Today My Heart Is Broken. RIP Norton, August 1999 – August 2016

polling dogs-7827-EditToday my heart is broken. This morning we had to say goodbye to the best dog ever. It was 17 years ago this month that he and his sister ran out in front of my car on Gaston Avenue. They were only 12 weeks old and totally adorable, but none of the local no-kill shelters would take them because Norton looked like a bit like a Chow and had a dark tongue. We found out years later, he had no Chow in him – he was a mix of Belgian Malinois, Collie, and mutt.  What was I to do?  I brought them home and we ended up keeping them. Rich named them Trixie and Norton after the couple on The Honeymooners.

Bandit, our first dog, whom we lost a decade ago, taught them everything they needed to know about patrolling the yard, chasing squirrels, going to the park, and just generally being dogs.

We had lots of adventures over the years – trips to Lake Cypress Springs and Lake Bonham, to Ellis County to see the Bluebonnets, to Arbor Hills, White Rock Lake, and various trails around town – just the four of us. Whenever I’d go to a conference, I always brought home goodie bags full of treats and toys. We always referred to them endearingly as “the puppies” until the last year, when they finally became “the old dogs”.

But Norton aged more quickly than Trixie. In the end, he could walk, but only sideways and he fell a lot. We added padded rubber mats to the office floor to help him keep his balance and did away with the raised beds when he could no longer climb up on them. We raised his food and water bowl and that helped for a bit. But he was easily confused and he could only turn to the right. He’d get upset and angst and spin in circles in the living room. Or we’d find him (after a brief panic thinking he was lost) stuck between the washer and dryer or under the bar – places he’d gotten into and couldn’t get out of, and just fell asleep. He couldn’t hear or see well at all and combined with the confusion, he was having a very difficult time. We started to find him standing against a wall with his head in a corner; exhausted and confused.  He simply wasn’t smiling anymore.

He did what we asked. Always. He sister didn’t, though, and he was always worried she was getting them into trouble. She was the leader and he followed her everywhere. She was the first in line crossing Gaston that day 17 years ago, with him behind her. Worried. Trixie and Norton always stuck together.  They enjoyed the dog parks but kept to themselves. I don’t know what she’ll do now.

He had a good life. A very good life. We took our last walk together, the four of us, this morning, and “the old dogs” got weiners for breakfast.

Now all we have left of him is his collar, and our memories – both of which we will cherish until the day we die.  Why can’t they live forever?

A friend sent me this today.

Today I made a painful choice
For my little friend without a voice
I held you close against my chest
I saw you relax for your final rest
You looked at me with tired eyes
I felt you breathe just one last sigh
No more pain in the moment of release
Just gentle sighs and lasting peace
It was the hardest thing to let you go
I only did it because I love you so.

Rest in peace Old Man. Rest in peace.

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Looooong day. Time for bed._10203269917682757_Photo
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Always smiling._10208885889238536_Photo - Copy - CopyAwwww..._10206246023963554_Photo - Copy - CopyHere 20 minutes, and norton have already over done..._10203454271331483_Photo - Copy - CopyLol! Smiling old dog got a back rub._10202600956199138_Photo - Copy - Copy On the road again.... #TrixirAndNorton_10204398730102362_Photo - Copy
Poor Norton. Still letting the cats push him aroun..._10205685462149859_Photo - Copy_1130993709067_Photo_1249163463237_Photo _10201703781490331_Photo_10202320429986158_Photo - Copy _10204202960528245_Photo He was SO mad at me this morning. I got up early ..._10202869074661932_Photo Nap Time_10206936129655765_Photo Poor, pitiful old dogs snuggled in warm, dry towel..._10204853934722193_Photo So, our beloved Chow_Heeler mixes are neither Chow..._4741720334976_Photo They did eventually settle down long enough once w..._1683470000629_Photo 2014-11-07 14.25.53 IMG_41922014-09-29 09.17.37IMG_0305 IMG_4181pollingdogs-7891

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Posted in Opinion, Personal Stories | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Don't Miss the Fun at Wags & Waves Saturday, September 10th

WWSaturday, September 10th, you can spend the day in the sun with your four-legged friends at Hawaiian Falls Water Park. Wags & Waves only happens once a year, so make plans to attend now.  You can ride the lazy river with Rover, catch some waves with Charlie, relax on the beach with Buddy, or just sit back and watch the fun with Fido.

Proceeds from Wags & Waves benefit not one, but FIVE local non-profits that help animals: Cat Matchers, Dallas Companion Animal Project, DFW Rescue Me, Feral Friends, and Legacy Boxer Rescue.

Tickets are on sale now for just $22 per person (which includes up to 2 dogs), and if you purchase by 8/30, you get a free t-shirt! Tickets can be purchased online at http://wagsandwaves.org/index.html.  But, all dogs have to be spayed or neutered and current on their vaccinations. There are no exceptions to this rule and yes, they will be checking at the gate.

