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 “” (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.

Happy Mardi Gras

Because my dogs are a blank canvas when I am bored.

I am too weak to hike Burgess Falls in Tennessee

Every spring when the trees turn green and the flowers bloom, I get the itch to hike. This is not an itch I had before I married Troy as I was very much a city girl who smoked, wore black and swilled martinis regularly. Once married, I developed a fondness for seeing places that you have to work to get to and that most people are too lazy to ever see. This fondess is in direct conflict with my intrinsic laziness and my loathing for sweating, chafing, etc. Since late April, I have been trying to get a weekend free to hike Burgess Falls, which is a picturesque little state park an hour or so east of Nashville not far from Cookeville, Tennessee. Since the state parks allow dogs on trails, we take our more athletically-inclined dogs with us.

Only two get to go hiking. Also, I suck at vacuuming.

The weather has been a problem this year. Lots of tornadoes, tons of flooding. I am not fond of the duck and cover approach to outdoor events, so it took a while to get a weekend when it wasn’t raining, hailing, blowing, etc. Finally, we loaded up and headed out. As someone with legendarily bad knees, this hike is one I can even manage without a lot of trouble. However, I failed to consider the effects of taking chemo dugs on my hiking abilities. (note to readers: I do not have cancer, I have lupus which sucks, but not nearly as badly as cancer). I take a cocktail of things to keep the lupus at bay and recently started on the chemo route again when my eyes started to swell and other drugs did not work.  On the plus side, I no longer look like an extra from Twilight with blood red eyes. On the downside, I can’t drink martinis and I find that I am really missing the red blood cells I used to have in abundance.

Burgess Falls is a gorgeous hike and with all the rain, the falls are in full show:

Burgess Falls, Lower Cascade

This is the easy part and pretty much the first thing you see in the parking lot. The climb up starts after this:

Burgess Falls, Middle Falls

Getting to Middle Falls requires a mild cardio workout with lots of steps and a steady incline over a short .5 mile climb. On chemo, it’s painful. When I have to rest at the overlook, this is a problem. I really miss my red blood cells.

At the end of the trail, you see the big falls which are really quite impressive and a good 50+ feet tall:

Burgess Falls, the reward for breathing hard at the end of the trail

Inexplicably, the trail was heavily populated by tourists from India, some of them swathed in saris and sandals, which I do not consider a good choice for hiking on rocky trails. Their children all wanted to pet Bess and Zoe:

Zoe, Bess and their Daddy pose for the camera, and Indians.

One last little bit of pretty:

Cascade at Burgess Falls

A simple little 1.5 miles and I am nearly defeated. This bodes badly for the upcoming trip to Yosemite. Encroaching old age sucks.

Bracketology: Zoe picks

College basketball is not so much a sport at my house as it is religion. The husband is a Kentucky fan and I am a Kansas grad which has, on occasion, rendered the household somewhat tense.

I didn’t get my bracket in in time this year (the play in games are stupid in my not so humble opinion) so I am only playing along at home. I will say that I called the Vanderbilt and Louisville losses. The SEC will always screw you over* no matter how good they looked during the season and Louisville had it coming. But I digress.

Zoe, my 11 year old Sheltie/shepherd, has an incredible streak in predicting the ultimate winner.

Zoe, thinking deeply about her bracket choices

This year, I was presented with her bracket which I confess had some interesting calls:

Zoe apparently plans to win it all

Zoe has declared that the first three rounds are “boring”, “napping” and “whatever”.  Suddenly, in the final four, Daddy will battle it out with some steaks, and she and Bess will meet in a match that she will, of course, win. Ultimately, apparently Zoe wins it all.

Bess and Zoe battling it out: there can be only one.

I guess next year, we’ll have to do an official dog March Madness. Their bracket calls could not be any worse than mine.

*except for Kentucky and Florida, who are usually reliable for a run to the Sweet 16.

Elegy for Stella, 1998 to 2011

Stella was the very first pet that came into the Harrison household. As is the case with most cats, she found us.  She strolled into our lives on Christmas Eve at my sister’s home in Kansas. There wasn’t really much debate about it. We just loaded her up and drove her home to Tennessee, because early in our marriage, Troy and I were insane like that.

