Where is Christmas for the Chained Dogs?

Even though I consider myself ‘retired’ from the day to day activist fight for freedom for chained dogs, I can’t help but feel the pain of their suffering more at Christmas than any other time of the year.

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Art we used on a Christmas card for DDB in 2005, by Rocky Shepheard.

After all, most of us get to enjoy the season with our families. We laugh, we eat, we drink, and we revel in the beauty of the lights and the merrymaking we look forward to all year long.

But what do these poor, mistreated beings have at this time of year? Bupkis. That’s what.

Nothing. Nada. The same as the rest of the year.

That’s why this poem by my friend and chained-dog warrior Jennifer Kanady hits so close to home for me. It expresses their pain, their longing, the immediacy of their needs, and so I’ve asked her for permission to share it with you.

Where is Christmas for me?

Holiday shoppers running to, running fro
Each cheerful face, shining bright with a glow.
Their arms piled high for gifts under their tree
But of the gift I dream, is a life running free.

I think to myself, Where is Christmas for me?

Frantically all day I bark and I strain,
But over and over I’m pulled down by my chain.
I so long to be part of all the holiday cheer
But all that awaits me, is thirst, hunger and fear.

“Christmas is coming!” shout the kids running inside
I could not get a glance from them no matter how hard I tried.
The wintry chill’s been biting terribly deep
My bones poking out, would make most folks weep.

Another lonely night comes, I lay my head on my paw
The shakes take hold of me…wait, is that something I saw?
YES! As I blink my eyes and both whimper and stare
A glowing light falls around me, as it warms the night air.

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Art we used in 2009 for the holidays, by Rocky Shepheard.

As a glorious being descends from above
I feel suddenly wrapped in both comfort and love.
“Hello there poor fellow” coos the heavenly being
“You’re in need of some aid, is what I am seeing.”

I muster the strength to lick her helping hand
The chain falls to the ground as I struggle to stand.
She scoops me up as I capture my breath
I felt that for certain she’d saved me from death.

In a fleeting moment I am wisked away
“Now here” she says sweetly, “is where you will stay.”
“In a loving home full of love and joy,
Is where you deserve to be, my precious boy.”

Smiling she laid me ‘front a crackling fire
Nestling me comfortably she did aspire.
“Here you will have all the comforts of life,
with a wonderful family, free of misery and strife.”

So THIS is how Christmas is suppose to be!
It had FINALLY happened to “little ol’ me!”

By Jennifer Kanady Dec 2018

Jennifer asks that if you witness suffering chained dogs, please kindly take this survey, watch promo and sign the petition, Thank you.

𝙉𝘼𝙏𝙄𝙊𝙉𝘼𝙇 𝙎𝙐𝙍𝙑𝙀𝙔 𝙇𝙄𝙉𝙆
https://tinyurl.com/ADFCAntiChainSurvey

🎬𝘾𝘼𝙈𝙋𝘼𝙄𝙂𝙉 𝙋𝙍𝙊𝙈𝙊 𝙊𝙉 𝙁𝘼𝘾𝙀𝘽𝙊𝙊𝙆🎬
https://tinyurl.com/ADFC-Anti-Chain-Promo-On-FB

𝙉𝘼𝙏𝙄𝙊𝙉𝘼𝙇 𝙋𝙀𝙏𝙄𝙏𝙄𝙊𝙉
https://tinyurl.com/National-Anti-Chain-Petition

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A Dream of Bears and Deer and a Nazi in Training

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A mama and three baby bears in my yard this summer

My world has always been colored by a love of animals, and my subconscious often sends me messages in dreams about my innermost turmoil through animal imagery.

Last night I dreamt that I looked out my kitchen window—as I do every morning—and saw a large group of bear corralling and attacking a smaller group of deer in my driveway. The dream felt so real and my fear for the deer so vivid that I woke myself before what I perceived would be certain slaughter occurred.