2016 Wags & Waves sponsors include Holden Bags, T Bar M Racquet Club, Royal Canin, Print City, Earthwise Pet Supply, Pet Paradise, Briggs Equipment, Sembio, Pet Supplies Plus, Shagly Photography, and Poo B Gone. This year’s emcee wil be Fox 4 News’ Steve Noviello.

Don’t miss out! Wages & Waves only happens once a year!

Posted in Events, For Pet Owners | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

94 Lives Saved by Fostering

92 cats and 2 dogs to be exact. Get creative and show us your fostered pets!  Want a word cloud of your own? Use the Word Cloud generator at http://www.tagxedo.com/ – it’s easy and it’s fun!

Taxcedo92FosterCats

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Pets For Life: Leading the way in Community Outreach

10475343_527834927317900_6104833912589195698_oCommunity Outreach is all the rage these days. From the SPCA of Texas to Paul Quinn College and even Dallas Dogrrr, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. But what is community outreach and where did it begin?

Pets For Life, a program of the Humane Society of the United States and funded by PetSmart Charities, Inc. was created by Amanda Arrington and Kenny Lambert in the Fall of 2012. PFL is now creating successful, sustainable change in:

Anchorage, Alaska: Alaska SPCA
Birmingham, Alabama: Greater Birmingham Humane Society
Blackfeet Reservation, Montana: Lewis and Clark Humane Society
Camden, New Jersey: Animal Welfare Association*
Charleston, South Carolina: Charleston Animal Society
Charlotte, North Carolina: Humane Society of Charlotte*
Dallas, Texas: Dallas Companion Animal Project*
Denver, Colorado: Denver Animal Shelter*
Des Moines, Iowa: Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Inc.*
Detroit, Michigan: All About Animals Rescue*
Fargo, North Dakota: 4 Luv of Dog Rescue
Gary, Indiana: Humane Society Calumet Area
Hailey, Idaho: Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley
Jacksonville, Florida: First Coast No More Homeless Pets
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana: Jefferson SPCA*
Las Vegas, Nevada: The Animal Foundation*
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Humane Society*
Nashville, Tennessee: Pet Community Center*
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Central Oklahoma Humane Society*
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Animal Friends*
Providence, Rhode Island: Providence Animal Rescue League*
Reno, Nevada: Nevada Humane Society*
Saint Louis, Missouri: Carol House Spay/Neuter Clinic*
Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake County Animal Services*
San Antonio, Texas: San Antonio Animal Services*
Santa Fe, New Mexico: Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society*
Tacoma, Washington: The Humane Society Tacoma and Pierce County*
Toledo, Ohio: Humane Ohio*
Washington, District of Columbia: Washington Humane Society*
Worcester, Massachusetts: Second Chance Animal Shelter*

See Pets For Life in action (don’t miss it!):
https://medium.com/@HumaneSociety/kind-streets-e12c000e1432#.2zo2pykbl

Pets For Life Dallas was conceived in 2012 and initially included Dallas Animal Services, Dallas Companion Animal Project, Spay/Neuter Network and Duck Team 6. Pets for Life Dallas events have made huge progress in the PFL target area, but there is still much to do to fulfill the mission of bringing resources to underserved communities in Dallas and helping people who love their pets. Because people and their pets matter.

The Pets For Life team from the Humane Society of the United States is partnering with Dallas Companion Animal Project to offer a comprehensive program that focuses on the core principles and strategies needed to effectively reach people and pets in Dallas and provide animal care services and information. Targeted to  serving underserved communities, the Pets For Life approach is proven to build trusted community relationships and deliver life-saving and life-changing resources.  But seats are limited so reserve your spot now at https://www.facebook.com/DallasAnimals/events/

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Texas Unites Conference Needs You!

Texas U13668786_10153880929054366_4252621590611075904_onites, the largest regional animal welfare conference in the nation, is now accepting speaker proposals for the 2017 Conference to be held in April in Austin. If you’re a expert in your field and want to share your knowledge with the animal welfare community in the Southwest, this is the chance you have been waiting for.

Frequently requested topics are:  field services (ACO) issues and resources, cruelty investigations and prosecutions, rescue/foster based topics and resources, cat/dog behavior and handling, trends and opportunities in animal welfare, working with placement partners, public relations and the media, breed recognition, improving lost and found programs, community outreach and pet retention.

For 2017, Texas Unites is offering two specialty tracks as well – one in Shelter Medicine and the other in Leadership.

Proposals will be accepted through September 9, 2016.  For more information www.texasunites.com
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Natinsky's Law, the Silver Lining and Why History Matters

NatinskysLawNatinsky’s Law. A friend cringes every time I call it that. But that’s what it is. It’s the result of a City Council representative’s desire to stop hearing one resident’s continued criticism of the City for not doing enough to help him recover his dogs – dogs that were allegedly stolen out of his un-fenced front yard where they spent time, unattended, un-tethered and unleashed. So, despite the fact that theft is already a violation of the law, and despite the Animal Shelter Commission’s reluctance to add yet another unnecessary, unenforceable ordinance to the books, Councilman Ron Natinsky introduced his own ordinance at a full City Council meeting with no notice to the Commission and no public hearing. Surprise! Natinsky’s law aka Section 7-4.4 of the Dallas City Code.

