Friday, August 22, 2014

Out For Africa

Are we really going to be the generation that lets elephants go extinct?

Every piece of ivory comes from a dead elephant. Ivory is beautiful, but when you consider that this is what had to happen to get it on your coffee table, is it really worth it?


As a good citizen of the World Wide Web, I feel the need to share Ebates with anyone who does any online shopping. Sign up through the link below and start getting a percentage of your purchase back on purchases through most online stores. Once signed up, remember to log into Ebates before starting your shipping trip, search for and choose the store where you will be shopping, check out through the new window that will be opened by Ebates, and that's it! You'll get a check, deposit to your Paypal account, or can choose to get your reward in the form of an Amazon gift card (with a couple of bucks added for choosing that payment method!) at the end of every quarter. It's seriously that easy! Ebates even offers cash back at sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, features "Daily Double" stores each day for double cash back, offers weekly deals, and you get your choice of $5 gift card just for signing up (of course I chose Target). I know I sound like a commercial but as of today, I've already made $159.95 back just from buying stuff I was going to buy anyway. Who doesn't like free money?

Plus, if you sign up with my referral code (below) and make a $25 purchase through Ebates by September 30, I get a $25 referral bonus and entered to win $20,000 cash or a Hawaiian Getaway. Once signed up, you can also Tell-A-Friend for referral bonuses and be entered to win as well.

So to overview- super easy process, earn money back for things you were going to buy even without the incentive of free money, get a $5 gift card for signing up, get referral bonuses for inviting friends, and be entered to win $20,000 or a trip to Hawaii.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I'm a Single Mother*

His name is Casper and I just love him.

I'll start with the back story on how I ended up being a single momma.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control picked up this little nugget wandering around with a collar, no tags, and two shoestrings tied to the collar (what a way to tether a dog, huh?).  By the time CMACC caught up to him, he had swallowed the shoestrings that were STILL ATTACHED TO THE COLLAR so I have to imagine he wasn't having the easiest time breathing/eating/drinking.  Truth be told, it hurts my heart to think of his life before me- defenseless, wandering the streets, starving, shoestrings stuck in his throat, and probably terrified.  I try not to think about it since there are currently thousands of animals- if not millions- across the country in similar conditions.  My Cas is one of the lucky ones.  Anyways, the fact that he is a black pit mix was working against him in a huge way at CMACC (not sure if you're aware, but black dogs are the least likely to be adopted and most likely to be euthanized.  For whatever reason, people are less inclined to fall in love with black dogs).  Since CMACC does not adopt out pit bulls, he should have been euthanized within 24 hours of arriving at the shelter.  Luckily, an angel of an animal control officer thought he just had too much going for him to let his life end so soon, so she was taking him home with her every night so that he would have an extra day.  I volunteer with the American Pit Bull Foundation, and since we have no shelter, we can only rescue as many dogs as we have foster homes in place for.  When the foster coordinator contacted me about Mac (what he was being called at the time), I thought about it and decided I wanted to help.  I mean who could say no to this little face?

 Yes, that picture was taken in the animal control officer's house.  Look how vicious pit bulls are with children and other animals.

When I picked him up from CMACC on January 20, he was estimated to be around 5 months old and weighed 24.8 lbs.  When he went to lose his manhood on March 20, he weighed 49 lbs, and I would guess hes somewhere between 55-60 lbs today (HOSS!).  He has the most agreeable personality, and is so calm for his age.  

Things I love about him:
-He is so photogenic.

-He gets episodes of "zoomies"- normally around bedtime- but stays calm for the most part.  
-He is so eager to please.
-He actually watches TV.  He loves cartoons and Bravo's "It's a Brad, Brad World."  I find Brad oober annoying, but I leave it on for him if he starts watching it.
-He was crate trained, and nearly completely leash and house trained when I got him.  
-He has now perfected bell training for when he wants to go potty.  Though I'm positive the ringing bell every time the door is opened/closed annoys my roommates, it certainly helps prevent accidents in the house. 
-He will not get onto my bed unless I drag him up there, but man he gets comfortable once he's up there. 
-He loves to cuddle on the couch.
-He lays with his frog legs ALL THE TIME ( I LOVE when dogs lay like that!)

