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Pet People

Monday, January 29, 2007

Road Warrior

What does a plastic garbage bag, mailbox, boulder, bucket, sign and dead possum all have in common?

They are all objects I thought were stray dogs along the highways and country roads of the county at one time or another over the years.

The Boss and I will be driving along, and me, ever on the lookout for animals in need, will spot something black in the distance and say "Watch out for the dog up there!" To which The Boss will say, "That's a mailbox you idiot!" LOL. He doesn't really call me an idiot, but his tone is screaming it. BUT a lot of the time I am right, and I see an animal he doesn't because he's not on the lookout for animals like I am!

Has this ever happened to you?

I am especially vigilant at night when I'm driving home at midnight or 1 a.m. I love the drive, because there are hardly any cars on the road and no frustration with BAD drivers. No red lights either. But I do often see beady little red eyes along the road, usally a deer, sometimes a possum, sometimes something I can't tell what it is.

You can always tell if a dog is just exploring away from an unfenced house, or if they are in the middle of the road looking confused and scared. I've made The Boss stop on occassion to pick up dogs. One time we picked up this tiny terrier, and when we got home, he was fussing, saying the dog problably lived in one of the houses along the road, that I "stole" the dog, etc. etc. etc. So to shut him up, I agree to go back with the dog and start knocking. Turns out it WAS someome's dog. Oh well. Another time I saw a Basset hound just sitting on the edge of a country highway. I made him stop (insert cursing here) and started calling the dog. He began running, and just before he got to the car a hear a man yelling from a nearby house: "Hey! hey! That's my dog!" I yell back, "OH, I THOUGHT IT WAS A STRAY. I was AFRAID he'd get HIT BY A CAR because he's ON THE ROAD."

I tried to stop for a cat once, but it darted off like lightening. Cats are hard--they could be feral, or just understandaby afaid. I feel so helpless.

Hardest is seeing the dead ones. I feel like bawling every time I see that, and around here, you see a lot. But I comfort myself by telling myself that the dog/cat is better off in the next life.

So, next time I yell "Watch out for that dog!" and it's a mailbox and The Boss scoffs, I'll just rember that sometimes that box IS an animal in need.

P.S. Stacey sent me a picture of her cat Ladder, but I can't post pictures from work. I'm posting early today becuase I doubut I'll have a chance later, but keep an eye out, the photo is coming up soon!

posted by Sandy at 1/29/2007 11:48:00 PM


Blogger Pam said...

Sandy, I have seen things I thought were animals and turned out not to be so you aren't alone. I am always so relieved when it isn't animals.
I too feel like bawling when I see a dead one. I even feel sorry for the wild animals like the possums and etc. And you are right, they are better off in heaven than to be here homeless and suffering.
It broke my heart to seee the story in the paper this morning about the person who hit that dog and left it suffering. God bless Carmen Hunter and the others who helped her with it but I'm so sad the dog had to be put down. Why oh why do these things have to happer?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 8:00:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

I too feel sorry for the wild animals, especially when I see a baby fawn, as I know the mama had to be totally distraught to witness such a thing. However, I don't feel as bad as when it's a dog or cat. I guess because the animal in the wild is where it's supposed to be, whereas a dog or cat belongs safe with a family. I know sometimes it's just an accident, where a pet escapes, but I also know many are dumped on roads on purpose. I'm sure there is a special Hell for people who do that.

I know Carmen and was heartbroken to read that letter. I hit a dog once when I was a teen, but my Mom and I stopped and went to the house. They weren't too upset--they said the dog was old and deaf, but I was still traumatized. Once when The Boss and I were going to the lake, two dogs ran full speed across the road, and one went UNDER the car. Thankfully the tires didn't go over it. We stopped and went up to the house they ran from, and the dog was okay and the people were so thankful we stopped. They couldn't believe we did.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

It is so sad for me to see a dead animal of any type on the side of the road. One time, hubby and I were headed home just after dark. We were driving on the road with housing developments on either side when out of nowhere, a skunk darted in front of us. Hubby slammed on the brakes but it was too late. I was so sad for that little critter. I was thinking what was it doing by all of those houses? Does it have babies some where? What is the little creature’s story? I could not get my mind off that skunk for many days. I was reminded every time I got into the truck. The skunk gave us one last warning just before us hitting it. That smell stayed with us for over a week! I still get sad for that little fellow…

Hubby loves animals just as I but he draws the line on picking them up along the roadside. I use to push the issue but that only got me ugly glares. I trust his opinions and backed off of this issue but it still hurts when I see a dog or cat walking along a road. I look for a house nearby and usually spot one so I ease my mind with thoughts of that is the animal’s home.

