Blog: Finding My Voice


I am the voice of the voiceless

  Through me, the dumb shall speak;

Till the deaf world's ear be made to hear

  The cry of the wordless weak.

From street, from cage, and from kennel,

  From jungle and stall, the wail

Of my tortured kin proclaims the sin

  Of the mighty against the frail.

~Ella Wheeler Wilcox



     I am still discovering what I can and can’t do with this blog. I would like to add a side bar with a list of all the blog posts, but I haven’t figured out how to do that without adding a sidebar to the website - which I don’t want to do.

     People who are members of the website can make comments, but I don’t know how to add the membership sign up to the blog page...but it must be somewhere on the website (hidden from me) because 89 people are members of the website!

     Below is the list of blog “Topics." Until I add a sidebar, please search the subjects to find previous blog entries that might not appear on the page.  Thank you!





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A Cricket on the Hearth

Posted on September 30, 2011 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Yesterday I performed one of the tasks that I always postpone as long as possible...bringing in the plants. Every year my house plants go on a mini-vacation in the backyard and spend the long, hot days of summer nestled under trees and bushes, flourishing in the humidity and brightening my patio. It is a vacation for me as well, because I am freed from the task of watering...unless the weather doesn’t cooperate. The house always looks empty without the houseplants, but I soon become accustomed to the uncluttered look of my home and, since I spend many hours outdoors, I get to enjoy seeing my plants in a different setting.

      As most gardeners know, the rule of thumb is to bring houseplants back inside one month before you turn the heat on. In Kentucky, this usually means late September/early October. Before the plants can come back into the house, they must be sprayed to remove insects that may have taken up residence in the dirt or leaves, dirt must be removed from the sides and bottoms of pots, dead or ragged leaves must be removed, and if necessary, plants must be repotted. The process takes several hours and then the hardwork begins of carrying many heavy pots into the house and finding the perfect location for them.  All went well yesterday and the majority of my plants are inside, although some are in temporary locations. Every year I rearrange the plants like furniture since some have died, some have increased in size, and I always acquire a few new ones that I couldn’t resist while perusing the aisles at local garden stores.


      This morning when I woke up I heard a familiar sound in the living room - a cricket on the hearth. Its chirping was incessant. I assume that it was overlooked in one of the plants that I carried into the house yesterday. It reminds of the days when Napolean our chameleon was still alive and the crickets we purchased as food for him would seranade me. The chirping crickets would remind me of the long summer nights shared with my family, lightning bugs, and cicadas. The songs of the caged crickets were always bittersweet to hear because I knew that their days were numbered.

     Most common male crickets have four calling songs. The one I heard early this morning, and continue to hear, is a loud calling song to attract females. Crickets also have a courtship song, a mating song, and a fighting chirp. Depending upon where you live and what you believe, a cricket on the hearth is considered to be a portent of what is to come. Some people claim it foreshadows death, while others believe having a cricket in your home is the luckiest thing in the world. In some South American countries, it is a sign of impending rain or, depending upon the color of the cricket, illness, money or pregnancy. In China, crickets are considered lucky and kept in cages.

     My resident cricket has a loud chirp. I can hear his song in every room of the house. A loud song is a sign of good things to come. I will wait to see what this day brings.

When the moon shall have faded out from the sky, and the sun shall shine at noonday a dull cherry red, and the seas shall be frozen over, and the icecap shall have crept downward to the equator from either pole . . . when all the cities shall have long been dead and crumbled into dust, and all life shall be on the last verge of extinction on this globe; then, on a bit of lichen, growing on the bald rocks beside the eternal snows of Panama, shall be seated a tiny insect, preening its antennae in the glow of the worn-out sun, the sole survivor of animal life on this our earth.~ William Jacob Holland


Take a Chance on Me!

Posted on September 28, 2011 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)


Sometimes being overlooked in a shelter is not a bad thing. “Archie” was a young yellow and white tabby in a high kill rural shelter in Kentucky. The shelter policy was to kill every animal in the shelter every week.  A volunteer did her best to find homes and rescues for the death row inmates, but she was always fighting a race against time. “Archie” had been in the shelter a few months. The volunteer posted a plea to a Yahoo group, “This young cat has been overlooked for weeks, but this week his time is up.”  At the time I was fostering a mama cat and nine kittens. I had made an appointment with a veterinarian located in a county adjacent to where the shelter was located to have the female kittens spayed and I offered to take “Archie.” I thought one cat similar in age and color to our foster family would go unnoticed by my husband and “Archie” needed a place to go.  My offer to foster was accepted.

    When  I arrived at the vet’s office, “Archie” was already there, having been transported by the volunteer from the shelter. An examination of “Archie” prior to surgery revealed that he, was in fact, a she. I renamed her Angelica because it was close to Christmas. Angelica was spayed along with the other kittens and when I returned the following day, she came home with me, hidden amongst the others in a crate.

     Angelica made an easy transition into our home. Having one more kitten underfoot  didn’t make any noticeable difference. The other cats accepted Angelica as one of their own. My husband didn’t realize we had a stowaway until the day when he took the time to count all of them. As the weeks passed, some of the kittens found forever homes. Angelica’s angel never came looking for her. Angelica is now four years old. She is a small, slender girl. Like her namesake in the Rug Rats cartoon, she is talkative, inquisitive, and makes certain we are always aware of her presence. She enjoys sitting on my son’s lap when he sits at the computer and sleeps with him at night, snuggling under the covers. Angelica is safe and loved. She is home.

