There are no words

OK fans, if you have made your way over here it’s because you want the NSFW version of my update on Holden and can stomach graphic pictures.

Let’s get the pictures over with:

His poor face is blown to smithereens

His poor face is blown to smithereens

And this:

This is Holden's face head on. The damage is obvious.

This is Holden’s face head on. The damage is obvious.

And now my opinion:

On a scale of what the fuckery from 1 to 10, this is an 11. Whoever did this shot him in the face and intended to make him suffer. In short, someone utterly without conscience or empathy is out there and will probably do this again. His xrays are lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree. I wish pain and suffering on whoever is responsible for this and frankly the world would be a better place without the human who did this.

For now, Holden is resting comfortably and is jacked up on pain meds. Despite the horrific wounds, he will live to bark another day. The use of his eye is in doubt and we are not sure about his jaw, but surgery is in his future. This puppy who is around a year old spent his time with the vet today pawing the vet demanding petting. It is amazing how forgiving these animals can be. Holden is more gracious than I am and while he’s wagging his tail, I’m sharpening my sword. I will likely never know who is responsible for this, but since I am unlikely to be the instrument of karmic justice, I can only hope that karma does indeed work its magic.

For those that want to help, you can donate here.

Attention Wolf People: We get it, so simmer down

Well, it’s April Fools Day, which is the one day of the year where I reaffirm just how incredibly gullible and, occasionally, stupid people can be. As some of you know, every year I post a wolf for adoption on our page. This year was no exception. People lost their ever-loving minds and many took us to task for either removing a wolf from the wild or, alternately, for having a wolf and not placing it with wolf people. Seriously. They did. Just check the 500+ comments on the thread at the link above. This begs the question who the fuck seriously thinks a dog rescue has a dog for adoption that hates animals, eats small woodland creatures, wants to eat your granddaughter and took off three fingers of a trainer trying to teach it to not be food aggressive? The reply email on the post is “itsawolfpeople@gmail.com” (which by the way is not a real address) and should have clued people in to the fact it’s a freaking joke. People: it’s not real so get a grip. Not everything you read on the internets is true.

This is an actual wolf Troy photographed. It does not need rescue.

This is an actual wolf Troy photographed. It does not need rescue.

I would like to take this opportunity to pass along a message to our passionate friends in wolf advocacy. Simmer the fuck down. We aren’t advocating that anyone adopt/capture/trap wolves and putting up a fake post about a wolf is in no way harming wolves. You know who is harming wolves? The dicks running the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho who think it’s OK to slaughter them so elk hunters don’t have competition. I suggest that you all dedicate yourselves to the admirable and Herculean task of saving wolves and back off a friendly rescue who supports your cause.

Let me offer you some friendly advice. I have some experience with dealing with morons who indiscriminately kill animals. Try dog rescue for a week in the South if you want to be truly depressed/need experience with mass slaughter. However, even with that depressing fact underscoring every single thing we do, we’ve managed to build a pretty big fan base and we save a lot of dogs because we get how to do it. There is a right way and a wrong way to advocate for an animal. You don’t get that big of fan base if you alienate them with spite or if you drown them in gloom and doom. There is a way to advocate for wolves without looking like a prig or a self-righteous jackass, even in the midst of the horror and carnage. Trust me. I do it everyday.

So wolf people, I’m here if you want some advice on marketing these animals to the public to give them a voice and I will offer my services to you to help out the wolves. I love wolves and I want them to have a place, too. They have every right. Just stop taking the bait when I post about magical direwolves on our Facebook page. You look stupid when you do.

Tennessee postpones rising again

Our legislature here in the fair state of Tennessee in its infinite wisdom has decided that the proposed bill (House Bill 2120) which would make attending a dog fight a felony offense needs to be sent back to the lovely folks on the Agriculture committee. Where they know it will die. One can only speculate that legislators in Tennessee are afraid this may affect their friends and family.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the geniuses who continue to insist that Islam is not a religion are now trying to ensure that there will be no Muslim cemetery in Murfreesboro. Watch these loons flip out on a reporter. I am especially fond of the old man who can’t manage verb-noun agreement with this gem of a sentence: “You’re the ones that’s lying”. Folks I think we need to worry less about where Muslims want to bury their dead and more about where we can find ten educated people. I fear we might not be able to scrape that many together in some parts of our state.

Meanwhile, the good people of the State of Maine managed to convict someone and send them to prison for eight months for shooting a dog with a BB gun. Seriously, prison. Here, the legislature would probably send them a medal. Now all I need to complete the perfection is some redneck to tell me I need to quit bagging on the South because it’s gonna rise again and they don’t need uppity women telling them what to do. So even though I am a Southerner, I must wave Dixie and pretend this state is not run by backwoods, uneducated idiots. Suck it. Feel free to let me know when you want to schedule our public debate. I’m totally happy to do that to give you a chance to make your point, but my money’s on me in that battle.