A woman was found with about 75 cats in her house in an upscale neighborhood. She told animal control that she had let things get out of control and that she could no longer properly support them. Animal control took the cats from her. The local newspaper ran the story with pictures. I along with many others was affected by the story. What could we do for those babies? Animal control asked for food or any donations possible to assist in their wellbeing while being checked out by the Vet. I rushed to the store and picked up huge bags and boxes of wet and dry cat food. I took them to Animal control. While there I inquired about volunteering at their facility. They could not use my services for insurance reasons. (Luckily, our Animal control is properly staffed and financed by our county.) When I got home and told hubby that I had offered my services, he was relieved that they decline my offer. He told me that I am never allowed to volunteer for any animal shelters. He knows me too well. He knows our life as we know it would be totally over because I would bring all the unwanted animals’ home with me. We do not plan to live here for ever and this would be a problem with relocating to another state (preferably TN) . Plus our girls are the jealous type and bringing other fur balls in the house might not set too well with them. And gee, the sleeping issues we are already dealing with now! Arggg…Hubby’s mom is strong enough to volunteer with her local animal shelter but she tells me she has a difficult time leaving certain special needs animals behind on the days she helps out. On a happy note, our community pitched in and every one of those precious cats was deemed healthy enough to be adopted out and all 75 had new homes within a few weeks! Now that is a community coming together for the animals!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Skeeter, that is a wonderful story. I love happy endings. I have many times thought there was something wrong with me because I get so upset over animals that have been hit. Our road trips to see family in PA & NC are a nightmare for me. Every animal I see that has been hit and left by the road just makes me sink deeper and deeper into sadness. Ten hours of doing this to myself in the car does not make me a pleasant person to travel with! I even go so far as to mark down on the map where we see strays wandering by the road so that on the return trip home I can check to see if they are a casualty by the road. If they are not there I breath a sigh of relief on the inside. OK, now ya'll know how weird I really am!

I haven't seen todays paper about the dog. Maybe I don't want to read it if its sad. I think I met Carmen once. There was a deer that was dazed out in the grass by a church on Trenton Rd.It was lying down and a few people were around it. Being me, I had to stop and see what was going on. I believe it was Carmen who was out sitting with the deer and some other people were there too. It was decided that the deer was going to be sedated and carried to someones backyard. Being the thoughtful wife I am , I volunteered to run home and get my husband to bring his truck to transport the deer. If you could have seen my husbands face when I told him what I needed him to do. First of all-he was a great sport about it and did it. But boy did I get an earful. He was very busy that day and blah blah blah and why did I volunteer him for it without asking? He told all his friends " that was the first time I ever hauled a live deer in the back of my truck" . My husband(I hope I don't offend anyone with this) is an avid deer hunter. He grew up hunting and he is an xtremely ethical hunter. He gets 2 deer a year and we consume all the meat. He isn't one of those that goes out hunting just to kill something and then gives the meat away. I myself don't like hunting but I do respect those that do it morally and ethically. I digress. I think this is the same Carmen but I could be wrong. She always seems to be working hard for all the animals.

I can't wait to see the ladder picture Stacey sent you. And no Stacey, I would NEVER compare you to my mother, ha! I don't want to make enemies here! I should quit talking about her...whats the saying about the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree? I might have my own ladder grown into the outside of MY house in 10 years!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Animal control used to have volunteers; it is a shame if they don't. Just wanted to say, because it's been a bone of contention for me for years, is that animal control is NOT properly staffed or funded. Do you live outside of Montgomery County? If so, where? The shelter here is 30 years old and they are building a new one, but they are being pennywise and pound foolish and the new one is going to be only 1/3 bigger than the old! That's already too small! That is a true waste of money--not doing it right in the first place.