BUZZ  Pit Bull ~ EUTHANIZED ~ Buzz was a sweet 1 yr old boy who was brought in as an owner surrender. He was a nice boy and didn't mind the other dogs at the pound.  


     Unfortunately, most overlooked shelter animals like Angelica do not have a “happy ever after" story. The few that  are accidentally overlooked for euthanasia are ultimately discovered and killed. Many others die in shelters because they are ignored or intentionally overlooked by potential adopters and rescues. People deem them to be unadoptable or unacceptable because they are the wrong color (black), the wrong breed (mixes and Bully breeds), the wrong age (seniors and  teenagers in the awkward stage), or the wrong size (large breed dogs).  Some are not pretty enough to catch the eye (plain brown dogs and gray tabby cats) or they are too shy or frightened by the noise and chaos of the shelter. Some have minor flaws, disabilities, or special needs. All are deserving of love and homes. Since many dogs and cats have only a small window of opportunity in which to find a home or rescue, those who don’t make a good first impression, who are seen through the bars of a cage or run, or in a blurry, poorly taken photograph posted online, often lose their lives. Sometimes we have to look beyond the dirt, the fear, the uncertainty in those pleading eyes and take a chance. Like me, you may find a diamond in the rough.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;

what is essential is invisible to the eye.  

~Antoine de Saint-Exupry


Learning to Share

Posted on September 26, 2011 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)


One of the first lessons we learn as children is that we have to share. We must share our mother with our father. If we have siblings, we have to share the time and attention we receive from both parents, share our toys, and sometimes we share clothes and bedrooms. On the playground we share swings and slides, and in school we are expected to share our ideas, thoughts, and feelings. We share secrets and apartments with friends and hopefully soon to be friends, and we share seats on buses and airplanes with strangers. On Facebook we share information.

     Every morning I look at the website's visitor statistics as well as the number of people who look at the website's Facebook pages. I know how many people visit the website and what links they used to find it. I know the number of people who look at the Facebook posts and how many click on the share buttons. What I find frustrating and difficult to understand is that anywhere from 500 to 1000 people might look at one post, but rarely do more than a few of these “friends” share the post. When I cross-post a transport, hundreds of people look, but only a handful bother to click on the link to see the full run, and even fewer share the post. The chances of adoption, rescue, and sponsorship increase if more people share and network. Transports need many drivers located in all parts of the country and sharing the information increases the likelihood that the runs will be filled. Networking saves lives. So that raises the question, "Why don't people share?"

     Several months ago my daughter and I had a discussion about human motivation. My daughter said that this subject had been discussed in one of her classes and that the class concluded that every human action is motivated by a personal goal or benefit. My first instinct was to disagree, but as we discussed the subject I began to believe she was correct. We act to minimize physical pain or discomfort, to maximize pleasure, to meet a specific need, goal or ideal, to receive a reward or benefit, or for emotional reasons.  Unless we receive some sort of benefit, we don’t act - whether it be a reasoned decision or instinctive behavior - without some kind of reward. Clicking on a share button may be a little too easy to motivate the average human to act. There is no instant gratification, no feedback, no pat on the incentive to motivate us.

Together we can change the world, one good deed at a time. ~Blake Beattie

     When pleas for help go unanswered, the animals that didn't receive commitments become another sad statistic.  Many transports are canceled because the runs don't fill, and often this results in animals having to remain in overcrowded shelters.  Shelters respond by killing for space. It takes only a few minutes to cross-post a plea and one second to click a button on Facebook to share a message.  Too many people fret and complain about the problems that exist, but sit on the sidelines. They don’t want to make an effort, get involved, or do anything that might inconvenience them. As someone recently pointed out in a post, "Few things in life are free and sharing costs nothing". The simple act of sharing can make a difference for one unwanted animal. Please share today!


Each small act of kindness reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of the good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it is passed, until simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.

~Dean Koontz



Evidence of Things Not Seen

Posted on September 25, 2011 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Many years ago when I was in high school I read a book (maybe a short story?) with the title “Evidence of Things Not Seen.” Even though I can’t remember anything about the book or story, the title has stayed with me. Every time I post a plea on the website or on Facebook, I feel as if I am taking a leap of faith that someone will read the plea and either help or pass the message on to someone who can help.

     Many times I don’t know the outcomes of the poor unwanted animals that I post.  All too often the person who sent  the initial request for help doesn’t send out a follow-up email or the shelter listing is removed from their website without an update. In those situations I try to think like a person who believes the cup is half full and assume that the tragedy set in motion by thoughtless, uncaring humans has had a happy ending.

     Every so often I receive an email from someone who had seen one of the posted pleas and for whatever reason was moved to take action. These thank you notes are totally unexpected and much appreciated. They are beacons of light in those dark moments when I lose faith in mankind. Below is one of those testimonials to faith.


