A Baby Calf is Born to the Rodeo—Can She Get Free? from Tamira Thayne

I’ve got a new children’s book in the Animal Protector Series, called Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, about a young calf who is slotted for the rodeo. Can she get free? I hope you’ll check it out!

Who Chains You

raffycover19lo

A Baby Calf is Born to the Rodeo—Can She Get Free? from author Tamira Thayne

Raffy Calfy’s Rescue

Animal Protector Series Vol. 3

by Tamira Thayne
Illustrated by C.A. Wulff

RCR illus7lo

The calf plopped to the ground, looking as grumpy as she felt. She had energy to spare, but nowhere to run and no one to play with. She was trapped! Her mom let out an amused snort, and then licked her little snout clean.

Suddenly there was a commotion in the barn, and a loud braying sent her scurrying under her mother, cowering and shaking. “What’s that noise?” The sound grew louder. Raffy peered through a gap in the wooden fence and saw a huge brown beast, with shiny fur and black trimmings on his feet and face.

“It’s a horse, honey,” replied Momma. Here at the Lazy M Rodeo Company, stories were passed from pen to pen about how…

View original post 633 more words

Advertisements

VA Celebrates Milestone for Chained Dogs. All I Feel is Heartbroken.

I spend a lot of my time heartbroken these days. I see rights for women, animals, the environment, and the disenfranchised slipping away every day in this nightmare we call the Trump presidency.

I’ve now learned firsthand what it’s like to watch a loved one disappear from dementia, and feel the weight of despondency settle onto my shoulders as I walk into the nursing home for another round of soul-shattering grief.

So I mostly don’t blog.

I mean, who wants to read even more sadness, when those with a heart live their own versions of it each day?

But I do live in Virginia. And this blog is called “Untethered”—mostly for the dogs who still seek relief from the chain—but also symbolically for all those (like me) who seek relief from the chains binding us from creating our best lives.

husky

Sugar, a dog I was charged with trespassing for feeding in subzero temperatures. She was later given up to DDB.

So I would be remiss if I didn’t post about the new law that passed in Virginia with regards to tethering and which was signed by Governor Northam yesterday.

Here’s the article about it. https://wset.com/news/at-the-capitol/northam-signs-bill-extending-protections-from-extreme-weather-to-chained-dogs?fbclid=IwAR1GduAQ-ljhYv6flAzdudOCcXNcF8gxcwnHcd1XjA2yXq4nhERMut83I78

616333ca-8554-484d-ab9a-74f37076cb21-large16x9_northamtetherbill

Photo HSUS

I’ve been on the front lines of trying to get a bill passed for chained dogs during my years in PA, and know it’s like trying to dig to China with a teaspoon; I have nothing but the utmost respect for all those pictured here and the many others who worked hard to bring this bill to fruition.

sugarsnow1

Sugar in her new home, playing in the snow because she WANTED to. Then she went back inside with her little boy.

sugarsnow2

And I’m grateful to them, despite all the sorrow which will spew onto this page next. (I apologize in advance to the wonderful folks who accomplished something that I didn’t have any part of. Feel free to be angry at me . . . it’s a free country, after all. Supposedly. Unless you’re a tethered dog.)

I’m mostly sad that I have to tell myself to be happy about this milestone. Having spent 13 years fighting for the rights to FREEDOM for chained dogs, I’m supposed to feel happy that they now are required by law to have shade and a flap on their doghouse. And the tether has to be ten feet or three times the length of the dog.

anthonylo2

Anthony, a “hunting dog” after his rescue. He was just skin and bones.

I’m sad that since I began to fight for chained dogs in 2002 this is all the further we’ve progressed, and that these are hard-won concessions. I’m sad that even these concessions STILL EXEMPT “HUNTING DOGS”.

“Hunting dogs” don’t deserve a doghouse flap or shade?

I’d like to think, to believe, to KNOW in my gut that we humans are better than this. Yet the evidence I see every single day makes me struggle with that belief.

As has been widely echoed from Day One of my fight for chained dogs, banning dog chaining and tethering is a NO BRAINER.

So why aren’t we doing it?

Does this mean that we Americans have no brains? Maybe.

Or maybe there are far too many of us who have no hearts.

My thanks, again, to those who earned this milestone. I hope it saves a dog’s life this summer, and is actually enforced by those with the power to do so.

 

FREE Book, Five Days Only! A Chained Dog Meets an Activist Teen in The Wrath of Dog

Get one of my books free in kindle for the next four days! Plus, my new release, only $2.99 in kindle for the same amount of time. And half of any proceeds I get will go to Kara the Akita’s surgery bills!

Who Chains You

We’re Offering a FREE Gift
To All Our Readers For the Next FIVE Days

wrathcover-lodrop

In celebration of the release of Book Two in The Chained Gods series from author Tamira Thayne, the first book in the series is FREE in Kindle for the next FIVE DAYS ONLY. Remember, you don’t need to have a kindle to read kindle books: you can also read FREE in the kindle app on your phone or tablet, too.

Download Your Copy Today!
And Get Started on The Chained Gods Series

Not only that, but we’ve also made Tamira’s new release, The Curse of Cur, just $2.99 in Kindle for the next five days!

curse-adlo
Yes, you’ll get BOTH BOOKS FOR JUST $2.99!

An animal activist teenager continues her quest to save two dimensions in this sequel to The Wrath of Dog…

Baylee jumped out of bed, momentarily forgetting about her father slumbering in the chair…

View original post 327 more words

Ashley Keith, Chained Dog Shero, Knows her Dog-Sledding, and Opposes the Mistreatment Rampant in the Field

sheroeslogolo

It’s been awhile since I put up a Chained Dog Shero post, mostly because my life has become all animal books, all the time. (Yes, it’s different than what I used to do, but it still helps animals, and I love it!) But by gum, today I was just compelled to after reading about this wonderful woman.

Ashley Keith’s been there, done that in the dog-sledding world—she knows what she’s talking about. And I’m so impressed and grateful to her for taking a stand against those continuing to mistreat the dogs in their care.

I want to help spread the word, and I hope you will too by sharing the blog and checking out her website at humanemushing.com. Thank you, Ashley, for speaking out for those who have no voice.

Ashley Keith, founder of Humane Mushing

53788263_10213181689044334_1372668562799329280_n

For those who want to know a little bit about me:

I’ve been dogsledding since January of 1998. I ran dogs recreationally in Central New York until 2001, when I took a sabbatical my junior year of high school and traveled to Cambridge, Minnesota to work for 2000 Iditarod veteran Blake Freking and 1998 Junior Iditarod veteran Jennifer Deye. I lived and worked there until April of 2002, caring for and training approximately 75 Siberian Huskies. During my tenure at this kennel, I attended and participated in multiple sprint and mid-distance sled dog races throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. I also toured and trained at numerous competition kennels – including that of 4-time John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Champion and (then) 2-time Iditarod veteran, Jamie Nelson in Togo, Minnesota.

53551249_351880758756332_3918642639481602048_n

During these eight months I was exposed to many of the realities of industrial mushing. I witnessed dogs fracture their canine teeth, because they chewed on their chains out of boredom and frustration from being tethered, and their teeth became stuck in the chain. I witnessed dogs become entangled and nearly suffocate because their chains stretched from the constant jerking of the dogs running their perimeter circle, and they were able to become intertwined with a neighboring dog. I was forced to accompany a perfectly healthy sled dog’s visit to the veterinarian for euthanasia, so that I would understand the importance of maintaining a sizeable, competitive kennel. This dog, named Bullet, was euthanized simply because he was too slow in harness, and no one was interested in buying him. We took his body back to the kennel and put it in the freezer, so that his pelt could later be used to make garments.

