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Home > Archived Newsletter Messages > eNEWSLETTER - FEBRUARY 2014 - URGENT PLEA FOR FOOD HELP

Archived Newsletter Messages


Sent: February 1, 2014

Texting: 256 744 4805
P.O. Box 1095 Dawsonville GA 30534-0022


"I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.” - Jules Verne

“Labradors [are] lousy watchdogs. They usually bark when there is a stranger about, but it is an expression of unmitigated joy at the chance to meet somebody new, not a warning.” ~Norman Strung

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December was a great month. Your generosity allowed us to purchase several weeks’ worth of food. Unfortunately, January has been a disappointment. Support received totalled about one-third of what a “normal” January has brought in the past. We just returned from our weekly trip to the Post Office--and there was just one support check – for $30. We have enough food to feed for about the next ten days. Then we are out. And no money to buy more!

Please help with either a special donation for the purchase of food and/or a commitment to increase your regular support by 10 – 15 percent. IF you are able to donate on-line, please do so as the money reaches us more quickly. Thank you!!!

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A week ago, I received a call from a lady, Elaine P, in Hampton Cove, needing me to feed the stray cats she usually feeds. She was in hospital and didn't know of anyone else. I was afraid to go because I had no money and my phone was out of minutes. But, I couldn't possibly let cats go hungry. I checked the gas register. It said I could travel 55 miles on the gas in the car. That was more than enough to get there and back, so off I went.

I was glad I was there when I saw the three fluffy white babies. I didn't see the mama, but I found the place where Elaine put their food. The kittens came running to eat. Elaine had fixed a nice warm box under a building that had a heater blowing under it. Petting the kittens, pouring out food and water and straightening bedding took a little longer than I had expected. Besides, I wanted to know that the mama cat was safe before I left. After she came back, I started home.

I had used up 25 of my 55 miles getting there, so I wasn't worried about getting home. But, I should have been. After about 10 miles, my car started sputtering. I checked the electronic register. It said "empty." No kidding!

This couldn't have happened at a worse place. It was getting dark and the temperature was 25 degrees according to the display in my car. I had on summer weight sweatpants, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt with my old running shoes with holes in them. Not exactly what you want to be wearing out in the cold—but they are my regular work clothes. There was not a light to be seen in either direction. But, I couldn't stay where I was and freeze to death. I remembered it was about seven miles back to the last store, so I decided to go forward.

After walking about two miles, I finally saw a distant light. It looked very small and far away. I had no choice but to keep walking. My fingers and toes were getting numb. I was starting to stumble. Not a single car had passed in all this time. After another mile or so, I heard a whimper. Great! Now I am hearing things. Looking around, I didn't see anything that could have made that sound. I was wishing for a flashlight.

Another 20 or 30 feet, I heard it again. This time I sat down in the ditch and waited. It was better in the ditch. The wind wasn't hitting me and I could hear better. Nothing; not a sound but the wind. I was so tired I decided to rest for a few minutes. Putting my head on my knees, I closed my eyes. That is when a small nose nudged me.

At first I thought I was dreaming. Then the little form in front of me took shape. It was a very small dog. It was shivering. "Hey, little one, where did you come from?" I asked as I picked it up. The poor baby was so cold, I wrapped it in my sweatshirt next to my body. "I don't know if that will help much, but it is the best I can do," I told it. We start down the road again and the dog snuggled next to me and went to sleep.

After another mile or so, I came to a driveway. I could barely make out the outline of the house it was so far off the road. There was a small light coming from a window. "Here goes nothing," I say to the dog.

At the door I have to knock several times before someone finally comes to the door. What can only be described as "a little old lady" looked out the door window. Then she turns on a porch light. "I need to see you," she says. "I have a gun if you try anything funny. What do you want?" I tell her I have been walking for a long way and am very cold. Then I pull the little dog from under my sweatshirt and show it to her. This brings a scream of horror. "That's my Bessie," she cries. "Where did you get her?" When I tell her she was over a mile down the road, she couldn’t get the door open fast enough. "And you carried her all the way?" she asked. I answered, "Well, I sure wasn't going to leave her out in the cold. We sort of found each other. I heard a whimper and sat down in the ditch so I could hear better and she came up to me. I figured she was lost. Surely no one would abandon a dog in this cold."

Telling her of my trouble with the car and the fact that I didn't have any money or minutes on my phone to call for help, she said, "Lord child, then you didn't know the road over the mountain has been closed for the night, did you? I haven't seen or heard any traffic for several hours. You could have died if you had stayed in that car." I thought that sounded a little extreme until she told me the temperature was now 11 degrees. At least the walking had kept me reasonably warm.

What I really wanted to know was why Bessie was out. "I didn't know she was. I thought she was sleeping in her box. I am so grateful you found her. She would not have made it outside, either." "But, how did she get out in the first place?," I asked. She said her grandson had been over to restock her firewood. She must have gotten out then. She simply assumed Bessie was asleep in her box. She started to cry, thinking of what could have happened. You see, Bessie never goes out; she is blind.”

How she managed to stay on the road, we will never know. All she knew to do when she heard me was to whimper. If I had kept walking, she might not have followed and been lost forever. If she had not come up to me, I could have gone to sleep in the cold. I think we saved each other. I spent the night with Bessie and Ms. Elaine. The next day, they brought me home. I was truly thankful my long day had a happy ending.

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From Thomas & Holly Lanford “in memory of KIT, beloved cat of Groo and Porter, who lost her battle with cancer.”

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STAMP REPORT—Since our last report, we have received 95 stamps from Lois Holbrook and Jamie Reagin. The cost of a first class stamp did increase three cents on schedule-so let’s have a much better month in February.

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THANK YOU—Please be assured that our thanks are not limited to the specific names below. We appreciate so very much all support sent by every single one of you. If your name is not included and you would like it to be, please let us know. We try to be careful to not put in names unless we are sure we have permission to do so.

To Carol Clenney for your regular monthly support.

To Mildred Ferrell, Avis Buchanan and Gloria Overbey for your support to help with veterinary expense.
And Avis for your donation of much-appreciated bedding for the animals.

To Vicky Murphy, Elaine Crowell, Tammie Porter, Dena Roesler and Jennifer DeWeese for responding so quickly to our urgent plea for support to help purchase goats milk for the kittens. They are doing just great!

To Martha Milton for your very generous support.

To Kathy Beckman for the Lowes gift cards sent in December and January—and for the cartoons you included in January.

To Betty Gordy Brandt for your donation in honor of your brother, Walter Gordy, on his January 18 birthday.

To Nancy Johnson for your support and the World Wildlife bookmark.

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ITEMS ALWAYS NEEDED AND WELCOME--Many items we use to care for the safety and comfort of our animals are available at either Home Depot or Lowes. Gift cards from either place are much appreciated.

Gift cards for any other store at which we can buy items needed at the shelters, such as bleach, detergent, tall kitchen bags, paper plates, Pine-Sol, brooms, scrub buckets, dishwashing liquid, canned and dry cat food, dry dog food, cat and dog treats, and paper towels. Wal-Mart, Kroger, PETCO, PetSmart and Publix cards are especially welcome.
Any type of animal medicine.
A special gift designated to help with our veterinary bills.
Help with electric bill (latest bill was about $340) and/or garbage bill (currently $89.20).

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IN THE NEWS – At the beginning of January, a commercial breeder in Sprakers, NY, drew the ire of dog lovers for leaving dozens of small and medium sized dogs and puppies outside with nothing more than empty plastic barrels to keep warm as temperatures plummeted well below zero.

Photos of the dogs at Flat Creek Border Collies were spread around Facebook, and a firestorm ensued. Canine advocates called on local law enforcement to investigate complaints about the breeder. However, when they did investigate, neither police nor a veterinarian found anything in violation of New York State law or local codes thanks in large part to the vagueness of the state’s guidelines for the Minimum Standards of Animal Care, which state: “The temperature surrounding the animal shall be compatible with the health and well-being of the animal. Temperature shall be regulated to protect each animal from extremes and shall not be permitted to fall below ranges which would pose a health hazard to the animal.”

Following calls to have the dogs rescued, the Lexus Project got involved and took the case to court. Since then, most of the dogs have been removed and are being cared for by the Montgomery County SPCA, the New England Border Collie Rescue and Glen Highland Farm. The owner was allowed to keep puppies on the condition that they are brought inside if the temperature falls below 32 degrees.

The case in Sprakers did help highlight the need for more comprehensive laws regarding what is and isn’t acceptable care at the hands of commercial breeders who barely meet the minimums. While many continue to argue that dogs love winter and can live outside, extreme cold is just as dangerous for them as extreme heat, especially for small dogs and puppies; and they’re all still vulnerable to the risks of being left outside in freezing temperatures, including hypothermia and frostbite.

The good news is Governor Andrew Cuomo finally signed A.740a, dubbed the puppy mill bill, which will help crack down on large-scale commercial breeders in the state by granting counties and municipalities the ability to enact tougher regulations than the ones that exist at the state level to protect dogs raised in puppy mills.

“The legislation announced today is a win for those individuals and communities across the state that have fought for the health and safety of animals under the care of pet dealers,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “While existing state law will be upheld, today’s legislation will give support to the many local municipalities that want to ensure stronger safeguards are in place to protect the animals in their communities.” The bill was sponsored by Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal (D-New York) and Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo), and was passed by the legislature six months ago.

The case in Sprakers, however, did inspire other lawmakers to step up and announce they will be taking further action on the issue. State Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R – Glenville), who co-sponsored the puppy mill bill, and Sen. Greg Ball (R – Paterson) announced they will be introducing another bill that will make the penalties for not providing adequate shelter even more harsh, with jail time and higher fines. “We’re going to call for a felony for somebody who doesn’t provide appropriate shelter, water, and food,” Tedisco told NewsChannel 13. “Not a misdemeanor. Not a violation.”

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