     On March 1st, someone posted this, which I believe you originally posted: "Can ANYONE step in and help this poor soul? This picture is worth a 1000 words... Frankfort, KY: BLIND DOG IN KILL SHELTER (I don’t see her on their website, so I don’t know if she is safe) - This blind girl was brought in as a stray. She is about 6 years old and is blinded by cataracts. She is an Australian Cattle Dog/Heeler. She is scared and snaps at you when handled because she doesn't know where she is or who to trust and this place is noisy and smelly. Can anyone pull her from this county shelter that is overrun? Franklin County Humane Society "

     I wanted you to know that I'm the one who, with the guidance from God and my beloved WigglesBlue Heeler (who returned to Heaven on Sunday morning, December 5th, 2010, after gracing my life with his loving gentleness for more than 12 years), drove to Frankfort, Kentucky (200 miles each way) to adopt "her." "She" turned out to be a petite male whose name is now "Good Boy" and who is living a much better life these days.

     Just wanted to thank you, albeit all these months later, for posting this dear dog who so needed love and a home, because my broken heart and I sure needed him! God bless you so much for helping God and WigglesBlue Heeler help both me and Good Boy!

      Please see and also WigglesBlue Heeler at Facebook.  Good Boy's photos on Facebook:


So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  ~2 Corinthians 4:18


The Death of Common Sense

Posted on September 22, 2011 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)


As my family well knows, I am constantly ranting and raving about  something, whether it be the plight of animals or some other issue that is important to me. My morning routine includes reading the local newspaper. More often than not I can find something that makes me shake my head and think, “What is wrong with people?” These are just a few of  my “pet peeves.” - Killing, abandoning, and abusing children, animals, and the elderly; The senseless killing of neighbors, friends, family, and strangers; Destroying or taking another person’s property; Refusing to acknowledge there are others in need and looking the other way instead of helping; The lack of tolerance for others; The dumbing down of America; The promotion of ignorance, selfishness, and greed by the media; The hero worship of celebrities, reality show stars, and other self-promoters unworthy of adoration or emulation; The destruction of our planet; and Failing to protect the interests of future generations.

     Someone posted the eulogy below on Facebook. I wish I had written it. I was beginning to think I was the only person who thought we had lost some virtures that in the past were highly valued. With a little online research I discovered  the name of the author. The version below is slightly different than the original, but despite the changes the message is the same.  

                 The Death of Common Sense

By Lori Borgman

     Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: - Knowing when to come in out of the rain; - Why the early bird gets the worm; - Life isn't always fair; - And maybe it was my fault.

     Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies - don't spend more than you can earn - and believed adults, not children, are in charge. His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

     Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

     Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

     Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers: I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, do nothing.

(Note from Lori Borgman: This piece was first published March 15, 1998 in the Indianapolis Star.- - It has been "modified" and "edited" by others and circulated on the Internet, even sent to me several times. Imagine my surprise to see it attributed to some guy named Anonymous. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I take having my work circulated on the web as a compliment.)

     I truly believe that many problems, including those involving animals, could be solved or prevented if people used common sense and acted responsibly. We have become a nation of name callers, finger pointers, and shirkers who don't know the meaning of words like sharing, commitment,  and compassion. We have no self-respect and no respect for others. We fail to realize that just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it.

     So for the problem creators out there, the humans who act as if the world revolves around them, who never learned what it means to be responsible, who don’t have common sense or proper role models, who have lost their way or their religion, and/or who lack guidance or a moral compass, I want you to know that it isn’t that difficult to make good decisions or to determine how to do the right thing. Before you take ANY action that could possibly affect ANYTHING THAT LIVES, there is a general principle that has a long history, and has been embraced and restated by many philosophers, religions, and people of good will: REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE! - “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” Living by this simple tenet may not solve all of society's problems, but it could go a long way in making the world a better place for everyone.



The Last Butterflies

Posted on September 21, 2011 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)


Butterflies, they are like dream flowers, childhood dreams, which have broken loose from their stalks and escaped into the sunshine. Air and angels. ~  Miriam Rothschild

     Today is the last day of summer. Weeks of sun and heat have been replaced by endless days of gloomy rain and cooler nights. The last visitors to our butterfly bush have made their appearance.  During the summer the butterflies and moths visiting the bush changed as the season progressed. First to visit were the small cabbage whites and the eastern tailed blues, who were soon replaced by the least skippers and red spotted purples.  In midsummer the bush was covered with ever changing vistas of larger butterflies in hues of black, blue, and yellow - a variety of swallowtails and red admirals. Last week both my son and I noticed the monarch butterflies had returned. I can’t say which butterflies are my favorite, but a butterfly bush with ten to fifteen monarchs fluttering from branch to branch is wonderous to behold.

     Since one of my goals in gardening is to attract butterflies to my yard, I always plant flowers and herbs that butterflies enjoy as well as those upon which caterpillars feed.  I have fennel, parsley and dill in my herb garden, marigolds, goldenrod, and coneflowers in the berm, and milkweed planted next to the pond near the butterfly bush.  One day when I went out to feed the fish I noticed one of the milkweed plants was bent towards the pond and the fish were nibbling at the leaves...In fact most of the leaves were gone. I ran into the house, did a quick search online, and discovered that milkweed is poisonous to some animals. In a panic I rushed outside and pulled out all of the plants that were in close proximity to the pond. Many times during the day I went outside in fear of finding my family of fish floating on their sides, but the fish seemed to be unaware of the poisonous nature of the milkweed plant and none ever showed any sign of being ill.



