Monthly Archives: November 2011

A Ferret Story By CV

This is a story ’bout a ferret boy,

Who brings us so much love ‘n’ joy.

With that little ferret face,

He so loves to play ‘n’ race.

Our furball thinks he rules the house,

Stealing food just like a mouse.

Ignoring so much cuteness is a feat,

Just don’t forget to give him a treat.

He sadly is getting on in age,

and doesn’t like to sleep in his cage.

Untitled by DP

I well remember the first morning we saw the degu. She was sitting in her cage with her bottle brush tail in the air looking endearingly up at us. Being the male I had to appear unaffected while my wife coo-ed and pointed out how pretty she was and since she was near enough a rat would fit in well at home. “Well, it’s your decision” I told her with a sigh and secret delight.

Saffy has been with us two months now and though she and the rats don’t get on so that she cost me a fortune for a new cage, I don’t think even my wife believed my tutting at the cost. Saffy is a delight. A bundle of energy and fun but very loving too. We placed her in a ball the rats had rejected and she adores careering around the room catching ankles and chairs, cupboards, tables and anything else in the way. Her cornering skills aren’t actually bad though.

Last week we didn’t notice the sudden hush when Saffy stopped hitting things. All of a sudden I noticed from the corner of my eye a little yellowy brown shape strolling past my feet. Moments later it returned at the same nonchalant speed. She’d run the ball so fast into a cupboard it had fallen open and she continued her journey on foot. She didn’t mind at all when my wife got down to ground level and encompassed her with her arms. She quite happily marched onwards and right into my wife’s open dressing gown where she stayed nestled for the next fifteen minutes seemingly content. Put back into her cage that earned her a yoghurt drop. Of course I turned away from my wife while I did it so she couldn’t see my smile.

Degus are very affectionate and make great pets for older children and adults. They are prone to diabetes hence the yoghurt drop rather than a chocolate treat. If you see one (or more) living at a rescue centre please consider offering it/them a home. Though considered a pest in Chile where they hail from the Degu is a highly intelligent animal who likes to live in family groups in the wild. They are easy to become tame and love to be handled. They chew so mustn’t be kept in plastic cages and must be given a solid floor to walk on in the cage with plenty of hay to protect feet.

Just don’t tell my wife how much I love Saffy or I’ll never live it down.

Oh by the way, if the rescue centre has rats they also make great pets so don’t let the tail put you off.

Bella & Rescuers by B


She had the sweetest face and the kindest eyes.

Her longing for a home she could not disguise.


Her foster mom, though patient and kind,

had many other things on her mind.


Rescued from shelter life (or death),

It was love she desired with every breath.


So North she travelled in search of a fella,

To adore her as she deserved, sweet Bella.



They travel far and wide and give of their time, money, and love.

They educate, they assist, they advise.

They work tirelessly for those who cannot help themselves.
No complaints about the work, the cost, the emotional toll.

Joy is experienced when a life is saved, a home is found, a mind opened and educated.

Sorrow is experienced when a life is lost or when ignorance, laziness, or greed adds to the need for them.

They are heroes, they are saviors, they are educators, they are tireless and relentless.

They are Rescuers.

Untitled by KA

Your broken road led you home to me.

Three short years ago when they first picked you, so small and helpless. I can only imagine how cute you were with that one bright blue eye not to be outdone by your amber one. I hope they loved you and showed you kindness because when you were only two years old they gave you up even after being told you would be put to sleep…forever! You “got too big” is what he told her…too big. When I saw you in the kennel curled up and shaking, I entered to calm you and when you stood up I have to say you did startle me with your size! Marley, I love how big you are.  I was only going to keep you at my house to save you from being killed, in hopes we could find you another home…but in the end you saved me! I have never loved an animal as much as I love you! Everyone who meets you falls in love, I have never met a person who you haven’t cast your spell upon…you changed my world and together we brought in more foster (failures). On this journey I now have wonderful recue friends, these people are a breed all their own and the most loyal friends to those in need…so proud to know you all.

It all started with my 7 year old daughter wanting a dog…she has been on allergy medication since she was 3, she is allergic to animals and didn’t care, she wasn’t going to miss out because of the side effects…she is a natural born rescuer! She named her dog Itchy.
Fur mom to~Marley, Ruby, Itchy, Ollie and foster mom to Rooster Cogburn aka Spot (R.I.P. my Darla)

Independence by CM

I woke to a cold, wet nose and lots of sticky slobber running down the side of my

“Liam.” I groaned. “I was having such a good dream.”

