The New York Stork Brings My Kind of Babies…and More

That Thing I Both Dread and Look Forward To Has Come to Pass—I Met Cats

Yes, this early

I know that you know that I love critters. I try to be an equal opportunity critter admirer, but a loosely-guarded secret of mine is that cats are my fav. I can’t help it! As early as I can remember I was dragging cats around with me, apparently even preferring them to my Easter basket and, gasp, chocolate.

I love how soft their pelts can be, and I most adore snuggling up with them and burying my face in their oh-so-delicious fur. It’s my favorite form of therapy.

As such I’ve been both looking forward to meeting cats on the road and dreading it, because if they are in dire straits I know I will be forced to take action on their behalf. Which sounds like a lot of emotional pain.

Plus, if the cats are the “property” of another, the situation can and often does end badly, since these folks are seldom interested in help or opinions. Rescue peeps encounter situations like this daily. God love ya.

Nuggets. You’re welcome.

For some inexplicable reason, we found ourselves spending a month in New York state, including three weeks at a campground outside of Malone near the Canadian border.

Here, as fortune would have it, lived three striped brother cats.

These boys “belonged” to the owners of the campground.

They were not neutered.

And often hungry.

However—being cats—they made ends meet by wisely working the campground crowd for their fill of snacks and snuggles.

It didn’t take them long to identify their softest touch, me, who scrambled to serve them a heaping bowl of yum anytime they made their way to my doorstep.

The most gregarious of the three is this boy; I nicknamed him “Finally,” because I was FINALLY in some kitty-lovin’ heaven. Once he marked me as his primary food source I saw him every day, and was rewarded many times over with purrs and snuggles when his tank was topped off and he was feeling a bit nappy.

It wasn’t long before his shyer brother joined us (all stripes, no white), but I didn’t meet the third and final brother until we were readying for departure. By this point I was totally in love with Finally and Furrily, and worried about them getting enough to eat when I was gone. Did the owners expect them to hunt for their food? Would they provide more nourishment when the camping season was over? Would they get them the vet care they needed, neuter them? I didn’t know.

I prepped two big bowls of food that morning and fretted when the boys were no-shows. I tucked the offerings behind a tree so the cats could find them but they wouldn’t be so visible (and tossed!) by campground staff. Then I spotted the now-familiar stripes and white paws sitting down for a bite, and raced over to greet my baby. Finally! But wait…there was no white stripe on his nose! Here indeed was the elusive third brother, in coloring the middle ground between the other two boys. He ravenously gobbled down both bowls, then I quickly refilled them before I left in hopes that all three could enjoy one more meal on me.

Now I think of them often and wonder if they’re ok. As much as I enjoyed seeing their little faces and providing them sustenance, I’m probably better off NOT meeting any more campground cats. I’ll be plum overwhelmed with all the fretting.

I Love Me Some Rivers

We camped beside a lovely river in Malone, the sound of which provided a soothing background noise for sleepytime. I even bought a tube and bobbed on down the rapids, with Joe taking slow-mo video of me making a run over the tiny waterfall.

I had a blast! Until, that is…I discovered my new wedding band that Joe bought before the trip was missing from my left hand. Oh, god…I lost my wedding ring. In the river. From which odds of recovery were virtually nil.

Quick. Hide me from Joe! Oh, don’t bother: I have a blabbermouth, so I immediately fessed up. Needless to say, Joe was an unhappy camper and I’ve been in the naughty chair ever since. Way to spoil my own fun. Note to self, and you if you’re listening: Remove all rings and other jewelry before tubing rivers.

What’s Even WORSE than The Fridge Opening During Travel? Damn DampRid, That’s What.

DampRid starts working as soon as it’s exposed to air. The little round whatever-they-ares are full of vim and vigor, and before you know it they’ve sucked up all the moisture from the environment and the little plastic container is now full of liquid instead of pellets. Genius, you say to yourself. I need 100 more of these things. NO!

No you don’t.

Trust me, this is one of those lessons we learned the hard way. The real hard way, and so maybe my tale will inspire you to CHOOSE ANOTHER PATH. Duck those DampRid “geniuses.

You see, the top of the DampRid container is just latticework because the air needs to get IN, but if you somehow spill the ensuing liquid? Just throw the entire camper away and start fresh. It’s your best option. (Don’t believe me? Check out these poor frantic bastards trying to get the stuff OUT of their carpets, closets, and floors.)

The day started off so lovely. We patted ourselves on the back for ensuring the fridge door was locked, and I told Joe, “Wow, we didn’t even fight this morning getting on the road! We’re really getting the hang of this camping thing.”

Universe: “Not so fast, ya losers.”

When we reached Malone it was my job to get Tootie into the camper and set up with her food and water, open the pull-outs, and start putting the insides back together. Joe deals with the outside stuff like the septic, water, and electric. I immediately spotted the new DampRid container on its side beside the stove, but assumed it was no biggie. “You got this, Tami,” I sez to myself. “Just a teensy spill, you’ll have this wiped up in a jiff.”

But a half hour later when Joe finished his chores and had the temerity to step inside, he found me in a puddle of goo, tossing potatoes out the camper door, and crying that it’s everywhere and IT. WILL. NOT. GO. AWAY.

And it burns!

The stuff is just wrong. When you get a paper towel and try to wipe it up it just IGNORES YOU. Gives you the natty natty boo boo raspberry. And stays right where it is. I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re still finding it on the floor after EVERY move, and we DON’T KNOW WHERE IT’S COMING FROM.

Time to buy another camper.

Other Coolness from New York

We caught up and went to dinner with a couple we met when we were stationed in Germany more than 30 years ago; neither of us had seen them since. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a group photo as a memento of the auspicious occasion, so you’ll just have to take my word on this one. Shout out to Bob and Carmen for a wonderful reunion.

This pic is from Joe’s going away party in 1987, and yes, we’re well-aware we don’t look like this anymore, but thanks for pointing it out! The years have not been very very kind…

We visited Fort Ticonderoga, at a whopping price of $25 each for admission to the property. We thought that was steep, but it did include a tour of the fort, the museums, and a trip up Mt. Defiance as well. The tour guide—umm, how to put this kindly—babbled and rambled for at least 350 hours (or 20 minutes, but it was HOT outside), detailing each and every battle that took place there until my eyes glazed over, my brain short-circuited, and I fell from a parapet. Not really, but that might have been preferable.

Joe won BIG at the casino, a whopping $14, while I lost my whole $10—which sounds about right. We took a cruise of Lake George on the Mohican (lovely), went to a demolition derby (trumpery and covidy), and broke down and started paying Elon Musk $135 a month for Starlink. We don’t regret the decision, though, because internet out here has been anywhere from nonexistent to horrible. We were at our wits end, I tell ya! Now we can stream and do most anything we want online, and phew. Relief.