  Having weathered that storm, my family and I waited patiently to see if the remaining milkweed plants would attract monarch caterpillars. In September we noticed the milkweed leaves were being devoured. A close inspection disclosed several yellow, black, and white striped caterpillars. After two weeks we discovered two cacoons hanging from the denuded milkweed plant. The monarch's chrysalis is unusual in being a beautiful, smooth object, green with golden spots. There are four generations of monarchs. The total life cycle of one generation from egg to butterfly is six to eight weeks. However, the fourth generation monarchs are the ones who make the long journey south, and they live six to eight months.  

     Every day we would go out early in the morning with great expectations, hoping to see a newly emerged butterfly sitting on a rock while its wings unfolded. That was not to be. One morning we found both chrysalis were empty and the butterflies gone.  These small  miracles had fluttered off on fragile wings with no one to witness their departure.

To make a wish come true,

whisper it to a Butterfly.

Upon these wings it will be taken to

heaven and granted, for they are the

messengers of the Great Spirit.

Native American Legend

     When I joined the Bone Cancer Dog Yahoo group, several people posted about finding pennies. I couldn't understand why they were bothering to post about such a minor occurrence. After reading the posts I realized that people were writing about seeing or finding something that to them symbolized a message or reminder of their lost loved one. For some people, the symbol was a penny or something that had a special meaning. For me, it has been butterflies. Nine years ago both of my sons lost friends - two in a horrific auto accident and the third due to cancer - within a period of three months. On one of those days when the loss of these three young people seemed unbearable, I said to myself, "When I go outside, if I see a butterfly I will know all is not lost.” And when I stepped out my front door, three butterflies were resting together on the front walkway. What took my breath away was the fact that they were three different kinds of butterflies.

What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning.   ~Anonymous


These Are the Days I Hate.

Posted on September 20, 2011 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)


#37 Female Pit Bull Mix about 2-3 years old. Good With People Friendly and LOVES Attention. SHELTER FAVORITE. Cheated death twice. Sadly no one came for this girl and she was PUT TO SLEEP.

All that breathes is precious. Who is to say that the suffering of an animal is less worthy of solace than the pain of man? The spark of life is no dimmer simply because it is encased in fur or leather. ~ Anonymous


     I am having one of those “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more days”...except I don’t have any power or control over all the madness in the world.  All I can do is rant and cross-post...and hope. Many shelters are overflowing and some are euthanizing (killing) for space TODAY. Some are killing because that is what they do every week, even though the shelter isn’t full.  Pleas are being sent out, people are cross-posting - and everyone who cares is involved in a race against time - with the losers ending up dead.


     I look at the faces of all those unwanted animals and I can barely control my anger.  Why are these helpless, loving, trusting creatures in this position? Why do we as a society find it an acceptable practice to kill a  dog or cat just  because he or she is homeless?  When are the responsible people of the world going to say enough is enough and this behavior of catering to the irresponsible has got to stop?

For every animal that dies in a shelter, there is a HUMAN somewhere RESPONSIBLE for its death. ~Author Unknown

      I am tired of all the excuses (if they even bother to give one) from people who surrender their animals to a kill shelter, abandon them on the side of the road, or allow them to wander off without making an effort to find them.  What kind of person gets up in the morning and thinks, “I’m tired of feeding my cat, walking my dog, and/or taking five minutes to give this animal who relies upon me for life itself five minutes of my time”? No one moves or loses their home in one day. No one instantly becomes so busy they don’t have the time to care for their cat or dog or to safely rehome them.  Why would anyone rent an apartment or home knowing the landlord does not allow pets? Why adopt a cat or dog if you know your circumstances will change in the future or you are unable or unwilling to make a lifelong commitment?  Why allow the birth of a litter of kittens or puppies when you know you don't want them...or their mother?

The senseless killings of doomed pets who are a sad byproduct of an ignorant and lazy society are an outrage. One would think America is a modern country, with an intelligent society, yet every day thousands of innocent pets die - because the mainstream does not get "being responsible."  ~Monika Courtney


     There are alternatives to killing and there are ways and resources to stop this constant influx of animals into shelters. Spay your dogs and cats instead of allowing them to have unwanted offspring. Low cost spay/neutering is available. If you are moving or must rehome your dog or cat, contact a shelter or rescue and ask if they will post a courtesy listing on their website. Network - contact friends, family, and coworkers. If your pet is ill, there are grants, groups, and people who are willing to help...I can testify to that as a beneficiary of the generousity of others. Food banks can provide food for those who are unable to feed their cats and dogs. Programs exist to find homes for unwanted senior and/ or disabled animals. Resources are available for all kinds of just have to make an effort to find out what is available instead of taking the “easy” route of placing the responsibility on others. Killing an unwanted animal should NEVER be an option.


Stand still, close your eyes and listen; in the silence you can hear the cries of pain and low moans of anguish of animals waiting to die... do everything you can even if today it is just one small thing. There are no excuses for inaction, despair, egotism, or petulance that matter to the animals.  ~Ashley Montague


This is My Letter to the World...

Posted on September 18, 2011 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)


Actually this is my long overdue letter/ thank you to those who made donations for my dog Ballantine’s cancer surgery, sent me emails, and gave me hope when I had none. Without your moral and financial support, Bally would not have survived and I would be a totally worthless emotional wreck of no use to my family and unable to post and cross-post for those in need.  Because of the surgery, Ballantine is alive today. She eats well, plays with her fur siblings, hunts for critters in the backyard, enjoys walks, gives kisses, keeps the pack under control as the alpha female, and spends her evenings cuddled close to me on the sofa. I could not have hoped for a better outcome.

