Abigail’s story both haunts and inspires me.
“Just do something, Sue” I thought, over and over. In an effort to just do something, I’ve begun to share the highs and lows of Abigail’s journey by writing about it.
It literally sickens me to write this story, again. I am an animal lover, advocate and avid supporter of humane education and initiatives. While volunteering for, working with, and on behalf of animals, I have seen the best of people and the worst of people too.
EVIL VS GOOD
EVIL. The worst of people results in cases like this:
The dog is Abigail, of “Bonnets for Abigail” fame. As a young dog, she was used as bait in a dog fighting operation in South Florida.
I first learned about Abigail as part of a joint project with her group, and the non-profit group “Dogs on Deployment,” whom I blog for. Her story both haunts and inspires me. (Click on the link provided to learn more about Dogs on Deployment.)
Abigail was found mutilated. When first rescued and brought to a shelter, it was clear that just about the entire right side of Abigail’s face and right ear were missing. Her condition was startling and dire.
The dog pictured represents many just like her, and the horrors they confront. Abigail’s rescuer was Victoria Frazer. She is the founder of, and along with her amazing team, operates Love is Fur Ever Dog Rescue, a non-profit rescue group.
GOOD. The best of people results in cases like this:
Equally as important as the “BEFORE” images above are Abigail’s “AFTER” images. YES!! I’m delighted to say this is the same dog that’s pictured above!
Abigail is a new dog now, thanks to much tender loving care, compassion, and the extraordinary surgical skills of veterinary doctor Thomas Jackson, DVM, of Pets First Wellness Center in Estero, FL.
Abigail was fostered these last few months. She has been enjoying the life all dogs deserve. Abigail currently has about 17,000 Facebook followers.
Many wonderful, loving families have stepped up to ask to be her “Furever Family.” Abigail is awaiting the announcement any day now of who that will be!
Abigail was once left for dead. Since then, she has gone on to emerge as a teacher, hero, and an award nominee! She inspires with love and forgiveness. Along with her many bonnets, Abigail also acts as an ambassador to help us all spread awareness of animal abuse and end dog fighting.
Animal abuse is alive and well.
Dogs like Abigail are born into a world where only pain and suffering persevere. Their only hope for relief is rescue.
Animal abuse comes in many forms, even in a thriving, civilized, industrialized society like we enjoy here in the United States. Numerous individuals, legislators and animal advocacy/rescue groups work tirelessly and successfully everyday to end animal atrocities.
Animal atrocities include:
- puppy mills
- “backyard” breeders
- unlicensed, unregulated “rescuers” who hoard animals
- dog fighting rings
And, I would even argue that the numbers of innocent dogs and cats alone that are euthanized daily in overcrowded shelters throughout the U.S. also represents an atrocity. But, that is another story for another day.
Sometimes, animal abuse represents larger societal problems. Dog fighting is prevalent in disadvantaged groups of people who are often uneducated, unemployed, and who abuse drugs. Dog fighting is done for sport and for gambling.
It has already been 10 years since 51 pit bulls were rescued from the property of NFL quarterback, Michael Vick. As part of a dog fighting ring, the dogs were subjected to cruel abuse and torture, including being shot at, electrocuted and drowned.
After their rescue, many of the dogs survived and were given a second chance at a real life, thanks to people who got involved to help. We have made some progress since then, but there is much more important work to be done. Lend your voice, talent, money if you can. Decide to care, get involved, and take action.
Just do something.
And if and when you doubt that your efforts and support are making a difference, remember sweet Abigail and her bonnets.
Recognize your moral obligation to stop animal abuse and end dog fighting.
We can do this. We must.
What is it about the power of the paw that can unite a group of strangers? I found out at the 2017 BlogPaws Conference.
For anyone who may not know – and that included me until not that long ago – BlogPaws (YES – one word!) represents a social learning community of people who share a passion for pets and charitable pet causes, and who utilize blogs and social media to connect, communicate, and educate others. (You can check out the BlogPaws official mission statement and more on their website.)
As the Chief Editor for the Dogs on Deployment Military Tails blog, (check it out!) I attended the BlogPaws conference to represent my non-profit organization.
Since I had previously traveled on business and attended other conferences, here are 5 things I expected to find en route/at this conference:
- Friendly, courteous hotel staff at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach, SC – check.
- Less than friendly, but trying to be courteous airport staff – check.
- A super comfy bed at the Sheraton – all to myself (sure, sure, I missed my hubby and the dog in the bed too, but come on) – check.
- Unpacking my luggage to find dog hair on my freshly pressed clothes – check.
- People who enjoyed talking about their pets or pet-related causes/blogging about their own/their pets’ experiences – check.
Well, here are 5 more things I was not necessarily expecting to find en route to/at the BlogPaws conference:
- Running into very enthusiastic fellow pet lovers/bloggers heading towards the same conference, all covered in various pet hair, while still at the airport, en route – check.
- Receiving my official “I Pet a Therapy Rat” pin, since, well I did – check.
- Being upstaged at dinner in the grand ballroom by a cat dressed in haute couture – check.
- Receiving an enormous bag of swag that Lucy, my Jack Russell Terrier will be boasting to her pals about at the dog-park (Actually we had that mother-daughter talk, and Lucy graciously agreed to donate most of the goods to a local shelter. You can see her delight in this decision in the pic I’ve posted above) – check.
- Meeting hundreds of people who enjoyed blogging/talking about their pets, pets’ experiences, pet-related causes, non-profits (like Dogs on Deployment), innovative / wholesome / savvy / nutritious-delicious / fun / educational pet products and services – check and double check.
At the BlogPaws conference I met people from WA to ID to NY (yay, NY, my home town!), who represented different educational backgrounds, career interests, political parties, cultures and ideologies, but all of whom agreed that they connected deeply with animals and loved them in one way, shape or form. Whether they shared their pet’s daily adventures via a massive social media following, presented cutting-edge technologies and services that are revolutionizing the way we interact with and care for our pets, or enlightened us on the important work of animal rescue and rehab groups all across the U.S., every unique individual brought something to the table to be shared and appreciated.
We were all better served for having attended the BlogPaws conference. Many people didn’t know about Dogs on Deployment, for example, and how we help active duty military families remain together with their pets. I was fortunate enough to meet several vendors who are eager to hear more about this important cause and get on board somehow. I was also lucky enough to meet many attendees who will turn into advocates, partners, colleagues and I hope, friends.
Last but certainly not least, I found “Good Grief,” thanks to Wanda Kruse, aka @MaggieTKat. More on that in my next post.
This proud pet owner, animal advocate and dog-hair covered writer is so pleased to have been at this valuable conference. All that I’ve taken away from it I will in turn give back to my furry friends in the hopes of improving more lives.
Power to the paw-ple, I say.
It was Mahatma Ghandi who once said:
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
As the americanhumane.org website tells us, every year since 1915, millions of Americans come together during the first full week of May to show their compassion for animals.
It seems a shame that we should ever have to remind one another to be kind to animals. But when you look around and see that people have a hard time always being kind to one another, it’s not surprising.
As we rap up celebrations for “Be kind to Animals Week,” I notice that even when animals are put into bad situations and not met with kindness, they still offer kindness in return. This behavior is even evident in the worst of circumstances, when authorities are removing and rescuing animals from dog fighting rings, mills, and hoarding situations — they are often met with kisses and wagging tails by the animals who have been abused.
I have tried to do my part over time to help in whatever way I can. One way I found to help animals who would otherwise find themselves in uncertain circumstances is to work with the non-profit organization, “Dogs on Deployment.” When our active United States military members travel on duty for the country, Dogs on Deployment uses a network of volunteers to temporarily foster their dogs (or other pets). Previously, active duty United States military members who left the country to travel on duty, worried that they might have to completely part with their beloved pets.
