Read FREE! Episode 9 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. A Ride to Nowhere.

The internet is atwitter about the FREE Covid Test site going live today, as you’ve no doubt heard. But just in case you only come out from under your rock to read Imagine’s story—as one does—here’s the link to get your tests.

Today’s the day Imagine meets “the bad guy.” Every story’s got at least one…and ours is a dog-chainer, a dastardly fiend if I do say so myself. If you have to catch up on the story, start here at Episode One. Then follow the links at the bottom of the page to get to the next. Happy Reading! See You Next Week!

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Nine: A Ride to Nowhere

Lost and Lonely

Imagine spent the night miserable and alone, curled in a ball next to an old tree. Every unfamiliar noise spooked him and his mind spun, going over and over the moment Mom fell. He could feel the bugs taking up residence in the thick of his fur and remembered that no one had put flea medication on him in awhile. He scratched harder, bit at himself, trying to make the parasites feel as unwelcome as he did in this strange world.

“What did I do wrong?” he asked himself for the 99th time.

Even though all the signs—including his own sensitive nose—pointed to Mom’s end drawing near, the fact that it happened when she stood to clap for him destroyed him. He’d loved Mom so much! He would never do anything to hurt her.

“I’ll never show off again,” he vowed, jumping at a sound from a nearby bush.

A shadow tore itself from the brush and slunk toward him. He blinked. “Who’s there,” he whispered, straining to see through the blackness. He stood, hackles rising, readying himself for the worst.

As his eyes adjusted, he made out the form of a neighborhood stray, one he’d chased from his own front yard in the past.

“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” the dog hissed, his hackles also raised and bristling. The dog sniffed the intruder’s hind end and Imagine whipped around, protecting his flank.

“Look, I don’t mean any trouble,” Imagine said, struggling to control his fear. He’d never been away from home without Mom, Dad, and his sibling before. He was out of his element, and yes, flat out scared.

He could see now that this dog bested him in physical size, and Imagine no longer felt brave without his territory and pack to back him up. “I got lost out here is all, and I needed to rest a bit before trying to find my way home again.”

“Home?” questioned the dog, “well isn’t that nice. Are you lazing around on fluffy beds all day and being fed treats by your minions?” he snarled, beginning to circle. “Wait a minute…I remember you! I came to your door asking for help when I was tossed out on my own, but you chased me away. How’s about you get a little taste of your own medicine, eh?”

The dog sprang and Imagine pivoted, rushing headlong into a nearby tree. He fell backward, dizzy, his head aching from the impact.

“Bahaha,” cackled the stray, falling into a heap beside him. “That was awesome. What will you do for your next trick?”

Imagine pulled himself to his feet, embarrassed, frightened, and still reeling from the collision. He began inching his way toward the hint of light he could just make out at the edge of the forest.

“I’ll count to three, mutt,” the dog bounced back up onto his feet, sensing his target was set to escape. “If I see your sorry hide anywhere around here again, it’s going down. One…two…” Imagine turned tail and raced toward the brightness, hoping against hope the light he saw was a way out of the woods and back to his family.

Would they even want him back again? He didn’t know.

“That was probably the scariest night of my life…well, until now, that is, when every night is downright terrifying,” Magnum acknowledged, surveying his current predicament. “Why did I get in the car with that creepy guy, anyway? I was a fool, that’s for sure.”

Rescuer?

Imagine made it to the break in the trees just as the sun pushed a hint of rose into the morning sky. He looked left and right, but nothing seemed familiar to him. He began to plod, head down, toward the road he could see off in the distance.

When he reached his goal, he sniffed, hoping for a whiff of home to guide him. But everything was foreign, nothing said “Dream” to him, and he wished his sense of direction was as good as his sense of smell.

He shrugged and turned right. Would this path lead him back to his family or further into the unknown?

Right now, there was only one thing Imagine knew for sure: he was one miserable pup. His mom was gone forever, he was lost, he feared for his life, and he didn’t know if he’d ever see his sister or Dad again. To top it off, there were bugs eating him for breakfast and he was starving and thirsty. How did any animal survive out in those woods all alone? He shuddered. He couldn’t help but feel bad for that stray, feel bad for chasing him away when he was suffering.

“At least HE didn’t have me for breakfast,” he thought wryly.  

He trudged along the side of the road for a time before a car slowed and pulled to a stop beside him. He looked up hopefully and then quickly back to the ground, realizing it wasn’t his dad come to rescue him.

A window rolled down and a man’s voice called out. “Hey, pup, you lost? Do you want a ride?” The man sounded nice, and Imagine was too tired to consider the possibility that he could be anything but. He wagged his tail and peered into the car. The man jumped out, smoke billowing in his wake. He sauntered around the car and opened the door, cooing sweetly, “Here boy! Jump on in. I’ll get you home. There’s a good dog.”

Imagine didn’t like the smell coming from the man or the car, but he was desperate; he knew he had no other options, so he jumped into the front seat beside the man and brushed his misgivings aside.

They drove for over an hour and Imagine began to feel uneasy, looking out the window for signs of his town, his neighborhood. He knew he hadn’t wandered THAT far from home . . . he should have been back long ago. “How does this guy know where I live anyway?” he wondered, stealing a furtive glance at the human beside him.

The man looked nothing like his father. Imagine wrinkled his nose. This human obviously wasn’t fond of bathing, and his hair hung past his shoulders in greasy strings. His eyes were pinched, his nose flattened, his belly bloated, and his clothes dirty. “Yuk!” Imagine thought, “did I just make another mistake?” But he knew there was no going back now.

Finally, the car stopped, the engine clanked, and there was silence. The man reached into the back and grabbed a chain that lay coiled on the floor, dragging it up to the front. “Well, lookee what we have here,” he snickered, pleased with himself. “Now don’t be skeered, dog. Ain’t nuttin’ to be skeered ’bout.”

Then he calmly and efficiently wrapped the chain around Imagine’s neck and dragged him out of the car, around the house, and into the backyard. Imagine was wild with fear now, bucking and dragging his feet—even attempting to bite his captor—but nothing stopped the man’s assault.

“Here we go,” he exclaimed, his voice now dark and formidable, holding no signs of the earlier kindness. “When I said I would take you home, what I ackshully meant was this here new home…”

“My backyard. Welcome to your chateau,” he cackled, affixing the chain to a broken up, decrepit doghouse tucked back at the edge of the woods.

For the second time that day, Imagine had been threatened, tormented, and mocked. He slumped—no fight left—and resigned himself to his fate.

He hung his head in defeat.

“Guess I’ll never get home again.”

The dog shook the ghastly memories away and stood, noticing that Thomas still sunned himself nearby. “And that, my friend, is how I turned into nothing more than a prisoner, a tethered piece of ‘trash’ in some mean old dude’s backyard.”

The cat was unimpressed.

Next Episode: The Prince of Darkness, Coming January 25th.

Tamira Thayne is the author of It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups. She’s also written other books for adults and children, including these for adults: Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knights Chain, and The Curse of Cur. For kids of all ages she’s published No Guppy Puppy, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Squirmy Hermie’s Heroics, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book. She is the editor of More Rescue Smiles, and co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

Read FREE! Episode 8 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Homeless.