     My family and I are grateful for every day we have had with Bally since her cancer was aggressive, the prognosis was grim, and we did not have the financial resources needed for the surgery which was the only treatment option offered to us. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel. Knowing that strangers were willing to open their hearts (and wallets) for a dog in need without knowing anything about me and Bally was a leap of faith and showed great kindness and compassion. These strangers renewed my faith in humans when so often I feel despair.  The personal stories that they shared with me and the encouagement I received gave me the strength to make a very dificult decision for Bally. 

I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.  ~Tracy Chapman


Perla Chiaffitella (NJ) 

Hirbod Khatir  (CA) 

Toby De Simone  (MI)

Lynda Gilley   (TX)

Coyote Windsong   (MI)

Barbara Reinert  (CA)

Catherine Watson (PA)

Carol Minkus  (OR) 

Bonnie Crosby (SC)

Patricia Molloy  NY

The Hip Dog  CA)

Mary Zecchino (NJ)

Marilyn Royle (MI)

Lori Najdzin (NJ)

Sharon Lee  (IN)

Darla Alexander  (Mi)

Michelle Stone (MI)

Karyn Harden (KY)

Lois Yancy (VA)

Scott Zuchiewski (MI)

Cyntha Jordan  (GA)

Shelly Siminski

Sandy Gianetti

     And last, but not least, I want to thank Megan Slattery who was a lifeline for Bally and me. She was there when I needed a friend. Megan emailed me daily with words of support, created a chip-in for Bally, and cross-posted to her friends who reached out to Bally and me. Without Megan and her friends, Bally would not be here today. 


NOTE: The photo of Bally was taken the day before I drove her to OSU for her cancer surgery. We had a severe thunderstorm that evening and Bally howled and barked as the storm raged. I thought this would be the last photo I ever took of Bally and would be one of my last memories of her. Now when I look at this photo I think of Bally looking into a future without hope and seeing flashes of light in the darkness. 


It's Not Fair!

Posted on September 18, 2011 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)


Anyone who is a parent or has been in a position where they have to deal with children is familar with the phrase - “It’s not fair!” The grass is always greener somewhere else and someone always has a bigger piece of the pie. Unfortunately, it is one of the harsh realites of life that we don’t always get what we want or deserve.

     My daughter is employed as a teacher at an "at risk" high school, her first “real” job since graduating from college in May. Even as a young adult, she is still having those “It’s not fair” days. Every week she calls home with some new problem, crisis or complaint...the long hours she works; the time and expense of the commute to her school which is located outside the county where she lives; the low compensation she receives...which is much less than the salary being paid to her roommates who are teachers employed at schools within the county; the fact that she has no free time and no life between teaching, preparing for classes, and going to graduate school at night; the high cost of rent for an apartment in a nice, safe area. My daughter isn’t seeking advice and she isn’t really complaining. She is just having a difficult time making the transition from college student to the real world and accepting the fact that life isn’t always fair.

     I am constantly reminded of the inequities that exist in the real world.  Every day, as I post dogs and cats on the website and cross-post them on Facebook, I realize that the outcome for most of these poor unwanted creatures is determined by something over which they and we have no control...the state, city, and shelter at which they are located.  Is the state forward thinking or in the dark ages?  Is the area rural or urban? Is the shelter high kill, low kill or no kill?  Does the shelter director really care about animals or is it just a job? Do they make an effort to save as many animals as possible? Are they willing to work with rescues and volunteers? Is the shelter open to the public and do they allow adoptions?  Do people in the community support the shelter?  Do they kill every animal every week as a matter of policy or do they wait until the shelter is full? How long is the mandatory hold time? Do they immediately kill owner surrenders or do they give them an opportunity to find a new home? Too many ifs.

I have always held firmly to the thought that each one of us can do a little to bring some portion of misery to an end.  ~Mahatma Ghandi


     The fact that a dog or cat is in a shelter where chances for adoption or rescue are limited and that the same dog or cat would have more time or opportunties in a different shelter, area, county or state is something which we can't change. However, there are things we can do to make a difference:

1. ADOPT and save a LIFE!   

2.  SPAY/NEUTER your dog and/or cat.


4.  DONATE money and/or supplies to a SHELTER or RESCUE.

5.  SPONSOR an animal at a shelter, rescue or sanctuary.

6.  FOSTER a dog or cat at a SHELTER or at a RESCUE.

7.  SUPPORT and promote animal protection LEGISLATION.

8.  EDUCATE your family and friends about humane treatment of animals.

9.  JOIN an animal related ORGANIZATION.

10.  Offer to DRIVE a leg of a TRANSPORT.

11. Act RESPONSIBLY!  Adopting a dog, cat, or any animal is a LIFELONG commitment.

12.  RECOMMEND  the HELP ME- CENTRAL website to a friend, post to a group, and/or cross-post! ~ One seemingly simple act may save a life!