Pets are property under the law, so if your pet is ever stolen, you need to call 911 and file a police report. Posting online is unlikely to convince the thief to return the pet (unless you’re a pet store and you alert the media). Asking animal services to help – sure, it’s a good idea to file a Lost report to be sure all your bases are covered – but only after you call the police.

The councilman has long been gone from the City Council, but the ordinance remains. It has had little or no success reducing pet theft, but it does have a silver lining: Animal advocates have found it a useful tool to combat the irrational idea that every loose pet has been dumped and needs to be rehomed, and to encourage people who find a pet to at least make an effort to find the owners.  #Politics #ThinkLostNotStray #HistoryMatters

NatinskysLaw

 

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Dallas Loose Dog Problem Needs Some Context

LooseDogsPieChartContext, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary; “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.”

For months now we’ve been told Dallas’ loose dog crisis is at epidemic proportions; worse than ever in the City’s history. A crisis. Shocking. A tragedy. Dallas has been compared to a Third World Country. An outrage. Abuse. OMG.

So if I said that less than 3% of the dogs living in Dallas were loose, what would you think of that?  That can’t be right, can it? The BCG Preliminary Report indicated 8,700 dogs loose in Dallas! Yes, it did, and that’s probably a really good estimate. But epidemic? No.

The Texas Government Demographic Center estimates Dallas 2015 population to be 1,295,117. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association Pet Ownership Calculator then, there are nearly three-hundred thousand owned dogs in Dallas. 8,700 represents just 2.9% of that number.

Crisis? Epidemic? Tragedy? 2.9% is neither, unless you are a politician in need of a crisis to solve, or a newspaper desperately fighting to survive. That’s just my opinion of course.

Posted in Advocacy, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Michael Vick wants to be a Dallas Cowboy

CowboysTweet08062016I know what you’re thinking. Over my dead body. And yet, Michael Vick hinted about the possibility in a tweet on Saturday – a tweet given prolonged life and credibility when the Dallas Cowboys re-tweeted it. The Cowboys deny they are looking at Vick, of course, but the fact remains he is a free agent, and the Cowboys are in need of a backup quarterback. Surely they wouldn’t. Surely.

Posted in Breaking News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What about Antoinette Brown? Three Months Later and No One Has Been Charged

mauledWhat about Antoinette Brown? It’s been more than three months since the tragedy. Dallas Police told the Dallas Morning News back in June that the owners could face criminal charges. The owner of the dogs who allegedly mauled Antoinette Brown to death surrendered the dogs to Dallas Animal Services and they were subsequently euthanized. But the owner was never charged. No one was. A woman dies a violent death in Dallas, the people responsible for her death are known, and yet no one is being prosecuted. Why is that? Why has DPD not charged the owner? Are we a City so heartless that we’re going to let her death go un-prosecuted?

The Animal Advisory Commission of the City of Dallas asked the same question last week. They got no answer. The Dallas Morning News continues to call for new management at Dallas Animal Services, but remains silent on the lack of prosecution in this case?  Are they trying to distract us from the real story?  Why aren’t they demanding answers from DPD? Where is the outrage?  Where are the answers?

Maybe someone can help me understand.

Posted in Advocacy, Breaking News | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

On a Personal Note – Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover. Ever.

becky1When you don’t know someone well, and you don’t take the time to get to know them, it’s easy to underestimate them.  For example, last week someone judged me to be a crazy cat lady who cared only about the animals, and didn’t understand business or politics. Just some crazy person, kinda’ overweight and getting up there in years. Obviously if Facebook is where your career culminates, you can’t be taken seriously, right?

Wrong. For nearly two decades I worked in banking and finance. No, I wasn’t a teller. I was the Vice President of Operations. I was responsible for internal audits and working with the US Treasury on embezzlement investigations. I was responsible for emergency response – bomb threats, bank robberies, board and stockholder meetings. I was there when the Bank President had a sudden heart attack and died and when the stock market collapsed and bankers were throwing themselves off buildings downtown.

I was part of a bank holding company that was on the FDIC short list when other banks failed. I worked in the secondary mortgage market, learned skip-tracing, studied at AIB, and helped establish a de novo (look it up). I was a licensed Real Estate Salesman and worked with a local developer and custom builder. I worked downtown in a fancy building with a fast elevator and a 5-star underground restaurant. I was one of the first people to ride to the top of the green building when it was built.

Eventually I opened my own small business consulting firm and my customers ranged from lawyers to real estate agents, developers, doctors, and building managers. I met some interesting people along the way, many of whom are well-known in business and politics today.

But one day I was contemplating my own mortality and I decided I didn’t want to be remembered as a corporate banking/consultant. I wanted to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the lives of animals in Dallas. And I’ve done that. More on that later. My point is this – don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Social media isn’t the culmination of my career.  It’s a choice I made to help animals. And never, ever, ever accuse a former banker of manipulating the numbers. If you do, you make an enemy for life. IJS.

Posted in Personal Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments