Come in…Sorry, we’re closed.

15 07 2014

This is my dog Zayda.


You may already know that. What you may not know is she was rescued from Memphis Animal Services, a high-kill shelter in Memphis, TN.

I wasn’t necessarily “looking” for a dog, but I saw her picture in a Memphis Pets Alive “Wag Along Tuesday” album and I just had to have her. Every Tuesday night, MPA’s volunteers go to the “shelter” and take pictures of the available animals (well, the one’s they are allowed to photograph, that’s another story) and post them on Facebook to help network the animals.

I work a full-time job and I don’t get off work until 5:30 p.m. I went to the shelter after work on Thursday (they’re open until 7 p.m.) of that week and adopted Zayda. As an added bonus for me, it was Yappy Hour which meant the adoption fee was discounted.

Last week, MAS Administrator, James Rogers, proposed new public hours for MAS. The proposal takes away Tuesday and Thursday nights after 5 p.m. Under these new hours, Zayda may not be alive.

Under the new proposal, a couple hours on Sunday and Monday would be added, which would mean the 72 hour hold time for strays, means 72 hours. 72 hours for a stray to be claimed by their owner before they are euthanized.

In a letter today, La Sonya Harris Hall, Ph.D., Division of Parks & Neighborhoods Deputy Director, defends Rogers with various arguments for the proposed change, here are two:

“3. Positive Fiscal Impact (which may resonate with taxpayers, but maybe not with animal advocates):

· The proposed change in hours will assist with the reduction of holding time of animals from 5 days to 3, saving 104 days annually in the cost of food, work hours (animal care techs and vets), housing, medical supplies, etc.

4. Clinical Efficiency:

· The proposed change in hours will lead to better population management.”

Great, their proposed change will lead to “better population management” and bring hold times to 72 hours. In other words, their proposed change will lead to more deaths.

If this isn’t enough for you – take a look at these numbers.

In June 2014 (last month), 1,363 animals came into MAS. 865 of those animals were euthanized. 670 of those euthanized, were done so because of Time or Space.

670 hearts stopped beating because they didn’t have the space for them, or they ran out of time.

670 souls were taken from us because the “shelter” didn’t have the time or the space to hold them.

That was in one month. ONE MONTH.

And Rogers is trying to tell us that his new plan is a positive one.

No, Memphis. We cannot stand for this.

Please, don’t only take my word on this. Do the research. Check it out online. I’ve included some links below that will help you to see some of the statistics. Get educated, Memphis. The killing has to stop.

Join the conversation on Memphis Flyer.

Contact your mayors office.

Mayor A C Wharton, Jr.
City Hall
125 N. Main St. Room 700
Memphis, Tn 38103
(901) 636-6000

Mark H. Luttrell Jr.
Shelby County Mayor

Melissa Baines
Mayor’s Administrative Assistant

160 N. Main
11th Floor
Memphis, TN 38103

Ph: (901) 222-2000
Ph: (901) 222-2004 – appointments
Fx: (901) 222-2005


You’re Not a “Plan B” Kind of Girl

10 06 2014

These article is far too honest and far too true. Love her writing!

Ashlin Horne

DeathtoStock_Spring7You deserve better than someone who is afraid to commit to you. It may seem like enough for now. You’re just taking things slow. Oh, how I know those little phrases of “one day” and we just need time.

You believe them.
And I’ve believed them.

But you’re not a plan B kind of girl.

You need to know that you’re not the invisible one standing in the back who gets chosen last.

You’re the girl who the team captain will be frantically hoping doesn’t get picked by someone else before he gets a turn. You’re a first-pick kind of girl. And no one worth having sits back and lets those girls wait around.

‘Cause every good man knows that the good ones get gone fast.

He should be jumping out of his skin in anticipation to call out your name and say “I pick you.”

“But he’s…

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My Great-Grandpa Danley

13 12 2013

On December 13, 2012 – My great-grandpa passed away. A man I had too short of a time getting to know. I wrote a post a couple weeks before he passed away – A Little Too Late – talking about how I met such a wonderful man a little too late in his life. Before grandpa passed away, I spent a lot of time sitting with him and talking about his life. We decided I was going to try and help him write his memoirs. I didn’t even come close to scratching the surface of his life story, but I certainly spent what little time I had with him writing what I could down. Now, at the very least, I have this to remember him with.

Grandpa with Harley - he loved having her visit!

Grandpa with Harley – he loved having her visit!

Every night, before I fall asleep, I light a candle in remembrance of my great-grandfather. I say a prayer that God will keep him happy in heaven until I can see him again. I talk to him and tell him any big news. I ask him to watch over me. I remind him he better be up there dancing with grandma, because she was waiting for him to dance. I now have an angel up in heaven; my great-grandpa Danley.

Willard (Bill) Danley was born in Bismark in 1924 – becoming the youngest child of nine to Evelyn and Clarence Danley, a postal worker and a farmer.

Being a child in a family with eight other children wasn’t always easy. “My mother washed clothes in the scrub board. I’m not sorry, it gave me a little bit of an outlook on life. I knew that mom needed more help. Because I remember back in them days the old wooden wash machine gave you an appreciation of life. It wasn’t plug it in, it was plug you in.”

The family had a diversified farm with cattle, horse, chicken and more. “Whatever came along,” grandpa told me. They grew what they had to. They needed to diversify their animals during that time because they didn’t want to risk one type of livestock getting wiped out.

School was another struggle. Walking cross-country, across the prairies six miles to school with no roads is what grandpa said conditioned him for the Marine Corps.

“I didn’t really think it was that tough. You walked by the seat of your pants. We had enough to eat and a sense of direction, but you didn’t just depend on someone to be there to pick you up.”

In 1942, he joined the marines, heading out to fight for our country in World War II just after Pearl Harbor. It wasn’t easy getting an 88-year-old man to talk about such a time in his life, but with numerous visits and coercion with non-nursing home food, I was able to get him talking.

When he first entered the war he was sent on transport in the Lucian Islands off the tip of Alaska. After six weeks he was brought back to the states to board the California. She would become his home for the next four years.

They shipped out of Bremerton, WA on January 31, 1944 and headed down the west coast. The crew sat off the California shore for three months getting everything ready to go in case of battle. That time came on May 5, 1944 when they took the Mariana Islands. She took a hit in Guam but continued on to take Tinian.

“The Japs that night moved all their guns in to Tinian town, so we caught them with their pants down. There wasn’t much left for them to fight with,” he told me of Tinian.

After the Mariana Islands were taken, the California headed back to get refitted and repaired in Espiritu Santo. In September they shipped out to Manus to ready for the invasion of the Philippines.

On October 25th, the California became part of the Leyte operations and again “caught them with their pants down” in the Battle of Surigao Strait. “They were coming up the street and we were sitting out there waiting. One battleship got away, but another part of our fleet got them when they could see the next morning.”

On January 6th, 1945 as the California was on mission in the Lingayen Gulf she took a kamikaze. “That knocked the hell out of us,” he told me. Forty-four were killed and 155 were wounded aboard the California that day; my grandpa came through without a scratch. They made temporary repairs on the spot and remained carrying out their critical mission of shore bombardment until the mission was done.

“The dead went over the side and the wounded went aboard the hospital ship,” he told me, pausing for a long time after. Clearly a very large part of him still remains on that ship.

The California returned to shore at Puget Sound Navy yard on February 15 where the men were given a four month leave. During those four months there was a new crew set to come aboard to replace the dead and wounded. When I asked him what he did for those four months, “got drunk” was his exact response followed by, “or my old and beautiful broads in the South Pacific.” His humor always kept me on my toes.

The crew returned to action on June 15th and from there, the war stories are a mystery to me. That is when our time chatting of the war together ended.

“We met a little too late in life,” grandpa told me late one day over our Boston Market meal. He hit the nail right on the head, the short amount of time I had to spend with my grandpa in the last six months of his life were too short.

When I asked him what he did after the Marines, he told me he worked for Hamm’s and Schlepps, “places like that – emptying bottles.”

In 1949, he met the love of his life, Iona Paul (Ulrich). They were married (not buried, as grandpa told me) in 1950. Grandma brought two children with to the marriage, Shirley and Marvin. “I liked to call them Eenie, Meenie and there ain’t going to be no Mo,” grandpa joked.

“We did our share of drinking and everyone said ‘that will never last.’ But it lasted sixty years, and not too many last that long. I could have stood sixty more. It’s one of the happier times of my life all and all. I’ll never be sorry. I don’t think grandma was. I think she was…” and that’s when I lost his attention as he gazed at the pictures of the two of them.

“I’d like to go to sleep and never wake up and go see grandma,” he kept telling me in the last few weeks. I reminded him she was up there waiting to dance with him. “I didn’t dance, grandma was always the dancer,” he told me.

Later in 1950, the two moved down to the cities so grandpa could find a steadier job. He wanted something that could “take care of them.”

“It’s laughable. We got down here and went to the employment office. They said they had a job open in St. Louis Park. I asked what I’d be doing. They sent me to the office where they told me they had a job at the rubber company. I knew enough that it makes a wheel go round and round. I thought it would last until spring and by God I didn’t get out of there until 36 years later. It put chow on the table.”

While grandpa worked at the rubber company grandma worked in sheet medal on 36th and Wooddale. (I love how even in his last days he could remember such details.) In 1986 they were retired.