I have worked with many dogs and animals through the years, and have happily rescued several of them. One thing I can say for sure is that the animals I have rescued along the way have in turn rescued me, many times over. My furry kids mean the world to me!
Please support humane animal initiatives, love animals, and always, always #bekind
Did somebody say chicken wings?? Make mine spicy!
Superbowl 51 (OK — excuuuse me, “Superbowl LI”) will be played this coming Sunday, February 5, 2017. Enough of these Roman numerals. Smart dogs have decent math skills, but come on already.
So Lucy the dog and I were just wondering what some of your favorite foods have been to eat during the Superbowl?
- chicken wings
- sliders (tiny burgers, really)
- guacamole and salsa with chips
We’d love to know if you care to share in the comments?
In our household, during previous Superbowl games, at least one or two of these items has made its way onto the table — followed by Lucy trying to jump onto the table. Just how high can a Jack Russell jump? Four feet and up, easily. And this one has a good running game!
To be fair, Lucy is just as concerned for the Puppy Bowl 2017, to air on Animal Planet. And as an animal lover and supporter of rescue groups and humane education, I have to give everyone involved credit.
All dogs involved in Puppy Bowl 2017 are available for adoption through The Sato Project. WONDERFUL NEWS!! READ MORE:
I am an animal lover and nature enthusiast. Today I celebrate the Catholic Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. As you may or may not know, St. Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He is known, among other things, as the Patron Saint of Animals. The prayer that follows is is also associated with him.
A Simple Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, unity.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is darkness, light.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console.
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved, as to love.
For, it is in giving that we receive,
It is pardoning, that we are pardoned.
It is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.
This is a prayer that I try to recite often to myself, particularly when I struggle with God’s will. I have found that this simple prayer speaks volumes to me of the humility and humanity that I need in my life, and that this world is so desperately in need of, too.
As an animal lover, and proud pet-parent, this day has special meaning for me. I realize not everyone shares this view, but I cannot imagine having grown up as a kid without pets (mostly dogs and birds), nor can I now as an adult imagine my life and household without pets in it (a dog and 2 cats). OK, sure, so we humans have to constantly have lint rollers handy. Or, as is the case now, have to accept that there really is no good reason for wiping the cat hair off my lap as I post this blog at my computer, when I darn well know that as soon as she jumps off my lap, (and sure enough, here we go…), the dog will instead jump up into it, claiming victory and becoming the latest shedding culprit.
Wouldn’t have it any other way. Peace to you and yours, whether they be 2- legged or 4-legged.
PICTURED HERE: IN CELEBRATION OF TODAY, BUDDY BUSTS A MOVE…
No room, no room for a negative thought. Not now, no room, not now.
I repeated this over and over in my head as my dog and I walked through the park this morning. Almost like a mantra. The morning walk, after all, ideally serves to exercise me and my said dog, as well as exorcise the mental cobwebs in my head. But as a writer (and an Aquarian, who cannot help but think about several critical things at any given time), thinking clearly and thinking positively takes work.
Of course being positive is worth it! Lucy (said dog) and I know this already. And yet, as we stride along the park’s paths I’ve gotta wonder: What will become of us all as a result of this government shutdown? Will the new county executive we are about to vote into office here next month wind up being just as corrupt as the last? What will that mean for our soaring taxes? How soon will I see my earnings from my last freelance assignment? And what about that salmon in my refrigerator that I’d forgotten about — can I get it in under the wire, or should I pawn it off to my family as “the fresh seafood I stopped to buy for dinner today.” I’m quite sure Lucy won’t rat me out if she gets a slice or two of bologna out of the deal.
Anyway, I will strive to push through the rest of the day, well aware that positive energy begets more positive energy, and that despite the insanity of our collective daily lives, we must make the conscious effort to plow forward and think positive. It’s the only way I’m gonna accomplish anything of value.
No room for a negative thought. Not now, no room, not now.
IN PHOTO HERE: Lucy contemplates that bologna…