Got those post-holiday blues? I’m with ya. I’m pretty sure in a perfect world I could read my life away, even though I almost always feel guilty when I spend too much time reading. You?

I just read a book that I enjoyed, called The Keeper of Happy Endings, by Barbara Davis. I mean, I have no idea what kind of books you like—and I get nothing from recommending a book—but I’ll definitely give a shout-out to ones I appreciate on here and you can check them out if you’re interested. I’ve been finding myself drawn to more historical fiction lately, and am a bit fascinated with anyone who made it through the hell that was Nazi-land in WWII. This book has a touch of magic, a touch of survival, and a happy ending, all things I’m in favor of.

Now let’s get to this week’s FREE READ Episode of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Things are going downhill fast for poor Imagine, and our doggie friend is “about to go through some things.” Stick with me, though, and hopefully we’ll all come out on the other side together! If you haven’t started the story yet, visit this link. Then just click the link at the bottom of each episode to land at the next. Happy Reading!

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Eight: Homeless

The End of the End

Mom smiled and called the dogs to her. “Dream, Imagine! I missed you so much, babies. I’m sorry if I scared you. Thanks for taking such good care of me, Dream, and getting Daddy to come help me, Imagine. You’re the best pups a mom could ever wish for.”

She leaned forward and hugged them both to her, clinging tightly; then she sighed and sat back, looking frail and weak tucked into that corner chair. “We’re gonna’ need to have a long talk this week, my darlings, but not tonight. Mom’s too tired, and she just wants to crawl into her own bed and hold Dad’s hand for a bit. Dad will feed you, then we’re all off to bed. Ok?”

Dennis smiled, patted Val’s knee, and wearily shuffled off into the kitchen. Imagine thought he looked ten years older than he had a week ago, and a sadness hung in the air, palpable, suffocating.

Two Weeks

Mom was happy to be home, and the next day she seemed a little more spry. There were no more family walks, but she projected a semblance of the “old Mom,” making sure the dogs had a healthy breakfast to start their day. She cuddled on the couch with them downstairs in the rec room, talking, snacking, and watching movies. Dad snuggled up too, something he seldom used to do; Imagine could tell he wanted to treasure every moment with Mom.

“Dennis,” Mom said. “Do you remember the day we brought these guys home? Oh, what a joy they were!” she laughed. “Imagine had a rougher time with potty training, but Dream got it right away, and I suspect in the end she was the one to show her brother the ropes.”

Dad chuckled too. “I never could have conjured better companions for us, that’s for sure. The trips we took together, the hikes? Amazing. That was one of the best decisions we ever made, adopting both of them together. I wonder where the rest of the pups ended up? Sometimes when I see a dog who resembles them, I wonder if it could be their brother or sister.”

Mom agreed. “Yeah, me too. I guess we’ll never know.” Then she broached the subject that none of them wanted to discuss. “What will become of them when I’m gone? You’re gonna’ keep them here with you, right?”

Dennis bristled. “Can we please not talk about this right now? I really just want—no, NEED—a couple days to believe everything will be ok again. I don’t want you to leave us, I don’t want to be without you…not now, not ever. Please, honey…” his tone trailed off, begging.

It got really quiet then, but both Mom and Dad had tears in their eyes.

“Two weeks,” Imagine thought. “That’s all the longer she lasted. But dognabit, those were the best two weeks of my life.”

And in fact, they were. Mom made sure of it. She devoted every waking moment to her family and her pets, even baking their favorite cookies—oatmeal—at one point, over the objections of Dennis. The dogs didn’t normally get to eat “people food,” but Mom said they were gonna’ live each day like it was their last; the dogs were included in every activity, and obligingly gobbled up every treat that came their way.

The kids rushed home from college and careers, and the house took on an almost festive air, laughter and memories tumbling over one another all day long.

“It was the sendoff Mom deserved, that’s for sure,” the dog remembered, growing misty-eyed.

To this day, though, he couldn’t quite understand how it all went so wrong in the end: how had he lost Mom, Dad, and Dream all in the same day? He thought hard, frowning. One minute they were all together—the kids too—and they’d been having a blast. He’d wanted that moment to last forever, and thought his face might freeze into a perpetual doggie grin.

His human brother Ben had been throwing the ball for him for an hour, Mom clapping and enjoying the show from her chair along the edge of the yard. She’d stood, cheering, as he made a spectacular leap to his most impressive catch yet. He came down, elated…

And then Mom fell, again. Crumpled, really. Only this time he couldn’t see her breathing, couldn’t feel the blood whooshing through her veins, couldn’t hear her heart keeping the steady rhythm he’d grown used to.

Chaos erupted. Ben dropped to his knees and started pushing on Mom’s chest and forcing air into her lungs. Caroline cried out, then grabbed her phone and dialed 9-1-1, screaming for an ambulance.

Dad was frozen, pushed up against the side of the house, unable to make sense of the nightmare scenario unfolding before him. He shook his head, whispering, “No, no, no, Val. I’m not ready. Please come back…” He fell to the ground and held her hand, sobs wracking his thin shoulders.

One moment happiness reined, and the next it was all gone. Destroyed.

“And it was all my fault,” the dog thought glumly. She’d stood up to cheer for him, after all. “I was just showing off. In the end, it was me who killed Mom. Dad and Dream and the others probably still hate me….not like I’ll ever see them again, anyway.”

He thought hard, fighting to piece the end together. He remembered the sirens, the medical personnel rushing past him into the yard, the gate left open as they whisked Mom away for the last time.

He remembered slipping out soon after, the pain of loss and guilt consuming him. He remembered walking along the side of the road and finally melting into the cover of the trees.

He sought a respite, a solace he knew he didn’t deserve. Most of all, he sought to avoid the agony of a heart torn asunder.

And that was the last day he’d ever seen those he loved most in the world.

The memory of Dream teasing him with her kong resurfaced, and he most remembered just how much he missed his sister. 

Next Episode: A Ride to Nowhere

Tamira Thayne is the author of It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups. She’s also written other books for adults and children, including these for adults: Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knights Chain, and The Curse of Cur. For kids of all ages she’s published No Guppy Puppy, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Squirmy Hermie’s Heroics, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book. She is the editor of More Rescue Smiles, and co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

Read FREE! Episode 7 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Mom Comes Home

I hope the New Year finds you all well and rested! Apparently I just had a cold last week—not Covid, according to a rapid test at least—although I had another brush with “that darn virus” over the weekend. I await my body’s verdict on if it will take hold or not. With omicron sweeping the country, it becomes more and more likely we will all contract it at some point, alas.

I got a new calendar (yes, still old school there, also known as JUST OLD.) You’ll be happy to know today is National Spaghetti Day. Mangia!

That brings us to this week’s FREE read, Episode 7 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Mom Comes Home. If you’re new to the story, start HERE and follow the links at the bottom of each episode to find the next.

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Seven: Mom Comes Home

The End of the End

Two weeks went by in a blur of sadness, always waiting for Dad to come home from the hospital, always hoping for good news that didn’t come. Even Dream—the more even-keeled of the two—was losing her equanimity, often snapping at her brother.