53450749_2310919072510127_7931082365365911552_nThe following two years after I returned east, I was asked to tour numerous purebred Siberian Husky kennels and share the knowledge I had learned while at the top purebred kennel in the Midwest. I traveled throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York visiting individual kennels, and attending sled dog trade fairs and races. As in the Midwest, I witnessed extremely social dogs forced to live a solitary, chained existence for the majority of their lives in a variety of subpar housing conditions.

In November of 2003, I traveled to Alaska to work for one of the sport’s most prominent families – the Seaveys. When I arrived at their Sterling kennel location (there are numerous kennel locations, each serving a different purpose), I was horrified to find hundreds of dogs chained in the worst conditions I had yet to experience. I couldn’t even see the end of the rows of dogs over the field that the dog lot was located in – they just disappeared into the horizon. Wooden dog houses were broken and in disrepair, with exposed screws and rotting wood. Many houses had no lip to keep bedding in and help retain body heat – not that there was any bedding. I was informed that not providing bedding was a cost-cutting measure, and one that would harden the dogs for the weather conditions they would face in the Iditarod. Many houses had holes which allowed in wind, rain, and snow – leaving the dogs brutally exposed to the elements year-round. Plastic barrel houses were worn away from dogs chewing on them, though they were slightly sturdier than the wooden houses which quickly succumbed to the damp weather. Many dogs were underweight, and a particular dog with no name was in noticeably worse shape than the others. He wasn’t eating or drinking, his stomach was tucked up, and his abdominal area was sensitive to touch. I urged my employers to get the dog veterinary care for days. Finally, Mitch put the dog in his truck and drove into the woods, returning without the dog.

53400544_2307558996194374_6066920989575348224_nThis was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. No longer willing to morally support industrial mushing due to the constant barrage of horrors I had witnessed throughout the years, I returned to Central New York and dedicated my time to sled dog rescue and humane mushing education. There were (and are still today) too many accepted cruelties within the industry. The mushing scene in North America is far different from that of Europe, where chaining is denounced by the largest purebred sled dog organization in the world – the World Sleddog Association. Sled dogs in the United States and Canada are exempt from most animal cruelty statutes, and viewed as livestock in many municipalities.

The Iditarod is the Super Bowl of sled dog racing, and has no ties to the original 53383225_2124158531177276_9151797437659086848_nlife-saving Serum Run. The race was in fact patterned after the All Alaska Sweepstakes, and named in honor of mushing legend Leonhard Seppala (who happened to participate in the Serum Run). The race has become so industrialized that mushers factory farm and warehouse sled dogs in order to consistently field competitive teams. The Seavey family, alone, has grossed $1,300,222.32 in Iditarod purse winnings over the years. This is not a humane event, nor is it in any way traditional.

Sled dogs have been present in North America since before European settlement, where they served in a necessary role as working draft animals – used to transport people, supplies, and even mail. Where sled dogs were once a part of daily life in order for native cultures to function and survive, the Iditarod has transformed them into the short-coated, Maserati versions of traditional village dogs. Iditarod dogs are often unable to even run without wearing coats and booties, and are required to be constantly treated with gastric ulcer medication to prevent them from forming life-threatening stomach ulcers due to the grueling, stressful nature of the race. This race commemorates nothing and honors no one, and I will continue to speak for the dogs who are used and discarded by the industry to keep it afloat.

Ashley Keith
HumaneMushing.com

The Trucker Whose Words Saved a Kitten and Inspired a Book

The evening could have ended badly—very badly.

But because a trucker took the time to stop just long enough to get through to me, this story has a happy ending.

I know nothing more of the hero of this story other than that he was a black man with short hair, and it seems to me that his rig was white. I could be wrong, though, because it was his words that captivated my attention and stole the breath from my lungs: “I just saw something run under your car; it might have been a kitten.”