His furry face, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, was completely unforgiving.

“I know, I know… We have to keep moving. No rest for the weary. Yada, yada, yada.”

I began rolling up my sleeping bag and digging out our breakfast. A granola bar for
me, a handful of Acana for Liam, and water for us both. Liam quickly gobbled up his
meal and sat gazing at me expectantly.

“Sorry, buddy. You know we have to ration things out. It’s not like you didn’t have
a nice fat bird… and squirrel… and frog last night. I don’t see you losing any weight
here.” I pinched his side playfully. He rewarded me with another slobbery kiss on
the cheek.

I sighed as I dusted myself off, donned my pack, and took up my homemade walking
stick/spear and knife. Liam began running in circles, excited to be on the move

I remember the first day I laid eyes on the furry little pup two years ago. He was
a refugee at our local animal shelter—if you could even call it that. They were no-
kill, so they had that going for them, but other than that, it was little more than a
glorified kennel. The animals were given the minimal veterinary care and fed even
less. If they made it out alive, that was a miracle in itself.

But a positive, for me anyway, was that they couldn’t have cared less when a
seventeen-year-old sauntered in and offered up a little cash to take one of the
critters off their hands. It didn’t seem to bother them, either, that Liam—then
named Willy—Who does that to an animal?—was obviously at least half wolf. He
was labeled: husky mix, “Great with kids!” He lost some of his fluff over the next
year, but everything from his huge grey-and-cream ears to his terrifying mouthful
of gleaming white, super-sharp teeth and grossly oversized paws, screamed WOLF!
Good thing I’m a pretty good trainer and he didn’t grow up and try to tear out my
intestines, huh?

Things were so much easier back then. Up until the past six months, my life was
just about as easy as a teenager’s life could be. My parents are… were… some kind
of government scientists or engineers or something—they never could give me
any details—so we were never hurting for cash. We had the American dream: nice,

big Victorian house with the white picket fence, a minivan and sports car in the
driveway, and even a nice piece of land to raise some animals and ride ATVs on.
Okay, that last bit might be more the redneck American dream, but it was still nice.
Until the epidemic…

I was just settling into my new apartment, breezing through the first week of
classes, when the news reports began. Some facility on the west coast had been
completely devastated by a mob of crazed, violent employees. Like pretty much
everyone else in the world, I paid very little attention. Stuff like that happens every
day, unfortunately. But, over the next week, it kept happening, spreading out from
the new “ground zero,” faster and faster. When my dad called and informed me
they would be heading into work, the “lab” as it was always known, for an indefinite
amount of time, I immediately packed up my essentials and headed back home to
retrieve my Liam. Screw the no-pets policy of the campus apartments; I needed him
and he needed me.

After spending one night in my old, juvenile bedroom—I was obviously an adult
now, after having spent a whole two weeks living on my own—I was gathering
up Liam’s favorite toys, food, and massive crate when the tornado sirens went off.
Seeing that it was a crisp, clear late summer day, I couldn’t imagine why those sirens
would be blasting at seven in the morning.

I threw my sleepy body onto the sofa and flipped on the local news.

…We don’t know exactly what has spurred this series of events, but we do know
that you should take this threat seriously. The president has urged everyone
to please remain locked indoors. Do not allow strangers into your home. Take
whatever protective measures you deem necessary, and above all, stay safe.
Emergency phone circuits are completely overloaded at this time. All pertinent
government personnel and military reserves have been called in, and we are
assured that everyone is hard at work trying to understand and contain this

Epidemic? I just thought a bunch of angry people were rioting. What is this about an

Quickly, I tried dialing up my mom’s cell.

…We’re sorry. All circuits are now busy. Please try your call again later. We’re
sorry. All circuits are now busy. Please try—

I punched the end button and tossed the useless phone on the coffee table. Liam
jumped on the sofa beside me and rested his head on my lap, cutting his mismatched
blue and green eyes at me in an attempt to garner some head scratching—which worked, of course.

I sighed. “What are we going to do now, buddy?” He growled softly and licked my
hand. “Yeah, I don’t know either.”

A rustling drew me out of my memories. A menacing sound rumbled from Liam’s
throat and he turned to the noise on high alert. I unsheathed my knife and held my
walking stick in a more defensive position, squinting into the brush along the side of
the highway we were walking on.