Neither said so, but fear dogged their every waking moment, invaded their sleep.

“How long has he been gone this time, Imagine?” Dream whined. “Why does he leave us alone every single day. He doesn’t feed us the way Mom does, either…we’re lucky to eat once a day. Thank goodness we have the doggie door, or we’d be making a mess in here, for sure.”

It was Imagine who played peacekeeper now. He rolled onto his back next to his sibling, rubbing his face along her ear. “I think he’ll be home soon, Sis,” he said soothingly. “Want to go in the yard and play ball? It’s a nice day.”

“Who’s gonna throw it, Immy? In case you didn’t notice, we’re the only ones here.”

“I’ll throw it to you! And then I’ll chase you for it, just the way you like,” Imagine cajoled.

Dream smiled begrudgingly. “Fine, but get the new ball. Your slobber grosses me out,” she teased, then got to her feet and trotted out into the yard.

It’s Mom

“Incoming!” Imagine yelled as he whipped his head and released the ball toward the edge of the fence; Dream raced to grab it before it took a bad hop and disappeared from sight. Imagine was proud of his throwing ability . . . he’d taught himself in the “before days”—happier times when each morning brought new promise of adventure with his little family.

He sensed those days were gone.

“Dream tormented me about my ball obsession,” the dog remembered fondly, scratching his ear in tacit acknowledgment of the fleas already taking their blood breakfast. Dream would tire of the game quickly, as did Mom and Dad, so Imagine had taught himself—tossing the ball up into the air and catching it . . . over and over and over again.

“I never could get enough of that ball,” he sighed sadly, looking around at his empty, dirt-packed home. Not a ball, or any toy for that matter, in sight. How many years had it been since he had a ball? He couldn’t even remember anymore.

Suddenly Dream stopped dead in her tracks. “Immy! I hear the car! Dad’s home,” she cried, rushing past him and in through the door. “Maybe today will be the day he’s happy again,” she called over her shoulder to her brother.

Imagine shook his head. He didn’t think that day would ever come.

Afraid to hear any more bad news, he dawdled in the yard, pretending he had to re-mark the property boundary to keep intruders out.

“Well, that boxer next door needs to learn some manners,” he rationalized, grumbling to himself. “He’s always daring to stick his snout through that hole in the corner of the fence. He’s just lucky I’m a gentleman,” he huffed as he reluctantly took himself into the dark of the rec room and up the stairs to the kitchen.

Before he reached the top of the steps his gait quickened. What was that he heard? Could it be? Was that Mom’s voice?

It was coming from the living room!

Heart pounding, he charged into the room and ran smack into Dream, knocking her over. Neither dog said a word, though, as they pulled themselves together.

Both had eyes for only one person.

It was Mom, sitting small and seemingly shriveled in the corner chair, the good one, the one they never used. Her eyes met his, and he was struck by memories of his goodbye with Star. For in the eyes of the human he now knew as “Mom,” the one who made him feel safe and loved and kept his belly full, he again saw both sadness and resignation.

The only difference was that this time he wasn’t confused by the look—he understood what she was telling him: “Hello and all too soon Goodbye, my love.”

Next Episode: Homeless

Tamira Thayne is the author of It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups. She’s also written other books for adults and children, including these for adults: Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knights Chain, and The Curse of Cur. For kids of all ages she’s published No Guppy Puppy, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Squirmy Hermie’s Heroics, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book. She is the editor of More Rescue Smiles, and co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

Read FREE! Episode Six of Imagine: Life on a Chain. His Greatest Fears

I’m feeling covidy today; but alas, there are no tests to be had in my town during this omicron outbreak, so I’m just staying in bed and reading…not so much a hardship, then, eh? This does mean I ALMOST didn’t publish today’s episode, but didn’t want to break my promise in case I have someone actually waiting on tenterhooks {ha!}, so here we go…

Remember, if you need to catch up, start at this link, then just follow the links at the bottom to the next episode.

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Six: His Greatest Fears

The Middle of the End

Imagine and Dream moped downstairs, while an eerie silence took hold of what was once their warm, safe home. Dad had rushed off to the hospital after Mom, and the two dogs felt scared, alone in wondering what was happening and if they would ever see their mom again.

It was many hours before Dad came through the door, the sadness apparent on his face as he brushed a hand over his eyes and rubbed down toward his mouth. The dogs waited patiently, sitting quietly nearby and hoping for Dad to tell them something, anything.

Dennis sank heavily onto his kitchen chair. He looked at Val’s empty teacup beside him and tears began to work their way down his cheeks. He suddenly sprang to life, grabbing a scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water and ferociously swiped at the kitchen tiles, trying to remove every last spot of blood from Mom’s fall.

His anger spent, he sank back against the cabinets and looked at the dogs. “Come here, Imagine, Dream,” he called in a hushed voice. The dogs were nervous; negative emotions filled the room, and nothing felt the same. Their home was normally a happy one, but today everything was different. The siblings obediently crept to Dad’s side and lay down, heads in his lap.

The three sat for what seemed like hours, Dad running his hands through their fur and talking to them softly. They didn’t understand much of what he told them, but they knew from his tone that they had probably been right about Mom.

“I don’t know if you guys have noticed lately, but Mom hasn’t been well. I kept after her to go to the doctor, but I think she was afraid to hear any bad news, so she refused to go and played it down. She told me it was just a cold, just a headache, just a little tweak or twitch that would go away. I think she’s been in a lot more pain than I realized.

“They did a bunch of testing at the hospital . . . It’s the worst news we could imagine. Mom has cancer, and it’s all through her body; there’s nothing they can do. On top of that, she now has pneumonia, and they don’t even know if she will ever come home again.

“How is this possible, Imagine?” Dad asked brokenly. “Just last week we went on that hike to Red Rock, remember? Yeah, she was slower than usual, but so was I. I figured it was just our age getting to us. I had no idea she’s been this sick for this long.”

Imagine licked Dad’s hand, wishing he was a human too so he could take away some of Dad’s pain.

Dennis was sobbing now, holding both dogs tightly to his chest while long, mournful moans shook his body.

Imagine looked to Dream and whined, wondering what they could do. Surely there had to be a way to fix everything?

Dream shook her head, and then tried the only things she knew. She trotted downstairs and brought Dad offerings like she did with Imagine—first a ball, then a stuffed animal, and finally her leash and the promise of a walk. But nothing roused Dad from his stupor until she carried her dog bowl to him and dropped it in his lap. Dad blinked his bleary eyes and focused on her face for the first time.

“Oh, I’m sorry, guys. I’ll bet you’re hungry. Forgive me,” he sniffed, and then stood shakily to his feet, moving slowly about the kitchen to ready their dinner.

“Here you go. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was so late…” his words trailed off, and he stumbled toward the stairs, pulling himself up the railing and to his bedroom. Ignoring their food, the dogs followed, watching as he fell fully-clothed onto the bed and lay motionless. The rise and fall of his breath were the only indications he was still of this world.