Just remember, there are many ways to volunteer for a shelter that doesn't involve direct contact with the animals. You can help with fundraisers, collect donations or start a donation drive, make donations regularly and so on. Most shelters have a variety of programs and initiatives that don't require "getting attached." The Humane Society here uses volunteers to do home visits for potential adopters, to go over appliations and so on.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Shannon, where do you have family in PA? I'm from there originally, in the NE part of the state in the coal region near the Poconos.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

My hubby is from an area close to the Ohio border called New Wilmington. I think it is about an hour from Pittsburgh. I love going to visit there ( not his family-the scenery-haha just kidding) I don't think I have ever visited your area. He has gone to the Nascar Race in the Poconos quite a few times tho. From what I hear its beautiful.

I think the ladder looks perfectly in place Stacey. I can see why your kitty loves it. Its the perfect height to give a great view. But I agree with Sandy. I think you should do a ladder make-over..(where is Ty Pennington when you need him?) and send in the "after" photo. But- to keep everyone happy you might need to buy a replacement ladder while the work is being done!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 2:14:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Oh Skeeter thank you for letting us hear a happy ending for all those kitties!
And as Sandy said there are many way to help here. We give donations monthly to Cats Are Us, The Humane Society, and to Animal Control and Adotion Service. You all may think this is sill but I can't stand to just say Animal Control without adding the Adoption Service, it's like if I say Adoption it will somehow turn into that and become a no kill shelter which I pray to happen everywhere someday!
I don't know about Animal Control and Adoption but Cats are Us and the Humane Society both need volunteers really bad at all times!I too am one of those who can't volunteer physically but at least I can send donations to help. I'm friends with Suzanne and Gerta who run Cats Are Us and they would love to have any help they can get so any of you who are able and can handle the emotional part please please do so!
I'm with Sandy on being upset about the new animal shelter not being big enough and well equiped. We've been bitching about this and something needs to be done! I keep hoping we'll hit the lottery so we can take care of everyone of these shelters and we'll have a total no kill county!
Sometimes when we can't give a donation to one of the animal causes that comes in the mail and I get upset, Jon says well you're more upset over not being able to give to this animal cause than the ones for people. I tell him a lot more people will give to other people causes than to the animals and I feel like they need our help more. It breaks my heart not to be able to give to every one of them!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 2:20:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Sandy and Pam, Nope I do not currently live in Clarksville. If I did, I would be a part of the Humane Society there! I would somehow find a way to be strong enough to be able to help out and not bring the entire kennel home with me! I have lots of family members there and I am sure we could all network and find homes for lots of those needy babies! I have lived in many places over the years and the goal is to get back to Clarksville but we must follow hubby’s employment as money does make the world go round!

We lived in Germany for 6 years and we had extra income coming in with our COLA (Cost of living pay increase). I have always gotten the Leaf-Chronicle by mail since leaving home 20 years ago (how grateful I was when it went computer) and one time I became really upset after reading about how the Humane Society was struggling. This was sometime during our stay in Germany being 1994-2000. Maybe around 97, I just cannot remember but I made a promise to myself that I would do what ever I could. Since I could not be there I thought of the next best thing. So I would take some of that extra COLA money and send it back home to Clarksville to the Humane Society each month when writing out our household bills. I got my parents involved also and they would take them paper towels, rubber gloves, bleach, food and what ever they needed from a wish list provided in the paper.

One time I was home on a visit and the HS had a fund raiser going on at the old mall on Riverside drive. I made my parents take me to the mall where I made a donation. I recall cameras, live remotes on the radio, a talent show and people all over the place with big smiles and lots of money going into the pot! I was so proud to be a Clarksvillian that day! I finally got to meet a lady name Ms. Ricci that had been sending me thank you cards for my donations over the years. What is ironic of that in itself is that her son Mike and I would cross paths through mutual friends back in our younger days and I never knew he was her son until that day….

How sad for me the day we left Germany and the COLA ran out for us. We took a 25 % pay cut so I could come back to the states to be closer to my family. Hubby found a job in Georgia where we currently live and after a few months, we could no longer afford the monthly donations. Another sad moment for me was a few years later to read in the paper how they had to shut the doors to the HS building for lack of funding. I know the HS is still active but not as I remember them with a building. I don’t know much about what is going on with the HS because the on line version of the Leaf does not have all the info the paper itself has.