Stella at 12 weeks old

Stella came home to a new world full of interesting things. She excelled at stalking and biting my bare toes while I was hanging out on the sofa and she pretended we couldn’t see her when she hid in a laundry basket to spring out at us. We played along with her like the delighted kitten parents we were.  Then we decided she needed a friend. Holden arrived a few months after she did. Stella instantly hated him and spent the first week hissing and growling. Troy negotiated the tuna armistice of 1999 over a bowl of tuna fish which they were forced to share and there was peace across the land, or at least, the Harrison household.

Stella's first mortal enemy, Holden

Years later, Holden got his own cat, Etta, who graced us with her presence for nine years before we lost her to cancer.

Even our pets have pets

Stella put up with the cats, but the worst surprise of her life came in the form of our first dog, Zoe, followed quickly by Floyd. Zoe lit up when she saw Stella, and Stella never really knew what hit her. After Zoe and Floyd, then came Baxter, Bess and Sunshine.  Somehow, Stella managed to make them all behave.

Zoe and Floyd as babies - tormentors of Stella

Stella was not just the apex predator in the household. Stella was the model citizen who taught every dog who was Queen. More than 300 foster dogs have passed through our doors over the years, and every one of them has been schooled by Stella. Stella taught them all that cats are to be treated with respect and that no one gets to sleep on her Daddy but her. If you have one of our foster dogs, it is thanks to Stella that they know how to behave with cats. Stella bit Chloe on the nose as recently as Sunday morning for daring to disturb her sleep.

Stella lording it over the pack

 Stella had been with us for so long with no health issues that we came to consider her immortal and eternal.  This afternoon, we were reminded that we have all of our animals only on loan for a short time and that the day will come when we have to give them back. This day was made even back on the day when a tiny little kitten crawled onto our lap and purred. Today, we had to give Stella back. Although our hearts are broken, we did the right thing in not being selfish and trying to hold on to her for ourselves. Stella has already given us everything she had and it was time to give the gift back. Stella left us today and although we are broken at the loss, we know we are luckier for having had her in our lives and we would not trade a moment of it. God speed Stella and we’ll see you on the other side.

Stella, 1998 to 2011

Save the dogs; then maybe if time permits, other small mammals

I was going to write a long post about how Troy and I stayed at Tiburon in Naples, Florida, as home base for our Everglades adventure. (For those not in the know, Tiburon is a “resort community” with a golf course connected to the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida). This is, apparently, a big deal to golfers. Troy and I do not golf. Ever. Troy’s mother owns a condo there so it seemed like a good idea, chiefly because it is free. This area is full of zero-percent-body-fat trophy wives of a certain age who get lots of work done and look perpetually surprised due to Botox overload. Coincidentally, we were visited by one of these very blonde, sleek women who knocked on our door to ask us not to get up so early as it disturbed her. Right. Anyway, I digress. This is the land of the very wealthy and every single resident there could be (and should be) charged with the crime of living while overprivileged.

Parking for the visitors of the overprivileged

While I could ramble on about my Margaret Mead exploration of the land of nip and tuck, I would rather talk tonight about something more socially redeeming. As some of you know, I am a big fan of big dogs in general and am especially fond of a particular rescue, Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, that rescues these guys. This rescue is in dire financial straits because it is run by volunteers with huge hearts, but small wallets. This rescue took in 16 puppies in danger of being put down from shelters in the South. These 16 puppies then broke with a very bad disease called parvo, which is caused by a virus and it is very expensive to treat and fatal a lot of the time.  $16,000 later, 10 of the puppies have survived, but the rescue is left with crushing vet bills. I think we can help spread the word and raise some cash to help them out.

Do you want to say no to this face?

I know this post has nothing to do with our more typical discussions like how Troy is trying to kill me on some remote mountain hike, but this is a worthy cause and I promise extra surly posts for the rest of the week to make up for it.

Big Fluffy Dog Rescue is a 501c3 rescue and gifts to them are tax deductible. You can donate to them here and the nice folks that handle donations will send you a letter thanking you for your gift.

I am sure the big fluffies will thank you for your donations and for spreading the word. Tomorrow I promise a detailed discussion of whether bears do in fact shit in the woods. I have visual proof to share that shows they do. Also, Troy tried to kill me in a kayak. Tomorrow. Really.

Sleep the sleep of angels or of a Great Pyrenees, and donate to a worthy cause