The chained dog jerked from his reverie, peering about for signs of danger. Thomas still stretched across the grass nearby, but he’d moved into a new patch of sun to stay warm. “Magnum” stood and yawned. As painful as his current life was, he recognized that day as the start of his slide into what he would become…

Imagine and Dream curled into their beds on the floor, wondering what would become of them as they watched everything they loved slipping away…  

Next Episode: Mom Comes Home

Tamira Thayne is the author of It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups. She’s also written other books for adults and children, including these for adults: Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knights Chain, and The Curse of Cur. For kids of all ages she’s published No Guppy Puppy, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Squirmy Hermie’s Heroics, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book. She is the editor of More Rescue Smiles, and co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

Read FREE! Episode Five of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Now What?

Hello, and Happy Holidays, no matter how, what, when, or where you celebrate! I hope you are able to find some happiness and relief in this week’s celebrations after a long and hard year.

Today we’re hitting Episode Five of my FREE Novella, entitled Imagine: Life on a Chain. Imagine finds himself still chained, but wrapped in memories of another time that feels so long ago. If you need to catch up, start with Episode One and follow the prompts at the end of each episode all the way through to where we are today. I hope you’ll share Imagine’s story with all your dog-loving friends…his and others living chained deserve to be seen and heard. Thank you.

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Five: Now What?

The Beginning of the End

The dog was drawn from his reverie by a sound from the bushes behind him. He hopped to his feet and turned toward the noise, chain clanking. He was vulnerable and he knew it. The thickly-coiled logging chain gave him zero choice in the matter: fleeing wasn’t an option for the dog his owner called Magnum. The once-gentle animal was left to fight for his life, no matter the foe.

Despite the highway being only blocks away, the woods and river to his rear offered the occasional brush with animals larger than the medium-sized dog, including bear and coyote. To date, these passersby had always been more interested in stealing his dinner than in making him dinner, but he knew the day could come when hunger drove them further.

He understood that drive, as he himself had attacked and killed smaller animals who dared venture into the ring created by his dragging chain—though in his youth he would have been more likely to befriend other creatures, even welcome their company.

“When I was young and foolish,” the dog thought as he stared into the brush.

Fear for his life kept him on high alert now, but relief took over when he saw it was only Thomas, a bedraggled black cat who lived three houses down. The cat sometimes taunted him by lounging just out of reach of his chain, but Imagine didn’t bother giving chase anymore, understanding Thomas was probably just as lonely for companionship as he was.

Thomas strolled to a nearby patch of sun and lay down, stretching to take advantage of the warmth drawn to his black coat. Imagine relaxed too, feeling a little less alone with the cat nearby. He slipped back into his memories, although he was poignantly aware he’d be better off forgetting what came next…

Imagine raced upstairs to find Mom facedown on the kitchen floor. He was hit by the rusty odor of blood, and a trickle weaved its way from Mom’s forehead through the grout in the tiles beneath her. Panicked, Imagine turned to his sister. “Dream, I can hear she’s breathing; lick her hands and face to try to wake her up. I’m going outside to get Dad.”

Dream nodded and Imagine raced back downstairs and out the doggie door. Imagine had never liked the sound of the mower…it was loud and scary to his sensitive ears. But he knew he couldn’t indulge his fears today: he HAD to get Dad to pay attention! He raced to the middle of the yard and frantically circled both the mower and Dad, barking ferociously.

“Dad, it’s Mom! Please, please, come inside, NOW,” he yelped, hoping his unusual behavior would be enough to pull Dad from his task.

Dad turned off the mower, a concerned look on his face. “What is it, boy? Is everything ok?”

Imagine continued to bark and circle. The pressure to get Mom help immediately drove him to a frenzy he didn’t understand—he just knew Dad had to go inside.

To his relief, the message was not lost on Dad. “Alright, alright, you’re worrying me now. This isn’t like you, boy…I’m coming.”

Dad and Imagine hurried inside, Imagine through his doggie door and Dad sliding the screen door open and rushing in. By the time the two reached the kitchen upstairs, Mom was sitting up, Dream still worriedly licking the blood from her hands and face.

“Val!” Dad cried and knelt beside her, looking her over. “Oh my God, honey, what happened?”

“Calm down, Dennis, dear,” Mom said weakly. “I honestly don’t know. When I stood up I felt rather dizzy, and I think I hit my head against the counter. I must have passed out…”

“I’m calling the ambulance,” Dad cut her off, reaching for the phone. “You haven’t been yourself lately. You might have a concussion.”

Despite Mom’s assurances that she “would be fine, just give her a minute,” soon the sound of sirens reached their neighborhood, and Mom was ushered into a waiting ambulance on a stretcher, emergency personnel hooking up things that beeped and made strange noises.

Imagine and Dream stood miserably off to the side of the commotion, wondering if they’d ever see Mom again. Both dogs shook as the adrenaline wore off and a bone-deep weariness took over.

What now?

Next Episode: His Greatest Fears.

Tamira Thayne is the author of It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups. She’s also written other books for adults and children, including these for adults: Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knights Chain, and The Curse of Cur. For kids of all ages she’s published No Guppy Puppy, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Squirmy Hermie’s Heroics, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book. She is the editor of More Rescue Smiles, and co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

Read FREE! Episode Four of Imagine: Life on a Chain. The Dream is Lost

Welcome, Friends, to today’s FREE EPISODE of Imagine’s Story, a fiction tale based on true rescue pups. Need to catch up? I got you!

Here are the links to the first three:

Episode One: A Weird Smell

Episode Two: His First Home

Episode Three: Imagine and Dream Go Home

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Four: The Dream is Lost

Mom is Sick

Imagine knew something was wrong with Mom, just knew it. But how could he communicate with her? He felt an urgency take hold and he paced, whining with anxiety. He heard Mom and Dad talking to Dream and him every day, but he only understood a handful of the human words they used: breakfast, dinner, treat, ball, toy, walk, RV, and swim were his all-time favorites… 

Those words had always elicited a tail wag and a happy “woof.”

Early on, Imagine and Dream learned to communicate their needs for bathroom breaks by poking Mom and Dad with their noses, and it seemed to work. Eventually Dad installed a doggie door from the rec room to the fenced backyard, and the two dogs spent part of the day chasing each other in and out, in and out, never again having to ask to do their business. 

“Well, unless we were camping,” Imagine remembered. “Mom hated to take us out of the RV for potty breaks at night, and always made Dad do it; he grumbled under his breath the whole time.” The memory was bittersweet.

Mom and Dad didn’t understand most of what he and Dream tried to communicate, either. It was generally acknowledged by all that they didn’t speak the same language, yet they muddled through to the best of their abilities—as families did.

With little choice in the matter, Imagine tried the only thing he knew: he poked Mom with his nose, then sat back on his haunches and looked at her expectantly.

“What is it, boy?” Mom asked, baffled. She yelled downstairs: “Honey, is the doggie door open? Imagine’s acting like he has to pee.”

“Yeah, everything’s a go down here, Hon,” he yelled back, muting the TV for a moment to make sure she could hear him.