State of Wonder

Posted on September 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)


I recently read the book “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett. The story focuses on a doctor/researcher who is sent to Brazil to  gather information about the progress being made in the development of a new drug in a remote area of the Amazon jungle. This character is also sent to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a colleague who had previously made the same journey. What intrigued me about the book wasn’t the characters or the plot line, but the descriptions of that part of the world... intense rainstorms, lifestyles vastly different from our own, and the tremendous variety of people, plants and animal life in the Amazon jungle.  To those of us who feel stressed by problems that are really minor irritations, who are inconvenienced by changes in the weather, or who are annoyed by mosquitoes that disrupt their enjoyment of the outdoors, the book is a real eye opener.  What we consider as hardships...the loss of electricity during a storm, a plugged-up drain, the long line at the grocery store, or poor cell phone reception...are trivial compared to the harsh realities of life in other parts of the world.

     We have lost our connection with nature. Too many people look at the world as being created for humans and forget about the other forms of life that share our planet.  We pollute the water, strip the mountains and forests, destroy habitat, and kill for pleasure or personal gain...all in the name of progress, to enhance our life styles, and to give us short-term benefits that can't be sustained without further destruction of the environment. Profit, greed, and selfishness have become the gods of modern man. We have  forgotten that everything is interrelated and that by destroying one thing we set off a chain reaction with unintended and unanticipated consequences.

    We have also lost our sense of wonder.  We are often reminded to “stop and smell the roses,” but how many of us go about our daily actitivies without considering the varied forms of life that surround us? How many of us have the time or inclination to contemplate the wonders of nature, to consider the industriousness of an ant, or to watch the clouds as they float overhead?  One of my favorite activites is to sit in a chair near the small pond in my backyard with a dog on my lap and several at my feet. As I listen to the birdsong and REALLY look at all the life that surrounds me, my every day worries and complaints fade into the background. In those quiet moments I can almost imagine I hear the earth breathing.


The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.  ~Joseph Campbell


Questions & Answers About the Website

Posted on September 16, 2011 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)


Why have changes been made to the website?

     The website celebrated its 3rd birthday August 26, 2011 and at that time I deemed it necessary for it to undergo some changes.  I thought it needed a name change to reflect the fact that it encompasses more than just animals in Kentucky, and with that change it required a new look and new domain name.  I chose a notepage template because it was similar to the original template for the website, but not as cluttered. Both templates reflect my long time habit of making lists and writing notes to myself.  I asked for name suggestions for the revamped website and I liked many of the suggestions, but I settled on “HELP ME-CENTRAL” because it was the only one for which a domain name was available.    

Why a sunflower logo?     

     I am an avid gardener and I love flowers. The photo of the sunflower on the home page is a sunflower that I was able to successfully grow in my garden. Even though I plant sunflower seeds EVERY year, that particular sunflower is only one of two that made it past the sprout stage.  I chose a sunflower to represent the website because it exemplified what I was trying to achieve - a central site with information that could be used to solve problems. Sunflowers are cheerful flowers that are not only beautiful, but are also useful.

Why are many pages incomplete?

     I have many plans/ideas for the website, but not enough time, so I am contstantly constructing and reconstructing pages in parts. If a page is too outdated, I make it invisible. If the page contains enough usable information, I keep it online.

Why are many of the posts not updated?

    Again, not enough time and too much to do. Because the website contains a lot of information that is time sensitive, it constantly needs updating. I am only one person maintaining a large website and two Facebook pages. I also try to have a life away from the computer. I am constantly begging for help, and I have had a few offers, but when people discover how time consuming it is to maintain even one page, they seem to disappear. I try to include links in every post whenever possible, so visitors to the website can easily click on a link to find the most recent information available.

Why aren't all pleas posted on the website or on the Facebook pages?

     Many people send me emails and/or post pleas on the wall of the Facebook pages for me to cross-post.  At the moment I have 114 unread emails in my inbox - and that is for only one of my email addresses - and several posts on the walls of the Facebook pages that need to be re-posted.  I read every email and post...and I would love to post and cross-post everything I receive, but that just isn’t possible due to time constraints. As a result, I post /cross-post the oldest pleas first unless a plea indicates that time is of the essence. Sometimes pleas get overlooked and/or by the time I get around to posting them the problem has been resolved one way or another.

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.  ~Edward Everett Hale


Dropping Like Flies

Posted on September 15, 2011 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)


 I have often heard people use the phrase “dropping like flies,” but until recently I had never really considered what that meant. Last week I noticed that our house was being overtaken by flies. I’m not talking about the usual one or two flies that find their way inside when someone opens a door. We had SWARMS of flies and they were everywhere. They were caught in spiderwebs that I like to overlook in the corners of rooms and were crawling over window panes trying to find a way out. When I prepared meals, they crawled on the countertop and our usual evening routine of watching television was disrupted by our dogs making clumsy attempts to catch the flies that buzzed overhead.

     I have always been a catch and release type of person and the thought of killing anything, including flies, is something I didn’t want to contemplate, but eventually I realized that drastic measures had to be taken. I was convinced that something had died in one of the walls of our poorly insulated older home and that maggots were dining on the carcass, resulting in the fly infestation. My husband consulted with the experts at our favorite local hardware store and returned home with a can of something that supposedly would alleviate the problem without harming the dogs, cats, and humans in the household. 

