Category: Personal

The Ernie Chronicles

New friends might not know this, but for many years I ran a very large no-kill animal sanctuary. We used to pull dogs from all over the United States and find them homes. Many places in this country still have amazingly high kill rates. We targeted shelters that were over 90% kill and tried to help them see that lives could be saved.

Some of these places didn’t care at all. Some of these places cared very much, but were helpless for many reasons…or there would be a small group of people doing everything they could to save these lives. Some of these people drove 22 hours straight to get dogs to us, in places that were 97-98% kill. It’s hard to believe that there are places like that still existing in this country but there are. Many of them. More than you would believe. Some making no effort at all to find homes for animals, basically just serving as a killing center. Some don’t even hold your lost pet for more than 24 hours before killing them.
I am tempted to go into stories of such places, there are so many. There are tales of horror that I still lose sleep over, and there are beautiful tales of people who did their best, and struggled daily to save lives, in a system that was terribly, horribly, and almost irreparably broken.

Ernie found himself in one such place. Continue reading…

The story of Kipling

Earlier this year, on June 10, 2018, we lost a dog that was very precious to me.
I’ve always LOVED that name. He was a dog that completely stole my heart…and broke it when he left. I’ve wanted to write this blog for a long time, but I just couldn’t. It just hurt too much and I couldn’t seem to get the words out. As I was looking at pictures of him this week and thinking again of writing this blog, I came across dozens and dozens of photos of him out hiking with me, running with me, snowshoeing with me and laying on the couch with me. I really, really, really loved this dog and it was difficult to let him go. One of the posts I came across was this one from a few years ago:

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Never Forget

It’s been 16 years since that awful day. Sixteen years. It’s such a long time, and yet it seems like yesterday. It’s amazing now to meet people that don’t remember it. They were too young, or weren’t even born. That really is difficult to believe, because to me it is the biggest, most significant event – probably in my entire life.

And we are told to “never forget” and “always remember” and frankly I wonder if people understand what is really meant by that.
Do they mean never forget how hatred can destroy us?
Never forget those heroes who died trying to help others?
Never forget all the other people who died?
Never forget how America was ONE true united nation on that day?

What exactly does the phrase mean? I always wonder when I hear it. I guess it means all of those things, and yet to those of us that were in some way involved – either peripherally or in actuality – it’s nonsense. None of us will ever forget a single, solitary, moment. Not one second of that horrible time. It’s etched into our brains, into our memories, it is cut into our skin and into the fiber of our being. No one who was there will ever forget. No one who even watched it on TV will likely ever “forget’ and certainly no one that sat huddled for days awaiting some final word about a loved one…will ever “forget”. I both hate those slogans and sayings…and I love and respect them. It’s quite the conflict of emotions.
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Eulogy for my father

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 7.57.54 PMI want to start off by thanking you all for being there for us these past few months. Calls, texts, visits, you made us feel we were not alone through any of it. I know no one WANTS to go to a funeral, and that you come here to show your love for us. I know that some of you travelled very far to be here, to honor my dad, to show your respect, or just to give us a warm embrace.

Throughout my life I’ve come to understand that time is the most precious commodity we have, and so on behalf of my mom, and my brother Billy, and my brother Michael…we sincerely thank you all for YOUR time today. Continue reading…

O Great Rain

O great rain,
What would my wilderness be
Without your sweet company?
O greatest music of all,
The sky’s kiss on the warm soil,
O blesser of thirsty lips,
Heaven’s tears when nature weeps…
O greatest lover of all,
You give without asking more,
Abundantly to all fields,
And the mountains and all hills…
Stay a little…

O great rain,
What would my deep sorrow be
Without your sweet melody?
Come and soothe my lonely soul,
Which smolders like burning coal,
Come and blow your cooling breeze,
For my wounds and pain to ease…
O greatest seeker of all,
With each drop you reveal more
Than a thousand mysteries,
The wisdom of centuries…
Stay a little…
Continue reading…

Send In the Clowns – this IS my circus and these ARE my monkeys!

What a day it was today. One of those days where everything that could go wrong – DOES, but in my case it all went wrong in hysterical ways.

So, Tom is working today and I have to get three of the five horses that are here at our house to a scheduled vet visit over in Pine Bush.

No problem!
I can handle this alone.
I’m an independent and efficient woman!
Hear me roar!

horses Continue reading…

The Scrump Story

scrumpy In honor of Scrump Day today, I thought I would tell the Scrump story for those of you that don’t know it…and it seems most don’t!  So here it is – this is a picture of Scrumpy when he was about 7 months old.

Where I used to work we pulled animals in from high kill shelters.  Some were killing up to 95% of all the animals that walked through their doors, so whenever we could, we would take as many as possible.  Scrumpy was NOT one of the dogs chosen …but he arrived on a transport with 20 other dogs we had pulled. A dog that we HAD requested was NOT on that transport. I contacted the sending shelter only to find out that a mistake had been made. They had euthanized the dog we had requested and Scrumpy (who had been scheduled for euthanasia) was sent by accident. She was very apologetic and told me they would arrange for him to come back to them.  Um….for what?  To kill him?  Ridiculous, so Scrumpy stayed.

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My Eulogy for Pat

I’d like to thank you all for coming today.

It is very obvious that Pat was well respected and loved, and how much we are all grieving this loss.

Pat would hate all of this focus on him. He would cross his arms over his chest, shake his head and give a half smile of wonder and bemusement.  Pat didn’t have an ego. He didn’t see himself as special.  But while he would hate all this attention, he would also understand and respect OUR need for it. To help US come to terms with this.

Pat and I had so many plans, and so many dreams for building a better Organization and helping more animals.  But, selfishly, when I think of the loss of Pat, I go first to my own grief. The loss of an amazing friend. A trusted confidant. A humorous companion. A mentor.

Pat played so many roles in my life. He was a big brother. He was a father figure. He was an advisor. He was a friend. He was someone to do things with. He wore so many hats and filled so many shoes – but aside from my own personal loss, and your loss… – what he did for our organization and what we were moving toward also creates such a huge hole.

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Goodbye my friend….R.I.P. Patrick Whitacre

 (Note: PIUTW = Place I Used to Work)

IMG_60191-266x300Today at PIUTW, we lost our canine behaviorist.

Today I lost one of my closest friends.

Today the dogs of the world lost an amazing advocate.

I’ve started and stopped this blog a dozen times because I don’t think there is any way that I can get the words to come out right.

To try to explain to you all how much he meant to me personally, how much he helped me, how much he meant to our organization, how much he meant to the dogs here.

There wasn’t a dog here that wouldn’t see Pat coming and start wagging their tails.
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On the euthanasia of horses…

The death of a horse, specifically the euthanasia of a horse, profoundly impacts and affects me.
I think that people that have never loved a horse, or have never witnessed one dying can never fully understand this.

To me the horse is the most beautiful animal on earth.
I’ve always been lost in horses, as many young girls seem to be.
Many outgrow it.
I never did.

To watch a horse move – is breathtaking.
When they have their mane blowing in the wind and their tail out and they run across a field, there is no way that I could ever not stop to watch. When I am 98 and in a wheelchair, I will still stop that chair, and suck in my breath and be amazed at how a horse moves. I will stare and not allow myself to move until the horse has ceased moving.
How majestic.
How beautiful.

I’ll never forget the first time I smelled a horse.
Or touched their velvety nose.
When they blow into my nostrils and invite me to be a friend to them….or when I’m riding one and we move together through the woods.
I am 46 years old, and it is still a thrill, and still special …every single time.

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