I was tired, it was late evening, and I was returning from taking my mother and stepfather to the beach for a few days. Our trip had ended on a sour note; my mother suffers from dementia, and the drive back to their house in Pennsylvania had been grueling for all of us. I wanted nothing more than to get back to the safety of my own home in northern Virginia so that I could decompress and regroup.

I stopped at a rest area along I-70, just outside of Breezewood, to use the facilities and grab some caffeine in the form of a soda. I parked in the closest available spot, and was checking messages on my phone when I heard the unmistakable bellow of a truck’s horn behind me. Startled, I looked up to see a trucker hanging out his window motioning for me to roll my window down.

I felt a little alarmed. What could this man possibly have to say to me? Thinking maybe there was something wrong with my vehicle, I rolled down my window and waited.

He had to yell to be heard over the rumble of his idling truck, but his words were unforgettable: “I just saw something run under your car; it might have been a kitten.”

He popped his head back into the truck and moved on, the flow of traffic ejecting him from the rest area and back onto the open road.

Did I even say thank you? I really can’t remember.

I jumped out of my car and looked underneath. Nothing. I started to get up, but then worried…What if I missed something and ran over a kitten? That would be devastating.

I looked again, and sure enough, under the front passenger’s side of the vehicle, huddled a tiny, tiny body against the tire. Oh. My. God!

trucker1loI panicked that if I reached for him he’d run into traffic, but there was no choice in the matter. I grabbed for him as quickly as I could, and luckily he was just too little or too exhausted or too sick to try to run any more. I had him!

I was ecstatic. He was safe!

But when I lifted him to get a look at him, I promptly burst into tears.

Not only was he tiny, but he was a mess. His eyes were full of puss and practically sealed shut. He had grease spots all over him, and baked-on oil on his face by his nose and eyes.

trucker2loBy now other people had started to come around to see what all the fuss was about, and another woman volunteered to take him to a barn. I know she was trying to be helpful, but my inner momma tiger quickly came to the fore, and there was no way I was letting that precious being out of my clutches. He was mine to care for, mine to nurture, mine to heal and help on to his happily-ever-after. [aka back off!]

I finished the drive home with one hand as I held him close to me with the other.

Over the next few weeks, I didn’t do anything special—I simply gave the kitten what he needed and deserved: a visit to the vet, formula, quality food, flea treatment, and loving care. He quickly blossomed into the gorgeous kitten I knew was under that sad face somewhere.

trucker-ba

spark-sophia1loI found Trucker a home with some friends of mine in Culpeper, Virginia, where he has settled in to grow to adulthood with “his” little girl, Sophia, and two doggie siblings. He is now named Spark.

How did such a tiny and obviously unwell kitten come to be at the rest area that day? We will never know the true backstory, but he’d somehow survived a trip in the engine of a car, of that the vet and I were sure.

dogscatAnd if that trucker hadn’t taken the time out of his trip to tell me what he saw? The kitten’s life probably would have ended there that day, because I never would’ve looked under my vehicle before driving away. Odds are very good I would have run him over.

I shudder to think of such a horrible trauma, for both of us.

I will probably never know the name of the trucker who warned me that day, but I am forever grateful to him and for him. He could have easily ignored what he saw. He could have made the split second decision that it wasn’t his problem. He could have been jaded enough by all the things he’s seen in his travels that one more thing wouldn’t matter.

But he did stop. And he did warn me. And in so doing a kitten was saved a horrible fate, I was saved the depths of anguish, and a new children’s book was inspired.

I am grateful.

I dedicated my new book based on Spark’s story to “To Those Who Don’t Turn Away When They See An Animal in Need” in honor of the anonymous trucker who inspired a story and saved a life.

spittencover19-lodropSpittin’ Kitten’s
Speed-Away

Tamira Thayne
Illustrated by Rhonda Van

The little orange kitten stopped and scratched his neck. “Fleas,” he mumbled to himself; he could feel the bugs wandering around in his fur, stopping for a bite every now and again. Yuk! He was hungry, too, but he knew his mother was struggling to feed him and his four siblings.

Spittin’ plopped himself down in their nest beside the barn. Had the humans simply forgotten to put food out? he wondered. Maybe he could be the one to remind them.

Spittin’ had never been around people before, but—pushing his fear aside—he bravely left the den in search of help. When he reached the other side of the barn, he jumped back in shock. In front of him splayed out a whole big world he’d never known existed!

Soon Spittin’ finds himself on an unexpected adventure—he flies through the air, scrambles for a hiding place, and even takes an unexpected ride in the engine of a car. Where will the little kitten end up, and will he get help for his family?

Find out in Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, perfect for ages 7 and up. The book also features vocab builders throughout the story, and excels as part of a humane education curriculum.

Buy in Paperback | Buy on Kindle

truckerfearless2

About the Author

Tamira Thayne is an author, animal activist, and the founder and former CEO of Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit organization seeking an end to dog chaining.

She is also the founder of Who Chains You Books, publishing titles for those who believe people—and animals—deserve to be free. She is the author of Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book, Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knight’s Chain, The Curse of Cur, editor of More Rescue Smiles, and the co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

Tamira lives by a river in the woods of northern Virginia, with her husband, daughter, one dog, six cats, and hundreds of outside birds and critters she adores from afar. You can reach her through her website at tamirathayne.com.

About the Illustrator

Rhonda Van is an artist, wildlife rehabber, and lifelong animal lover. She particularly adores jackrabbits, squirrels, her animal companions, Shark Week, vegan dinners in Santa Cruz, and her husband Tony. Rhonda has been drawing forever, but only got deeper into illustration after she started drawing the wildlife friends she cares for.

The Trial of the Outlaw Collie Sam • A Unique Look at the Plight of Man’s Best Friend

I just put out a new book through my publishing company, Who Chains You, which gives a really unique look at the issue of dog chaining. I highly recommend it for those who are working on the issue of chaining in your communities, and/or working in schools doing humane education for middle school age students and up. The author creates a poem of a fantasy trial based on a dog bite case, and even if you’re not a fan of poetry, the rhythmical tale will draw you in.

Then he relates the true story of the dog behind the poem, and it offers a glimpse into the ways that chaining a dog can bring lasting—and unwelcome—temperament changes to a dog. The book serves as a cautionary tale on chaining, and makes a great addition to any bookshelf, but especially to those working to bring better treatment to our best friends.

Who Chains You

outlawcolliecover-lodrop

Now Available, from Who Chains You Books:

The Trial of the Outlaw Collie Sam

by Dale Seddon

“I was born,” he began, “by a dumpster at noon,
In a broken down doghouse with only one room,
With only one window we used as a door,
With rats in the rafters and mud on the floor.”

Raised by a single parent, the outlaw collie Sam and his seven siblings run wild and free, feasting on castaway food in garbage cans and chasing after humans to scare them, all for the fun of it. Then one day disaster strikes. Sam and his brothers and sisters mistakenly frighten the wrong human. The Catchers arrive at the dilapidated doghouse in the middle of the night, guns in hand. Sam is wounded. But he manages to escape.

The next day, Sam is found by a Keeper, a kind human who takes the dog home and…

View original post 474 more words

Update: Bonnie Plafke, Florida Dog Rescuer, is Still in Need of a Kidney Donor!

bonnieme

Me (left) and Bonnie Plafke, who came to hang out with me during testing in Florida.

Update, Christmas 2018:

My wonderful friend, Bonnie Plafke, is still in search of an O Blood Type kidney donor.

A big thank you to those who have also undergone testing since our first post, only to be denied for one reason for another. I join Bonnie in sending out a big THANK YOU for trying on her behalf!

Would you please continue to spread the word about Bonnie’s need for a donor, and contact Bonnie at 954-638-9943 or plafke@comcast.net if you can help? Thank YOU!