Has anyone seen our weather?

Dear Death Valley,

It appears you left your park unlocked and allowed your weather to escape to Tennessee. I’m sure it’s just an oversight that you haven’t come to collect it yet. However, I am sweating in ways that I cannot describe. It’s the kind of hot where you drive down the street wearing a muumuu draped over the steering wheel so you can get cold refreshing air from the AC on your lady parts because your ass melted into the seat on contact. It also appears y’all stole our weather. We would like you to return it. Death Valley is sitting at a lovely 99 today, which is hot, but livable in Tennessee at this time of year.

A balmy 99 in the desert

By contrast, at 3:30 today, this is what the temperature is here in Nashville:

wtf?

Come get your weather, assholes. I am not amused. Thanks.

Elegy for Baxter: 2003 – 2012

Au revoir, Baxter

In the summer of 2003, I agreed to take a young, very scared Great Pyrenees mix as a foster dog in my home. All I knew was that he had been rescued from a very serious abuse case and that at seven months old, the vet treating him had decided it would be kinder to euthanize him as he lived a life of perpetual fear. I was so arrogantly sure I could fix him, that I never considered that I could fail. I went to pick this dog up in a parking lot at a movie theater from a nice lady who had driven him to Nashville from Chattanooga. On arrival, I was greeted by a terrified, drooling, shaking, over-sized puppy who wanted absolutely nothing more than to get away from everyone and go hide somewhere.  Getting him in the car proved challenging as he instantly became one with the pavement and he performed some kind of meld with the concrete to avoid being picked up. We finally got him into my car and I got him home. Once I managed to get him in my house, he shook violently,  peed on himself and tried to get as far away from us as he could. This was not the most auspicious of beginnings. After much debate, he was duly named Baxter.

For the first couple of days, I let Baxter observe us so he could decide for himself what our routine was and learn that the pack and our home was a safe place to be. As time wore on, I spent hours on the floor, petting him, rough housing lightly to get him to play. Always, he laid there absolutely still and stared up at me with sad brown eyes looking as if the weight of the world was on his puppy shoulders. Finally, weeks into the process, I tried to engage him in play and I saw for the first time a spark. He put his mouth on my arm, but very quickly backed off as if he were in trouble. I pressed forward and played more. Outside we went. I will never know what it was that broke through the fog to this poor boy, but something finally clicked and he grasped that it was OK to be a dog and that he was safe. This giant, sad dog who suffered unspeakable abuse morphed instantly into a spinning, smiling, happy dog who was excited to play for the first time. I knew we had a permanent family member as this baby boy was mine and  Baxter and I had a bond.

It took many years for Baxter to get comfortable in the presence of new people, but each month he improved until he finally made peace with the fact that strangers sometimes come to our house. He even learned to let strangers pet him and enjoy it. Baxter was a natural born guardian and he took his job very seriously. Initially, we thought the dog park would be a place where he could play with other dogs, but all he did was run the perimeter to guard EVERYTHING in the park from threats only he could foresee. I believe if we could have provided Baxter with just two sheep to watch over, he would have been the happiest of dogs. Sadly, urban Nashville is not a good place to raise sheep in the back yard, and I’ve never been a fan of livestock in the house.  Baxter somehow made his own peace and he healed himself over time by learning to love us and trust us.  He also became the ambassador dog in our household and it was Baxter who generally made the many fosters dogs that followed him feel welcome in the house as Baxter accepted everyone (with the exception of two dogs who drove him to distraction – Milo and Cooper, you know who you are).  He was a generous soul to all animals and he was wonderful in every way.

It is the saddest of truths that we do not get to keep our dogs forever. We forget as the months and years march by that their time on earth is measured differently than ours, and they feel the spin of the earth much more keenly than we do. The giant dogs with their oversized hearts and boundless love are tragically the ones we keep the shortest time. Baxter was a very big boy and his giant body became increasingly frail over the past year. Still, he seemed happy and enjoyed fits of riotous barking and bouncing play sessions that nearly knocked me off my feet, and so I pushed back the creeping awareness that Baxter was in the bonus time and that his time with us was coming to an end.  Yesterday morning, when I got up to leave for work, I never dreamed that this would be my last day with my baby boy. Had I known, I would have cleared my calendar and I would have spent the entire day telling him how much I loved him, and how wonderful he was. I would have petted his tummy and rubbed his ears and done all those things Baxter loved, but never demanded.  I could not know as I was getting ready for bed that the end was upon us.