A Chitty Sitcheeashun and a One Trip Overkill to Canadia, Eh?

Showing off my considerable panorama skills. No, I wasn’t drunk, but Joe looked skinny so he was a fan.

Maine, Part Deux, and Canadia, Parts Un & Deux

We wanted to skip on over to Canada (or Canadia, as the hubs calls it) without taking our camper, so for Part Deux of our Maine stay we picked a KOA campground in Houlton, Maine, just a couple miles from the Canadian border.

We scored a nice end spot, and overall the campground was neat and well-cared for, better than most. Moving day sucks in general (picture making your house mobile once a week to get what I mean) but there’s always a twinge of excitement too: What will the next campground be like? Will there be bears and moose and no trumpers and we’ll meet our new best friends who are as cool as us (yes, I understand the bar is low)? OOOh, the possibilities are limited only by the camping imagination!

Inevitably when we arrive we see that there are no bears or moose, and we don’t know who in their right mind gave this place a five, but hope does spring eternal, eh? Without hope for better, I presume humanity would just melt down into a puddle of depressed goo and call it a day.

Joe planned an overnight trip and hotel stay at the Chateau Saint John in Saint John, New Brunswick, so we could explore the Bay of Fundy and whatever else might catch our eye.

Although the room was pretty normal in terms of a mid-range hotel, I hadn’t realized just how affected I’d been by our new RV lifestyle. I was agog at the size of the place, plopping my booty down on the FULL-LENGTH couch and calculating that our room was twice the size of our camper. Not only that, but I mentally installed a small kitchenette next to the wardrobe and declared that I could totally live here.

[On the bright side, when we do decide to buy a house again it should be affordable…anything the size of a hotel room and I’ll feel like a queen.]

Saint John is home to the Reversing Falls, which we eventually came to understand as a function of the ocean meeting the Saint John River—when the tide’s low the “falls”—more like rapids or eddying pools of water—go in the direction of the bay, and when it’s high tide they reverse and go upriver. According to this link, “five thousand years ago, sea level was 30 meters or 100 feet lower in this area. Native people living here at that time enjoyed an impressive waterfall!” Now? Think whirlpools.

I wouldn’t bother going onto the Skywalk, a paid attraction, because the views are better from the bridge and the park on the other side anyway, and they’re both free.

As we walked across the bridge I was touched to see a series of messages aimed at stopping people from leaping into the churning waters below. My humble gratitude…

The next day we drove the Fundy Trail Parkway before heading back to the campground and the Good Ol’ US of A. I confess I hadn’t missed the country I call home due to all the political turmoil and general slide into the horrors of Gilead. We paid $11 each to explore the Bay of Fundy coastline, a true beauty which put me in mind of the drive along the California coastline.

Unbeknownst to Us, a Chitty Sitcheeashun Unfolds Back at Camp

I was nervous about leaving Tootie alone in the camper overnight, a reminder of why I’d initially planned the trip without the comfort or concerns of traveling with companion critters.

Joe assured me that the camper was the same as a little house, meaning that while we were gone Tootie would have electric (i.e. air conditioning) as well as her meals and a clean litterbox all available to her. She’d be fine.

I fretted “what if” the power went out, or “what if” someone broke in, or “what if” a bad storm blew across while we were away. Would Mommy’s Little Girl be ok?

I let my daughter know where we were staying—just in case the worst should happen—so she could rush up to re-rescue my little Tootiekins.

It would turn out that there WAS a bad storm while we were in Saint John, and the cozy, sleep-inducing pitter patter of rain on the roof is far from the reality of enduring a storm in the equivalent of a rather large tin can. Tootie was probably scared—well, more afraid than usual—but at least she still had AC, my main priority.

As I jumped out of the car and raced to the camper door, my subconscious noted a whiff of doody in the air; I didn’t spare it a second thought, though, because my priority was first and foremost Tootie’s well-being. Besides, it didn’t take me long to learn that “whiffs of doody” are a part of everyday life in the RV world. Dogs are frequently dropping off packages here-there-and-everywhere, and each camper is sporting its own personal sewage system.

Chit Happens.

After making sure my baby was ok—she was—I sagged into my chair and snapped my recliner back into the “AHHH” position. “Finally, all is well and I’m home, relaxin’,” I sez to meself.

“Honey, we have to move spots,” Joe bellowed [at least in my mind], bursting through the door. “We’re right next to the septic tank, and someone flushed wipes and clogged the line. It’s overflowing all over the place out here.”

Oh, that’s what I smelled?

[I didn’t think to take photos of our noxious dilemma, no. And I was not the picture of wifely acquiescence; let’s just say “words were said” and fur was flown.]

Eventually, we did move to a spot further up, we got one night free, and the septic broke two more times while we were there. Luckily by then we were well clear of that particular war zone.

A path along the river in Houlton

We Shouldna’ Done it Twice

Joe and I made the mistake one time of going for a jaunt into Canada. And by jaunt I mean just a little in and out (like an hour or two), unplanned, on-the-same-day kinda’ trip. We thought nothin’ of it. Joe had flown with me to an animal conference in Montana and we rented a car for the final leg to the event location. When we realized our hotel was close to Canada we thought we’d just tuck in to have a look-see and then come along right out again.

They thought we were drug smugglers.

I mean, they didn’t say that to our faces, but apparently anyone who crosses the border for just a matter of hours is highly suspect of being some kind of smuggler, and drugs seem like the obvious choice.

[This is one of those things you don’t get if you’re not a bad guy. We were super confused when we got searched going into both countries.]

After we barely escaped with our lives, we made a pact never again to go into Canadia for the day.

Then we did it again.

There just wasn’t much to do in Houlton. Joe made the durn-fool decision to look for more of nature’s wonders in Canada, and found a covered bridge and some falls not too far from us.

“Hey, we should go see this stuff in Canada on Thursday,” he told me.

“We said we’re not going into Canada for the day ever again: remember Montana, remember the pact?”

“No, I don’t remember that,” he eyed me quizzically. “I’m sure it will be fine.”

“Right,” I grumbled, knowing I would live to regret my mealy-mouthed ways.

They thought we were drug smugglers.

I mean, they didn’t say that to our faces, but apparently anyone who crosses the border for just a matter of hours is highly suspect of being some kind of smuggler, and drugs seem like the obvious choice. [I know, dejavue.]

We were questioned extremely thoroughly by a grumpy Canadian border guard [apparently they exist] then the truck was searched by two more on our way into Canada, and when we came back even the U.S. guy eyed us up mighty suspicious-like.

