Thursday, May 9, 2013

Trying to Put This Week Into Words

This week has been many things so far - triumphant, terribly sad and exhausting.

We found out last weekend that one of our dear friends had just been diagnosed with cancer. He was immediately sent to hospice at his home and unfortunately died this week. He was the Mister's best friend, mentor and in my mind, his second Dad. It seemed like he was here one day and then gone overnight. He learned he had cancer and then....was just gone. We're reeling here at the ranch. I'm still trying to put it all into words - to find the adequate way to honor him. He was an active reader of Ranch Dressing and such a cheerleader for my writing and always so encouraging to not only me, but to everyone that knew him.

Sometimes he'd send emails to me about what I'd just written here and would include funny photos or drawings that he thought might interest me. When the Mister and some friends were going through his emails after he passed, I learned that he had joined the email notification system so that he could read my new posts. I know that he had a million things going on each day so it especially touched me that he'd want my new posts junking up his email in-box.

He was always gifting us with things that he thought that we'd like from his magical mystery barn. Most recently he gave us some space age vintage vacuum cleaners, parkas from the now-defunct Opryland theme park and some old ray guns. I'll never forget him saying to me, "Miss Kitsch! I have something that you have GOT TO have" before giving me a beautiful old color wheel for a Christmas tree - and his childhood boy scout mementos. He loved encouraging people to love what they love and as an avid collector, he was quite excited to make sure that we all were collectors!  We're going to miss him so much and I will honor him with a full post when I can get my thoughts together.

In other news, earlier this week another lady and I went undercover to buy a pair of puppy mill breeding dogs from a horrible family who was selling them. I'll never forget it as long as I live. We had to pretend that we completely agreed with the way that they were breeding these poor dogs into the ground. It went against every fiber of my being but we HAD to get those dogs to safety. I don't think that my childhood  Southern Baptist Sunday school teachers would agree but I don't think that God would mind white lies told to save innocent creatures. I hope that's the case at least because I lied enough that day to put me in Heaven's penalty box for sure!

I'm still pretty rattled by that whole experience and even though I was a huge proponent of people adopting and not buying pets before, I'm going to be a true force of nature now to help people realize that when you see a cute clean pup or kitten in a pet shop (or in an ad in the paper or online) there is a large chance that behind the scenes, there are the parents of the dog suffering in horrible hellish conditions in tiny cages, being forced to constantly produce offspring until they are dumped to die. Trust me on this, folks. Even if you have your heart set on a purebred dog or cat, you CAN find these breeds - any breed - in a shelter or rescue just waiting to be taken to a great new home. There is no need to buy from a breeder...EVER.  Do not help perpetuate this cycle of abuse. Let me put it to you this way: Even if kept in the nicest conditions, how would YOU like to be forced to have scads and scads of babies one bunch at a time for your entire birth after another with each birth getting more and more dangerous, risking your life and those of your babies until your entire system shuts down? Not so much.

In good news, Metro Nashville has finally voted to stop breed specific legislation against bully breed dogs. As it was before, if a pitbull made it into the shelter, odds were that the dog would never make it out again. If an owner didn't come to prove that it was theirs, it would be swiftly killed. Nobody could adopt them even if they were the most gentle, loving dogs on the planet. Even little puppies were killed just because they were bully breeds. Even dogs that were bully mixes were killed because of their partial lineage. We have a long way to go here in Tennessee and have fully antiquated animal abuse laws but this was a HUGE day for those of us who work towards making sure that each animal is looked at on it's own accord and not killed simply because of it's breed. Starting on June 1st, our Metro shelter will allow puppies to be adopted and as soon as the staff is trained to do temperance testing on the adults, they'll be able to be adopted too. It's never okay for any group of people or animals to be judged under one swift blanket of thought. We all deserve to be judged on our own accord and given the chance to live a good, full life.

In other good news, Lucky the Chow that I told y'all about us finding a few posts back went to his foster home and reports say that he is now playing so much that they can't keep him off of his injured foot! Three cheers! I mean, not for his foot but because of the fact that he was so neglected and broken down that we thought it might be months before he'd ever know what "play" was again. Go's your birthday....

I know that I have some readers who aren't really into animals so I know that you are sighing like crazy at this post but helping the animals is a large part of who I am. If I have a great week, it's more than likely because I helped an animal have a great week. If I'm in a foul mood, it's more than likely because I couldn't do so as I'd wanted.  I hope that you all are having a fantastic week and following your own passions no matter what they might be. Don't let anyone EVER talk you out of them. Even if you look around and it seems like you're the only one in the pursuit (or who understands the pursuit), go for matter what. If we were put on this planet to be unfeeling robots that all do the same things, then trust me:  we would come from factories and have much better knee joints.