Original Blog Post, From July, 2018:

It is with a sad heart that I report today on my efforts to be a kidney donor for my animal rescue friend Bonnie Plafke. In initial testing, our blood matched well, so I flew to Florida last month for two days of in-depth physical exams. Although I got a clean bill of health overall, it was discovered that my kidneys are smaller than normal.

What is “normal”?

My kidneys measured 8.3 and 8.5 cm compared to a “normal” of around 10 or greater (4-5 inches). The day I met with the doctor, he seemed to feel it was not a big deal since my other numbers seemed fine, but the group finally met and reviewed my case and turned me down as a donor. It seems my body is more selfish than my heart.

Bonnie is therefore still in need of a kidney donor. All testing and medical is paid by her insurance. A donor needs to be in good health and be type O to be tested.

And, of course, be doing it without pay or coercion, which is against the law.

bonnie1

Bonnie getting dialysis, which she has to have three times a week. She’s determined to keep her spirits up, although some days are not easy.

I was so excited to give the gift of life, and am so very, very disappointed that I am unable to carry through. I hope there’s someone else out there who can help Bonnie.

Who is Bonnie Plafke, and how do I know her?

bonnie3Bonnie has been my Facebook friend for years, as animal advocates tend to gather large amounts of “friends” that they don’t really know in person but have similar interests in helping animals.

I saw Bonnie’s posts about her ongoing kidney problems, and when she hit the stage of needing a donor, I volunteered to be tested. We both have Type O blood, which is the crucial first step for anyone willing to donate for her.

Although O is the universal donor, people with type O blood can only receive from each other, so it is harder for those with type O to find a donor.

Bonnie Plafke is a dynamo in her own right.

Inspired by the high kill rate of animals at Miami Dade Animal Services, Bonnie Plafke co-founded the first successful county-backed animal transport program in the country, Dogs on the Move. The transport has saved over 4,800 dogs since its inception in late 2011, and performed the largest-ever transport in November of 2013, saving 215 dogs in a single day. Dogs on the Move is the only rescue group to ever get a Proclamation from the mayor and commissioners of Miami, who declared October 23, 2013 Dogs on the Move Day in Miami. Bonnie also received the Hometown Hero award from the Florida Panthers in April of 2015 for her work with Dogs on the Move. Bonnie was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to South Florida in 1978.

Bonnie has been married nearly 45 years, and has two children in their early 30s, an executive chef and a copywriter, both living and working in New York City.

When I went to Florida for testing, my husband Joe came with me, and we had dinner with Bonnie and Rob, learning a lot about them and their many years together. Rob thanked me from the bottom of his heart for doing this for his wife, and I jokingly told him that if he wanted rid of her, to let me know and I wouldn’t go through with it. He said, “Well, some days…” (All married couples will understand that joke!)

Of course I didn’t know at the time that I would be unable to go through with it for physical reasons, and it makes me sad for Bonnie’s family now, too.

I’m a firm believer that when you give the gift of life, you’re giving almost as great a gift to yourself as to the recipient of your kidney.

Although I’m super upset on Bonnie’s behalf, I’m selfishly sad for my sake too. With the state of our country today, it’s hard for me to find kindness and goodness to help buoy myself up, find faith in other humans. I wanted something I could feel good about, something to help me believe again.

I’ve been in the animal advocacy movement for over 15 years, and I’m struck over and over again by the willingness of rescuers to tear each other down and destroy each other. How often do they lift each other up? Really be THERE for one another in the way that they deserve?

I was hoping to be part of one of those such stories. But it’s not to be for me.

What about you? Do you want to make a difference for another animal advocate, especially one who’s been instrumental in saving the lives of so many dogs?

If you aren’t in a position to be an organ donor, can you share this post so maybe Bonnie can find her person to make a difference for her? Thank you!

If you’d like to learn more about kidney donation, visit this link. If you’d like to discuss donating to Bonnie in particular, contact Bonnie at 954-638-9943 or plafke@comcast.net.

If you have any questions about my experience, feel free to ask questions in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them.