mom, I wasn’t surprised to see Lucas there. My sister said she’d been holding mom's hand, and had noticed a change in mom’s breathing. Then the cat had gotten up and nudged my mother's hand, which alerted her that something was wrong. The nurse confirmed that mom was gone, something Lucas apparently knew the moment it had happened.

When I came back the next day to pack up mom’s things, Lucas was asleep on mom’s empty bed. The staff told me he had alternated between walking around crying and sleeping on the bed that had held my mother.

As the author of For Every Cat An Angel and For Every Dog An Angel, two books for grieving animal lovers, I know in my heart that all critters have a guardian angel that watches over them. Now I had been privileged to watch one of these precious creatures BECOME an angel to my own dear mother, who had always been afraid of dying. I knew Lucas had come to guide her home.

Losing my mom has been very painful. I am flooded with memories of all the cupcakes she baked – with no advance notice – for some school activity or event. I am remembering all the doll clothes she sewed, all the dance recitals she attended and, yes, all the furniture she antiqued!

But it is a comfort knowing that when mom was finally done with her body, and was ready to go on to the next great adventure, it was with her two loving daughters...and one very special her side.

Miss you, mom.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cat and Squirrel

It was one of those special moments.

I happened to glance out the door just when a squirrel was trying to make friends with the cat statue on my deck.

This beautiful sculpture was sent to me by my dear friend, Judy, after the loss of my black cat, Sammy.

I ran to grab my camera and caught these cute photos through the window.

It's hard to see, but the squirrel is actually licking the cat. Maybe that's how squirrels make friends!

I know exactly what the squirrel is thinking here.

"Darn, the jig is up. Hope this doesn't wind up on Facebook!"

It's interesting that the statue has been out there for many months, but this is the first time I've seen a critter pay any attention to it.

I think Sammy is enjoying this from up above!

Lighthearted Press
Publishing magical books for animal lovers

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Helping black cats find their forever homes

It’s a sad truth – black cats are often passed by when it comes to adoption.

Those beautiful ebony faces and sleek black bodies just aren’t as eye-catching as the more brightly colored felines in the shelter.

Mary Anne Miller, long-time kitty lover and advocate for cats in need, understands this fact all too well. She’s devoted much of her life to taking care of high-risk strays and at-risk bottle babies, nursing them back to health and helping them find loving homes.

Mary Anne noticed that black cats were being passed over by potential adopters. “Don’t you have any other colors?” people kept asking her. So she decided to play “dress-up” and started putting the cats in small-size doggy clothes.

“I tried to go with vibrant colors and prints to offset the royal blackness being photographed. People were amazed that feral cats and kittens would tolerate dress-up.”

As soon as people saw photos of the black cats in their colorful attire the lucky kitties started flying out the door! One lady, who adopted not one but TWO black kittens, told Mary Anne that she had never considered bringing black cats into her home.

Mary Anne says the clothing is only used for photo ops. Once the photo is taken, those clothes never go back on the cat. She also tells adopters that dressing up kitty (other than for Halloween or Christmas) should not be attempted.

If other rescue organizations are interested in using Mary Anne’s techniques she offers this advice:

“It isn’t a matter of just putting the clothes on and taking the photo - you have to work with the cat and use food as a bribe to get them to accept the clothing. I used mealtimes as my measure. Once they were able to eat their entire meal without backpedaling away from me in their new threads, I knew that they would stay still for a photograph.”

I ADORE black cats, like my sweetie-pie, Star, lounging in her cat enclosure. I can’t imagine not having this magical kitty in my life. I’m grateful for cat lovers like Mary Anne Miller, who devote their lives to bringing forever cats and their forever families together.

You can learn more about Mary Anne by visiting Feline Express and Kitten Rescue. She is also in the process of forming a non-profit organization called CATS – Caring About The Strays.

Chris Davis
Lighthearted Press
Publishing magical books for animal lovers

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Gone to the dogs!

What a joy – spending time with two oh-so-sweet pups at a doggie outreach event!

The pups, Bell and Patch, came from the Multnomah County Animal Shelter - the same shelter where I adopted my dog, Jake, back in 1995. Or was it Jake who adopted me?

He and I spent many fabulous years together before I lost him in 2006. Although my life has been happily devoted to my kitties since then, I still miss having a pooch by my side.

Being around Bell reminded me of meeting Jake for the first time. She couldn’t wait to run up to each visitor and kiss them, sit in their laps, roll over and wag her entire butt on the floor! Everyone fell in love with her…which was easy to do.

And then there's Patch, a precious 3 lb. Chihuahua who has two traits I admire the ability to love easily, and the ability to pop off to sleep when it’s time for a quick power nap! Fetching in her little pink sweater, I suspect this sweetie-pie will be adopted very soon.

This fun evening reminded me of all the magical dogs who shared their drooly love and joyful spirits with me throughout my life, leaving their paw prints forever in my heart.

Somewhere down the road I know another pup will find me. Until then, I hope I’ll get to have more “doggie fixes” with critters as sweet as Bell and Patch.

If you’re interested in learning more about these pups, or the other animals up for adoption at the shelter, be sure to visit the Multnomah County Animal Services website.

Chris Davis
Lighthearted Press
Publishing magical books for animal lovers

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Paw prints in the snow

This morning’s snow was unexpected. After all, it IS the first day of March.

The snowfall was light, so I didn’t have to worry about the outside critters being caught in a blizzard, or concern myself with being stranded on the hillside.

This snow would be gone in a few hours.

Which left me free to appreciate one of the dearest gifts that often comes with snow - seeing paw prints on the deck.

I’m always a bit awed by a paw print - as if I’m in the presence of something sacred. Like many animal lovers, my kinship with the natural world is lifelong and deep.

Knowing creatures have been out in the night is comforting to me...a reassurance that the timeless connection I feel with them can never be broken.

It’s as if they want me to know they’re watching over me, and that all is as it should be.

And that brings me peace.

Chris Davis
Lighthearted Press
Publishing magical books for animal lovers