I shuddered, and immediately lamented that the dream used the real-life location of my driveway as opposed to a make-believe venue, because now I will get to experience that terror over and over each day until I’m lucky enough to bury it in the recesses of my mind.

That dream was followed up by a different dream, where my husband Joe and I went into a Christian church and were about to sit in a pew with some friends, but a drunk woman began vomiting into the seats. We went upstairs to get away from it, only to find a group of women and a little boy lounging on comfortable couches placed about the plushly-decorated room.

There was nowhere for me to sit other than beside the boy, who appeared to be about 4 years old. He immediately told me that I could sit there if I wasn’t a nigger, and I was shocked and horrified. I realized that even at such a young age, this child was being indoctrinated into the world of white supremacy and prejudice against his fellow countrymen.

I felt at a loss to help him, as I realized that no matter what I said in that moment, he would go home to a father who would continue his indoctrination.

I gently explained to him that inside the color of someone’s skin, they are just people like us, and they have all the same feelings and get hurt the same as we do when people are mean to them. He nodded his head somberly like he understood, and I saw for an instant his face change and a softness overcome him.

I knew he was young enough to see the truth, able to understand that all humans should be treated the same, but I also knew he would quickly forget our lesson and continue the ugly teachings when he went home.

I awoke with a heavy sadness weighing on my chest.

These two dreams are just a sample of my nightly mental walks of late, and illustrate the depth of horror I’m feeling about the state America today, and my own personal feeling of helplessness to stop it.

This is neither the country I love nor the country I want.

I’ve always had a fear of bears, even though theoretically I love and am fascinated by them. As a child I often dreamed a bear broke down the door of my home and was trying to kill me, a dream I would later realize was based on fears of my father’s abuse.

It’s therefore no coincidence that my subconscious would choose bears again to signify the aggressors in the dream, causing panic in the gentle creatures and a fear for their lives.

From the day Trump took the presidency, I warned others that his narcissism would destroy us all. I grew up in a family with a narcissistic father, and later married one too. I know and now understand the depths they go to in order to malign those who are not in favor.

However, what has happened since Trump took control has been even worse than I expected. Today we live with children in cages, women diminished, minorities belittled, and those who speak truth to power misrepresented as “fake news”. Our journalists are slain, our friends are maligned, and dictators are worshipped.

Democracy is dying before our very eyes at the teeth of Trump and his cronies, and I feel again the crushing hopelessness of childhood. My dreams are haunted, my waking moments obsessed.

This is the grip of the malignant narcissist as he attempts to break a country. Will we survive it? I honestly don’t know.

But I do know one thing: I will use what little power I have to vote this November, and pray that Virginia’s voting system isn’t broken into or controlled by the Russians or others with nefarious goals. Even though I hold only a tiny piece of power compared to those in control of our country, I know if we all combine our small chunks of influence we can overthrow the heart-wrenching society we are becoming.

If you want equal rights for all humans, and better rights for the animals we so often abuse on this planet, visit the voting booth and fight back in the only way we can.

From where I’m sitting, it appears to be our only hope.

Animal Advocate in Need of Kidney Donor; Please Share with All Your Animal Rescue Friends!

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

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.

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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.

When There’s a Fox in the Henhouse, aka a Traitor in the White House

When living with a narcissist, or under a narcissistic president, victims (citizens) often become numb.

Hopeless—at least until it becomes a fight for their lives.

Because the narcissist is so good at gaslighting, that he or she (yes, there are plenty of women narcissists) gathers a gaggle of groupies and easily convinces said groupies to punish and pummel the victims with whatever lies they’ve been fed, whereupon the victim ends up feeling crazy and helpless.

And alone.

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Here in America those who see the so-called president for what he is are far from alone. Yet we are accosted on a daily basis with lies, misdirection, and outright villainy by a government that has now proven itself to be nothing more than a puppet to Russia.

Even though after Helsinki this fact can no longer be dismissed for conjecture, we still have to put up with family and friends who say ridiculous things like “The media is to blame.” Or “Hillary’s emails.” Or “Barack Obama was a socialist dictator.”