Things I've struggled with:
-His grain allergy! Took weeks to figure out what was making his nose run and him chew on his paws, but we finally discovered he is allergic to food that isn't grain-free/holistic. AKA the high-end, expensive stuff.
-His affinity for chewing.  Now I know this is a puppy thing.  And being a pit, he is a power chewer.  Toys never stay in tact very long (I'm talking a couple of hours- if I'm lucky!- before I have to take the squeaker and stuffing out of the hole he's created so he doesn't swallow it), and he has also managed to gnaw his way through a laptop power cord, an Aveda paddle brush, a Bobbie Brown makeup palette, and a Havianas sandal.  You have to give it to the boy, he has a taste for the finer things. 
-What I affectionately consider his "handshake."  He just wants to have your hand in his mouth when you walk in and he gets really excited.  He doesn't put any pressure on your hand, just wants your hand in his mouth.  We're working every day on breaking this for good so that maybe hopefully he can take therapy dog training in the future.
-He likes to push his toys under the furniture, then whines and/or barks until someone gets it out from under there for him. Seems like getting toys that don't fit under the furniture would be the easy fix, but any toys that don't fit under the sofa also don't fit in his mouth so if anyone knows how to break this, please let me know.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kermit Gosnell Found Guilty

"After 10 days of deliberations, a Philadelphia, Pa., jury convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on Monday of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three infants born alive at his medical clinic. He was also pronounced guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee from Bhutan who died after having an abortion at his clinic.

Gosnell was also pronounced guilty of 16 counts of violating the state's informed consent requirements, and guilty of 21 counts of performing abortions after 24 weeks of gestation, the legal limit in Pennsylvania.
Gosnell, 72, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder for allegedly cutting the spinal cords of third-term babies he delivered alive. He also faced one count of third-degree murder in the death of Mongar, and more than 200 other charges related to racketeering, performing illegal late-term abortions, and failing to comply with Pennsylvania's 24-hour waiting period requirement for abortions.

Abortion rights advocates applauded the verdict and said the Gosnell case highlights the need for access to safe, high quality, and legal abortion. Gosnell ran a medical clinic in West Philadelphia that catered mostly to poor, minority women. The clinic was shuttered after authorities raided it and discovered what the prosecution in the case characterized as a 'house of horrors'

'Justice was served to Kermit Gosnell today, and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed,' said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. 'We hope that the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict. Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell. From the lack of funding available for low-income women to access abortion services, to the sharp decline of reputable providers in Pennsylvania, to the gross negligence of authorities to enforce the law after complaints were filed against Gosnell, each aspect of this case must be a teachable moment for lawmakers: Until we reject the politicization of women's medical care and leave these decisions where they belong -- between a woman and her family and her doctor -- women will never be safe.'"

via The Huffington Post 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

An Open Letter to Animal Surrenderers From an Employee of NYACC

Dear Former Family, Your Dog Was Killed

Dear Former Family,

On this day in ____, Your Dog was killed by an employee of New York Animal (Care and) Control.

You dumped Your Dog because:
1. you suddenly realized that had no time for him/her anymore,
2. you had just had a new baby,
3. your landlord didn't like him/her,
4. you were moving to a new apartment/house the landlord of which didn't allow dogs,
5. Your Dog was too old/sick, and you couldn't afford the vet bills or to have him/her humanely euthanized,
6. some other random reason for which you claimed Your Dog had become an inconvenience for you.

You dumped Your Dog at a filthy, noisy, overcrowded pound, filled out the paperwork, turned around and walked out, never looking back, and continued to live your life like nothing unusual had ever happened that day.

Your Dog stayed behind. He received a new, computer-generated name, and an ID number, by which he/she was going to be known.
Your Dog was first seen by a vet - a quick visit that didn't take more than a few minutes.
Your Dog's temperament was later evaluated; if he/she didn't like being poked or having his/her food taken away by a plastic hand, he/she was deemed dangerous.
Your Dog was shoved in a metal cage on a wall of metal cages, surrounded by the smell and continuous barking of dogs he/she had never met.

Your Dog spent a few days there. If he/she was lucky, one of the volunteers took him/her out for a walk one evening. Your Dog really enjoyed finally being able to relieve himself/herself, being able to move around a little bit, feeling like he/she mattered.
Your Dog maybe thought that he/she was taken out because you were coming back to pick him/her up.
That, as we know, never happened.
Your Dog's face most likely never haunted you in your dreams. You kept going to work, tending to your new baby, decorating your house, having dinner parties with your friends.
You had probably thrown away Your Dog's leash and collar, doggie bowl and doggie bed, pretending that he/she never even existed.

