The Business of Saving Animals

I am home again after a week of visiting and volunteering in seven animal shelters in our rural south with an amazing team of volunteers.

When I try to describe the experience, I have to grapple for words. I’ve been to the shelters before; I was there while on book tour last fall. But this time, Continue reading The Business of Saving Animals

I Want to Be Hopeful

The last time I set foot in the southern shelters, I was stunned.

We wandered through the kennels, head spinning and heart-aching, helpless to do anything except offer a few bags of dog food, a box of cat litter, and a promise to share what we saw. This time… Continue reading I Want to Be Hopeful

Am I Becoming a Broken Record?

I’ve been kicking around ideas for this post—lots to say, not enough space (the usual for me).

My thoughts are scattered because part of me is in North Carolina worrying about the dogs at the three shelters we visited who were all evacuated. I know they’re confused and frightened, but so far, at least, I know they are safe.

In a news story about the Anson shelter, I saw footage of several of the dogs I met – Oreo (who is coming to my home at the end of the month), the Great Dane that Lisa and I flirted with (whose destiny is uncertain), Sparky (the shy, adorable pit mix with bandit eyes that Lisa coaxed out to say hello to us), and a large gray pitbull whose sad face I’ve been carrying around with me ever since I met him. Of all the dogs we met, his eyes seemed to sear my soul – the depth of sadness and the resignation broke my heart.

Seeing those friends crammed in crates and stacked in a van, while the people around them talked in panicked voices and the flood water closed in on them was unbearable. I want to be down there, doing something, and yet again, Continue reading Am I Becoming a Broken Record?

Look Around You, You Can Save These Dogs

The dogs and shelters are beginning to blur together.

Thank goodness for Lisa, who is traveling with me and taking copious notes, asking the questions I forget to ask, and handing me crackers with cheese as I drive the behemoth van between stops. Our days and hearts are filled to the brim.

If you knew Lisa you would be surprised and not surprised that she is traveling on this journey with me. Lisa is not a dog-person, but she is a Cara-person. When she visits my dog-filled house, the dogs will flock to her and she will inevitably say, “I don’t even like dogs, but this one is nice.” (every time)

Here’s what this trip is doing to her – she is often the last one out of the kennels as we finish our visits, lingering in front of cages, tears on her face, snapping pictures. One dog, at Anson, stole her heart – a fluffy, older white dog, not one likely to be pulled by OPH or many rescues. One likely to spend its final days there. She keeps bringing her up and yesterday said tentatively, “I would foster her.”

Jenny (2)

On Wednesday night we stayed at my friend Melanie’s Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary. Melanie and Jim have eight dogs – every single one friendly and sweet and engaging. After seeing so many dogs through chainlink kennel doors, it was wonderful to finally get our hands on some dogs.

lisa with melanies dogs
Tuesday morning we stopped at Anson County Animal Shelter, an hour outside of Charlotte, NC where we met Maureen who is single-handedly trying to save every dog she can. She has no fosters, no volunteers. No one comes to walk dogs or play with the kitties or take pictures or help Maureen with moving dogs out through rescue. This is a one woman show.

There are too many dogs at Anson, which like all the shelters we have visited is at capacity. This is Oreo, a 45 pound male boxer mix whose kennel I came back to over and over. He was starving for a human touch. If you put your hand against the kennel, he would place his face against it and stay still as long as you would stand there. He just wanted to be touched and loved. Continue reading Look Around You, You Can Save These Dogs