You’ll Always Be With Me..

You’ll Always Be With Me..

I dreaded today with a passion for its the first anniversary of my beloved dog’s ~ strike that, my best friends death. One year ago today  I gave Callie my final gift,  the freedom that took her beyond the reach of illness and discomfort. I owed her that and tenfold for her never wavering love and devotion. Some people say ” It’s just a dog”; they obviously have never known the unconditional love of a canine companion. They’ve never had what seemed like the weight of the world on their shoulders suddenly ease after a loving companion laid their head on a lap as if to say ” I’m here for you”. They’ve never come home after a day when life beat them down only to be greeted by a furiously wagging tail and warm brown eyes. They’ve never had their spirit eroded by the cruelty of man only to have it restored by a long walk with their 4-legged BFF. Callie Ann was my “heart” dog. For some inexplicable reason we shared an uncanny bond. From the time I adopted her at 8 weeks she had the ability to hone in on my emotions which amazed me to the end. If I raised my voice or even shed a tear in silence she immediately came to my side and refused to leave until convinced I was fine. She loved the sound of classical music (ok ok and other genres like electronic, techno and the blues) . When she was going through her wild puppy, alligator teeth stage I used to turn on Liszt’s ” Sonata in B Minor”, Pachelbel’s “Canon and Gigue in D” or what was to become our favorite – Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”. It miraculously calmed her and music remained a huge portion of her life till the end.

Callie was so much more than a dog who ate, pooped, made trips to the veterinarian, barked at a knock on the door and occasionally passed gas that had the power to knock out an elephant.I was closer to her than I’ve ever been with anyone or anything in my life. When my grown children didn’t have time to talk to me on the phone or respond to my emails/texts ~ she filled my lonely cup. I could never have a simple conversation with my husband because he’s afflicted with what I refer to as “elective mutism”; he chooses not to talk. Once again Callie was there to fill my loneliness. Looking back I wonder if she ever thought “Mom sure talks a lot”.

I’m beginning to appreciate a decade of precious moments Callie Ann shared with me, of  hours she spent by my side as I told her my goals, setbacks and concerns. I’m starting to remember the happy shared memories as opposed to the tear-stained, heart wrenching grief of her final days. I’m opening the “Memory Book” permanently imprinted in my mind;  the one we created during our wonderful years together; her puppy months when she dug so many holes I considered renting her out as a grave-digger. Of her puppy teeth that I compared to those of an alligator. I remember her quirky “Callie-isms” like not walking past the basement door if it was open but rather backing up and taking a different route. The day I replaced the old floor heater vent with a new one, Callie would no longer walk by it instead opting for her backwards trot. Her fear of thunder and gunshots (thank heaven for the ThunderShirt). Greeting the UPS man faithfully. Going into the woods and proudly bringing me home bones (don’t ask). Then there’s Pinky. Callie loved her Pinky (actually she had two ). One day when she was about 7 months old I washed both  and hung them on the line to dry. As you can see, Callie patiently staked out the clothesline watching them. She continued to love them gently her entire life; I can’t recall ever sewing a rip. She would gently groom Pinky. The adult pictures are of Callie and Pinky when she was 9 in the spring of 2015. Pinky went with her for chemo as well as her final visit to the vet. I had it cremated with her and I have the other one. I miss that sweet girl!

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I’ve also derived happiness at knowing that the summer of 2015 was one of Callie’s best summers ever. She ventured further into the water during “River Days” than ever before. I hold dear the images of her standing there as the waters flowed over her legs; she was truly in a state of bliss. As the dogs exited the vehicle on River Days and raced down to the river I’d always play a guessing game with myself ~ “Who will enter the water first today?”. That summer it was usually Callie! My land loving labby had finally channeled her inner water-loving self! In retrospect it was her last hurrah.

I miss you Angel and always will till the day we meet again. Until then, thank you for ten years of complete devotion, for listening to me talk when no one else had time, for always making me feel special, for patiently sitting still while I photographed you wearing holiday hats and costumes. Thank you for the companionship on road trips and for being so gentle with the grands when they became rambunctious. For allowing me to brush your incredibly hairy bumpkas even though you didn’t like it, sitting still while I swabbed your mouth for a doggy DNA test. Most of all, thank you for being “you” and for loving me unconditionally. It worked both ways my beautiful black angel.