A few days after you had dumped Your Dog, an A(C)C employee came to his/her cage.
Your Dog thought he/she was being taken on another, long-awaited walk.
But Your Dog was led down a corridor, into a small room.
Your Dog then instinctively knew that it wasn't going to be a happy walk.
Your Dog was held down on a cold table.
Your Dog probably tried to fight.
Your Dog was not sedated, there was no one there who would cry for him/her.
When Your Dog felt the needle strike, and the burning fluid quickly travel up his/her vein, he/she was wondering what he/she had done wrong.
If Your Dog was lucky, he/she died of a the man-created heart attack quite fast. If not, he/she suffered for several minutes.

When it was all over, Your Dog's body was shoved into a black plastic bag, and thrown into a freezer with several other dead bodies.
No one ever requested to have his/her ashes returned.
By then, no one even knew what his/her real name was.

Your Dog was killed because you failed. You failed as a compassionate human being.

I hope you are enjoying your new baby, your new home, your newly found freedom.
This letter is a reminder that while you think life goes on after you throw Your Dog away like an old t-shirt you got tired of wearing, Your Dog never forgot you. Until the very last minute, he/she thought you would come back for him/her.

But you never did. And for that, somehow, some way, Karma will get you.

A Dog Person

 Cassie (A907995) - Manhattan A(C)C - 1 year-old German Shepherd Mix
Owner surrender; reason stated: New Baby
Intake date: August 18, 2011
Day of death: August 30, 2011

*One of my great wishes in life is to be able to obtain the names and addresses of owners who leave their dogs at kill-shelters, and then to send them a reminder each year, on the anniversary of their dog's death. I am very strict in my belief that there is no excuse, ever, for one to dump their pooch at a kill-pound. An annual reminder, something like the one above, would be my way of trying to ensure that they never, ever forget the evil they did.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Lotus & The American Pit Bull Foundation

YOU GUYS! This is the best!! Lotus and her awesome foster parents were invited on air with Kiss 95.1 this morning to raise awareness for the American Pit Bull Foundation and the many dogs we rescue! I am so excited Kiss 95.1 brought exposure to not only the abuse of the breed, but to this organization that is truly committed to it.

Lotus is the sweet 5 month old puppy who was saved from a man trying to drown her. Not only did she suffer the confusion and terror of someone attempting to drown her in a frigid pond, but she has been severely and repeatedly abused in her short life. Medical exams revealed she has a recently broken pelvis and smashed leg, as well as past abuse that resulted in a fractured skull from being hit HARD- possibly with a shovel, and broken vertebrae in her spine. Of course with these injuries intentionally given to her, no medical attention was ever sought. Her body attempted to heal these atrocious injuries on its own- albeit incorrectly- and though she can live with the way some of her injuries have healed, her pelvis will require surgery to set it correctly and her front leg will unfortunately likely require amputation.

I love Lotus flowers. They grow in the mud at the bottom of lakes then rise to the top of the water to blossom and reveal their beauty despite where their growth started. When I suggested we name her Lotus, it was in a pretty literal sense- I mean she was essentially saved from the bottom of a pond. But once you experience the resilience, forgiveness, optimism, and love she inexplicably possesses after what seems like repeated attempts to kill her, there's no denying that naming her Lotus was just as much a testament to her triumphant spirit as it was literal. (Check out her cuteness in this in-studio video:

Please consider donating to the APBF to not only help with the costly surgical procedures and rehabilitation Lotus will require, but to also assist with the continued support provided to the other dogs in APBF. I know everyone's financial situation is different and money is tight for a lot of people, but if 100 people see this and donate just $10, that's already $1000 from this post alone. Skip your Dunkin run two days, put that pedicure off for a week, take the change in your car to CoinStar- any little bit helps and is sincerely appreciated.

Posted below are a few links about Lotus, an upcoming fundraiser, the APBF, and ways you can help:

Kiss 95.1:
Charlotte Observer:

APBF: The American Pit Bull Foundation is an amazing organization that I am proud to be involved with. APBF's purpose is to promote responsible breed ownership through providing: owner and public education, positive alternatives to pit fighting, programs to endorse and recognize responsible breed ownership, providing medical and financial assistance for dogs with responsible owners, and aiding in adoption of Pit Bulls to responsible individuals and families. Based on the incredible network of volunteers, fosters, donors, and other advocates, APBF provides medical attention, monthly flea and heart worm preventatives, food, training, and other necessities to each dog while they are in foster homes with the organization. On the website you can find links to donate, view our Adopt-a-Bulls, contact information for becoming a foster home* or volunteer, the adoption procedures and application, as well as other information about the breed and organization. (*Foster homes are always needed. Since the APBF doesn't yet have a shelter, we can only rescue as many dogs as we have foster homes available for.)