I'll talk to you soon, sugar spoon.

Until next time,
x's and o's,


Unknown said...

love you, ms. kitsch! I am so sorry about your friend. Cancer is terrible. I hate it so much for stealing some of the greatest people from this earth but I am so glad you had him in your life while you did and that you have some mementos form his life to remember him!

Also, that you for being such a proponent for animals. It makes me really happy to hear your stories of rescue! I am the proud owner of a dog that was rescued from a puppy mill. Andre was in such tragic condition when they found him that it has taken him years to learn to be a normal dog. It is so sad...but I am so glad these sweet doggies and kitties have an advocate in you.

PS. Heaven's penalty box is bound to be filled with some righteous individuals. I will surely see you there.

Jacob said...

I'm so sorry about your loss, me and my wife have lost some very very important family members to cancer.

I also wanted to say that we have proudly adopted ALL of our dogs and cats from sheltered. I went and looked at cats for my daughter's birthday last year at the shelter and picked out a handful of possible candidates. I went back a week or two later and there was a completely new set of cats. I got a sick feeling when I realized that the majority of the cats I saw before had been euthanized. I picked out a cat for her and when I went to sign the papers they informed me that this particular cat had already been filed as "euthanized", but they went ahead and let me adopt her anyways. It really struck me that the shelter was putting animals down so quickly.

I'm not blaming the shelter, because they have little other option, but it is insane that people are still intentionally breeding animals as excess animals are being killed in large quantities down the road.

Also, the whole idea of "pure breed" animals has struck me as strange and unamerican (Yeah, thats right, unamerican). Why do we care about an animals blood line? Its like doggy eugenics. Plus, add in the fact that pure breeds are MORE sickly and disease prone. Again, people are spending hundreds of dollars on a "purebred" dog, when their are dozens of nearly identical dogs at the local shelter.

Sorry that the evolved into a rant. It just really strikes me.

Ann said...

So so sorry about your friend. Same thing happened with my dad - one day told he has cancer and three months later he was gone. My thoughts are with you and the Mister.

So glad you rescued those poor babies.

art deco dame said...

So sorry to hear of your friends passing.Cancer is so horrible.

Thank you for taking a stand for animals.I appreciate it more than words can express.All my dogs are purebred BUT they're all rescues.I wouldn't dare dream of ever shopping for a dog when so many out there need homes.Its very easy to look up a breed specific rescue group or check the pounds.

More people need to realize how cruel puppy mills and backyard breeders conditions can be.As far as BSL I'm happy to see so many people taking a stand against it.We had to put our foot down here recently in my own county that we didn't want bsl here.Keep fighting teh good fight.

Dakota said...

Ugh, just thinking about the puppy mill situation you infiltrated makes me nauseous; that kind of horrible treatment of dogs breaks my heart. What you did was really brave and heroic, though, and I know those dogs are thanking you :)

Spring seems to be "get a puppy season" around my town, but I am disheartened by all the purebred puppies I've been seeing. I do wonder what kind of place they were bred, and why their owners didn't get a (smart, healthy, charismatic!) pound puppy instead.

Unknown said...

Oh Eartha, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It's never a good time to have to say goodbye to those we love, and it's especially awful when it is so sudden. And I know nothing I can say will make it any easier, but you and yours are in my thoughts. :'(

We lost our beloved 13 yr old lab mix (from a shelter) from cancer out of the blue in February. She was diagnosed and died within a week. I just couldn't believe it. Losing friends, both animal and human, is just beyond devastating. I am not fully recovered emotionally, as I'm sure you understand.

I love that you love animals as much as you do, as I completely feel the same way. What you did for those puppy mill dogs (and everything else you do for animals) is beyond amazing. Three cheers to a wonderful advocate!

Here's to the wonderful memories of your dear friend that will live on. I am sending healing thoughts your way… Hugs!

Elisa said...

So sorry for your loss. That is never an easy thing to deal with.

Thank you for all you do to help the animals! We need more people like you out there fighting for these little guys and saving their lives. It makes me so happy to read about your success stories! Keep it up!

Kelli Davidson said...

This has been such a week for you! Having lost 2 family members - one whose illness lingered nearly 3 years and one whose illness lingered only a few weeks, I know there are no words of comfort. I also know that if the end result will be the same, shorter is often less painful.

Thank God you saved those puppies! My babies are rescue dogs (from crappy owners) and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Take care my friend.......maybe a BC Powder is in order or possibly Calgon can take you away!