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Our favorite song ~Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”

Beautiful visuals in the video

It’s been a difficult week for me but writing about Callie has helped me tremendously. I haven’t even been on Twitter to promote my K9 petitions. No emails or phone calls. I don’t  know if anyone has read my Callie posts because when I’m this sad I tend to withdraw. I’m going to do one more post that will focus on Maddie and Callie, our #SistersFromAnotherMother. For some inexplicable reason the thought of these ♥︎♥︎two black angels♥︎♥︎ being together has brought me solace this past year. I hope Maddie’s mom feels the same.

In closing, I’d like to share that  November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. 

Every time you use post a picture of your pet on social media (the sites are listed in the link) along with #CurePetCancer, Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation.

I Am Your Dog…

I Am Your Dog…

Dear Human,

I am your dog, and I have a little something I’d like to whisper in your ear; I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise. It always seems like you are running here and there, often much too fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now. That comes with age. The grey hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle. You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside, who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time?

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Callie Ann ~ 10 years March 2015 (8 months before she passed)

That is all I ask; To slow down, if even for a few minutes to be with me. So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing.Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age so slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we must take that long sleep, to run free in a distant land.

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She had a way of getting me outside in the sun like no one else could ! July 2015

I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just “One more day” with me.

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Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have NOW, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor, and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as “alpha” or as “trainer” or even “Mom or Dad,” come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another’s eyes, and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general. You decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am.

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Callie Ann April 14, 2005

I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a “Dog on two feet” ~ I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if only for 15 minutes. Look deep into my eyes, and whisper to my ears.

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Callie Ann aka Callie Angel

Speak with your heart, with your joy and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow, and life is oh so very short.

So please… come sit with me now and let us share the precious moments we have together.

Love,
Your Dog

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And No One Spoke For Her…

And No One Spoke For Her…

**Update** I learned on October 26 that when imposing the 60 day sentence minus 17 days already served on the man who raped his own daughter multiple times, Judge John C. McKeon also allowed this incestuous rapist to serve the 43 days at HIS DISCRETION! The BEST thing that could happen to this 12 year old girl that NO ONE spoke for is to get as far away from Montana as possible and never look back. I pray she has a relative in another state because her mother, grandmother, court and Montana ALL failed her.

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As a survivor of horrific childhood abuse ~ physical, emotional and sexual,  I think I’m qualified to chime in on a recent case in Montana that makes me question if the system has evolved at all in the past 30 years. When I was a little girl children had no rights; we were like chattel. We “belonged” to our parents and therefore were not given the right to speak or defend ourselves. Even if by some miracle we were given the opportunity to do so, a few simple words from a parent would negate anything we said.

This particular case involved a 40-year-old man who raped a 12-year-old girl multiple times. The victim? His own daughter.

Her life will never be the same I guarantee. With counseling and a strong support system she *might*  move past it to lead a productive life but make no mistake  ~ “it” will never truly leave her. Instead, the insidious evil of her repeated rape will remain buried within her soul and without rhyme or reason will rear its ugliness when least expected. be594676b96285c1216c20e61941f49a

The district attorney, whom I commend, had an arrangement with the defense attorney for  the father to serve 25 years in prison. As this predator  (who admitted to raping his daughter (3) times) stood before the bench on October 4, 2016, he expected to be sentenced to 25 years. However District Judge John C. McKeon shocked everyone by imposing a sentence of 60 days with 17 days credit for time served.  This despicable,  abhorrent,  predatory creature masquerading as a man will serve 43 days for violating a child, HIS child, in one of the most egregious  ways possible.

As shocking as this is, the events surrounding this case become even more disturbing. The victim’s mother, who walked in on HER husband sexually abusing HER daughter, wrote the court in defense of her husband instead of her daughter. As he further justified the sentence, calling it “a just and proper decision”, Judge McKeon  cited statements from the victim’s mother and maternal grandmother, both of whom acknowledged the “horrible” nature of the crime while seeking leniency.