This time I mean it. I’m NEVER-ever-AGAIN going into Canada just for the day. Trust me, you shouldn’t either.

My Bookclub of One

Campgrounds have this cool free library kinda deal—often in the laundry room or rec area—where you can leave or take a book that strikes your fancy. Sometimes these libraries are massive, spanning bookshelves, and sometimes a half dozen titles sit pitifully on a stand.

Even though I brought both kindle and paperback books with me, I decided to choose one random title per stop as a way to expand my book vocabulary.

At this stop I chose The Summer I Dared, by Barbara Delinsky, and wouldn’t you know it was about an island of lobster fishermen? Sigh. But at least one of them was concerned about conservation and ecology etc. so I guess that’s something…and, she writes well. The protagonist of the story is a woman who always neglected her own wants and needs to please her family and her husband, and she finally says “No more.” I wonder how many women can relate to that? Oh, I’d probably be a bad book blogger, eh?

A Couple More Funnies

I bought this magnet
And this one…
Found at Maine Walmart. Are you kidding me? Yes, please.
Me: “Aw, I love cows.” Joe: “No, you’re not adopting one.” Me: “Of course not. You gotta adopt TWO so they have a friend.”

Just when you think you and your hubby couldn’t be any more different.

Joe and I sometimes use the same first Wordle word so we can compete more fairly. I agitated for this concession because he was beating me by an average of 3-1, but I contended that he had more luck at picking the first words and so the results could be swayed. (I learned this logic from drumpf.) Now I think I’m slightly ahead by 4-3, but on whatever day this was (above) we both used ALL the same words…isn’t that romantic! Maybe I do love him after all…

P.S. We toured a potato chip factory in Canada…maybe some things are best left unseen. Just sayin’.

Maine, Maine, Where Have You Baine All My Life?

The view from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Oh, my goodness. I’d never baine to Maine before (yes, it’s a word, they’ll be adding it to dictionary.com any second) but I’m in LOOO-VVVV-EEEEE! Where to start?

One of the goals of our current nomadic lifestyle is to find a state we’d be happy retiring to, and for me Maine is leading the pack thanks to its beauty, coastline, lakes and rivers, and lack of drumpf signs—proven to cause eye spasms and other sundry stress-related illnesses in those with dumpty-allergies. However, we have many miles to travel before such a lofty decision can be made, so I’m tucking my oh-so-humble opinion away for later perusal as we traverse the rest of this fine nation.

The Fridge Fracas

I told you we were total camping newbs, right? Turns out this is good news for you, because I’ll have an extra large barrel of “mistakes were made” stories to dole out as we go along. Yippee!

It seems that the refrigerator locking mechanism, seen above, becomes an important tool to prevent meltdowns and loss of food resources as said camper gets yanked along from Point A to Point B. In this case we undertook a 248-mile trek from Littleton, Massachusetts to Ellsworth, Maine, where we plopped ourselves at the Patten Pond campground for an 11-day stay.

We’d been on the road for only twenty minutes when Joe said to me, “Hey, did you remember to lock the fridge door?”

I gave him the side-eye. Was I supposed to? “No, why, did you?”

“No,” he frowned, watching the camper sway in the rearview. “It’ll probably be fine, though, right?”

“Yeah,” I said in my most reassuring voice. “I’m sure it’s all good.”

NO! No it isn’t, ya dorks! By the time we bounced ourselves into our next campground, most of the fridge and half of the freezer were rolling around on the camper floor. We were able to salvage much of it, and we considered ourselves lucky when we saw what DIDN’T fall out of the fridge—the oversize jar of dill pickles with its requisite buttload of pickle juice. Whew, that was a close one…

Who’s gonna tell ‘im?

Animals in Name Only

The Patten Pond Camping Resort had their streets named with a local animal and then a word starting with the same letter. (Except for Owl’s Way, which just messes with my OCD.) “OOh, how exciting,” methinks to myself. “I would totally name my streets that way too. (Except for Owl’s Way, which—as I’ve mentioned—just messes with my OCD.) “I can’t WAIT for all the animals I’m about to meet! In 3-2-1…”

A Wise Bear brings Wine

Have I told you I like animals? Maybe. Well, I do, and the highlight of each stop for me is always the wildlife. But alas, in Maine I was stymied at every turn. We took the Nature Tour boat ride and only saw seals from afar (nah, we won’t take our binoculars, why would we need those?), hiked and encountered no bears or rattlesnakes (which was probably good, though, now that I think on it) and didn’t even share our campsite with a chipmunk.

But I know they’re out there somewhere; they’re just waiting to get to know me better before revealing themselves. The supply of wooded acreage in Maine is ample and the animals have tons of space to avoid humans, which I grant them is the most smartest move.

The Campground

The Schoodic Peninsula, SHHHH, Don’t Tell Anyone

We found out about The Schoodic Peninsula from the volunteers who run the Downeast Scenic Railroad (above), which we tested out on Sunday. They only do excursions on Saturdays and Sundays, and are a nonprofit with some dedicated volunteers at the helm. As long as you’re expecting a slow, pleasant ride through some woodlands and the town of Ellsworth, you’ll get your money’s worth.

The bottom of Schoodic Peninsula is part of the Acadia National Park, but most people don’t go over there because it’s an hour drive from Bar Harbor and the more well-known Park attractions like Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole. For me Schoodic was the hands-down winner, both because of the gorgeous views AND because of the lack of crowds.

So I’ll tell you about it but let’s just keep it between us…if you can only pick one, pick Schoodic. If you can only go on a weekend, choose Schoodic. The Mount Desert (pronounced dessert, I know, don’t get me started) park area is ALWAYS more crowded. Always. No matter the day.

The first day we drove to Schoodic, we set up our chairs along a gorgeous swath of coastline and I commenced reading and snacking with abandon; “ah, this is the life,” methinks to myself. “Finally, I’m livin’ the dream—beautiful weather, beautiful view, quiet, treats, and a book.”

Unfortunately for me, Joe was as antsy as a kid on a sugar high. “Shouldn’t we go hike the trail now before it gets too late?” he blurted out on more than one occasion, ruining my peaceful enjoyment of my surroundings.

“Argh,” says I. “I just wanna read and take in the scenery, why can’t I do that? Fine, then,” I grumble, mumbling to myself about how I’m comin’ back here and reading All. Damn. Day.

Which I did. Only the next time I played it smarter: I made him walk BEFORE we sat by the seashore, and told him he had to stay until I was ready to leave this time. He took a nap, which was fine and dandy by me. The longer he slept, the longer I got to relax.