     Our dogs were forced to spend some time in the backyard, while my husband sprayed every surface and crevice where a fly could possibly hide. After the fumes abated and I had washed every surface that could be contaminated by what I assumed to be poison, the dogs were allowed to return. It soon became apparent that the flies were dying. However, it wasn’t until the following day that they started to “drop like flies”. I began to feel like I was a character in a Grade B science fiction movie. I didn’t see any flies flying around, but every time I went into the kitchen I would find small flies lying on their backs with their tiny legs thrashing. I kept expecting one of the flies to speak and call out “Phillipe, Phillipe”... just like the main character/fly in the original “The Fly” movie when he became caught in a spider web. The fact that the dying flies were fairly small seemed to confirm my carcass/maggot theory.

     So what is the meaning and source of “Dropping like flies”? According to the Phrase Finder “The origin of this phrase isn't known. It is clearly a simple allusion to the transitory and fragile nature of an insect's life.” http/


I wish no living thing to suffer pain. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

      I'm sorry that the flies had to meet an untimely end. I believe that everything has a purpose, even a fly that has a lifespan of only 22 days. Why do I feel regret about killing an insect that seemingly serves no other function than to carry disease and serve as food for something higher up in the food chain...while there are those who can shoot a dog, drown a cat, or abandon animals with no more thought than swatting a fly? What is lacking in some of those we proclaim to be the highest form of life?


Missing Napoleon

Posted on September 13, 2011 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)


The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.  ~Charles Darwin

Every year at least one of our non-human family member dies. This is the price we pay for having so many dogs, cats, fish, and other critters. This year we lost Napoleon. Napoleon was a chamelon. My son purchased him when he was very young and less than two inches long from a local breeder.  He lived with my son while he was away at college and grew from a little thing that could sit on one finger into a big beautiful boy. When my son returned home, Napoleon took up residence in the room where I have my desk. Sitting at my computer, I could see Napoleon out of the corner of my eye, perched on a branch close to the light in his cage as if it was a beam of sunshine. He tried to be inconspicious, because that is what Chamelons do, but with his unique look and furitive moves, he drew your attention. He did a good job of blending in with the background, but his eyes...when he wasn't napping...often gave him away.

     Napoleon was a sight to behold. His color would change with his location in the cage or with his mood. As he grew, his skin would shed, which gave him a scary demeanor. You couldn’t say Napoleon was cuddly or affectionate, but he was a good companion. I believe we shared the same taste in music. With Napoleon in the room, I never felt alone. I could hear him rustling the leaves on his plants as he moved about the cage, especially if he was in the process of hunting for crickets. The fact that he required live food, crickets and mealy worms, was pretty much the only thing I didn't like about him. I would often leave the room when it was meal time.

     Although I never held Napoleon and never made an attempt to touch him (my son fed him and cleaned his cage), I believe we had a bond that can only exist between animals and humans.  When a stranger approached his cage, Napoleon would hiss and puff himself up in order to scare off the perceived threat of danger. However, when I opened his cage to water his plants, he would look at me with eyes that rolled around in several directions, but didn't indicate in any way that he felt threatened. I think he knew I would't hurt him and he tolerated my intrusion into his space. 

     This spring we began to notice that Napoleon was beginning to lose weight. He was still eating, but he wasn't as quick to approach his prey and the skin began to hang loosely on his body. Napolean was getting old. The lifespan of a chameleon is five to seven years and Napolean was over six years old. My son held crickets close to Napoleon's mouth and tried different "foods" hoping to entice him to eat, but his decline continued. One morning Napoleon didn't open his eyes when I turned on his light and, as the minutes ticked by, he didn't move from his perch on the branch.

     Napoleon is buried in our garden. The cage stands empty in the corner of the room as if waiting for Napoleon's return.  Even though months have passed, when I enter the room I still expect to see the light on in the cage and hope to catch a glimpse of Napoleon staring at me with his wandering eyes. I am constantly amazed by how much I miss him.



Posted on September 13, 2011 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Three months ago, one of my Scottish Terriers was diagnosed with cancer of the lower jaw. The diagnosing veterinarian advised me to immediately euthanize Ballantine. He said that the cancer had progressed too far (even though Bally had been given a clean bill of health two weeks earlier!), there was no treatment, no hope, and Bally’s demise would be swift and painful. I almost said yes...please end Bally’s suffering!...but then a little voice in my head told me to sleep on the advice before making a decision. The next morning my husband retrieved Bally from the vet’s office and I spent the next week frantically seeking information, advice, and hope.  Bally subsequently received a referral to the veterinary clinic at Ohio State University, underwent surgery to remove her lower jaw, and today she is a survivor, living with cancer...with a good quality of life.*  Every day with Bally is a gift.

     Some people have questioned my decision. After all, Ballantine is "just" a dog.  Why spend money on one most likely terminal dog when there are millions of animals in need? "Every year, between six to eight million dogs and cats enter U.S. animal shelters; Between four to five million of these animals are euthanized because there are simply not enough homes.  The animals killed in our shelters each day include kittens and puppies that never had a chance, adults, seniors, purebreds, owner drop-offs and strays.  Many shelters are so full that any animal that is an owner surrender is immediately "put to sleep".  The number of animals killed each year in shelters does not include animals that die on our streets and in our neighborhoods due to abandonment, injury, starvation, or neglect."*

We ought not to treat living creatures like shoes or household belongings, which when worn with use we throw away. ~Plutarc

#25  Female 4-5 year old Beagle Mix - PUT TO SLEEP

     Every day I post and cross-post animals in need on this website and on Facebook...dogs, cats, and other animals who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, and/or surrendered to kill shelters.  I post pleas from shelters hoping to find foster homes, adopters, rescues, or sponsors for animals that will be euthanized if no one steps forward, pleas from rescuers who have gone into debt trying to save animals on death row or in need of  medical treatment, and requests from people who need to re-home animals because of circumstances out of their control.  Many days I lose hope and think all of the time I have spent online has been wasted and futile. There are just too many animals in need and not enough people who care. 