Judge John C. McKeon

“He needs help — not to spend 25 years locked up,” the victim’s mother wrote. His two sons need their father, she added, “even with very understandable restrictions.” She wrote that her husband “made a horrible choice” but a 25-year prison term was not the best punishment.”He needs help,” she wrote the court. “He has two sons that still love him and need their father in their lives, even with very understandable restrictions. I would like to see my children have an opportunity to heal the relationship with their father. Please give him the opportunity to work on fixing the relationships he destroyed. He is not a monster, just a man that really screwed up and has been paying in many ways.

The maternal grandmother wrote that the man’s “children, especially his sons, will be devastated if their Dad is no longer part of their lives.

Judge McKeon said the man’s family, friends, church, and employer had all voiced their support for him in court and that he weighed all these factors in handing down the sentence.

NO ONE SPOKE FOR THE VICTIM

Not her mother, maternal grandmother, social worker, an advocate for sexual abuse, a guidance counselor, church ~ no one!

Needless to say the community is outraged and a group called Justice 4 Montana started a petition  to Impeach Judge John McKeon which has over 99k signatures as of this evening.

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The petition names the father and shows his booking photo as do several media outlets. I however chose not to out of respect for the victim and must say I had to hunt for articles that did NOT give his name so that I could hyperlink. I also refuse to post a photo of a rapist. Interesting  article and video by People. ⬅︎

Reading about this travesty of justice took me back to a similar case  which ironically also happened in Montana. In 2007 a teacher at Billings High School, Stacey Dean Rambold, raped a 14-year-old freshman, Cherice Moralez over a 3 month period during the latter part of the year. Early in 2008 Cherice confided in someone from her church counseling group about the multiple rapes. One of her peers in the church group contacted Cherice’s  mother who notified police immediately. Despite coming from a loving and supportive family plus having a spunky  personality, Cherice began to deteriorate into the darkness as she became ostracized and bullied both at school and in the community. This beautiful girl who was just beginning to experience life, committed suicide on February 6, 2010, a few weeks shy of her 17th birthday.

Cherice Moralez

My heart aches for this poor girl.

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 The nightmare was far from over for Cherice’s family. Although  Rambold pled guilty,  District Judge G. Todd Baugh of Billings, Montana, sentenced the former high school teacher to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended, for sexual intercourse without consent. 31 DAYS in prison after suggesting the victim, Cherice, was equally responsible for the 2007 rape. Judge Baugh said that 14-year-old victim seemed “older than her chronological age.

Baugh said the victim looked older than her years and was “probably as much in control of the situation as was the defendant,” according to the Montana attorney general’s office.

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Judge G. Todd Baugh, Billings MT

 After public outcry, Rambold was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Randal Spaulding in September 2014.

In an ironic and callous twist in 2015,  now retired Judge G. Todd Baugh had the lifetime achievement award bestowed upon him by his local bar association.

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Retired Judge G. Todd Baugh, Billings MT

Both of these cases are extremely disturbing as are other cases where rapists are given a slap on the wrist (Brock Turner comes to mind). Violate and degrade a child or woman and receive a “sentence” equal to serving a month in jail for unpaid traffic tickets?

The victims are often forced to sit through hours of testimony,  called to the witness stand to be cross-examined, often by a male, and forced to recall the horrific details of their abuse. When will we stand up for the youngest and most vulnerable victims of these unspeakable crimes and bring their perpetrators to justice, or is justice dead and gone?

The U.S. judicial system has victimized the victims for years by subjecting them to the process of investigations, only to allow rapists and pedophiles to get off on an ubiquitous technicality.

Is this what the justice system has evolved into?

And remember in the first case, no one even spoke for her!