Fund Raiser: Pawbrokers Party to Support Lotus and Other Pitties with Medical Needs Pawbrokers is hosting a fundraiser at The Comedy Zone in the Music Factory Wednesday, April 3 from 5:00-9:00 where you can purchase jewelry and drinks, with a portion of the proceeds going to APBF to help with the cost of Lotus's surgeries and support the other dogs in our care. Of course outright donations can also be made either at the event or on the ABPF website. Donations of pet food will also be accepted for donation to the Humane Society of York County. More information can be found here:

Authorities are still searching for the depraved individual who abused and attempted to drown her. He is described as a skinny black male between 6' 2"-6' 5", weighing no more than 170 pounds. He has thin dreadlocks and was wearing a black hat at the time. He had no facial hair. The suspect was driving a light-colored/sky blue, four-door BMW or Mercedes from the mid-90's with no plates but a paper dealership tag with a red circular emblem in the center. This happened near Nevin Rd in the Mallard Creek/77 area of Northeast Charlotte. Please contact the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 if you have any information that can assist in the investigation. You don't even have to give your name.

Please feel free to share this with as many people as you would like. The more exposure, the better!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Children Need Love Too

I feel compelled to share this with everyone in hopes that one person will do something nice for someone else today:

I work in a low-income, high-crime area of Charlotte. I have my concealed carry permit, but no gun (soon to be changing) and pepper spray. By training, I constantly scan people with my eyes to see if they're carrying a weapon, or where they could be concealing one. And if I get out of my car to go in anywhere in the area around my work, I carry in my pepper spray. Yesterday, I stopped in a convenience store on my way back from lunch and witnessed a little girl- no older than maybe eight- two people ahead of me in line being barraged by the man she was with about "how much f**king money she costs him...what a selfish little b**ch she is" and how lucky she was they were in public because he was going to "teach her about the value of sh*t when they got home."

May I repeat that a grown man, whoever he was to her, loudly called an elementary-aged child a "selfish little b**ch" then threatened her in the crowded line at a convenience store?! To be clear, I am pro-spanking as discipline and I got many a "I'm gonna count to three before I embarrass you in this grocery store/restaurant/birthday party/school/church function, etc." as a child and I knew I’d better straighten up quick or my bottom was going to sting when we got home. But you could tell by the tone in his voice and the contempt he had in his eyes that this wasn't just going to be a spanking, and it wasn't for the purpose of discipline. To make matters worse, not one of the seven or eight other adults standing in the store or behind the counter even batted an eye- like this was just business as usual! I was appalled that not one person in that store was going to stand up for this little girl, or at least pretend to look uncomfortable!

While the man was fumbling with the contents of his pockets that he’d emptied onto the counter, I caught the little girl’s eyes. In an attempt to keep her from the tears she was on the verge of, I smiled, squatted down to her level, asked her how she was and (without thinking) said, “it’s okay honey, sometimes adults get mad and say things they don’t mean but…” The belligerent man cut me off, grabbed her by the shoulder and turned her around to face the counter, telling her not to listen to people who need to mind their own business. This was completely unnecessary since she was too afraid to even look up from the ground or speak to me once I tried to engage her.

I stood up, turned my attention to the "man" who was starting to put his belongings back in his pockets and in the sweetest, most polite, non-confrontational voice I could muster said, "Sir, there's no reason to talk to a pretty little girl that way, is there? Besides, you’re in public and there are other children and women around who could be offended by your loud cursing." Everyone in the store went silent. Obviously shocked to be challenged, he turned his whole body to face me and said (so angrily that he was spitting, and the patrons standing between us stepped back- thanks guys) that I should keep my "white, b**ch mouth closed if I knew what was good for me." He was so close to me I could have reached my arm out and put my hand almost completely flat against his chest. Again, not one person witnessing this even flinched. Despite how terrified I was, I put on the most resolute face I could and in the biggest white girl move ever held the pepper spray- that I was clutching from the moment I walked in the door- in between my face and his. Almost predictably, he laughed...laughed! He goes from berating this poor child to getting in my face, cursing me, and doubting my intention of protecting myself. Um, no, momma don't play that.

[This part of the story won't go down in history as one of the classier times in my life, and I refer to this type of explosion of raw, impassioned fury as "the Robeson County coming out of me," but I blanked. It rarely happens but when it does, I think I am invincible for some reason, only to realize later that is not the case...not the case at all. I'm working on it.]