I am aware of the Montgomery county Animal Control and it situation. Just sickens me to think that they have the same small facilities today they had when I was a child! I have been blogging on the Letters to the Editors since that started early last year and I have tried to be a voice for the animals at times with animal hater’s comments. It is a shame as to how rich our country is and to think there are so many stray pets running around! Just sickens me to no end. Yes, I know there are homeless people but they have the ability to better themselves, the animals were domesticated by man therefore, man should take care of them!

I was an avid volunteer while in Germany. After all I am from the Volunteer state! I was in to lots of projects. My favorite project was with the Rod and Gun Club of Heidelberg Germany. We would throw an American Christmas party and Easter Egg hunt each year for the children at the local orphanage. Yes, they still have orphanages! The smiles on the innocent children’s faces were priceless! I kind of took on too many volunteer projects and ended up being a bit abused by others with certain programs. I got pretty burn out so to speak. So I vowed to take a break from the volunteer scene for a while after we left Germany. After a few years of being settled here in GA, I was ready to start up again with our local Animal control but was shot down as I said before. I think every thing happens for a reason and I do not believe it was the right time for me to be involved.

Our county here in Georgia has a pretty good animal control but they do have to euthanasia animals as all Animal Controls funded by tax dollars seem to do. They work closely with the HS here so lots of animals do find homes through them. We also have an active group that work with the Greyhound adoptions. Once a week and every Sunday, our newspaper has a full page spread of animals up for adoption. I believe different business sponsor this page. They, I think the HS is also raising funds to build a low cost spay and neuter clinic to be built. I believe they have the land but need a certain amount of money before they can break ground. They are really close to meeting that goal!

We live on almost 3 acres of wooded land and behind our house is 15 wooded acres. We have deer, raccoon, fox, coyote, snakes, frogs, lizards, opossums, squirrels, turtles, salamanders, crawfish and we even have flying squirrels! Our next door neighbors have three horses that we adore. Heck, one time a long horn cow got loose from a nearby pasture and was in our yard. Imagine my surprise on a Sunday morning to see a Texas style round up going on in my side yard! Now that was exciting to see all them cowboys on horse’s chasing a cow in our yard! Yee-haw… I have documented over 70 different types of birds eating at our feeders. I planted a butterfly and humming bird garden for the flying flowers. We keep dog treats for the neighbor’s dogs which come to visit us on a regular basis. Then I have my two girls to love on. So I have plenty of animals and wildlife around me to keep me busy on most days! I may just save up my volunteering for the day I return to Clarksville... I too hope to hit the lottery one day then I will be there and spread the green around and get things done right!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 8:44:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Wow! Didn’t realize that was so long!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 8:45:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Skeeter, I have some things to say to you-God Bless You! God Bless You ! God Bless YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have a precious tender heart and God gave the world a special gift when he made you! If only more people were as good and helpful to the animals, what a great world it would be!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Pam, thanks! They say God put us on this earth for a reason. I have always wondered just where I fit into things. Well, after reading your kind words of praise, I guess he put me here to tend to animals! Again, Thank you…

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Braveheart said...

This is just one more thing I totally understand...I have many times said "oh no...." husband says "What?? What??" frantically....then we pass the "dead tire" and I say..."Nothing."
But I have to say that what upsets me the most are the ones that are NOT dead and in's the ones whose fate is unknown as they wander dangerously close to the road.
That dog in Madison street still haunts me as I watched him foam at his mouth and shake in fear and pain. The only thing that brings me comfort is that his friend (the dog running next to him), didn't get hit and made it safely home and that he was euthanized shortly after being hit. Eastview vets are always professional and do what's best for the pet and they helped him with some serious sedation and pain meds while waiting for the owners to come. So that too...brings me peace.

p.s. That was the Carmen with the deer...that story had a VERY happy ending as I kept in touch with the cop that was nice enough to house that deer. He laid his porch cushions on the ground for it, we laid it on the cushions and he covered it with a blanket and watched it all night long to make sure it didn't freeze and to make sure it woke up from the sedatives.
Now THAT is a cop I want defending my safety.
Carmen H
Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.” St. Francis of Assisi
Do not wait; the time will never be just right. – Napoleon Hill

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Braveheart, God bless you too for all you did to help!And thank God for that good man ( the cop) who cared so much and taook care of the deer! I agree if he did that he is the kind we want defending all of us.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 5:39:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

yoou truly are a gaurdian angel to the animals! Again God bless you!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 5:40:00 PM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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