Before I could take one cleansing breath, a young girl, probably no more than ten or
twelve, burst through the briars and vines and barreled toward us. At first glance,
she looked just like any other preteen—skinny jeans, Converse sneakers, black tank
top—only her clothes were dirty and torn and her hair was a tangled mess. And the
eyes… That’s how you really knew. The eyes were blank, cloudy, and ringed a cherry
red. She was infected. And eager to rip out our throats.

So, I bet you’re thinking zombie apocalypse here. Crazy kid tearing out of the woods
to eat our flesh for breakfast. Well, not quite. These people are definitely sick, very
zombie-like, but the last thing they want to do is eat human flesh. They just want
to kill. They are controlled by an insatiable thirst for base violence. Nothing more.
They kill; they move on. They never eat—anything. So, fortunately for us, they will
eventually starve to death. Unfortunately, if they don’t succeed in killing their victim,
they almost always pass along whatever twisted virus it is they’re carrying.

Another stroke of fortune is that I seem to be immune. I’ve been attacked at least
a dozen times, and I’m still “normal”—no cataract stare, no bloodshot eyes, no
animalistic violent nature. After a few weeks, when Liam and I were looting a local
grocery store for all the dog food and nonperishable food items we could find, we
heard an emergency broadcast announcing that there were, indeed, individuals who
seemed to be immune, and they were gathering in a compound-like facility in New
York State. So, that’s where we were headed when bush girl jumped us.

One beneficial thing, I guess, about these zombies—I like to call them perps—is that,
although they are fast, they are incredibly clumsy. So, thus far, I haven’t had much
trouble gaining the upper hand and making short work of our attackers. This chick
is no different. She lunged with outstretched hands and tripped on the edge of the
pavement. This gave me enough time to spear her in the shoulder, pin her to the
ground, and run my blade through her carotid in one swift movement. This isn’t the
first time I’ve had to use this move, but this time, I notice the nervous tremors that
have accompanied all my kills are subsiding a bit. I’m not sure if this is a good thing
or a very, very sad thing. As Liam tilts his head and gives me “the stare,” I think it is
probably very, very sad. It’s just wrong to kill a little girl on the side of the road, no
matter what the circumstances.

I clean my knife on the grass before sliding it back into the leather sheath. There
isn’t much I can do for the stick, so I try to tap off as much of the blood as I can
before turning it point-down and tossing my pack back onto my shoulders. I say a
silent prayer for the poor dead girl and cluck my tongue for Liam to follow. Maybe
he says his own prayers over the dead bodies. But he never tries to eat them. I can
imagine that would be quite the feast for him, but not once has he so much as licked
one of the infected. Somewhere deep inside, I imagine this is out of respect, rather
than the remote chance that he could be infected, too. So far, it seems to be strictly a
human disease.

Bounding up beside me, he nudges his head under my free hand and I give him a
quick scratch behind his ears.

“Thanks, boy. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” I really don’t. I can’t imagine
facing this alone. It would be nice to have a human companion sometimes, but
honestly, Liam has made the best traveling and apocalypse-surviving counterpart a
girl could ask for.

Up ahead, I see the big blue-and-green “Pennsylvania Welcomes You: State
of Independence” sign. The word independence stirs up a well of long-buried
emotions, and my heart seizes with sadness and excitement all at once.

“Look, Liam. We’re getting close!” My voice is squeaky and strained with the tears
that threaten to fall.

He gives a little yelp in response and we continue, one step at a time, toward
whatever our fate might be.

Untitled by GC

What happens to us?

What happens to us when no one wants us?

What happens to us when we are no longer loved?

What happens to us when they longer want to play with us? What happens to us when they decide we are older and we are no longer “cute & cuddly?” What happens to us after they decide they have mistreated us long enough? We go to a place where they hope someone will take us and give us a new home. Where they hope someone will give us what they could no longer give. What they don’t know is that sometimes we suffer a worse fate.

We go to heaven….

However, while we are there, there are these beautiful angels who come visit us everyday. They play with us, walk us, hug us, kiss us, and in the brief moments that they are there…..they show us more love than we have ever known…..

They are animal rescuer’s. They are out there everyday, fighting for us.

They are our voice. Our light. Our hope.

They fight for us a brighter future

and a better tomorrow.

All My Birthday Wishes

Life starts at 40.  Today as I turn 43 and I have to say that life has never been more exciting.  In the last year I accomplished two major goals that I’ve carried for decades.