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A Little Joy After My Bleak Posts Of Late…

A Little Joy After My Bleak Posts Of Late…

Some of you may have read my entries when I was nominated for a  (3) day blog challenge on “Quotes”. Of course, I chose dog quotes and I centered them around a pit bull mix puppy, approximately (6) months old named Blue. He had been discovered by security staff from one of Maine’s ski resorts, Sunday River in Newry on October 2, 2015. He was at the edge of the dense woods and to their horror  his muzzle had been taped shut. They called the ACO who in turn took him to  Bethel Animal Hospital which is owned by Dr. Gary Stuer,  part of my GSD Sasha’s medical team.  Honestly? As someone who lives in the Western Mountains of Maine, I can tell you with 100% conviction that it’s a miracle the puppy was discovered. The mountains are high and the woods dense and thick. Bethel and Newry (Sunday River) connect and you can’t tell when you’ve crossed the border of one into the other. 

Despite deep facial tissue damage the puppy  who the staff  named “Blue“,  made a wonderful recovery and was adopted by a lovely family. If you read this article  which also has a short video, you’ll find the link to Blue’s Instagram!

Bethel Animal Hospital had an Open House on October 8 and the guest of honor was no other than Blue! What a strong little guy he is! All muscle and kisses! One of the major networks was there and will be running a feature on him later this month.

They still haven’t found the waste of oxygen that did such a horrid thing to an innocent puppy then left him to die in the woods. I thought with the reward someone would have, as they say in Maine, thrown the culprit under the bus, but not yet and it’s been just over one year.

Blue is such a testament to the indomitable spirit that we all have but sometimes it’s in hiding. Look within yourself and you WILL find it. Maybe not all at once, but bit by bit. The will to survive is strong and a miracle thrown in along the way certainly doesn’t hurt.

My original posts:

Challenge #1  

Challenge #2 

Challenge #3 

“The average dog has one request to all humankind. Love me.”

~ Helen Exley

K9 Deaths; A Minor Accomplishment …

K9 Deaths; A Minor Accomplishment …

I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Partially because I’ve been working on getting my German Shepherd Sasha’s blog online
 and up to date. But I’ve also taken my passion for K9s who die unnecessarily because of handler negligence to a new level. An “I’m in your face and not going away” kind of level. Many animal activists have attempted to enlist me in their causes but emotionally I know my limitations. I’m aware of the dog trade in China, the killing of whales and the lucrative trophy hunting industry but I simply cannot look at graphic images nor participate in campaigns.
What I can do however is use my voice to  both raise public awareness and put pressure on police departments to take punitive action when a K9 officer dies because a handler left the dog in a closed squad car while he ran errands, went to the fair, or helped a friend fix a lawnmower – all in 90 F heat. Departments  have historically circled the wagons around handlers, referring to K9 deaths as “tragic accidents”. Yes its tragic but it’s definitely not an accident.  No responsible law enforcement officer “forgets” his partner, a dog so highly trained  and committed to its job they put themselves in harm’s way to protect the handler. And for the most part, K9 handlers are phenomenal in the care they give their 4 legged partners. Sadly these excellent human/dog teams are being eclipsed by the heinous cruelty of a few. Former Lt. Dan Peabody,  Cherokee County GA, left K9 Inka, 4-year-old  Belgium Malinois, in his hot patrol car where she died ~ suffering terribly in the process as death is neither swift nor kind. Peabody was so emotionally distraught he had to be treated at the hospital. Soon however the dark side emerged, the evil that embodied Dan Peabody  revealed who he really was, a serial dog killer. For not only did he allow K9 Inka to literally roast to death, but he executed his retired K9 Dale ~ a  yellow lab. When authorities excavated Peabody’s yard expecting to find K9 Dale’s remains,  they instead found a third dog who’d been shot in the back of the head. The dog, a female,  had been approximately 10 years old at the time of  death. Since the body exhumed was also a Belgium Malinois, authorities believe the dead female  may have been K9 Inka’s grandmother. Peabody by all accounts seemed “normal”. Heavily tattooed and muscular, he was the affable police lieutenant who, with K9 Inka, was assigned to the Cherokee County School District. As the evidence demonstrated, he was anything but normal. And he’s among a handful of police whose K9 partners have died as a direct result of their callous and irresponsible behaviors. I’ve previously written about K9 Totti  in PA and K9 Bak in OK.  K9 Bak was left in the hot car for over  37 hours without food, water, ventilation;  his handler never once checked on him. Instead, he smelled K9 Bak’s body on the way to work! Yet these are the same individuals we are taught to turn to for help? That their job is to protect us? I wouldn’t trust the care of a houseplant to these irresponsible officers whose negligence causes the deaths of excellent K9 officers in a most excruciating way. Just think about being locked in a hot car and fighting for every  breath until you couldn’t breathe anymore! Very heart wrenching and inexcusable!