Now, 28 years later, I sit on this folding chair in my great-grandpa’s nursing home room wondering why a man so extraordinary could possibly have been kept out of my life for 22 years. The answer isn’t okay with me, but it’s what I have. Regardless, he and I made the most of the time we shared together in the last few months of his life.

Our evenings together followed the same pattern in those final months. I would stop to get dinner on my way home from work and bring it to his room. We would sit and eat together, talking about whatever we could think of. He’d ask me about my job, why I wasn’t married yet, what he had for lunch…you know, the important things. Most nights I would bring my puppy who he called Carley. We’d go through the halls with her on his lap and he’d introduce her as his great-great granddaughter. After dinner I’d get out my laptop and we’d start to talk about his life, trying to get as much down as we could. Then around 8:30pm it’d be time to get ready for bed and I would head out for the night. I’d give grandpa a hug and he’d tell me he loved me. I’d tell him I loved him too and make my way out the room.

This was our routine. Until Friday, December 7th when I called to check in on him and the nurse told me he had taken a fall. I was on my lunch break and headed straight to see him. I held his hand as the nurse slowly got him to eat only six bites of his lunch. He was in and out of sleep the entire time I was there. I told him my mom would be bringing the puppy that night to see him and that I would keep coming back. He smiled and said, “I love you, kid.” It was all I could do not to let him see me cry. I stayed there for another half hour just rubbing his arm and holding his hand as he slept.

When it was time to go I went to give him a hug as I always do, but this time he didn’t let go. He just kept holding me tight against him as he lay helplessly in his bed.

“Hold on to my heart,” he said in a weak voice.

I moved my hand over his heart and he placed his hand on mine. I could feel the pace maker under his skin. We stayed like this for almost a minute before he told me he loved me again.

“I’ll see you soon and if it’s not here in this room, it will be in a better place. It’s okay to go see grandma now,” I told him. “I love you too.”

I slowly lifted myself away and he told me he loved me one more time before I left the room. Those were the last words I heard my grandpa say to me.

On Monday I came back to visit and watched as the nurses would give his sleeping body the medicine and turn him over from side to side making sure he stayed comfortable. I talked to him and told him how my day had gone and what I had done over the weekend. I held his hand and hugged him goodbye, telling him I loved him and I would see him soon.

Tuesday was no different. I returned to a peaceful, sleeping man. Our night wasn’t any different than any other. I brought dinner and after dinner we talked. Although he didn’t say anything back, I knew he was there with me. I read him a couple chapters from “True Grit,” the only book I could find in his room. And at the end of the evening, I put my arms around his warm body and told him I loved him.

Thursday morning came and I called to check in with the nurse to see if there were any updates. “He’s taken a turn for the worse,” she told me. I immediately packed up my things and left work. I wasn’t going to let him be alone.

When I got to the hallway of his room I found the door closed. A nurse stopped me and asked that I wait outside until the head nurse could talk to me. A woman with a concerned look on her face approached me and said softly that my grandpa had passed away minutes after I had hung up the phone with them. My angel knew I was on my way and chose not to let me see him go.

I wiped my tears and opened the door to his room. The door closed behind me and I was alone for one last time with my grandpa. Still, the day was no different than any other. I sat down and talked to him, rubbing his arm and touching his hand. I told him how much I loved him and how much I was going to miss him. I put my hand on his heart and hugged him.

What I am left with are the few stories he shared with me and the memories he and I made in that little nursing home room.

To the great-grandpa who touched my heart more than he could ever know, to the Marine who fought for our country and never gave up, to the husband who is up in heaven dancing with his wife, to the angel who looks down on me today – I love you.


27 11 2013
Mr. Frank loved to give kisses!

Mr. Frank loved to give kisses!

Yesterday, while driving back to work on my lunch break, I saw this handsome man walking across the street. He looked cold and alone – and most of all – hungry. I pulled my car over and he came running right over. He was shy at first, careful not to get too close. I gave him some of the dog food I had in my car – he ate it so fast. As soon as he was done he looked up at me wondering if I’d give him any more. That’s when he got his name, Frank. I knew right when he looked me in the eyes that the name was perfect for him. Everything about this boy made him a Frank!

I knew this boy was in need of my help, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with him. Luckily, I have met a wonderful woman here in Memphis. Her name is Beth and she works with Blue’s City Animal Rescue. I have fostered a couple dogs with them in my short time here and I knew she would be of help. She told me that I should try to get the sweet boy into my car and then bring him to the vet.

After a little coercion (food, of course), he was in my care and ready to roll. Frank and I drove across downtown Memphis together. It was not a quiet ride, any time someone would walk by on the street, Frank had to great them with his deep bark.

Once at Utopia Animal Hospital, Frank was greeted at the car by a nice woman with a leash…however, Frank was having none of that. So, Frank was carried inside and he loved every second of it.