Mom patted Imagine on the head. “Dad says it’s fine down there, sweetie. Run along and let yourself out if you need to go.” She made shooing motions and Imagine ruefully headed downstairs and out into the backyard, lost as to how to make her understand him.

***

Shadow

As Mom’s scent grew more pungent and overpowering to Imagine’s sensitive nose, even Dream began to detect it. “Oh, now I get it, Brother,” she told him one day. “That is a bad smell! It reminds me of the animals we see on the road sometimes on our trips, or along the trails we hike. Do you think Mom could be dying, too?”

“It’s the only thing that makes sense to me, Dream,” Imagine sighed. “I keep poking her with my nose to try to tell her, but she just thinks I have to go to the bathroom. It’s so frustrating!” He paced back and forth, not even his pile of tennis balls bringing him much comfort these days.

Imagine became Mom’s shadow, always worried she was going to fall; or worse, leave them when he wasn’t looking and never come back.

One day Mom sipped her afternoon tea at the kitchen table, lost in her own little world. Dad was mowing the lawn in the back, the hum of the tractor and scent of cut grass enveloping the house in a cozy familiarity. Imagine lay at Mom’s feet, keeping an ever-watchful eye on her as he fell in and out of slumber.

Mom crossed her legs, kicking her dozing “shadow” by accident. He yelped. “Imagine!” she cried in exasperation. “What is wrong with you? Why are you constantly underfoot? Get out of there! I need some space to think. Geez, buddy. I mean, I love you, but…”

Imagine slunk from under the table and down the steps, flopping beside his sister, who raised an eyebrow at her now-always-moody brother. “Bro, I know it’s sad, but what can we do? I don’t think she’s getting your message…you’re just annoying her now. Want to play ball? It’s your favorite…” Her voice trailed off hopefully, and she jumped up, wagging her tail and play-bowing.

But Imagine just didn’t have the heart for it.

Suddenly there came a “thud” from upstairs. Imagine looked at his sister wildly, and tore up the steps…

Next Episode: Now What?

Tamira Thayne is the author of It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups. She’s also written other books for adults and children, including these for adults: Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knights Chain, and The Curse of Cur. For kids of all ages she’s published No Guppy Puppy, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Squirmy Hermie’s Heroics, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book. She is the editor of More Rescue Smiles, and co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

Read FREE! Episode Three of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Imagine and Dream Go Home

Welcome to Episode Three of my free novella, Imagine: Life on a Chain. A new episode will be posted here weekly until the story is finished. If you need to catch up, here are the links to what you missed so far:

Episode One: A Weird Smell

Episode Two: His First Home

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Three: Imagine and Dream Go Home

A New Family

As Val and Dennis giggled with glee and scooped up their new family members to carry them home, Imagine’s eyes met his mother’s for what would be the last time. In their depths he saw both sadness and resignation, and although he was confused by the look, he would eventually understand what she had been telling him.

“Goodbye, my love.”

The dog felt wistful, that teasing edge of longing now familiar.

Imagine and Dream grew from toddling pups into fully mature and beautiful dogs in the next months and years. They experienced the kindness and love of which humans are capable; memories of Star, the mother who nursed them and brought them into the world, faded into the background, although the siblings whispered about her sometimes in the dark of night. Her memories comforted them.

Val and Dennis were empty-nesters, their kids off to college and beyond and leaving them to reinvent life into their retirement years. Imagine and Dream became like surrogate children, the four companions traveling the countryside in the couple’s deluxe RV—hiking, camping, and even singing by the campfire together during the chilly fall evenings.

“I was the best singer, naturally,” Imagine thought to himself. “That Dream never could sing a lick. I guess Mom was ok, too, but Dad? Please!” he chuffed.

Even though Dream and Imagine were close as pups, they’d become inseparable as they grew. Dream liked to tease him with her peanut-butter kong, telling him, “You want mine, Immy? I’m still full from dinner. You can have it.”

Imagine’s eyes would grow big, and he’d gobble down the last of his own peanut butter treat, making room in his belly for hers. Just as he’d go for her kong, she’d slap her paw down on it, growl “Mine!” and run around the room in a ploy for him to chase after her.

It always worked.

“I was such a silly mutt back then,” Imagine decided ruefully. “And I definitely didn’t appreciate how great I had it. I was so naïve I thought those fun times would last forever. Ha!”

Before the pups knew it, two years had gone by. Imagine and Dream were both full adults by now, with shiny, thick fur and soulful amber eyes. It was evident they came from the same litter, but Imagine had chocolate highlights accenting his black fur, while Dream was the opposite, being more russet in color but sporting black eyebrows and ear tips. Life was good for the siblings, and both their demeanor and body condition boasted of the kind of home that every dog deserved.

One day, though, Imagine noticed Mom and Dad slowing down—it took them longer to get the RV up and running, longer to pack for a hike, and longer to walk the trails than it used to. They were often out of breath while the dogs were just getting revved up . . . yet they still teased one another like he always remembered. “Come on, you old fogie!” Mom would tell Dad, pulling him along and pretending it was him holding them back.

Dad would grin and grab her around the waist, pulling her into a kiss. “Who’s the old fogie now, young lady? Just because you’re two months younger doesn’t mean I can’t beat you to the top of the mountain!” Then he’d push her behind him and race the last few steps to the summit, jumping and waving his arms around like a kid. “Victory is mine!” he’d yell, and Mom would giggle and look at him with love in her eyes, same as she always had.

“Those were the best times,” Imagine remembered. “But then came THE day . . . That awful day when Mom began to smell different than she used to.” He would never forget that sour, pungent odor . . .

He laid his head on his paws. Sadness, hunger, and thirst all gnawed at him, and although the memories had become more painful, he immersed himself in the journey anyway. What else did he have to occupy his morning? 

He couldn’t put his paw on it at the time, of course. The experience had been new to him, but his senses tingled, and he knew his sniffer wasn’t lying to him: something wasn’t right with Mom.

“Dream, do you smell something funny about Mom?” he asked his sister, three days after he’d first noticed the strange odor.  

“What are you talking about, you doof?” Dream scoffed. “Mom’s fine, stop being such a party pooper. Now play with me!” She jumped on him, pinning him to the ground.

But Imagine wasn’t in the mood for games and shoved her aside, leaping to his feet. “Are you seriously telling me you can’t smell that?” Imagine asked, astounded.

“Smell what? She’s the same as always to me.”

Imagine shook his head. He just couldn’t believe it. Why couldn’t Dream smell it when it was so obvious to him?

It was only then that he realized why the memories had shoved their way to the front of his mind this morning. He understood now what he hadn’t known as a young dog: the smell? That was the scent of human sickness. And the sour pungency that drifted its way through his neighborhood at this moment reminded him of just one thing:

How Mom had smelled.

At the end.

Next Episode: The Dream is Lost

Tamira Thayne is the author of It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups. She’s also written other books for adults and children, including these for adults: Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knights Chain, and The Curse of Cur. For kids of all ages she’s published No Guppy Puppy, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Squirmy Hermie’s Heroics, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book. She is the editor of More Rescue Smiles, and co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

Read FREE! Episode Two of Imagine: Life on a Chain. His First Home

Well, I promised to put out an episode on Tuesday each week, and I’m already a day late! Oops. I’ll set a reminder and do better next week, I promise!