At Cadillac Mountain we met an artist who was painting the scenery on tiny little copper canvases; seeing talent in action is so inspiring. [Should I take up art again? Nah…I’ll just watch others create, SOOO much easier.] We also explored my fear of heights further (yes, it’s alive and well) and Joe’s unfortunate need to make jokes about plummeting over the edge as my anxiety skyrockets. I’ve heard this is a man thing, but let me be the first to assure men this IS NOT HELPFUL. IN ANY WAY. Thank you.

Should we Talk about the Lobster in the Room?

One of my animal rescue friends texted me: “Tami, make sure you go out on a working lobster boat while you’re in Maine.” We’re still buds because of my kindness and easygoing nature (eh-hem), but I do have to admit he got an earful in return.

I mean, I was already engaged in a fruitless attempt to ignore the very existence of the Maine lobster fishing fetish. I hadn’t realized at first that the buoys I was seeing throughout the water belonged to lobster traps. I thought they were guidance buoys, and when it dawned on me what they actually were, Joe used his patented technique to distract me from the coming animal rant. “Do you see seals out there?”

My head whipped around, “Seals, where?”

“I didn’t see any, I just wondered if you did. Any chipmunks?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “I know what you’re doing, ya sneaky bastage.” Truth be told, it usually works, because then we bicker about his distraction techniques instead of him listening to me rant, which he must find an acceptable tradeoff.

Luckily for me he doesn’t like seafood.

Bar Harbor itself is quite lovely, with a plethora of restaurants, harbor and Acadia tours, and souvenir shops. I decided that when I was annoyed by an animal industry, I would buy myself a passive-aggressive t-shirt to make myself feel better.

Animals eating people is always a good choice. Until I get scarfed down by a bear of course…then it won’t be so funny, eh? But I’ll be dead, so maybe I’ll still get a good chuckle out of the irony of it all.

I Can’t Believe it Happened!

Last week when I suggested campgrounds prohibit political signage (you realize before drumpf NO ONE was dragging political signs camping with them, right? Who in their right mind?) I figured it was a pipe dream. But when we hit Maine the campground rules had the following:

Halle-effin-lujah! It finally happened. Now I can’t leave Maine.

Tootius Maximus Gets a Fix

Everyone’s got their way to escape, eh? But Tootie, as a feral cat, doesn’t have much of a life outside this camper. She’s certainly not a cat I can outfit with a harness and leash and walk around the campground, or even let her sit outside with me. She would be terrified and find a way to wiggle out of the harness and that would be it for her. She’d be gone. And I’d be wrasslin’ with a whole tankful of guilt and remorse.

But when I see her sitting in front of the screen door and wistfully looking outside I get sad for her too. Like her mommy and daddy, she used to eat her feelings, but now she can’t because of her throat issue, so she’s forced to eat to live rather than live to eat.

I wanted to enrich her life, but she’s not much for toys at her age. “She does love herself some catnip,” I muse. “Except she usually makes a huge mess by rolling in it and eating it before finally passing out covered in the stuff.”

Still, it was one thing I could offer her to give her a moment of escape, no matter how brief her “high” lasts. Joe picked some up for me at the store and the second it arrived she was out of her “office” and searching for it. This was rare for her in the middle of the day, so I knew she had caught the scent but just couldn’t find it. After letting the anticipation build for just a few more moments I put a small amount on a towel and let her go for it. She did not disappoint! I tried giving her more the next night, but she showed little interest, so I guess catnip will be a once a week special treat so she has something to look forward to!

My friends are starting to send me memes with a little something in common. Should I be worried?

East Hampton, CT, Land of Father’s Days, Anniversaries, and Family Visits

One of the funny signs seen while camping in East Hampton

Happy Father’s Day, Male Readers! What, that was a week and a half ago? Well, no matter. Keep in mind that I thought of you that week, and make this retroactive to last Sunday like a good lad. There ya go.

Here, I’m leaving you this funny sign that was probably written by a man, which doesn’t in any way interfere with its ability to amuse. You’re welcome.

Who doesn’t love the word “amok”?

Camping signs are a definite “thing” out here in the RV world, and I’m all for anything that can make me lol. Therefore I’ll be kind enough to share with you any gems I come across in my travels. No need to thank me—I’m generous like that.

I love the word “amok,” don’t you? It’s just funny without even saying another word, which is a rarity. In fact, one of my favorite lines from a movie is in Two Weeks Notice, where Hugh Grant is eating cheesecake and he says to Lucy, aka Sandra Bullock, “There’s something amok with this cheesecake.” In his English accent? Hilarious. [Turns out it was made from tofu, which probably wasn’t as good back in the early 2000s, but is downright tasty these days. I’m looking at you, Daiya.]

Signs in Campgrounds Should be Funny or Kind…Not Anxiety-Producing, Amiright?

Turns out there are signs that aren’t amusing in any way, and I don’t understand why campgrounds won’t make their sites a politics-free zone. You know the ones I’m talking about. Ones that, say, worship a man who led a cult to assault our Capitol and our democracy? Yeah, that one. We trundled our way up to Connecticut, a blue state, eager to escape the stress-inducing world of drumpfdom.

The first sign I saw as we pulled into the Markham Meadows Campground read, “You are Now Entering a Stress-Free Zone.”

“Oh, Hallelujah,” methinks to myself. “Finally, I’m in a sane place and can relax into the moment.” Then we schlepp around the corner to park our camper, and lo and behold run headlong into yet another disturbing sign of drumpf worship—and it’s directly across the pond from us. I despair that this particular disease has spread well beyond the borders of trumpland, and folks like me are being ideologically assaulted everywhere we go. Bah.

All these campgrounds already give campers a list of rules you have to abide by; how difficult would it be to add one little rule that reads: “No political signage. Everyone is out here to leave daily life behind, so please leave politics at home and be kind to your neighbors. Thank you.” There. Problem solved!

The 11th Anniversary Bargain

We celebrated our 11th Anniversary on our first whole day in East Hampton, and a bargain to forego cards and gifts FOR THIS YEAR ONLY was struck in advance due to space constraints in the camper. I had to be very careful to ensure that the hubs understood this was a ONE-YEAR EMBARGO only, because he’s fully capable of extending the policy ad infinitum if I don’t keep an eye on him every second. How do I know that? There is precedent.

Consider this . . . every year we hold this particular discussion at Easter:

Me: Are we doing anything for Easter?

Him: We aren’t religious, we don’t celebrate Easter.

Me. The Bunny doesn’t care if you’re religious or not, The Bunny brings candy for ALL.

Him: But we aren’t religious.

Me: Buy me some fucking candy.