Late last night, Baxter became violently ill. We rushed him to the emergency vet who gave us the diagnosis I did not want to hear. Baxter had bloat and even thought we caught it immediately, the prognosis was very poor as this was a repeat of an earlier bloat episode and his esophagus had twisted and was beyond repair. Given his other health issues and the significant likelihood that he would not survive the surgery, we made the agonizing decision to let him go. Dogs give us everything they have. Their hearts are ours to keep or break as we see fit and they love us even at our very worst. The one gift we can give to them is to give them back when their time is at an end and walk that long walk with them, even knowing the loss and the silence that will follow. I had the strength, but only barely, to let my beloved Baxter go when every fiber of my being wanted to try every thing possible to keep him with me. In the end, we did what was right for Baxter and we released him from this world. I do not know how long it will be before I can smile at the mention of his name, but no dog was ever loved more than Baxter. I hope that if there is a heaven, Baxter will be there waiting for us in some patch of shade in a lush green grass with birds singing and his nose in the wind with a huge smile on his face. If he’s not there, then I want to go where he is. I’ll see you on the other side, Baxter.

Feuding in the holler

I have been in trial almost non-stop for nearly four weeks. This makes me unhappy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is an appalling lack of time to do anything remotely interesting and fun.

I could be here. Sadly, I'm not.

Instead, I am in rural Tennessee in court dealing with a land feud between a family whose tree has zero branches and a Californian who moved in to this county to buy acreage for horses. Guess which side the judge is (distantly) related to?

I believe this family may actually be related to the Hatfields.

Some actual quotes from the witnesses:

“I was raised up in that there holler by my sister, Mama”.

“It’s always been known that we owned that there land since my great great great grandpappy got it for fightin’ in the War of 1812.”

“We was squirrel huntin’ up yonder when she throwed me off the property.”

Tennessee is beautiful, but man, we have some dumb ass people living in the woods.

On behalf of those who can string together a noun and a verb, I apologize to the world at large for the backwoods parts of the state of Tennessee.  Tennessee may be the Volunteer State, but I think we need to volunteer to teach everyone who lives here how to read before we do anything else.

Captain Nemo

I capsized today in the swamp. Mega embarrassing.  I got stuck on deadfall and tried to push out of it and went over. Jesus. I know they say reptiles never attack lawyers out of professional courtesy, but I was very motivated to get out of the water as there were alligators 20 feet back.  When you have only 5 feet of space available and you are standing in 5 feet of cold, smelly water, getting the water out of your kayak and you back into it is a challenge, particularly when your sandals are being sucked off your feet by swamp mud.

Pretty and evil.

I smelled like a wookie all day. My skin is stained brown from all the tannin in the water. Perhaps someone will mistake it for a tan. Tomorrow, no mangroves. All sawgrass and open water. Thank God. Pain rating for the day: 8 out of 10. Definitely time for drugs that end in the letters “-cet”.

Haiku of the day:

Brown, swampy water

Smells like ass and tastes much worse

Mangroves are evil

 

An Open Letter to the State of Missouri

Dear State of Missouri,

Because my extended family lives in Kansas and I live in Tennessee, I am routinely forced to drive through your state.  I have always loathed this drive because  your roads are poorly designed, heavily-trafficked and generally awful. This year, though, you outdid yourself. The plan you had to control the masses driving through your state on I-70 was sheer diabolical genius. Stationing highway patrolmen every 8 miles in the median was a fabulous way to utterly fuck up traffic. The speed limit in your state is 70 miles per hour, but I doubt I made it much over 55 all the way through because every time the very heavy stream of traffic would approach the actual speed limit en masse, your highway patrol cars in the median would be spotted and my fellow drivers would panic and slam on the brakes, creating a chain reaction fuck up that would only clear up 8 miles further down the road. This hellish cycle repeated every 8 miles in an endless Groundhog-day-style loop. Instead of the three and a half hours it typically takes to drive from Saint Louis to Kansas City, you held me an unwilling captive for six long hours.

I was presented with some “fun facts” about Missouri at one of their rest stops which presumably exist to give you hope that you may someday get out of Missouri. Tourist bureau, you might want to edit your tourist information:

  1. Missouri is known as the “Show Me State”. Yes, show me how to get the hell out of this state as fast as possible.
  2. The ‘Show Me State’ expression may have begun in 1899 when Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver stated, “I’m from Missouri and you’ve got to show me.” You’ve got to show me how to get out of this state.
  3. The first successful parachute jump to be made from a moving airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, in 1912. Even flying over the state leaves you suicidal.
  4. The most destructive tornado on record occurred in Annapolis. In 3 hours, it tore through the town on March 18, 1925 leaving a 980-foot wide trail of demolished buildings, uprooted trees, and overturned cars. It left 823 people dead and almost 3,000 injured. Nature abhors Missouri.
  5. Josephine Baker was born in Missouri. And promptly ran screaming to Paris to get out of Missouri.
  6. The first Capitol in Jefferson City burned in 1837 and a second structure completed in 1840 burned when the dome was struck by lightning on February 5, 1911. I think someone is trying to tell you something.
  7. Creve Coeur’s name means broken heart in French, comes from nearby Creve Coeur Lake. Legend has it that an Indian princess fell in love with a French fur trapper, but the love was not returned. According to the story, she then leapt from a ledge overlooking Creve Coeur Lake; the lake then formed itself into a broken heart. Because she was trapped for eternity in Missouri.
  8. The most powerful earthquake to strike the United States occurred in 1811, centered in New Madrid, Missouri. The quake shook more than one million square miles, and was felt as far as 1,000 miles away. Hello, Missouri, the planet wants you to go away.
  9. Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, Missouri is the largest beer producing plant in the nation. If you lived in Missouri, you’d need buckets of beer to tolerate it, too.
 I never thought I’d be so happy to see this sign:

75 mph speed limit and 100% less annoying.

Suck it Missouri. Kansas is a much better state, Gov. Brownback lunacy notwithstanding.

Shark diving on the cheap and other really bad ideas for vacation adventures

It is indisputable that sharks are extra cool. Every time I go to the beach, I look in vain for a shark. I’ve never seen a real shark in the ocean, not counting the two-foot-long baby shark I saw during my disastrous canoe trip with my sister. Naturally, Shark Week is a big geek-out time of year for me and I never miss the episodes reenacting the attack on the poor slob at the beach. For those of my morbid followers who just want the link to the shark attack videos, here you go.

Since I am such a shark geek, I am dying to go shark diving. This week, I got an email offering the trip of a life time to go “Budget Shark Diving.” This causes me some concern. I think that economizing to save money is not really my primary concern when picking a shark diving outfit. If you need an explanation why, take a gander at this outfit’s liability waiver you have to sign before you hit the cage. (Note: this dive group did not offer a discount trip to me). Keep your hands in the cage kids!

If shark diving on a budget strikes you as a bad idea, how about having a guy hold you by the ankles so you can look over the edge of Victoria Falls?

This hiking trail in China looks like it was built to last. I definitely want to try this one.

I think that zoos that allow visitors to simply walk into enclosures to pet the lions are charming, and also, operate to remove stupid people from the reproductive pool.

If you are brave and/or stupid enough to want to canoe a remote part of Africa, remember that hippos are not your friend.

Yachting around the Horn of Africa is lovely, and also, exciting as you attempt to outrun the natives who would like you to the their “Guest” while they ransom you. This site as some helpful tips including Somali phrases to memorize for your captivity.

On balance, the budget shark dive seems alright.

The Grim Reaper Report: National Park deaths

I have noticed an uptick in people who find this blog with searches for people who die in various national parks or as dinner for a shark or grizzly bear. Y’all are clearly a morbid, bloodthirsty bunch. This morning, these searches found this blog:

Searching for dead people

As a public service, for those of you with morbid curiosity wasting time looking for information on people who have died in National Parks and how, here’s where you need to go:

Yellowstone deaths

This bear in Yellowstone did not eat us as we stayed a long way away. If you surprise a bear with cubs, you can expect to be dispatched to the hereafter. Note the grainy picture which denotes long distance away from danger.

 

Yosemite deaths

3 people just died here. We didn't, but we stayed behind the rails.

Zion National Park deaths

This is why people die on Angel's Landing. It's 1200 feet off to one side and 900 on the other. I'm not insane enough to climb this, but Troy was. He's alive.

Grand Canyon deaths

Death Valley National Park deaths

Mount Ranier National Park deaths

Great Smoky Mountain National Park deaths/statistics

People die in Great Smoky Mountain National Park every year. Mostly because they are stupid. Waterfalls are dangerous.

 

Acadia National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Channel Islands National Park

Biscayne National Park

The water at Biscayne National Park is crystal clear. You can drown here or be eaten by a shark. According to Troy, who has to my knowledge, never set a toe in the ocean.

Big Bend National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

I did not drown, fall off a waterfall or get eaten by a mountain lion in Rocky Mountain National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Troy hiked all 19+ miles of this trail in Grand Teton without dying

Badlands National Park (click on the compendium for details by year)

The Badlands are named that way for a reason. Troy survived it. Because he's not an idiot and took water and knew where he was. Also because I was not there for him to argue with about which way to go.

Canyonlands National Park

Just past the arch is a drop of over 1500 feet. Don't go to the edge and pose.

Haleakala National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Sequoia National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

Denali National Park

Sadly, there’s no statistics kept on who had it coming. Darwinism may be at work in many of the deaths.

For those of you even more determined to track down who met their fate in the form of being dinner for a wild animal, here you go:

Mountain lion attacks

Black bear attacks

These baby bears are adorable. Mom is pissed off. We stayed a respectful distance away.

Grizzly bear attacks

Polar bear attacks

Shark attacks

Killer bee attacks

Snake bite deaths

You’re welcome.