 

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The further I dig the more appalled, no make that outraged, I become. Not just with the police but the sick sadistic predators in society who are committing more and more hateful and egregious acts of cruelty against domestic animals. Raping a dog, sodomizing a puppy, strangling kittens with USB cords, stealing and  dismembering a family dog. Is this today’s norm? Has society really disintegrated to the point where people of all ages brutally abuse animals and think its acceptable? Or has it been going on all along but now the burgeoning of  social media brings the horror to our computers and tablets? In a recent case at Baylor University in TX,  Ishmael Zamora was given a 3 game suspension  by the football team after a video appeared online of him beating his young Rottweiler with a belt and kicking him to the point where the dog cried in pain. All because the poor Rottie had a pee accident.

At Missouri State College, yet another football player abused his neighbors dog Luca  whom he was entrusted to watch. Breck Ruddick admitted to “loosing his cool”, striking the 42# dog then allowing him to run away while bleeding. The owner put out an urgent plea on social media and a woman who found the injured and still bleeding dog quickly brought him home. Luca had been struck so hard that his jaw was shattered. Not broken ~ shattered! He required surgery, had 6 teeth removed and received numerous sutures.

In Florida a 20-year-old  UFC student severely abused his 17 week old puppy eventually causing the pups death. Luke Stribling  kicked and punched  his Shibu Inu puppy Julian, also for pee pee accidents. He was ticketed for cruelty in June yet the puppy remained with him until he finally killed him at 17 weeks old!! During the first veterinarian visit (for a broken leg) the vet said Julian had multiple fractures both old and new and that the pup literally shook from severe pain.  She asked Stribling why he didn’t seek medical care earlier for the pain Julian was in; Stribling said he didn’t know. Less than 2 weeks later Stribling  brought the dead puppy to a different vet who notified authorities. Investigators said an autopsy indicated the puppy had suffered severe internal injuries, including a hemorrhaged eye, liver and brain. An innocent puppy, a living sentient being. Tortured and killed for what? Urinating in the student’s apartment? Death at barely  4 months combined with the timeline of his injuries clearly show Julian was abused for most of his life since Stribling got the pup at 8 weeks old.

It takes a very sick and malicious person to do this to any living creature but it’s especially heinous when it’s done to a defenseless animal. Or a K9 officer. Animals look to us for guidance, love, nourishment and safety yet some humans are incapable of rendering the most basic of things.  We have to be their voice for they’re being abused, tortured and killed at an alarming rate. And many by youth who for all intent and purpose represent the leaders of tomorrow. I shudder to think how our country will thrive with evil at the helm.

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As to the title and header picture for this post? It refers to Deputy Tommy Willcox of Alachua County Sheriff’s Office in Alachua County  FL. I’ve been writing and tweeting about him for what seems forever. A brief synopsis about Deputy Willcox. On July 8, 2016 Willcox put his partner K9 Robbie, a 6½-year-old Belgian Malinois, into his squad car at the end of a shift and drove home.  He left K9 Robbie in the car while he went to meet his family at another location. Yes the car was equipped with a safety monitoring system to detect heat but ONLY works if the car is running!  Safety monitoring system aside, how does one “forget” their partner of SIX YEARS? On a day so hot (98) it almost broke a previous record set in 1991? In that type of heat a dog will begin to experience distress in a matter of minutes. K9 Officer Robbie was named after Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller of Oviedo, FL who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2008. K9 Robbie however was simply murdered by his partner in America after faithfully serving the department for 6 years. Wilcox had another K9, Kozar, that he adopted when the dog retired. In 2008, Wilcox said Kozar was limping and going blind so this Floridian example of toxic waste had his buddy put on a bite sleeve,  engage Kozar in bite work while Wilcox took his weapon and shot Kozar to death. Wilcox said he considered it a humane form of euthanasia and Sheriff Sadie Darnell supported his decision because Wilcox grew up on on a pig farm .  Sheriff Darnell said “Wilcox had killed more than 100 animals – mostly pigs – that same way.”