To recap, Imagine: Life on a Chain is a novella I’m writing that will be featured here with a new chapter each week. There are 14 chapters to date, but more will be added until the story is finished.

Don’t miss the first episode here.

Here we go with week two!

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Two

His First Home

The force of the assault surprised the dog. He struggled to his feet, refusing to be bowed by the loss and the accompanying bile that crawled its way up into his mouth.

How long had it been since he’d remembered? Too long . . . and yet never long enough.

The memories played like a well-worn movie, and—having nothing else to occupy his time—he sank back to watch them unwind.

***

She was warm, and her milk gushed down his throat. The puppy snuggled closer, lulled into sleep by a full belly and the safety of family. His brothers and sisters released their hold as well, good-naturedly jockeying into favorite spots for an afternoon nap.

The memories were blurry with time, but the yearning for that sense of belonging, of peace, had never faded.

He felt the pile stir as his mother pulled away. She barked and ran to the front door, tail wagging. Curious, Imagine and his sister Dream stumbled after her, playing and biting at one another. At eight weeks, they were mobile enough to indulge their natural curiosity, but still clumsy and rotund, tummies bulging.

At the sound of human voices, the pups skid to a halt, slamming into their mother’s rear end and entangling into an inelegant ball.

“Well, we were puppies after all,” Imagine grumbled to himself, basking in the warmth of that long ago moment in time.

“Welcome…come on in. You’re the couple wanting to adopt a puppy—Val and Dennis—right?” asked Becky, ushering a man and woman inside the foyer. “I’m fostering for Freedom Chasers, a local organization rescuing dogs from chains. This is our newest momma,” she explained, bending over to plant a kiss on their mother’s head. “We call her Star, because of the adorable white patch on her forehead.”

The man and woman hunkered down, smiling and laughing as they scratched behind Star’s ears and rubbed her neck. She relished the attention, her tail flopping (and mopping!) the floor, and soon Imagine and Dream felt secure enough to venture out from behind her.

“Oh, my!” exclaimed Val, a tear rolling down her cheek. “This little guy looks just like our Khronos did, doesn’t he?” she asked Dennis, not bothering to wait for a response before turning back to scoop up the pups.

“They are just precious, aren’t they?” Becky grinned, introducing them. “This one we call Imagine—the one who looks like your dog—and the female here is Dream.”

By now, curiosity had gotten the better of the remaining drowsy pups, and they’d tumbled their way over to get in on the action, too. Soon, both newcomers were engulfed in puppies, while Becky regaled them with each pup’s name and personality traits. Clueless as to the coming changes, the pups chewed on, rolled over, and rumbled with each other and their new human friends, Star sitting indulgently in their midst.

Imagine would remember those last moments of family togetherness as among the happiest of his life.

“Our director called just before you got here to let me know your home visit and vet check are done, and you’ve passed with flying colors!” Becky informed the couple. “If you’d like, you may choose your favorite to take home with you tonight.”

The man and woman looked at one another. “Do you mind if we go outside and talk it over for a moment?”

Becky nodded. “Of course. Take your time. Luckily for you, you’re our first approved applicants, so pick of the litter is all yours! Just let me know.”

It wasn’t long before Val and Dennis were back, and Val was beaming, barely containing her excitement. “As you can imagine, Imagine is the boy for us. Even though I know he’ll be his own dog—and nothing like my Khronos—he has stolen my heart already.” She looked at Dennis, who, taking his cue, spoke up tentatively.

“Plus, we’d like to adopt Dream, too, since they seem bonded and we’d love for him to have a companion. Would that be alright?”

Don’t Miss the Next Episode: Imagine and Dream Go Home. Coming December 7th!

Episode Fiction Story ‘Imagine: Life on a Chain’ Will Be Featured Here Weekly! 14 Episodes to Date

Hello, friends and readers! I had been putting episodes of my fiction story “Imagine: Life on a Chain” on the new Kindle Vella, but they went and blocked my first episode (which is FREE on Vella anyway) because it appeared here on my blog—which was solely an effort to attract readers to the story on Vella.

Sigh. So I said, nah. I’ll just put it all out on here rather than go ten rounds with Amazon trying to get it unblocked. My first two attempts when unanswered. That’s what happens when you deal with a bohemoth.

My loss is your gain! I hope you enjoy the story, and it helps bring awareness to chaining as an issue, too.

Below is the first episode, again, and you can look forward to one each Tuesday until the story is done. Follow my blog to get a notification when the next episode comes out.

Visit weekly for a new episode, free!

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode One

In the year 2020, the worst global disaster in our lifetimes forced humans into confinement against their wishes.

They didn’t deal with it well.

Doctors and scientists tried to educate the people, convince them it was for the greater good, and yet—even when faced with the very real possibility of death for stepping outside their doors—humans still did so in large numbers.

They fought wearing masks, proven to save lives.

Fought any perceived restrictions on their freedom.

One could argue that for the first time ever, humans at large got a small taste of what is a daily reality for a dog on a chain.

Dogs like Imagine, who couldn’t speak for himself…

…had no voice to say “no more.”

Shame, too. If only the humans had known what he was capable of, they may not have cast him aside so casually…

Based on a true story, Imagine could be any dog living a confined existence in America today. Each of these dogs is worthy, capable, and deserving of a home and loving family of their own.

And, yes, dare we say, freedom.

A Weird Smell

The dog awoke, feeling more uncomfortable than usual—which was saying something, given that he was chained to a dilapidated box the size of a grocery cart.

The world seemed off, the neighborhood quiet, even the woods behind him hushed . . . like everything waited . . .

He shifted uneasily, sniffed the air.

It was warm for March; the sun was just peeking over the far-off mountains, and he shivered as he crawled out of his doghouse to meet the dawn, memory of the recent cold snap making his bones ache.

He supposed he should be grateful for the promise of a warm day. As he slid into middle age, the winter months seemed longer and more unbearable with each passing year.

He shook his fur out the best he could, hoping for a little more insulation until the temperatures rose a few degrees.

He was a mutt, like so many of the forgotten. His fur was thick but on the shorter side, and his black and tan markings made him unremarkable. His floppy ears bespoke a Labrador heritage, while his coloring hinted at shepherd in the mix.

His eyes were kind, smart, knowing.

And sad.

So very, very sad.

His owner called him Magnum, tossed out with a sneer and a pretend gun pointed at the dog’s head, the obligatory “pew, pew” sounds always next out of his mouth.

“Here’s your food, ya stupid mutt,” he’d say, pouring some kibble into a bowl and dumping a pitcher of water over it, never bothering to bend over far enough to ensure the water stayed in the dog’s banged-up dish.

The dog gobbled the offerings each night, knowing he had to eat fast and slurp every drop of the precious liquid, as tomorrow was never a sure thing.

On the few occasions he hadn’t finished his dinner, there was always someone waiting just beyond the shadows to take it from him.

But even though the morning brought constant hunger and thirst, dinner was a long, very long time away—if it came at all.