None of which make sense OR does a thing to stop the fascist progression of our country.

Maybe those who hide and bury their heads in the sand do so because they feel hopeless and helpless, and, look, I totally get that. I’ve gone to DC to protest three times, made the phone calls, facebook posts and tweets, and signed a bazillion petitions, and yet it’s not nearly enough. I still feel like a slacker and need to do more.

Because after Helsinki, everyone in America who isn’t a white supremacist SHOULD HAVE THEIR EYES WIDE OPEN.

The man TOLD US EXACTLY WHAT HE IS.

The man betrayed America to our enemies. The man BLATANTLY SOLD US DOWN THE RIVER FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE.

And what I want to know is, WHO ARE WE? WHO ARE YOU?

He showed himself to be the traitor that he is. And if you aren’t, if our elected representatives aren’t, standing as ONE AMERICA to say this treasonous fool must go, then each and every one of you are complicit as well.

Trump took an oath to uphold our constitution, and he has failed in that oath, and must be removed from office. He has proven that he doesn’t hold the best interests of our country over himself repeatedly, but never more clearly has he shown that he puts Russia before us than he did in Helsinki.

My favorite quote from the articles I’ve read is as follows: “The fact is that [Trump]’s behaving like a controlled spy,” he said. “If all signs are that there’s a fox in the chicken coop, then don’t think that there was probably a lightning bolt — there’s probably a fox in the chicken coop.”Glenn Carle

Did you know that foxes don’t just kill one chicken and leave the rest? Nope. They kill them all.

I spoke to a girl who runs a local farm, where chickens run through the field and are bedded inside two mobile henhouses for protection each night. She told me they’d recently lost about 20 chickens that they couldn’t find the night before, and all 20 had been slain by a fox or foxes, yet not eaten.

These poor chickens were demolished and left where they lay to be discovered the next morning. Apparently foxes go into a murderous frenzy and kill everything—but then only take one to eat and leave the rest behind.

The U.S. is the henhouse.

Trump and Putin are the foxes.

And THEY ARE INSIDE.

Dig your heads out of the sand and stand up. Please. And for God’s sake, vote this November. It’s never been more crucial.

P.S. For those of you who come here for animal issues, consider this: Animals are nothing in Trump’s America. Do you really think those who cage kids at the border give a rat’s ass about protecting a dog on a chain? Come on. Even if your hands are full with rescued and dumped animals, make sure you vote these folks out this year, if you ever want a chance for better lives for the animals.

Long-time Pigeon Advocate Talks Pigeon Shoots and our “Smidgey Pidgey” Book

A don’t-miss interview with pigeon advocate Johnna Seeton after the release of my newest book, “Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament.”

Who Chains You

smidgeycover-series18loSmidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, now out in paperback, kindle, and audio from WCY Books and author Tamira Thayne, is dedicated in part to long-time pigeon advocate Johnna Seeton, who has worked for years in Pennsylvania to put an end to their horribly cruel pigeon shoots.

Who Chains You caught up to Johnna, and asked her some questions about this abusive practice and her efforts on behalf of the pigeons.

To make sure our audience is on the same page with us, what exactly are pigeon shoots?

Pigeon shoots are barbaric contests in which live pigeons are stuffed into small traps on the ground. These nine traps, which are electronically controlled by an operator, are situated within a scoring ring on a field. The shooter stands in a certain spot with his or her double barreled shotgun and yells, “Pull!”

The operator pushes a button which releases a single…

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An Open Animal Rescue Like No Other Before: When Love is the Motivation

I was, am, and probably will always be, the lone wolf type…which is often not a good thing when trying to make a difference in the world.

When I was rescuing chained dogs, even though I instinctively knew the more people I could get to stand together the more difference we could make, I struggled to bring that dream to fruition.