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Who gets off in any way, shape or form by being cruel to animals? It is one of the most baffling and sickening psychological perversions I’ve ever encountered. I believe that penalties for the mistreatment of animals must be harsher and more strictly enforced. These people don’t belong among us. Some say, “They’re only animals…” Exactly. Abuse an animal, go to jail. For a long time! And Deputy Wilcox was at the top of my list because there was and still is no way I can condone or even undestand his culpability in the death of TWO dogs. So my campaign began. I stated a media firestorm, targeting not only the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and Alachua County but all the Florida media, the Chamber of Commerce, and Tourism Bureau. Let’s put it like this, if there was a organization I found them. I sent Tweets jointly to the Sheriff’s Office  and the County asking how long before Wilcox killed the next K9? I actually scheduled my tweets to ensure I didn’t forget. Finally on Oct  3, three months after K9 Robbie’s death, Deputy Wilcox was suspended for 6 days without pay and removed from the K-9 unit where he had been the lead trainer. While it won’t bring Robbie back nor give Kozar the end of life treatment he deserved,  it’s a small step forward ~ I’ll take it.

K9

The first to sense the hostility of a suspect,
The first to react to protect his master.
The first to enter where danger lurks.
The first to detect the hidden intruder.
The first to take action against violence.
The first to sense his master’s joy.
The first to know his master’s sorrow or fear.
The first to give his life in defense of his master.
The last to be forgotten by those who work with others like him.
They know him as a “Partner,” not just an animal.

 

I’m Distraught So I’ll Write

I’m Distraught So I’ll Write

I’ve been having a difficult time the past week or so whenever I attempted to do the next entry in my GDS Sasha’s blog ~ only because the time period I’ll be writing about was very difficult for me. Then out of the blue on Thursday a woman on Twitter reached out and asked if I was the person who used to have a Facebook page for my black dog named Callie. I was dumbstruck and sat down because it really caught me off guard. She said she put two and two together because she remembered I had a German Shepherd with a Facebook page as well, was passionate (ok crazed) about K9 deaths due to handler negligence so connected the dots.  All she wanted was some support because she was lost and floundering and oh God do I remember those feelings. She had been rejected by every animal organization she applied to for even the smallest of financial grants and said she recalled I wrote a two-part article called “My Dog Has Cancer ~ Now What?” Honestly? When I wrote in Callie’s Crusade I never thought anyone was reading it; it was more of a catharsis for me. Well, perhaps catharsis is an oxymoron for while I wanted to purge my emotions at the same time my writing kept Callie with me. Fortunately I still have all my paperwork from Callie’s illness and was easily able to pull up the articles she was looking for. When she gave me her email address I realized she lives in Florida. I asked if she had applied to Emma’s Foundation but she’d never heard of it. Emma’s was started by a wonderful women as a way of honoring her late dog who died from cancer. From the organizations humble beginnings it’s grown exponentially. They were located in Vermont and were one of the very few if not the only organizations that would assist animals in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine. There are several in New England that are only open to applicants from Massachusetts. As luck would have it the founder and president of Emma’s relocated to Florida in the beginning of 2016 and has had many successful fundraisers both there and in New England. Emma’s is now available to dogs from Florida so I gave the information to the woman. She was ecstatic when she emailed me on Friday to say a gentleman from Emma’s reached out to her that day shortly after she filled out the online application. I felt happy for her and  Maggie because I felt sure Emma’s would lend her a hand. Plus the founder has become a friend and she is just such a  kind and compassionate woman. Something this poor lady really needed. Maggie’s mom said she saw on Emma’s website that they were having a fundraiser today (Saturday) and did I think she and Maggie coud go as she didn’t live far from where it was being held. I emailed the founder and she happily said “Sure! Can’t wait to meet them”.