Tasha said...

I love readings your posts, whether they have ups and downs. You always have the best way of making everyone feel like they are special and so are their interests. I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of your friend, I know he will be dearly missed by you both. Thanks for sharing a little part of your friendship with us.

My dad's wife (I'd say step-mother except I'm over 35 and they've only been married a few years, lol) has been known to secretly steal abused dogs out of backyards and re-home them with loving families (I am sure there are many who would object to this-- I am not one of them). Keep on fighting the good fight for those who can't fight for themselves!

Rob and Monica said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. He has clearly left an indelible impression upon the lives of you and your hubby. He sounds like a great man whose positive contributions and thoughtful acts made his life a positive legacy and a man never to be forgotten.
As for your animal rescue activities, you are doing such wonderful things, one beautiful animal at a time, and I can assure you that when the time comes for Monica and I to adopt a cat and/or dog, it will be from a shelter where we can bring as much love to him or her as our new pet will surely bring to us! (Rob)

Rita said...

I am so sorry you've got so much swirling. Probably feels like a big tangly mess of feeling, but I see the thread running through this post. We've all got to love hard while we can, don't we? In whatever way we love best. Because loving the way we're meant to is the best way to keep from putting hurt out into the world. I'm guessing that for you, some days it's loving animals, and some days it's loving some good vintage. I'm happy to ride along with you every day, no matter what you're turning that beam of love toward.

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

So sorry for your loss. He sounds like such a wonderful man, and I look forward to reading your post about him. That's a beautiful way to honor him.

Melissa said...

What a emotional week this has been for you. I hope you'll be able to give your brain and heart a rest this weekend, you sure deserve it.
I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend. He sounds like a wonderful man who made a big impact on a lot of lives. How lucky for you guys to have had the chance to know him.

Eartha Kitsch said...

Gosh, I love you guys and gals. Thank you for all of the encouraging and heartfelt words. They're definitely help me make it through the day. xo said...

i am so, so sorry for your loss! and i love your heart. and all the other really eloquent things the people above me said. sending lots of love and prayers your way.

Welcome to DeluxeVille said...

Sorry to hear about your loss this week. You were lucky to have had such a wonderful person in your life.

As for dog/cat breeders and purebred cats and dogs. I don't see a problem with someone acquiring their pet from a certified kennel or cattery as long as they know the breeder has standards. It's not fair to judge all breeders the same because they certainly are not. Have you ever had an experience with a reputable breeder? There are a lot of reasons why someone might want to purchase their new pets from a good breeder...
....and as far as health concerns, a good breeder works really hard to make sure that their dog's blood lines stay healthy and that they also go to good homes.

At least that has been my experiences with the purebred dogs we've gotten from a wonderful professional breeder. I've also had wonderful experiences with all my rescue dogs and cats too!


letthemwin said...

Well you have a week for sure. So sorry to hear of your lovely friend, but thankful to here others things are going well.
Maybe you can post this as proof shelter dogs are great choices and perhaps it will bring a smile to you as well.

I hope things calm down a bit and I look forward to hearing more about your delightful friend.

Anonymous said...

what a week!!!

many many hugs to you!!!

please please don't fret about the lies, you done good. amazing!!

gonna go hug my ol' beautiful calico barn cat mary ann now!!

Rae - Say It Aint So said...

i am so sorry about your friend and i am so sorry he was taken so quickly! he sounds like a real gem and I can't wait to read the full post about him. i know you'll make him proud!
and i don't even have words for the breeder dog thing. i am so so so happy you were able to get those babies out of there. we have suspicions that phyllis was a breeder dog and was dumped. it makes me SICK that people can treat innocent animals that way, and that people will blindly buy puppies from those idiots. i make sure everyone who admires my pugs KNOWS they were both from animal control and were brought in as strays. it is so possible to get the breed you want from the shelter and i wouldn't trade my sweet girls in for all the puppies in the world.

Jackie Jardine said...

Aww. I'm sorry for your loss, Eartha. It can be so hard to have such little time to let the situation set in before a person is taken just far too soon. Such a shame to have a friend and mentor gone. But from the sounds of things, he'll never be forgotten.

I've never met you. But I'm more than comfortable saying that you are a remarkably brave person. I can't imagine having to keep a poker face in such a horrid situation, all for the greater good. Getting dogs away from that hell is the best decision you made, despite how you had to act to accomplish the task. It was the right thing to do.

You all hang in there. I'm hoping to hear of happier times for you and and your family.

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting

Eartha Kitsch said...

Thanks y'all for your kind words. You all are THE best.