     During several of my visits to the OSU clinic I sat in the waiting room and watched  people come in with their cats and dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages, and breeds.  Some of the animals were healthy, some looked like they had undergone treatment of some sort, some looked ill, some were missing limbs, but all of them had something in common...they were accompanied by someone (more often than not an entire family) who loved them. They were not "just" dogs and cats, but family members. I had refused to give up on Ballantine because she was an important part of my life, and from what I observed in the waiting room, I am not alone in my feelings.

"Hazel & puppies 319174 Pit Mix Female 1 yr ~ Hazel was at the shelter for at  least two week before she gave birth, and you could tell her heart was broken. SHE WAITED TO BE RESCUED BUT NO ONE CAME.   Her babies were still born/deformed. Hazel (mom) was sick and suffering. All were euthanized. RIP."

     And this is what I find difficult to reconcile. What is the difference between the people who love animals, who consider the non-humans in their household to be family members, and the people in our society who view animals as things to be used, abused, and  expendable? Why do some people spend much of their time and money trying to save animals while others don’t search or care when one of their dogs or cats goes missing, think nothing of dumping an animal at a kill shelter or on the side of a road when mostly likely their actions will result in death, or think there is nothing wrong with leaving a dog  in a hot car or outside on a chain without food, water, shelter or companionship?

"TAZ Pit Bull Terrier Medium Adult Male  EUTHANIZED - RIP   Sadly with the Pound flooding today, any dog showing aggression had to be put to sleep, as there was no place to move them. These are the days we hate. We had a dog that LOVED people, but not other dogs so much. Because of this and his breed mix, nobody would show interest in him for adoption or rescue. He wagged his tail and gave kisses until his dying breath. We're sorry the human race let you down, friend. "

     I hope that someday people can understand it's not "Just A Dog." It's the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "Just a man or woman."  ~Unknown

     Some days I have to step away from my computer because the sadness, frustration, and anger are overwhelming.  When I receive an update that a dog or cat has been rescued or adopted, it is a small victory, but it is the ones we couldn’t  save who haunt our days and dreams...and who give us the motivation to post one more animal or cross-post one more plea.



Posted on September 11, 2011 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

***********************************************************************    Everyone who is reading this probably remembers where they were and what they were doing ten years ago today. It was one of those moments in time that becomes frozen in our memories due to the nature of the occurrence. I was with my oldest son. We were parking our car in the parking lot of a local electronics store and someone on the radio stated that an airplane had flown into one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.  We assumed it was some sort of terrible accident. When we entered the store every television screen was aglow with the same image. The surreal was made real as we watched the events as they unfolded. Strangers spoke with one another and tried to make sense out of what was happening. We were able to see the damage to the building, the smoke eminating from the damaged areas, and  the fear and confusion expressed  by commentators and eyewitnesses. As the day passed we learned about the other hijacked planes, the attack on the Pentagon, and the crash of Flight 93 in a field in Pennsylvania. We saw the second plane hit the second tower, people jumping to their deaths, and ultimately, the collapse of both towers. The pictures of that day stored in my memory are almost as clear today as when they occurred 10 years ago. Some things cannot be forgotten.

     When we hear “911” we immediately think of that day...but we also think about what 911 also symbolizes.  A call to 911 is a plea for help. Whether we need a police officer, a fire fighter, or emergency medical services, it is the number we are advised to call for assistance. I imagine the majority of people who call 911 feel fear, panic, and stress. They are in a situation that they are unable to handle on their own and must reach out to others for help.

      I started this website approximately three years ago. At that time I was a cross-poster. I would read a post or receive an email about a dog, cat, or shelter that needed assistance and I would send out emails to rescues and repost the pleas to Yahoo Groups hoping that someone somewhere could help. I would get up early in the morning and go to bed late at night to send out one more plea and hope that the right person would receive the message and respond in time. In these situations, time is always of the essence. Ultimately, the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness became so overwhelming, I decided to start a website. The logic behind the decision was that I would be able to reach a wider audience if information could be found on one site and those who visited the website could pay it forward and cross-post. One plea for help would become many.

     Unfortunately, not much has changed in three years. Every time I receive an email, post on the website, or cross-post on Facebook I feel that same sense of urgency and panic. I can hear the minutes ticking by and the voice of despair whispering in my ear...Too many needing help, not enough time to post all the pleas that need to be posted, and not enough people who care. My only comfort, and hope, is knowing that there are others who are doing what I am trying to lives.  So today of all days I hope we remember that  we are not alone and that one small act, one email, one click on a share button, can make a difference.

None of us can ever save himself; we are the instruments of one another’s salvation, and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into light.  ~Dean Koontz