The first one was to publish a book.  This last year I managed to publish two; End of Mae and No Money Marketing: All You Need Is Like.  My second persistent goal has been to achieve a debtless existence.

Our debt was officially paid off on 11/11/11 which I thought was an amazing coincidence.  We thought we paid it off back in October, but Bank of America hit us with an extra little bit of accrued interest.  How we could have accrued $30 plus of interest on nothing we have no idea.  We just paid it off (again) and canceled them (again).  When I looked at the date I got a thrill: 11/11/11.

Life after debt is worth every sacrifice.  We ate a whole lot of tuna for over a year, didn’t go see Harry Potter when it hit the cinema and went without AC and heat unless we were in dire need.  We walked instead of drove, we cooked from scratch and we bought new clothes sparingly at thrift shops.

Even our wedding was a penny pinching event.  The entire event cost us less than $200 counting the romantic celebration dinner out afterwards.  We knew we wanted to be debt free, and we dedicated ourselves to finishing that goal.

Because of the year or so of doing without, we can now look forward to a lifetime of financial freedom.  I can work a part time job, and all our expenses are paid in two weeks.  We can focus on living instead of making a living.

I encourage everyone I know to do whatever they can to climb their way out of debt.  We live in the land of the free, but the consumeristic lifestyle foisted on us enslaves us and ensures that we will continue on in the pits trying to pay off televisions and cars that have long since died.  Debt tarnishes our golden years and leaves us with nothing but crumpled foil bits to crown us in our old age.

As I celebrate this year my deepest wish is to help all my family and friends to take the steps to financial freedom with me.  Every penny you don’t spend is a step that gets you closer; make more and spend less.  I want to help us all to be free.



From Death Row to Dead: Ten Months with Eli by PM

September, 2012, was an insignificant month to the world,but to us earthshattering, we lost our dog, Tazzie, just a few weeks over theage of fifteen, which is ancient for a purebred Rottweiler. We had gotten her from a kill shelter when she was a puppy, the onlyplace we adopt our fury family members from, so it was true to form we wouldlook again, in doggie jail, for another son or daughter. My husband and I haveno children, except our dogs.

It was a hot morning, which meant it’d be scorching inCamarillo, the kill shelter we decided to adopt from, two weeks after Tazzie’s passing.Still with a heavy heart over her loss, we went. As we approached the parkinglot, we heard a crying howl, a screeching of pain and agony. I had to find outwhere this was coming from.

“We’re not getting a dog that’s loud,” my hubby whispered,walking behind me at a rapid clip.

I ignored him. We walked way to the back of the kennels thatwere lined in small rows, the outside surrounded by a six-foot fence that youcould barely put a finger through, the back part, enclosed on a cold concreteslab. The sound grew louder until we turned a corner and came face to facewith, Eli–the name on the fence of his stall–a gorgeous chocolate lab. Theminute his eyes met mine, he went quiet. The minute my heart met his, the acheover Tazzie softened, and I knew there was no leaving this beautiful boy inprison, on death row.

“No!” My husband was no longer whispering.

I had already found out that his family, who had recentlylost their home, brought in Eli. He was almost ten years old, a purebredchocolate lab, and in obvious severe separation grieving. We knew how eachother felt, our hearts melded. He had to come home with us.

“I said No!” My husband was firm. “We can’t bring a barking,loud dog home, you know what happened with the neighbors last time…”

He babbled on while my mind went into manipulative overload.“Let’s just try. He’s wounded. He’ll calm down when we get him home,” I whined.

“You don’t know that.” He gave me a look, the glare when hemeans it, and won’t be swayed by an agenda. “He’s the loudest dog here…”

I stopped hearing him and put my attention on Eli, Help me out here, boy. Do something. Elimoved closer to the fence, his face smashed up against it, his yellow eyessoftened, his tale wag intensified, and he stared, not at me, but my husband.

“Look, he likes you!”


In desperation, I stopped talking and let Eli take over. Ilooked back and forth at the two of them, until my husband reached out a handto Eli’s face, now coming through the grooves in the cold metal wiring keepinghim from us. My husband rubbed an ear, got down on a knee to allow Eli to lickhis face, while tears moved down my cheeks. My heart was bursting inanticipation, until my husband stood and gave me his saddest look, “I wish wecould…we can’t get a loud dog.”