Today is a rainy day and I was just fiddling around writing about the El Faro tragedy for it sunk one year ago today.  I received an email around 11am from Maggie’s mom and  I expected it to say she was at the fundraiser. Instead, she was at the emergency vet because Maggie has a hemoabdomen (abdomen full of blood). She was so distraught! I responded by saying perhaps it was her spleen which would be the best diagnosis. But she replied that Maggie’s spleen ruptured in February and was surgically removed. Maggie was very weak and they’d given her a blood transfusion but at that point (3:55pm ET) they still didn’t know where the bleeding was coming from.

I wrote the usual things about trying to stay strong don’t worry about money now but focus on Maggie. Then she emailed the words I knew all too well “Help me I’m terrified“at which point I began crying and still havent fully relaxed. It’s the absolute worst place to be ~ a netherworld between the life or death of your faithful and much-loved companion. When the prognosis can change drastically in a matter of minutes. You’re cold and alone even if you’re surrounded by family. I  can’t quite describe it but it is horrible. My heart aches for her yet I’ve never met her or her Maggie. I emailed my friend (the founder of Emma’s) to update her because I knew the fundraiser was over at 4pm and thought ~ I don’t know. Maybe she could connect with Maggie’s mother.

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Every day it seems there’s another horrific case of animal abuse in the media. Puppies being raped, dogs and cats enduring horrific torture at the hands of psychopaths, family dogs being stolen and killed for “fun”. Yet I never become immune to it which is why for my own sanity I limit myself to unnecessary K9 deaths. occasionally something so egregious will hit me and I go off on a media blitz but for the most part I stick with working dogs. Their deaths due to carelessness upsets me yes but in a semi-detached way. whereas loosing a family dog to cancer sends an arrow right through my heart.

Today just sucks ~ I miss her so much

August 2016
August 2016

PS: As I was finishing she emailed to say Maggie is stable but they would like to keep her. She opted to take her home; a decision I agree with. I told her that since Maggie entered her life they’ve been making a memory book together. To keep making them hour by hour and never let that book close.

 

 

 

Feeling Liberated!

Feeling Liberated!

I’ve been seeing a therapist since 2002 when I had a PTSD trigger that almost debilitated me. Before I decided on my therapist, I tried two others. While I’m sure they were highly competent, not everyone is a good fit. Perhaps a patient is more comfortable with a therapist of the same-sex, the opposite sex or a different age group. Whatever the reason, I think an integral component to productive, therapeutic counseling is trust and confidence in your therapist.

Because of childhood sexual abuse, I felt more comfortable with a female. We were both in the same age group which I found helped me to express myself more proficiently. The treatment modality she uses for PTSD is TRI (Traumatic Incident Reduction) which I’m still on the fence about. However, compared to EMDR I prefer it because EMDR did absolutely nothing for me.

My therapist had a quirk that annoyed me however; she often didn’t return phone messages. I don’t mean one message but several. She was also lax about getting paperwork completed – another annoyance. However I was able to overlook these two issues because I felt comfortable with her and I trusted her, both keys to a successful outcome.

After several years of weekly sessions I felt that I had journeyed as far as I could at the time so ended our sessions for a few years. Unfortunately, when I reported an employer for violations and they retaliated by accusing me of theft, I regressed in a matter of hours. Although my former therapist had changed locations she was still accessible so I began weekly sessions again. I really felt like I was making progress. Not as fast as I would have liked but with the childhood I emerged from I’d probably need therapy for a century so was content with baby steps.

The first thing that went awry was her session notes. She knew I signed a legal release for her to share her notes from specific dates with the attorneys involved in my whistleblower case. While I did not ask or expect her to withhold anything, I also didn’t expect her to make a random entry about my childhood – something we were not covering in therapy during this time frame. That was all the defense attorney needed and she ran wild with it, thinking the event my therapist had noted occurred when I was an adult when in reality I was 9. Her firm sent a list of questions and when I refused to answer, forced a hearing in front of a judge. They asked that he instruct me to answer and if I refused, that I be jailed. What she was asking for was a recipe for disaster because one of my worst childhood traumas occurred when I was 9. God was with me that day because the judge denied the request.

When I went for my next session I asked my therapist why she made that particular entry and she admitted it was an oversight. I was still angry at the defense attorney but respected my therapists honesty so as they say, life went on. A few months later I learned the defense attorney was still hell-bent on getting this information even though my attorney reiterated it was related to events that were literally decades old. I spent a panic filled winter because I knew that after 3.5 years, I would be given a trial date sometime in 2016. The defense attorney had waffled on the subject of settlement until she read that entry. After that it was definitely going to trial. My panic level rose when I learned the defense used a little known law to have my case moved from federal court to superior court. In essence, my trial will be in the town where I shop, walk, worship – you get the picture. Not sure how I’ve kept it together because I know as surely as the sun rises, the defense attorney will ask questions about an event that had zero bearing on what happened in the workplace in 2012. She is going to ask about the most horrific part of my childhood that I’d never shared with anyone other than my therapist. When I reached a certain age I left and never looked back. My own husband doesn’t know about my past! I asked my lawyer how the defense could do this to me, that I thought someone’s childhood was off-limits. He explained that the judge would make the decision as to how much latitude he would allow the defense.

I prayed, thought and prayed some more. With trial in a month I decided to tell my adult children and husband (a condensed version as opposed to every violent detail). I just didn’t want to take a chance of having them read something in the paper; I preferred it came from me. Telling my family, but specifically my adult children was never part of my life agenda as it had no purpose. Just because you give birth to someone doesn’t require that you share every detail of your life with them but in my situation I felt somewhat cornered.

At the same time my beloved German Shepherd, who is my Prozac with 4 legs, developed some major health issues which required treatment several hours south. I am a HUGE animal lover so opted to put my therapy sessions on hold for a few weeks so that I was free to travel with my dog to the neurosurgeon. The last week of my dogs treatment I planned to call and make a new therapy appointment when the unthinkable happened ~ our dear friend whom I loved like the brother I never had, committed suicide. To say I was devastated is an understatement. I was so grief-stricken that I literally didn’t leave the house, respond to emails or accept telephone calls. Suicide is always extremely difficult to process but when it’s followed by a complete lack of respect for the deceased or their life’s possessions it’s even worse.

I called my therapist and tried to control my tears as I left a voice mail. When several days passed without a call back I tried again. I was a wreck over my dear friend’s suicide but was unable to process my grief in a constructive way because of all the “craziness” in the wake of his suicide. I’d tried (6) times and was shocked when I suddenly said to myself “No more”. In the interim I made an appointment with another therapist who, although I’d only met socially, believed we could mesh well together. As an older gentleman in my parish says “I can feel it in my bones”. Heck, she returned my call! That in itself is worth points.

Before I can continue in my journey however I had to close out the chapter with the first therapist, a chapter that with the exception of a few years lasted over a decade. I called this afternoon and as expected, reached her voice mail. When It was time to speak I just calmly said that all of my calls had gone unanswered, even the two where I was crying about my friends suicide. Since she chose not to respond to them, I could only draw the conclusion that she was either no longer able or willing to be my therapist and as such, I had found a new one. I thanked her and hung up.

I thought I would be upset or at least heavy-hearted but in reality I was quite happy. While I like her very much as a person and to a degree will miss our sessions, I can’t help but think if she hadn’t admittedly made that “oversight” I might not be sitting in a courtroom next month, being questioned about things that should never be discussed outside of a professional therapist’s office.

However, at the end of this day, as I look forward to my first session with the new therapist tomorrow, I AM thankful for everything my original therapist did for me. Grateful for her patience, understanding, kindness and most of all for helping me find the key to unlock coping mechanisms that I never realized I had, coping mechanisms which I’ll carry forward in my journey. Thank you J.