He peered at the neighbor’s back window and, reassuringly, saw a flicker of light. He remained bothered by the unusual stillness, even for early morning when the world had just begun to awake from its dark slumber.

Normally he could hear the traffic already clogging the highway two blocks over, but today there were no cars on the road.

Normally his owner Rudy’s alarm blared about this time, but the faint sounds of his snores still drifted out into the backyard.

The breeze shifted, and a whiff of something unknown teased his senses.

What was that? He brought his head up and inhaled deeply.

He didn’t recognize it…and yet…and yet. Something about the odor nudged a memory from his mind, of a time when life held promise, when he’d fully embraced the naïve enthusiasm that came with puppyhood.  

He tugged on the mental string, and the flashback overwhelmed him. He sagged onto the ground, assaulted by memories of his first home.

Read Episode Two: His First Home

Peta’s ‘Convenient Lie’ is Alive and Well. The Chained Dogs They Rescue? Not So Much.

I have a subscription to The Washington Post online. Today’s blog is just another reason I wish I didn’t…

I mean, you know when Trump is president and you’re effin’ convinced you’re about to die any minute and you’re so freaked out about what he’ll pull next that you subscribe to a good newspaper so you can plan accordingly for the end of the world? And then you spend the rest of your days reading and obsessing over things like the next civil war even though you live by a peaceful river and should spend your days meditating instead?

Yeah, it’s like that.

And then even when Trump is no longer president but you still see a level of national insanity you can’t believe you continue the subscription because it’s obviously not OVER, and you come across an article you think you should read about animals.

About why People are so Horrible to Dogs, specifically. And it’s something you know a little something about, because you spent 13 years trying to save dogs from all manner of horrible conditions. So, hey, maybe this article will help you understand WHY people throw dogs out into the backyard on logging chains like it’s the right thing to do even though the answer to WHY never manifested in 13 years. But they’re probably smarter than you. It’s a must read then, right?

Here it is if you subscribe or it’s one of your monthly free articles.

Only if you want to be driven further insane. Because by the end you’re still left with no definitive answer to the WHY question, and now you’re just damn sad for the dogs and livid that Peta is still effectively gaslighting everyone with their “Convenient Lie” that they are somehow doing the dogs a favor by killing them.

Spare me, Peta. SPARE THE DOGS.

Although I’m personally on board with this man’s theory for the WHY of dog chaining:

“Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist who co-founded the Center for Canine Behavior Studies at Tufts University, doesn’t buy the Darwinian argument, or all the ancillary explanations, which he sees as excuses for the inexcusable. This sort of cruelty, he says, is, at its dark core, a heartless character flaw: Some people suck.”

“There are people,” Dodman says, “who sell their home and move out and deliberately leave a dog behind. Days later someone comes in and finds the dog starved.” It’s happened enough, he told me, that Maryland has legislation outlawing it. “The fact is,” Dodman says, “there are people who have empathy and people who don’t.”

It’s not a BAD ARTICLE. In fact, it’s very GOOD EXPOSURE for the plight of the chained dogs and their suffering. Take this, for instance, from the article:

“This bond came naturally: Humans and wolves are both pack animals. We are both built to team up with others to survive.

“How has this relationship gotten so corrupted, then, and so profoundly, and so often? Is it about promiscuous anger: lack of resources and social powerlessness, leading to impotent rage — the kick-the-dog phenomenon? Are the dogs an emotional tool — something people can control in a life otherwise almost empty of control?”

I’m only a short way into the article when I realize the author is riding along with Peta. “Ugh. This will not end well,” I tell myself. “Do NOT get attached to the fate of any of these dogs. They’re all—or most of them at least—dead.”

I’m proven right.

What is astounding and yet super scary and creepy is the fact that Peta has now taken a page out of Trump’s playbook: take the villainy public, openly admit to it like it’s ALL GOOD, NOTHING TO SEE HERE, while gaslighting us that “there’s just no other choice in the matter. It’s for the dogs’ OWN GOOD that we kill them.”

Peta used to try to hide the fact that they kill all—MOST—of the animals they take in. Now they’ve changed tactics: Convince us that WE’RE the ones with the problem if we don’t understand why they must be killed. Sounds like some Auschwitz bullschize to me.

I’ve spent fruitless hours arguing with other animal activists about the FACT that Peta kills the animals they “rescue.” I’d like to think this article would put an end to at least that portion of the argument—since employees flat out admit it here—but arguing with Peta acolytes is like arguing with Trumpers. You might as well just gouge your own eyes and ears out and be done with it, because you’re not going to get anywhere.

Here it is, by their own admission, in black and white:

“PETA embraces euthanasia because it believes that there are too many animals in the world sentenced to live dreadful lives, and that in many cases humane death is preferable. Each year PETA kills a lot of animals.”

As an aside, I’ve also maintained from the start of this hapless era of “alternative facts” that most dog chainers were Trump supporters, at least among the White population—having seen the yard signs in front/chained dog in back with my own eyes—only to have rescuers I respected take themselves off in a huff for the comparison. But I’m not the only one with that opinion:

“Dodman believes there is also a political component to this: Red states are more likely to have no laws against tethering, or laws that wanly attempt to limit the practice without addressing its inherent cruelty. Purple states, too: Pennsylvania “limits” tethering to an excruciating nine hours a day and primly stipulates that the tether must be at least “three times the length of the dog as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail or 10 feet, whichever is longer.”

“People who mistreat animals,” Dodman concludes, “are the same ones who mistreat people.”

Now, back to Peta:

“The woman outside the Champs Chicken — Jennifer Smyth, a public school teacher — thinks PETA people are world-class hypocrites, animal murderers masquerading as animal lovers. She was referring to an incident in 2005 when two PETA workers were caught shoveling trash bags of dead dogs into a public dumpster in North Carolina. The animals had been humanely killed to prevent worse fates at the hands of poorly run local kill shelters, but the means of disposal was cold and horrific, a very public error in judgment, and resulted in a lasting stain on the organization’s reputation.”

“Nachminovitch defends widespread euthanasia, and it is one of those stances you can either respect or abhor. She says that on any given day, she’d make a deal where, in return for being allowed to free every deeply abused animal she found, she’d have to kill all of them. She knows how this sounds but doesn’t care. Ending their pain — psychic and physical — is the point, she says, bluntly: “The lives they are being forced to live are not worth living.”

I’ll take ABHOR for $1000, please, Alex.

Seriously! Eff this woman and every single person who buys into this load of bull hockey. [Yes, I’m trying not to swear here.]

Take the Blinders off, People. Once Peta FREES the Chained Dog, The CHOICES for that Dog are No Longer Just These TWO: Suffering at the End of the Chain or DEATH. Now There is a THIRD Option: A Loving Home Where They Live Inside and are Given a CHANCE to Be a REAL Dog.

You see, Daphna, once you take these pups off the chains, THEY ARE NO LONGER BEING FORCED TO LIVE IN WAYS THAT ARE DETRIMENTAL TO THEIR PSYCHIC AND PHYSICAL HEALTH. Except by YOU. Because now you could CHANGE that for them.