Unfortunately, he was right. Our place backed on an officebuilding that had psychologists and a psychiatrists working in it and we hadbeen warned before to handle yourbarking dogs or else. It took a lotof damage control and stress reduction on our parts over that one. I also did not want to overlystress my husband, and the look he gave me told me it would were I to continue topursue this. I gave it one more try, “Can we just take him home and try. It mayjust be this place. He’d been with a family, loved by a family, warmed by them,for almost ten years. I’d cry too…”

My husband said nothing. He reached in and hugged me, a hugthat said, I’m sorry.

There was nothing left for me to do but cry. I could notlook at another dog that day, but before we left I went into the shelter’soffice. “When is Eli going to be put down?”

The women in a uniform was cold, officious, matter of fact,when she replied. “Two days.”

I felt nauseated. We knew Eli was on death row but two days! I became so anxious my heartwas missing beats. I went crying to my husband and told him.

“We can’t save them all, honey.”  He talked and made sense but it did nothingto calm my aching heart. I could hear Eli in the background, crying.

We stood outside the gate to the shelter for over twentyminutes, saying nothing. I  could notwalk out. My husband had to gently lead me to the car, open the door, and nudgeme in. For the next ten minutes, driving up Highway 101 into Ventura, I cried.My husband looked over to me from time to time, to say, I’m sorry. Just before we were to make the turn off to Ojai, wherewe live, I asked him if we could go get a bite to eat and talk. I had no ideawhat I was going to say.

He turned the car around and we went to Lassen’s, a healthfood grocery store and restaurant, got something, sat at the table, and saidnothing. I cried while we ate. My crying has an effect on my husband, and inthe purity of an honest emotion, through his love for me, his heart sank.  “Okay, we can give it a try, but if he’s loudhe has to go back.”

Eli jumped in the car; his head out the window the wholeride home, and not a peep out of his handsome mouth. Not a single bark, theminute we got him to the house, and nothing the rest of that day. And, everyother day, for weeks moving into months. That dog didn’t bark at strangers, atthe mailman, at the doorbell, he just wagged his tail, but when we left himalone we heard him cry from our back deck as we drove away. We had to bring him with us, which was nosacrifice because he loved to be in the car. He became my husband’s dog andfollowed him everywhere, inseparable they were.

Eli lived with us from that September through to Tuesday,July 17, just last week, when he died suddenly of what the vet thought was ananeurysm. He came to us from death row and filled the emptiness left by Tazzie.He came to us with the biggest most grateful heart we’d ever known. We’ve beenrescuing dogs from kill shelters for over twenty-seven years, but there was nodog like Eli. He screamed at that kennel, he cried and begged to get out ofthere, and the minute he was taken home and made a part of a family, ourfamily, he was the perfect pet.

We miss him, his tale wagging when we enter the room, thecircle he turns when finding just the right spot to lay down in, his noiseperched against his leash, telling us he wants a walk, the way he jumped up anddown when it was meal time, but most of all the way he’d get up next to us,particularly my husband, as if to say, yousaved my life, I love you.

Griffin’s Adventure by CV

Griffin was utterly lost in the wonders of being outside. He loved playing with the

funny looking flying things, chasing them until they got out of his reach, digging tunnels

that would end up going nowhere because the dirt was too hard. When he had had

enough adventure playing in the piles of leaves and digging tunnels in the ground, he

decided it was time to go back to his home.

He wandered aimlessly for what seemed hours, before he finally came across a

person. He did his happy bounce right up to her and rubbed his furry body against her

shoes as he had done so often to Tamara, the lady that feed him and gave him tasty

food when he was good.

When the lady noticed him she shrieked at the man with her, “Ugh, get that nasty

thing away from me, it is ruining my new shoes.”

Before he knew it, he was kicked in the ribs and sent flying, landing hard on his

front leg. He was shocked, Griffin had expected a pet behind his ear but not being

kicked away. A hissing noise of pain came from him when he tried to get up, his foot

hurting when he tried to stand. He looked up at the couple with his wondering eyes. He

had been so happy to have a person to interact with, it never crossed his mind that

they might hurt him. As he was lying there the man picked a stick laying on the ground,

jabbing it into Griffin and using it to push him away.

Scared, Griffin hobbled away as fast as he could manage. When he finally came

across a plastic bag he decided to take a nap in it and search for his home after he

was rested. He had been so excited to be able to get out of his cage and go explore.

He’d always wanted to get out and see what was beyond the room he was housed in.

It had never crossed his mind that on the outside he would be treated any different

than the loving care he had received at his home.

As he drifted of to sleep he wished that he was once again in the company of his

friends. Getting to play with Bentely, Piper, Tucker and Willow. When they played they

would jump on each other and bite the others ears. Sometimes they would even attack

the weird looking round animals that were at the other end of the room.

The sun was shinning in his eye when he crawled out of his plastic shelter. As he

stretched his long body, Griffin’s nose picked up the wonderful smell of food and he

went in search of its source, hissing at the discomfort in his foot and chest as he rose.

He was so hungry all he wanted was a single piece of the good smelling food.

Following the smell he came upon a busy place with people rushing in and out.

Most of the people came out of the big, colored things sitting around everywhere.

When someone came running up to the building, throwing the door wide open, Griffin

used that chance to run inside where the smell of the food was coming from. Carefully

working his way between the many feet rushing around, he came upon a piece of meat

that had dropped to the ground and started eating at it.

As he was nibbling at the meat someone screeched near him, “There’s a rat.”

As soon as that person said that people started running. Some ran outside and

others jumped onto the things they had their food sitting on. If those things weren’t so

tall he’d jump on one of them as well, the food up there smelled better than what he

was eating. Griffin looked around, searching for the thing that had made everyone run,

only to realize that they were all trying to stay far away from him.

He was wondering why everyone had run away from him, when someone came at

him swinging his favorite toy. He loved those bushy things on a long branch, and he

thought that someone would finally play with him. At home he would get to play with

one all the time, Tucker and he would always see who could pull it from the other. But

instead of playing, the person used it to push him and his piece of food into a corner.

He saw his piece of food roll under a counter, but even when he flattened his body

to the ground he could still not get to it. The person with the long bushy toy was still

waving it at him and, when he didn’t move used it to push him out the way he had

come in.

Somebody stopped the person with the branch and said, “Stop, that is not a rat. Let

me call a animal rescue to come get him.”

“I don’t care what that thing is, it is not supposed to be in my restaurant .” The first

man snapped, making his point clear by repeatedly shoving the bushy branch into

Griffin’s face until he was outside.

Griffin was shocked. All he had wanted was a some food and water. He couldn’t

understand what he had done to be punished, at least at home when he did something

bad he would only get a tab on his nose.

Griffin had never met so many mean people before, everyone back home was nice

to him. They would take him out of his cage and play with him, he would even get a

few tasty treats everyday. He missed being stroked behind his ear by Tamara, she

always knew where his weak spot was. He wished he knew where “home” was. If he

did he’d run there as fast as his feet would carry him and never leave again.

The more time Griffin spent away from his family, the more cautious he became

because he knew now that there were people that would hurt him. It was the first time

in his life that he was weary of people. The first time he didn’t trust anyone to pet him

or even scratch his favorite spot behind his ear. All he wanted to do was curl up and go

to sleep.

Griffin was woken by a rough hand pulling on his neck, lifting him up into the air.

“Mommy, look what I found.” said an excited voice.

Wiggling as much as he could and hissing to be let go, Griffin got desperate and bit

the boy that was holding him. The boy dropped him onto the ground and started crying.

But just as Griffin was going to run away, he was scooped up again, this time by a

gentle hand. Still it made his fur stand on end, in the last few days he had gotten

nothing but bad treatment, he wasn’t about to trust this new stranger.

“Marco, what have I told you before. You don’t mess with stray animals, and you

especially don’t pick up an animal the way you did. It’s no wonder this little guy bit you.

At least he didn’t draw any blood.”

“What is it Mommy?” Marco asked, gazing at Griffin with the curious eyes of a five

year old, the bite already forgotten.

“He’s a ferret,” she answered. Griffin flinched and hissed at her when she petted

him over his ribs, “and it looks like this little guy is injured. I wonder where his home is.”

Marco’s eyes held excitement in them. “Does this mean we get to keep him?”

Griffin tried to squirm his way out of the woman’s hold, but every time he started to

get free she would adjust her grip on him. She must have seen his intend to bite her

because she changed her hold on him and grabbed a bit of his scruff. He hissed a few

times to no avail, instead the woman petted him again, this time behind his ears, and

said, “It’s alright little guy, we’ll find out where your home is.”

The woman gazed at the him, laying at the bottom of a big box, and spoke to him in

a gentle voice, “Well, looks like you’ll be staying with us for today. But we’ll take you

back to the animal shelter where you came from tomorrow. It’s too late to go today, but

so long as you don’t bite us we’ll take good care of you.”

Griffin looked up at the woman, so far she had been kind to him, but after his

experience he wasn’t so sure he could trust anyone anymore. When the woman

reached into the box to pick him up, Griffin hissed at her and showed his canines.

The woman wasn’t scared and kept reaching further into the box, but made no

move to pick him up, instead she simply held her hand out to Griffin to sniff and talked

to him in soothing tones. When she didn’t move her hand any closer to him for several

minutes, Griffin gave in to his curiosity and inched forward to sniff at her hand for


“That’s much better, can’t have you show your teeth and bitting whenever we want

to pick you up or pet you.” she made to pet him, but Griffin quickly retreated against the

far corner of the box again.

The woman withdrew her hand and stood up, but when she spoke she was still

looking at him and her tone was gentle, “Maybe you’ll learn to trust me eventually, I am

not like the people that hurt you.”

Griffin lay in his room, not wanting to get out and join the others during playtime.

When he had come out earlier Piper had jumped on him and caused the injury in his

leg to hurt, he didn’t want for that to happen again. Tamara tried to get him to play with

the bushy branch, but every time she brought it to his face he shied away from it, in

fear that she may poke it into his eye. She was the only one, besides the woman that

had brought him back to his home, that did not take his bitting as a warning.

He was still in his room when the woman who had brought him home walked in.

She grabbed one of his favorite treats, and neared his area the same way she had

done every day since bringing him back. She stuck her hand out with the treat on it,

and sat there until he came out and took it from her. As he ate she stuck her hand

inside his room and gently petted him behind the ears, something he still loved even

though he was very cautious of who petted him now.

At first he hissed at her, but when she did not stop he stopped hissing and let her

keep rubbing the itchy spot below his neck. This was more than he had allowed her in

all the times she had come to see him.

The lady was talking to him now as she petted him, and at first the words made no

sense but after he listened closely he understood two important words, “coming home”.

He looked at the woman and wondered what she had said to him. Before he knew

what she was doing she had lifted him in her arms and carried him out of the room.


The Rescued Rescue Dog – by MK

Casey, a small black and brown spotted Dachshund (Weiner dog) was brought into the Koning family in
the early summer of 1998. She was two years of age. Her first owner was pregnant and preparing to
start a family that included only one of her two dogs, apparently Casey was the choice to be put up for
adoption. My mom got wind of this and we went out to see the little animal. She was a bit yappy, but in
all, seemed to be a very sweet dog. It did not take long for a decision to be made with regards to this
adorable pup, and after a short visit, Casey was in the car coming home with us.

I lived with my mom on a part time basis; work in theatre production had me moving around a lot. I was
there with them for pretty much the entire summer and then in and out, going to wherever work
dictated. But this story isn’t about me, nor is it really about the transition of Casey integrating into our
world. The dog becoming a permanent fixture in this family went well, she adapted great. But it is what
she did for my mom when she was hurt and fighting for her life that I find pretty damn remarkable.

Over the years Casey made quite a good companion for mom in our large Century home in the north off
of the shores of Lake Simcoe. My grandparents had purchased the house in the 1950’s after moving to
Canada from their home country of Germany; but they have since passed away. In fact, my grandfather
had just passed on from a bout with Cancer only months prior to the adoption of our new family
addition. My dad had also passed on back in 1986.

Casey had helped fill our home by the lake with laughter and happiness. Many times I came home to
find my mom having an out loud conversation with the Dachshund, who just sat there, staring, and
seemingly taking mental notes. Unfortunately in 2008 we lost Casey to Spinal Tumors and Cancer. It was
hard to see her go, but she left us with some fond memories. In my mind, she had accomplished her
greatest achievement, something truly magnificent, before her departure at the age of twelve.

In August of 2001 my mom was out walking by herself, it was a very hot day, and she was overcome by
heat. She had passed out onto the road and hit the back of her head hard enough to render her
unconscious for a time. Fortunately, some neighbors saw her and called 911. My mom had suffered a
traumatic brain injury.

I remember pacing back and forth in the hospital emergency ward as the Doctor’s and Nurse’s frantically
worked away, trying to figure out what best to do in order to help and what exactly it was that they
were dealing with. Was it an Aneurism? A Stroke? After scans and MRI’s it was finally narrowed down to
a blood clot on the left side of her brain which was slowly cutting off oxygen, and it needed to be
removed; quickly! She was transferred at this point in time from one hospital to another that specialized
more in brain surgery.

For the life of me I cannot say which was worse, the emergency room chaos that night, with the grim
cloud of uncertainty shrouding over us, (over me) or the moments sitting at my mom’s side after her
surgery as she lay in a coma. Thoughts about whether she would ever wake up from this horror plagued
my mind on the occasion, but I tried to remain optimistic for the most part. Seeing, every day, the left
side of her head shaven of hair and replaced with medical sutchers and staples, was, to say the least,


The Rescued Rescue Dog – by Mark Koning
July 29 2012

After a month my mom had decided to open her eyes and re-join the living world. But immediately I
could see, we could all see, something was wrong. The eyes were open, but inside seemed vacant. She
did not talk or move. Sure, she had just woken up from a month long sleep. Sure, she had received a
traumatic, near death, blow to the head. But still, things weren’t right. When she was moved into a
semi private room and more and more family and friends came by to visit, no improvements were
made. When she was transferred back to the hospital closer to home, where hopefully therapy could
start, no improvements were made.

My mom suffered from short term memory loss, some physical ailments, (mostly down the left side of
her body) and obvious depression. But her biggest challenge was a disability called Aphasia; a
communication disorder. My mom could not speak; and it very much seemed like she did not want to
either. It was as if she had given up.

But then one day as my sister and I were tacking up the latest ‘get well’ cards and some family photos,
the nurse who came in to see my mom every evening, gave us a great idea. We were asked about the
small black and brown spotted dog in the picture.

“Bring Casey in to see your mom,” we were told. “It can’t do any harm.”

Casey was pretty okay at home without mom’s presence, but she knew something was up. She was a bit
lethargic, concerned, discontented, dissatisfied, troubled, uneasy; all of the above basically. She didn’t
put up a fuss or cause any mayhem, but she was not her normal, yappy, friendly, energetic self.

So one day my sister and I brought Casey with us for our visit. I took her for a walk around the hospital
grounds so she could get a little familiar with the area and also so she could use nature’s bathroom
before we went in. My sister headed upstairs to see my mom and get her into a wheelchair to meet us
out in the hall by the elevators.

Anticipation grew on both ends as the elevator rose with me inside, Casey in my arms. When the doors
opened there was a moment of surprise and stillness. I then suddenly felt Casey start to squirm, yapping
quietly with glee, her tail banging back and forth against my body. My mom’s eyes grew wide, her face
lit up, and tears of joy actually formed.

I had no plans to draw anything out and I immediately walked over to mom’s chair and held Casey in her
lap. My mom had shown a few signs of improvement by now, so it was no real shock to see her hand
move over to stroke at her dog. But the enthusiasm of the moment was total bliss; and absolutely
beautiful! I will never forget Casey licking my mom’s smiling face.

After this my sister and I made frequent trips with Casey. Our lovable canine friend did not always join
us on hospital visits, but the occasional union of these two could not be passed up. Not only was it just
so darn adorable to witness the love between owner and pet, but the motivation it seemed to give my
mom was something incredible. She seemed to be determined to be able to go home with her dog, and
it propelled her into physical, speech and cognitive therapy.


The Rescued Rescue Dog – by Mark Koning
July 29 2012

Mom’s visits home started slow. First it was just a day, then an overnight, then a few in a row, and finally
a permanent move back to our homestead by the lake.

Therapists came on a weekly basis to work with my mom and they all loved to see Casey. The admiration
between the two was contagious. Self guided physical exercise became a regular thing for my mom as
well, and she always did her routine with Casey by her side; the little four legged canine cheerleader
with a wagging tail.

“Casey” was one of my mom’s first words and over time, similar (but also a bit straining) conversations
took place between the lady of the house and her pet.

Casey was also somewhat protective of her owner/patient and kept a close eye on her with whatever
she did. The dog pretty much had always followed my mom around, but this was different. Her head
was held high with her eyes focused. And cuddling, gently, was probably the best therapy.

When Casey passed away in 2008 it was hard on all of us, but most especially on mom. This little but
powerful dog had offered to her owner some of the best love during a most crucial time. A big part of
my mom’s recovery I know, is thanks to Casey. They say that a dog is man’s best friend, obviously that
applies to woman too. I say, not only can a dog be your best friend, but also your spiritual healer; and
prove to be the most beneficial medicine out there.