Yes, DDB had more success than had ever before been seen for chained dogs, but I dreamed of a day when a community would stand as one against a dog chainer, and INSIST, no, DEMAND, that the dog be given up to a better life. Where community pressure and love for the dogs would blow away any ridiculous notions of property rights as they applied to our animal friends.

Mostly, my stands for animals resulted in just me being arrested, and while that created a ripple, it didn’t create a wave.

But this week that wave was created on behalf of another animal: chickens caught in the brutality of factory farming, and—even though I had nothing to do with it—I couldn’t be prouder of the 500 people who took action on behalf of the animals.

THIS is how lasting change will be made…

By an entire community of people standing, in love, and for reasons of love, against those of ownership, hatred, disregard, and abuse.

The folks who participated in this action have my deepest respect, and my deepest thanks. Below, I highlight the words of Wayne Hsiung, leader of Direct Action Everywhere, as well as photos from his page.

Thank you, Wayne, and each and every one of the 500 people who stood by your side. You’ve done what so many of us have dreamed of.

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From Wayne Hsiung:

“Just a small handful of the powerful photos from yesterday’s #MassOpenRescue. We walked into a vile factory farm with around 500 activists, and we walked out with 37 lives.

• When we first walked down into the facility, a huge group of activists with white flowers were tasked with supporting us, as we confronted hell on earth. (Another group stood outside on the public road, to be our public face for the media.) This image shows the buffering effect that our support team had on us. We could literally look up and see that we had allies to back us, and to bear witness, as employees or police assaulted us.

• The police arrived within 30 minutes. I discussed with them the “right to rescue” – our statutory and common law right to enter animal abusing facilities and take victims out. They mostly refused to listen, and just wanted us to get out. But the fact that we had a legal basis for our actions gave them pause. And our rescuers continued their life-saving work as I negotiated with the police and owners for most of the next hour.

• Despite being commanded by the owner to leave animals behind, and in the face of extremely intense negotiations with officers who were armed and prepared to use violence to stop us, we walked out with 10+ birds, almost 1.5 hours after we first arrived. We walked right past a police line, with flowers in our hands and love in our hearts. We showed the officers the rotting, cannibalized birds in our hands, and they declined to stop us. So the last 10 birds got home, allowing us to rescue 37 in total.

• We had been promised—by the owner and the police—the right to resume our inspection and rescue any dying birds. But the owner took that off the table, and refused to allow the media to join us in inspecting the facility. I suspect they just wanted to separate me and other leadership from the rest of the activists, arrest us, then hope that eventually the other activists would dissipate in the heat of the sun.

• But that didn’t happen. The activists on site felt strongly that we had the right to remove, at least, the injured animals — and yes, perhaps them all — so we walked back on the farm, nonviolently with red flowers in one hand, and rescue packages in the other. And 40 of us were arrested as we descended on that police line.

• There are so many other stories to tell, but here are 4 of the most important. Thanks to each and every one of you who was at #ALC2018. You are the ones who saved these 37 lives, and garnered media attention across the globe.”

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Join Direct Action Everywhere to be part of history for animals.

Dog Mom v. Human Mom: Who’s “Got it Easier”?

A funny Mother’s Day comparison for you all. Happy Mother’s Day, my friends!

Who Chains You

By Tamira Thayne

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It’s that sacred day of the year. You know the one—the one where we moms get to do whatever it is WE want to do. We get to be completely selfish, laze around in bed, and make inordinate demands on our family, like “Clean up your own mess”, or “Run out to the liquor store and bring Mommy a half gallon of whatever’s on sale, there’s a good lad.”

That kinda thing.

Except for some reason I’m already on my second load of laundry and contemplating whether I really DO want to vacuum the floor on Mother’s Day.[Pretty sure the answer is NO…Yes, it’s NO.]

As I was peeling away the hair-covered sheets from the dog and cat beds—and trying to contain the runoff within said sheets so it didn’t further hairify the floor—I contemplated how much of said fur was about to be…

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