They put us in a room – and that’s when I knew Frank was a wonderful dog. As soon as the door closed and it was just the two of us, he hopped up in my lap (he’s a big dog to be up in my lap!) and he started covering me in kisses. If anyone every tries to tell me dogs aren’t incredibly smart and have feelings just like humans – I’m going to send them to see Frank.

Turns out, Frank was about 2 years old and some sort of basset hound, corgi, pit bull type mix. You know, a Memphis mutt. He had a large sore on his back – luckily the vet said it was a wound, not infected, should heal up on its own. He also had very sore and tender, well, male parts – nothing some antibiotics can’t fix.

My plan was to leave Frank at the vet until I got off work – then I was going to go pick him up and hopefully have a plan by then. Someone somewhere was looking out for me and Frank yesterday afternoon, because within the hour, we had a foster home for him.

It is amazing to me what these animals go through – and it’s more amazing to me that there are people out there who are letting it happen.

Frank was just one lost soul among thousands out there – cold, alone and hungry.

If you or anyone you know is looking to add a family member and best friend, please don’t shop for your pet, adopt! There are so many rescues out there looking for forever homes for these dogs. And remember, spay and neuter.

For more information on Frank and other dogs available for adoption, please visit Blues City Animal Rescue on Facebook.

The ears, the tail, the spots - he's got it all!

The ears, the tail, the spots – he’s got it all!

How could you say no to these eyes!?

How could you say no to these eyes!?

The Limit Does Not Exist

3 10 2013

On this day in history, Aaron asked Cady what day it was. “It’s October 3rd.”

And so begins, Mean Girls Day.

From one of the greatest movies of our time, yeah I said that, comes a day we can remember what it means to be a girl in high school. And yes, it really is a jungle. The life lessons are limitless (see what I did there?) coming out of this movie, but I found a way to condense the 20 most, like, important lessons we all learned from this 2004 classic.

1. If you have ESPN, you will always be able to tell if it is going to rain – or at least if there’s a 30% chance it is already raining.

2. “Ex-boyfriends are off-limits to friends. That’s just, like, the rules of feminism.”

3. Never, ever, ever wear a REAL Halloween costume to a party – just dress like a slutty this or that and you’ll be just fine.

4. The bigger a girl’s hair…the more secrets she holds inside!!

5. Never name your kid Anfernee. Especially if you want him to have friends.

6. On Wednesday, better known as Hump Day, you wear pink. No exceptions. Or you can’t sit with us!

7. It really only counts if you see a nipple. It’s kind of the rule, or something like that.

8. When confessing that you told someone’s secret, don’t confess it in front of the entire female student body. (Although, diarrhea stories are always funny.)

9. “There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.”

10. You can be white, and be from Africa.

11. And not everyone in Africa can read Swedish.

12. What really is so great about Caesar?

13. Check how many calories are in something before you put it in your mouth. (Hold off on your “That’s what she said,” please!)

14. Be careful what you say to your friends over the phone – you could be under a three-way call attack!

15. You should always cheer for your own inner Glenn Coco, because, after all, “You go, Glenn Coco!

16. “And none for Regina George.” – In other words, stop being such a bitch, girls.

17. Performing the same routine for the talent show every year, is in fact, not that cool!

18. Guys, here’s a lesson for you. “Your hair looks sexy pushed back.”

19. The Limit Does Not Exist – If we all lived by this calculus statement, life would actually find you reaching for your goals.

20. Finally, the most important lesson of all. It really does pay to be a mean girl – because being Cady, gets you here.


Moments – The Start of Me Walking in Memphis

11 08 2013

Our lives are tied together by moments – moments that change us – moments that define us. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of those moments.

In a matter of a year, I’ve quite two different full time jobs to chase a crazy sports dream. I’ve landed not one, but two dream jobs.

I moved out of my parent’s house and into a duplex in St. Louis Park. Talk about having no money and wishing you could just make a steak dinner.

I met a guy who was not only willing to move across the country once to be with me, but twice in one year (I’m not sure which one of us is the crazy one).

I finally had a chance to get to know an extraordinary man, my great-grandpa, and learn so many things from him. May he rest in peace and enjoy an eternity with the love of his life in heaven.

I met my best friend and companion, Harley, at the Humane Society and had to take her home. Although my parents have been saints and helped a ton with her, I still got a good dose of parenthood when I had to watch her wave me good bye in the rear view mirror.

And most recently, I have packed up my life in a cargo van and I’m on my way to Memphis where I will start the next chapter of my life.

Let the Memphis adventure begin – and hopefully a lot of fun and entertaining stories to share on the blog. Stay tuned! 🙂

Watch “Mama Don’t Cry: Music Video” on YouTube

5 01 2013

Supporting local artists!!