Derp.

After all, that’s supposed to be the beauty of being an animal rescuer. The JOY of knowing that you made a difference for a dog, that you brought happiness where none previously existed. THAT’s what being an animal rescuer is all about.

I’ve had the privilege of pulling hundreds of dogs from chains. I call it a privilege because that’s what it was. Even as stinky and misbehaved as these dogs were on the day of their release, I got to change their lives for the better. I got to give them what they deserved, what they needed, what they wanted. Spoiler alert: IT WASN’T DEATH. There was no greater high.

I never, not once, took a dog immediately to be euthanized. Could it happen? Sure. If a dog is just too aggressive or so ill that they were already dying, it would be the kindest thing to do. But those times are few and far between. Most dogs just need love, a place to decompress, vet care, and good food and water. Nothing complicated.

It bears repeating: It never happened once, not in 13 years, for me.

Not even for Doogie, who was the closest to death I’d met five years into my rescue career. When I asked the vet what his odds of improvement were, if he should be euthanized, he looked me in the eye and told me “he deserves a chance.” And we gave it to him. Doogie knew six months of love and family; he got to live inside, walk again, explore a backyard, and scarf lots of treats.

That’s what rescuers do. They try their best for the dog. And if they fail, no one can accuse them of not giving it their all.

What Peta Is Too Lazy to Do But They Have All the Money in the World to Make Happen

It’s my opinion that Peta kills most animals they “rescue” because they’re too lazy to do the work involved in rescuing a dog in the TRUE sense of the word. It’s hard doing rescue work. It requires a place to keep the dog, vet care, house training, people training, and food, exercise, water, love. If Peta thinks shelters are too cruel because the dog would be caged while waiting for a home, then they could set up a system of foster homes for the dogs they rescue—like all the grassroots rescue groups do, the ones that operate on a shoestring budget.

When I was running Dogs Deserve Better and we paid $595,000 for Michael Vick’s 4600 sq. ft. house and 15 acres to build a home for our dogs, Peta accused us of throwing our money away. Building a home for your rescue dogs is throwing your money away? I guess to someone who doesn’t care about giving the dogs the life they deserve, maybe. But not to the dogs, and not to those who care about bringing them happiness.

According to Peta’s own financials, the organization brought in $66,277,867 in 2020. After expenses, a portion of which goes to KILLING ANIMALS, they were sitting on $15,119,510 at the end of the year.

$15,000,000! But They Can’t Build a Facility?

When I left Dogs Deserve Better, I’d raised over $5,000,000 for the chained dogs in thirteen years. I was so proud of that, and that I bought and paid off a home and property for the dogs before I left. Our rescues were getting two walks a day on eight fenced acres, and each and every time I saw them run I wanted to cry. Because WE GAVE THEM THAT GIFT.

Yet that amount was a mere pittance compared to what Peta brings in on an annual basis. The amount they are sitting on today is 3X what I was able to raise in in thirteen years. It’s baffling to me.

You have the money.

You have the staff.

And yet you treat the dogs like they have NO RIGHT TO LIFE.

Let’s Ask THE DOGS, Shall We?

What would Sampson say? It’s obvious. He wants to LIVE.

Let’s play a little game called ASK THE DOGS. We know that they can’t speak outright, but one would have to be off their rocker to imagine that these dogs don’t want to LIVE in a way that treats them with dignity and kindness. That’s the right they deserve…not to die from some ludicrously misguided gaslighting excuse that you’re somehow SAVING them from a horrible existence. You’ve already done saved them. Now give them what they DESERVE, not what your laziness pretends is ok.

Stop. Gaslighting. Us.

The dogs you “rescue,” animal advocates, and even the media you dupe into spouting this insanity deserve better than what we’ve been given. For a nonprofit who brings in SO MUCH MONEY, you have the MORAL OBLIGATION to treat the animals, the public, and everyone who donates to you with the respect we deserve.

The Promise You Make When You Remove a Dog from a Chain

How many times do you think Peta has promised someone giving up a dog that said dog will have a wonderful life? I’d bet thousands. I really don’t care about the lie you tell the families who chain their dogs. What I care about is the promise you make to that dog when you remove him/her from the chain.

Removing Sampson from his chain

I’ve done it a ton of times, and each and every time I’m aware of the promise I’m making them by doing so. I hold their lives, their hopes, their dreams, their futures in my hands. That’s a sacred and priceless trust that I have a moral imperative to take seriously. They need me to act according to my highest ideals in order to give them the future they deserve.

When you Violate that Trust, You Violate your Moral Imperative

I hold Peta in contempt for all these deaths. If you can’t give the dogs the chance they deserve, find someone who can. Don’t play God and Savior and then violate their most sacred right to life.

Peta will Never Change as Long as Newkirk is in Charge

These directives come from the top, and every employee who kills these dogs violates their rights, too. This is no different than those who claim they were “just following orders” in Nazi Germany. Until Newkirk is removed or passes, this will continue. Going up against Peta is like going up against Trump and his ilk. At best they will swat you away like the fly they laughably condemned Obama for. [Really, Peta? The hypocrisy is repulsive.] At worst they will go after you and discredit you for standing up to them.

I can only hope that someday this organization is led by someone with compassion and kindness, who puts their money where their mouth is instead of killing most of what they “rescue.” They have the funds to make a vast difference for chained dogs. They just need the will to do so.

My Apologies to The Dogs and Everyone Like Me Who Knows What They Do and Is Powerless to Stop Them

From the article: “Michael S. Williamson, the Post photographer, has two Pulitzer Prizes. He is professionally impassive. He did not lose his composure when he took photos of the Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco, from above, in a plane, with the death and devastation below, but when he is told what is about to happen, he bursts into tears. It’s hard to explain, but with animals, you are overwhelmed by their innocence and vulnerability.”

No, it’s not hard to explain. He knows it’s wrong, but he too is powerless to stop this monster with a reputation for standing uncompromisingly for animal’s rights. Hogwash.

Final tally on deaths? At least four that I can see. From just ONE Article. Mind blowing. They are all “justified” with BS excuses that the gullible buy and cluck their tongues over, wishing it had had a better ending.

BUT IT COULD HAVE. Each rescued dog could have had the gift of TIME and KINDNESS that they deserved.

“Nachminovitch feels that PETA has no choice but to euthanize Monster. He is at least 8 years old and very sick, unpredictably emotionally damaged, big and potentially dangerous. He has a terminal case of heartworm — a test at PETA confirms it. He is unadoptable. Best-case scenario is that after a brief day or two of freedom he’d be put back in a cage, in a shelter, to his terror, and then euthanized anyway.”

“Shortie, the terrified dog living in car parts, was too emotionally shattered to be adopted and was euthanized. Brandy, the boxer who squeezed through a five-inch gap in a fence, was found to be dying of cancer and euthanized, too. Dora, the dog in the carport, was irreversibly psychologically damaged, too high-strung and aggressive for adoption, and euthanized.”

Lame. Merry Christmas, from your Friends at Peta! Now Give Us Money. We Can Keep This Up ALL. YEAR. Long.