I took a step half-step toward him, closing the distance between us, and with every drop of the sweet, polite, Southernness gone from my voice, I looked over the pepper spray and into his eyes and said something to the effect of, "You can take yourself a step back or get to experience what it feels like to have an entire can of mace emptied on your punk ass in front of that little girl you've been disrespecting. You might feel like a tough guy because you can intimidate someone who hasn't even taken the EOG's, but you don't scare me." I was scared. My life potentially depended on how he reacted to the ultimatum I’d just spewed at him. Time. Stopped. The Robeson County in me was gone and I was back to being essentially unarmed, in a convenience store I know is in one of the most dangerous parts of the city, threatening a man who clearly has a propensity for violence, while surrounded by a group of people who up until this point had shown nothing but apathy. I’ve never even had to pull my pepper spray on anyone before. What the hell was I thinking?

He took a step back and tried to provoke me into following through on my threat with the words "try me." The only thing that could leave my lips was, “you stepped back didn’t you?” Being the crime-heavy place it is, law enforcement is ever-present. By sheer destiny, I saw a police car pull into the parking lot and the man followed my eyes with his. He grabbed the rest of his things, the little girl by the wrist, and drug her behind him out the door. I suddenly realized that he was surely going to take all of his anger towards me out on her. I couldn’t let them just walk away knowing that I had likely single-handedly put that little girl in even more danger by trying to help, so I went out the door after them/for the police and was met at the door by the officer. He asked me if everything was okay and I pointed to the man and said- through the tears that were welling in my own eyes, “you may need to have a discussion with that man about how he treats women and children.” The officer stopped the man and the little girl as another police car pulled into the parking lot. The new officer and his partner separated the man and child while I explained what had transpired.

After gathering information and statements from the spineless bunch inside, the officer informed me that this whole hateful outburst began when the girl put a snack on the counter that his EBT card wouldn’t cover. I declined the officer’s offer to file a report, but repeatedly begged him not to let the girl leave with him. I was told that I could leave since I didn’t want to file a report, but that they would continue to interview the little girl and if they found evidence of abuse, she wouldn’t be released to him until Child Protective Services reviewed the case. Anxious for the girl, I got in my car and left.

I couldn’t comprehend that THAT was what all of this was over. HIS inability to find enough change to cover the $1.29 difference was what made him react in such a volatile manner. I would have happily covered the difference for him had I known that would have been all it took to protect this girl for at least a few minutes. I guess, subconsciously, it was why I instinctively said something without thinking about the potential consequences. In no way did I want to go toe to toe with this angry man, but better me than a little girl who hasn't even hit puberty yet. Surely people aren't so indifferent that one of the men- or even women- in the store would have stepped in had things gotten physical, right? Maybe I was the first person who ever told him that speaking to a child that way is inexcusable and he’ll work on it. Maybe I'm the first person any of those people had ever seen stand up for a stranger and it showed them that it's okay for people to care about other people even if they don't know them. Maybe she'll remember this in ten years when a boy tries to put her down and she'll know that she is completely justified in telling him to go screw himself, that she deserves better. Maybe he beat the hell out of her when they got home and it was my fault. I hope it wasn't the latter and I'll probably lose sleep worrying about that girl, but I want to believe that something good came from what I did.

I don't know where the disconnect is with people, but children are a product of their environment. No wonder kids use language that is too mature for their age and grow up to be disrespectful, angry, self-harming, irresponsible, violent people, or think they are undeserving of success or love or respect. If someone they see as important treats them like trash when they’re most impressionable, they’re going to believe they’re trash. They think they're astronauts, bus drivers, princesses, rock stars, vets, or whatever; but as a society we have to remember that there's more to children than vivid imaginations. They're sensitive, fragile sponges who see and hear more than we give them credit for, and they have feelings that are easily hurt. They need people in their lives to look up to, people who speak to them like they're important, who care about their betterment and making them feel special and loved. This little girl looked broken and defeated. No one should be made to feel broken or defeated; not an eight year old, not you, not me, not anyone you care about, not even a stranger. I'm far from perfect and I say ugly things more often than I'd like to admit, but I think if every person on this planet woke up every morning and decided to live their life by The Golden Rule, the world would be a lot nicer place to be.

Mom, thank you for raising me to be a person who understands right from wrong, for instilling in me the courage to be willing to speak for those who can't speak for themselves, and for never making me feel broken. And most importantly, everything is fine so DON’T FREAK OUT.