Welcome to Deluxeville: Yeah, you's the whole breeding thing in general that bothers me too. I know that there are reputable breeders who treat their breeding dogs like any loved pet would be treated but I'm against the whole idea of making a female dog have litter after litter for profit. I don't think it's a healthy or happy way for them to have to live. I don't think that we should be able to make money off of the births of animals as it's treating living things as commodities. It's just one of those things that I'll always be against. And we have so many unwanted pets in this seems kind of whackadoodle to keep bringing more in, especially when a decent part of animals that end up in shelters are actually purebred pets.

Mr. Tiny said...

I am by nature NOT an animal person (allergic to everything) but am am absolutely not sighing - quite the contrary. I so admire you following the courage of your convictions. I think rescuing defenseless creatures and offering them some dignity is a beautiful way to spend your time and resources! I also am so sorry to learn about your friend's passing. I wish I had words that could offer you guys comfort. It is my belief that there is something after this life and your pal is just leading the way. Making sure that there are estate sales and plenty of thrift stores in whatever comes next!!! Take care!

Gina said...

Oh, so sorry to hear about your friend!

And, thanks for putting yourself out there to save the innocent.

Sara In AZ said...

Oh gosh girl.....there are no words I can say that will really ease your pain, but I am so very sorry. My heart goes out to you and the Mister and all of his friends and family.

I am SO proud of you and all that you do for animals, you are a person of conviction and that is to be greatly admired.

DearHelenHartman said...

So, so sorry for your loss. But am also applauding you for your work to help end puppy mills. We have 3 shelter dogs now, and before that a rescued racing greyhound. There are so many dogs already ready to be loved.

SusanD said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. And God bless you for your efforts to rescue animals. I refuse to patronize any pet store that sells so-called pure bred animals (and I buy a lot of cat food - 6 cats - all rescues). It's a small stand, but if more people took the same stand, the amount of pet breeding would decrease.

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Keeping a good thought for you guys.

cheshirecat666 said...

I'm sorry about your friend,babe :(

And rock on for the undercover doggie operation,Honey West!!

Laura said...

I am so sorry about the loss of the Mister's best friend. He sounded like a wonderful person, and I'm sure that makes his loss so much the harder. Hugs to you.

I am not a pet owner, mostly because I'm raising four monkeys (boys) and worry that I could not properly care for a dog (cats are out of the question, because they make my head explode with allergies) with two jobs and four kids and inexperience on top. That's why it mystifies me that there are people who will own 2 billion pets, breed them, and keep them in such miserable conditions. If they don't want the responsibility, WHY are they doing it at all?

That's why even though I'm not a pet owner I can so appreciate what you do to mitigate the stupidity of others. I'm not bored at all that you have the passion to do this. Rock on!

SUZY8-TRACK said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of a good friend. He sounded like a pretty awesome guy. You have my condolences.

Re: animals....I give you so much credit for helping out these animals, when others would ingnore them and let them suffer. You are their savior! I know in Pennsylvania, where I live, they have been cracking down on these breeders. I've volunteered at several shelters in my area =over the years, and I know for a fact that you can adopt purebred cats & dogs rather than go to a breeder.

I don't know if I could have remained calm investigating a breeding situation. My cover would be blown because I'd probably get upset, cry at their living conditions and then yell at the breeders and most likely hit them with my purse!

Jen said...

I am so sorry to read that you've both lost a man who sounds like a tremendous friend. What a fun man he sounded like! It is good to know you both have so many wonderful memories of him to treasure. Big hugs to both of you.

Glad to hear about TN updating their laws, too, so far as "bully breeds". Genes have much to do with it, yes, but nurture and how the animals are raised are *extremely* powerful. We used to know a pit bull that was the biggest lamb of a dog you ever saw, despite her fearsome appearance.

Hugs to both of you.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I'm sorry about your friend. I just lost my aunt to cancer. It went quick too. She was also a collector. Some might have called her a hoarder, lol. But she had good stuff! I will always miss her and think of her when I see teddy bears and El Caminos.

She was also an animal lover like you and me. Finding out that you love and rescue animals only made your blog even better. Don't apologize.

And don't worry about lying. That was a good lie! If there is a god, he doesn't care about stupid rules. He cares about being good. What you did was VERY good. Thank you for being one of those special people who help animals.

Lucky Charm Vintage said...

Oh, that is sad about your and mister's friend. He sounds like a special guy who really impacted the people he met and that's a nice legacy.

Also, bless you for the work you do on behalf of animals. I really get behind that and understand how difficult that kind of scene can be on a gal. Keep up the good work!