See what I’m sayin? He’s a sneaky one. He has also attempted to deploy the same argument in favor of boycotting Christmas, but that test balloon never made it off the ground. I’m watching you, Bud! (But I’ll always love you…)

We ate breakfast at a little local diner, and then headed in the direction of the coastline hoping for some beach time. We landed at a harbor in Old Saybrook where there wasn’t a beach per se, but there was putt-putt, so we shrugged our shoulders and the challenge was on.

Joe and I are both a trifle too competitive. He will deny it of course, but I for one shamefully admit to being the bearer of a competitive nature; he won’t even play Scrabble with me anymore because he claims that I get mad if I don’t win by ENOUGH. I don’t think he has any evidence to back him up on this foul accusation, though, so it will have to forever be his word against mine.

Hubs with his tiny putter

I immediately claimed the right to choose his putter for him and handed him the tiniest one for the tots. To get even he pulled the one for Andre the Giant out of the rack for me, and the game commenced.

I was distracted by the local pokemon go action (don’t be judgy) and by the third hole I was already bleeding profusely. I made the ultimate sacrifice of putting my phone away so I could focus on the task at hand, but my luck never improved and I was soundly trounced by my loving husband.

After the match we once again went in search of a beach, but Old Saybrook was charging between $25-$40 just to park at one of their beaches if you weren’t a resident. Highway robbery, I tell ya’. Nah…that wasn’t happening.

Visiting the CT coastline? I’d recommend doing a little better homework than we did.

In the end a nice dinner (Impossible burger for me, yum) and a couple different ciders rounded out the day nicely.

Grandma Pat and the Laundry Conundrum

This would come up as a topic of discussion at some point, so we might as well thrash it out now. I have a teeny tiny laundry issue—that’s not really even worth mentioning really—except it impacts my joy of travel.

I spend less time pondering the fun things we can do on our trip than the following crazily important questions: “What about laundry? Can I do laundry there? Is it gross? Crowded? What if I can’t do laundry for weeks at a time? How will I survive?”

I’ve never liked laundry to pile up, because then it seems overwhelming, like it’s something you’ll never get done. I’ve got enough overwhelminginity in my life without adding dirty laundry to the list. My fairly normal OCD worsened from my years in dog rescue, because then EVERY DAY became overwhelming. Not only did my laundry need to be done but all the dog laundry too. AAAHHHH!

I felt a touch bit better knowing we were going to visit Rayne’s grandma Pat; not only because I love her to pieces, but also because she’s a laundry nut too. She’s constantly doing laundry and even grabbing our laundry when we visit, so I knew she’d be onboard with us dragging our dirty clothes along behind us. We even washed our sheets and our comforter, so I can breathe a little easier for a week or two! Whew.

Dishwasher Despots

Every family’s got one: that person who knows the ONLY right way to load the dishwasher, and spends half their lives re-arranging it along behind the rest of the family. God help ya’ if you have more than one!

Joe is ours. Brynn and I never cared enough to argue about it with him, so we’d just shrug our shoulders and save our energy for more important battles. We don’t have a dishwasher out here on the road, and I think Joe relished the opportunity to put his considerable skills to use at Pat’s house.

Except here he ran into an immutable force: a fellow Dishwasher Despot, in her own territory! He was outgunned. As it turns out, there’s MORE than one right way to load the dishwasher, and Pat took the opportunity to school him on the REALLY real correct way: hers.

I simply sat back and enjoyed the show. In fact, “relished it” wouldn’t be a stretch. Sometimes it’s just the little things, ain’t it?

This week we’re in Massachusetts, and I will regale you with more splendiforous tales soon. In the meantime, enjoy some more photos from the campground and other Connecticut delights.

Oh, and P.S.

I put my Imagine: Life on a Chain novella into paperback and kindle formats if you’re interested in reading it or purchasing it as a gift. Audiobook to come soon.

I will definitely be offering nonprofit pricing to any groups who’d like to purchase to give away or sell at booths. Just reach out to me through my site at tamirathayne.com.

I don’t have it up on the site yet because I’m still figuring out how to make time for writing and publishing while I’m on the road, but I’ll get there!

Imagine: Life on a Chain

by Tamira Thayne

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.

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…

• Based on true-life stories of rescue dogs •

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-954039-20-9
Paperback https://www.amazon.com/dp/1954039204

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B4BD34S8

Untethered Tour Stop One: Home in PA, an Engagement or Marriage?, and One Angry Feral Kitty

The Untethered Tour has officially begun! I’m not gonna claim that our first stop was particularly auspicious by any means…but every beginning is still a beginning, no?

New to the blog? If so, all you need to know to catch up is that the hubs, yours truly, and my feral cat Tootie are spending the next year traveling the U.S. in search of freedom (not the idiotic “patriot” kind), adventure (no rock climbing for this girl), and any interesting animals and people we meet along the way.

Since the three of us are freakishly shy, you can expect us to meet more animals than people. And by “meet animals,” I probably mean just awkwardly spying on them in the wild. Through the window. As one does.

Before we could commence on this daring adventure, however, we had to be out of our house by the end of April and Joe still had over a month of work to go. So he dropped me (and dear Tootance) at my mother and stepfather’s house in Bellwood, PA, so I could make myself useful for a couple weeks. My mom suffers from advanced dementia, is no longer verbal, and unable to care for herself; her husband Chuck is determined that she won’t die alone in a nursing home, which is so “god love the man” of him.

Mom with Chuck and her caregiver Celia. We went for walks on nice days.

I hadn’t seen them much since the pandemic started, both because I lived four hours away and because I was terrified of taking them out with covid. I knew he had his hands full, but without spending the three weeks with them I wouldn’t have understood the extent of his sacrifice.

Sisterly love. My Aunt Bee comes down a few times a week to help get mom to bed.

A huge Shout Out and much respect to all caregivers of dementia patients. To lose your husband, wife, or parent to this disease is horrific and cruel…the person you love is gone long before their physical body follows.

Watching Chuck behave so lovingly with my mother, however, gave me chills. He’d tease her by talking in a falsetto, and then he’d laugh and kiss her while she just looked at him like “who the eff is this dude taking liberties with my personage, I’ve never seen him before in my life.” He was inspiring.

Once in awhile, though, once in awhile, a slight smile would lift her lips and I’d be left to wonder how much of the world around her might still be getting through. As a test, I sang and danced for her daily, but she, alas, remained unimpressed. I mean, I’ve been told I’m a “very determined” dancer, so I can’t imagine she wasn’t secretly enthralled by my performance. She just has a good poker face.

Tootie mostly hid under the bed. What can one expect from a feral cat, anyway? She does love her mommy, though, so she would come up and cuddle me at night, yet never became comfortable enough to venture out during the day, what with all the “stranger-danger.”

After Mom and Chuck went to bed, however, party Tootie came out to play…or lay, as the case may be. Whatevs. At least she was out!

Joe picked me up Wednesday the 8th, and we drove the 12 miles to our campsite in Duncansville, PA for the next five nights. Why so close you ask? [Damn, it’s gonna take these moe-rons three years to cross the country at this rate…]

We had a reason, I promise. My handsome, almost 29-year-old son Rayne and his girlfriend Kristin got engaged, and we could hardly miss my first child’s engagement bash! That just makes for bad family drama, which we’re obviously way too mature for. (Duh.)

We decided to pick up Tootie the next evening, because we still had a lot of work to get the camper in order, and—to be honest—we were terrified of wrastling her out from under the bed. The little turd bit me recently when I was trying to give her medicine, so I’ve been left with a pretty healthy respect for her general chomper area and tend to avoid pissing that part of her off.

As a disclaimer, I fully hope that she will eventually “get” what we’re up to and docilely toddle into the crate to be moved from the camper to the truck and back on moving days. We remain far from this goal to date.

The wrastling went as poorly as one could expect, and included ferocious growling and gnashing of teeth. Tootie wasn’t happy either. I was a little too fluffy to fit under the bed (eh-hem), so I had to scour the garage for a primitive cat-sweeping tool, finding a set of old crutches which would fit the bill. I quickly learned that Tootie must have had a bad crutch experience in her past, because she immediately set to attacking the offending “cat sweepers” in a most unladylike manner. The ensuing battle spilled from the bedroom into the laundry room, where after some more “persuasion” she was finally cornered and morosely slipped into her crate, pouting in the corner.

I would have taunted her for being such a sore loser about it all, but I’d prefer not to have my face ripped off in the middle of the night; I wisely kept my commentary to myself.

Plus, I love her. She a little Tootie Monster, after all.

Engagement or Marriage? It’s All Very Confusing

I love my kids. I love that they are so different from me and from each other, and I love that they have minds of their own. And that they are pretty unapologetic about it, too! As they should be.

Rayne asked Kristin to be his wife on a ski trip in March, and—as women are wont to do—she immediately went into planning mode while Rayne looked about for a hiding spot. They worked it out amongst themselves eventually, and settled on an engagement party this year and a wedding at the Outer Banks next year.

Then they threw a wrench in the works by getting “technically married” at the courthouse so she will be listed as his next of kin when he goes off to school for the Air Force Reserves. But they still had the engagement party and the official wedding is still on for next year, so seize the day, you do you, and all that good stuff.

I love Kristin to pieces, and warned her that she picked a bit of a clunker family to marry into, but WELCOME! Guess she’s stuck with us now.

One of us has one pair of shoes out. The other has four.

Happy Camper Tips

  1. Drugs. I recently started taking anti-depression meds for the first time in my life, and I wonder why I didn’t do it much sooner! Now me and the other ladies I meet bond over our meds. Ha. And I’m much less concerned about the little things. Which is important when taking the plunge on a change like this! Campground is creepy? Stay inside and read, you say? Sweet, I’m in.
  2. Have a partner who likes to plan. In truth, Joe doesn’t like to plan either, but he’s been on the hook for most of it so far. Turns out his ex-wife did most of their itinerary stuff when they were together, so I figure why can’t we just ask her to plan our route? Seems like a wise compromise to me.
  3. Learn to live with your partner’s messiness. I want to be neat. I think I have the gene for it, somewhere buried under all those years of dog fostering. I don’t often succeed, but when it comes to a space as small as our camper, my mind automatically rejoices, “Yes, NOW our house can be unsullied, flawless even! Surely Joe will see how important it is that we keep everything in its place and then we’ll be the happiest of campers forever after, amen.” Wrong. I’ve mostly given up on my dream of the perfect little camper home already, and we’ve just hit our second campground. If you want to know how I’ve gotten over it so quickly, a reminder to see Tip #1.
  4. Don’t travel with a feral cat. The reasoning on this should be obvious to everyone who isn’t me, but just in case: the reality is that if said cat escapes the confines of the truck, camper, or carrier, you may never lay eyes on the angry little kitty again. No pressure, though.

Scorecard

I wouldn’t rely on me for great camping advise. I’m a total newb. That being said, I’ve been to three campgrounds so far, and Wright’s Campground in Duncansville made the top two. I think if you get a decent spot, you’ve got a full hookup, and they keep the place looking cared for and the grass cut, how bad can it really be? After all, we already bring our “hotel room” along with us. The people there were nice and the place was cared for. It was small and basic, but it worked for us!

Sightseeing at the Horseshoe Curve

I’m from the area but Joe isn’t, so we made an effort to visit one tourist attraction while we were in town. We chose the “World Famous Horseshoe Curve,” because anything world famous must be Ah-Maz-Ing, right? Most locals have been there, kids even take field trips with school like I did as a youngster, so it’s worth a looksee if you happen along. It cost us $8 for the two of us to get in with military discount, and we waited an hour for a train to decide to show up. With 50-60 trains per day, we obviously hit the lunch break or something, but there’s also a museum where I learned that during WW2 Nazis were arrested for planning to blow up the Horseshoe Curve. See? I told you it was THAT important.

For Pokemon Go players such as myself (no shame!), the Horseshoe Curve sports a gym and a coupla stops too, so go throw me out when you get there so I can get my 50 coinage.

Trumpers gotta trump

Speaking of Not-sees, the Cult of Trump still has to trumpet their loyalty even as their golden boy goes down for attempting to steal an election in what’s supposed to be a democracy. I’m out here tryna’ forget about all things drumpf, but these constant reminders could drive a girl to edibles. What states are they legal in nowadays, anyways?

Today we landed in East Stroudsburg, PA, so if you have any tips or animals for us to meet, give me a shout! See you on here next week with another tres-exciting update.

Road cat—as opposed to road kill—but just a little less grumpy.

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.

Reflections on 56 Years: Oprah Lied about the 50s, the Curse of Empathy, and Why Can’t the Real World be Sanitized like “The Call of the Wild”?

khronos

Gorgeous drawing of my dog, Khronos, by Abbie Withers. He reminds me of Buck in the remake of “The Call of the Wild.”

Tomorrow I will turn 56.

Yesterday, my hubby Joe and I went to see “The Call of the Wild.”

Neither the harking back to a book I’d read as a child and remembered as being emotionally painful, nor the forthcoming years that promise the ongoing pain of aging has seemed very celebratory.

I liked “The Call of the Wild”; in fact, I liked it much more than I’d expected to. And while I couldn’t remember the details of the book—it’s been 46 years since my last reading of it, after all—I had a sneaking suspicion that the movie was a sanitized version. For which I am grateful.

Buck’s first beating in the movie consisted of only one hit; I thought the book was probably much worse. And, true confession, I escaped to the bathroom as the second abuse scene came up, not able to face what the evil man would do to the beautiful dog. A couple renegade sobs escaped my throat as I burst through the theater door into the emotional neutrality of the quiet hallway. As I hurried to the ladies room, I  corralled my wayward pain, shoved it back into the recesses, and went about the business of denying the ugly of life once more.

It occurred to me that way too much of my time is spent denying the ugly in an attempt at surviving my days here on Planet Earth.

I see this as the curse of having a heart, the ability to empathize, to understand and in some way feel the pain of others, both human and animal.

Apparently, my foggy memories served me right about the movie’s sanitization, according to this article. And yet I found even the couple abuse scenes, and the (very sparing) dog-fighting scenes, almost more than I could bear. I squeezed Joe’s hand at each attack during the fight between Buck and the pack leader, Spitz, and pondered—for the thousandth time—how anyone could actually choose to participate or watch such a thing as dogfighting.

I was in my late 40’s when I read an article in Oprah talking about how wonderful the 50’s were supposed to be for women. I couldn’t wait! Now THIS was more like it! Ostensibly, when we hit 50, we women would magically stop caring so much about our looks and how the world viewed us, would be free to be ‘ourselves’, and would truly enjoy the rest of our years on the planet.

What bliss awaited me!

Yet tomorrow I’ll be 56—over halfway through the magical decade—and I’m still waiting for this glorious epiphany to hit. Crap. Did I miss the bus, again?

Or, did Oprah lie to me? Maybe the 50’s are just good if you have plenty of money to mute the evils of the world.

Instead, I’m tubby, have decided to embrace my grays even though this will not enhance my appearance, and think it’s a wise idea overall to avoid the mirror.

And depression rides my coattails on the best of days.

Whereas empathy SHOULD be a trait to be celebrated, instead it’s become an anchor weighing me down in a world where cruelty toward animals and humans alike abounds.

Avoiding pain in the quest for emotional survival seems to be my daily modus operandi.

In a world under Trump, cruelty towards our fellow humans and animals is more the point that the consequence of our interactions with others.

I rarely blog anymore, because I can’t offer much in the way of support for those suffering. I can’t help others, when I’m in too much pain. I avoid Facebook, and most social media, most of the time. I find myself more attracted to Twitter, because at least there people are standing up to Trump and his ilk, and I need to feel like not all hope is lost.

It’s ironic that the kindest people on the planet are those who are most able to feel the pain of others: this is, indeed, specifically what makes them kind. It also makes them less able or likely to fight back against evil.

Those who are cruel are able to cage children at our borders, lie with impunity in the hijacking of America, and toss out of office anyone telling the truth with no qualms or twinges of conscience.

I messaged with a friend yesterday about the upcoming election, and we agreed we were afraid we couldn’t emotionally SURVIVE another four years of Trump. How sad is that? That a president causes so much emotional harm to those in the country they don’t know if they can live through it?

bloated-tick

THE TRUTH IS, at this point, I WOULD VOTE FOR A BLOATED TICK OVER TRUMP.

I’m already seeing so much infighting in the Democratic primaries, that I feel hopeless about our ability to focus, to rise above, and to effectively fight this evil.

Why? Why can’t we see that getting rid of Trump, by coming together as a nation, has to be the NUMBER ONE PRIORITY?

As Jennifer Rubin said in this The Washington Post editorial, “What, if anything, can Democrats do in the next week or so to change the trajectory of the race? There is very little chance that they will do what is necessary; that would require selflessness and self-reflection as well as party leadership, none of which is evident in today’s Democratic Party.”

Great. As if I needed more to be depressed about.

If you have a heart and soul; if you care about animals, if you care about people, if you care about our planet, then removing Trump has to be the first and foremost responsibility.

The death of our planet looms…our only chance for survival for us and our children is putting actual adults in charge.

Maybe it’s not all Oprah’s fault that I can’t embrace my 50’s. Still…if she can’t sanitize the world to make me believe it’s a kinder place, she at least shouldn’t make me promises that she can’t keep.

Happy 56 to me.

Lobotomy, anyone?

 

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.

37290233_10160423042675447_7019251728864247808_o

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.

When You Fight AGAINST Dog Breed Discrimination but FOR Human “Breed” Discrimination

You might be a Nazi.

day

Debi Day, No Kill Nation founder, according to her own facebook posts, marched in Charlottesville.

For the longest time, I never realized that caring about people receiving equal treatment made me a liberal. I thought it made me human.

I’ve been even more confused when I discover that people who fight for equality for the animals are not by default standing on the side of equality for humans, too.

How can that be?

This weekend it came out that Debi Day, founder of No Kill Nation, was marching with the Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, according to Animals 24-7: “Facebook postings from Day herself and other ‘Unite the Right’ participants, including video of allegedly armed marchers, appear to put her prominently on the scene at one of the largest white supremacist events of the 21st century.”

The article goes on to state that “Day was also identified by the Miami Herald as one of the funders of a failed August 2012 attempt to repeal the lightly enforced 1989 Miami-Dade County ban on possession of pit bulls.”

Day and her organization, No Kill Nation, (a very ironic name given that she’s taken to marching around the country armed to the teeth) have also been financial supporters of the No Kill Advocacy Center. Founder Nathan Winograd was blindsided by the news, and has put out a very eloquent and heartfelt statement concerning his position and the position of his organization.

I have a very hard time understanding the dichotomy of Day’s two positions.

From where I’m standing, they appear to be exact opposites in nature:

Number 1:

NO, PIT BULLS SHOULDN’T BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. THEY ARE EQUAL TO ALL OTHER DOGS. NO, ANIMALS SHOULDN’T BE KILLED IN SHELTERS. KILLING IS WRONG.

Yet, then…

mcconaughey

And then Number 2:

ONLY WHITE PEOPLE ARE WORTHY OF EQUALITY. WITH OTHER WHITE PEOPLE. ANYONE WHO PROTESTS THIS POSITION AND STANDS FOR EQUALITY FOR ALL SHOULD BE AT BEST THREATENED INTO SILENCE BY OUR WEAPONS, OR AT WORST, RUN OVER OR KILLED IN SOME HORRIBLE FASHION.

What. The. Hell.

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 10.41.58 AM

Love this saying. You can get these shirts all over the internet.

What kind of a disconnect must this woman be embracing if she doesn’t notice or care that her two positions are in exact opposition to one another? How can people advocate for equality for animals but not humans?

I will never understand.

What I do know is this:

It’s incredibly important that white people speak out now and let the victimized know we do not support what is going on in our country.

I am white. (Although I have been mistaken for other nationalities on occasion.) Even as a white person, I struggle every day with self-esteem issues. And yet, how can my struggles to feel good about myself compare to those who are treated so unfairly by racists in America? How must they struggle to feel they deserve to BE here in America, they deserve to feel good about who they are and the color of their skin?

I had a pretty shitty childhood, and grew up with a fair amount of abuse within my own family. My family imploded as a result, and I remember, even many years before I became vegetarian, my brother—usually when he was drunk—saying things like “We should kill all the gooks,” or “We should hold all the vegetarians down and shove meat down their throats.”

As young adults he and I would sometimes get into brawls over the things he said. Growing up in an angry, intolerant, yet supposedly ‘religious’ family, I WAS BORN INTO THE DEMOGRAPHIC THAT ELECTED TRUMP.

But even then, I was the outsider to this family and way of thinking. Even then, I knew it was wrong to talk about other nationalities that way. Even then, I loved animals, wished I was vegetarian, but I was too selfish to give up my own pleasures (for many years).

Even then, I just wanted to get away from my own family. I struggle every day since Trump was elected with fear and depression over the way other nationalities (and women, and skin colors, and LGBTQ, and…and…) are treated in our country and my own feelings of powerlessness to stop it.

I can walk away from my family. I cannot walk away from my country.

I stand against all those of my race—MEN AND WOMEN, animal advocates or not—who do not accept other races or sexual orientations as our equals. I believe in fairness, and although I’ve learned along the way that life will never be fair, that is the ONLY morally acceptable position for anyone with a brain and a heart to embrace. Everyone deserves equality.

Anything else is unacceptable.

Why The Zombie Apocalypse is Preferable to a World Under Trump

steve-bannon

The White House already has its first zombie. And they’re multiplying quickly.

I find myself daily wishing for the zombie apocalypse, which, admittedly, was my biggest fear before The Trumpinator became president. For most of my life I refused to watch any kind of end-of-the-world movies, because the possibility of them coming true was just too damn scary for me.

But now, as every day I anguish over our human and animal rights disintegrating into nothingness before my eyes—as if they never existed—I wistfully think “Damn, that zombie apocalypse is looking pretty good right about now.”

Having given it some serious consideration, I now present to you my top five reasons that I’d prefer the zombies:

1.) Zombies don’t lie. Yeah, they may grumble and moan, but that’s really the extent of it, and most of the time we’re too busy running to hold any kind of lengthy discussion. I mean, maybe they lie to each other in zombiespeak, but for those of us who are still human and can’t understand a damn word, it goes without saying that they far surpass Trump’s team in the honesty department.

2.) You know a zombie’s intentions. A zombie doesn’t hide his oh-so-well-thought-out plan. His goal is to either a.) eat your brains, or b.) turn you into a fellow zombie. I’m not sure how they decide who goes into what category, but by this point I suppose it really doesn’t matter whether you are slotted as a fellow-mind-gobbler or a mere light snack for the road. There are no secrets, no hidden agendas, no plots with other zombies. It’s a simple eating and turning process. But Trump’s team is chock full of schemes and nazi-planning committees, and the country is virtually at war over his intentions. I can assure you, they are not good.

3.) It’s over fast with a zombie. I already know I’m the first one dead in the zombie apocalypse, and I accept that. When my husband and I goof around and he chases me, I freeze up like a frightened rabbit, with him easily catching me every time. Fear takes over my body and I’m literally incapable of movement. This doesn’t bode well for me when the horde comes drifting down the driveway. But at least it will be over fast, and they’ll either get a good meal out of my YUGE brain, or I’ll join them and come to your house next.

In nazi-Germany, it took years for Hitler’s nefarious plans to come to full fruition, and the gaslighting and successful trickery of seemingly intelligent citizens must have given Hitler thousands of chuckles and ‘mwa-ha-has’ from his dictator inner-sanctum. I’m seeing the exact same scenario repeat itself now in Trump-land America, with even people on my side of the fence still yapping on about “let’s give him a chance.” What are you, morons? How much proof must there be before you grudgingly admit he’s a despot bent on the destruction of all America holds sacred?

4.) Zombies are more intelligent. Zombies eat a lot of brains, and that makes them SUPER smart, like, the bigliest, smartest people on the planet. Don’t let the smell fool ya. These guys are no dummies, and they can sniff you out from a mile away and charge to your front door, finding all kinds of wily ways to get into your home and mind. Literally. Trump, on the other hand, has to hire minions to catch your whiff, and then convince them you are dangerous with his winning personality before they decide to come for you. Zombies don’t need all that foolishness.

5.) The comparative sexiness of zombies is undisputed. I mean, let’s face it. Yeah, they reek, their clothes are in tatters, and their flesh is hanging from their bones, but have you seen Steve Bannon lately? (photo above). As much as Trump likes to throw shade at everyone else for their looks, team Trump would probably lose to the zombie princesses in the Post-Apocalyptic Beauty Pageant. I’m not even sure it would be a close contest.

So, zombies, please. Just eat my brains and get it over with, already. I’m frozen in bunny-mode, it won’t be hard. This long, drawn-out torture (has it really only been two weeks? I thought it was eons) is more than I can stomach.

Speaking of stomachs, I’m told I have the best bowels, super attractive to zombies the world over. [Yanks out an intestine and waves it around.] Come and get it, fellows. Your din din is ready.

P.S. If you actually want to try to stop the freight train destroying all our rights, here’s a good blog I just read today. I don’t really understand it all, because I’m not as smart as a zombie—obviously—but maybe it’s a path we can use to resist. https://thinkprogress.org/a-simple-guide-to-how-you-can-throw-sand-in-the-trump-administrations-gears-64843da93664#.rnlpq4t5j

From the blog: “Many laws announce a broad policy goal, then instruct a federal agency to fill in the details of how this goal will be achieved. During the Obama administration, agencies made rules to fight global warming, to protect LGBT Americans, to expand the number of workers who receive overtime pay, and to allow women to obtain birth control without a co-payment. All of these rules, and more [LIKE ANIMAL RIGHTS-MY ADDITION], are now in jeopardy thanks to the Trump administration.”

P.S.S. I’m not paid to say this, but here’s a zombie series I became addicted to reading. Probably the only one I’ve ever enjoyed (because, scary), by Rachel Higginson—Love and Decay. There are a few seasons built up by now, so lots of undead fun to be had for those interested. And, bonus, there is a creepy, lying despot one can hate with gleeful abandon.