Joel


Joel had a lot to think about on transport day.

If you want to see what keeps me busy, check out all the dogs and cats who left Houston for better lives in May at Rescued Pets Movement’s transport post.. It takes a lot of hours to maintain the records of 400-700 animals a month. Taking their photos is a bonus. =)

You can help Rescued Pets Movement win $10,000 without donating a penny–just your time in voting. You can get the details by clicking here. Thanks!

Button Sunday

This post has been a while coming, though I can never write all the things I want to about Prince. For me to have bought anything on vinyl in the early to mid-1980s was rare because I was on such a tight budget. Buying music would seriously have been a choice not to buy food. Also, the water leak disaster in one of my college-years houses that left most of my albums unplayable meant I got rid of a lot of them. But I could never have let go of Purple Rain. I have it on CD now, but holding the album in my hands evokes so many memories of all the stereos and apartments and cities where I listened to it and the people who listened to it with me.

I feel fortunate to have lived and been young (and old) and a person who danced and sang along in a time when someone as gifted and unique as Prince was creating music. Not just the music he recorded, but all of his songs that other people covered. I don’t remember the first song I heard Prince sing or saw him perform, but I do have another of those “I remember the first time I heard it” stories.

When I was assistant managing a bookstore, one of our employees was a high school student who worked there afternoons and weekends. She kept telling me about her current music obsession, Sinéad O’Connor. I had no idea who that was; I hadn’t heard any of her music, but Alison was always quoting her lyrics to me. One night I was sitting in Pizza Hut–the place where Tom, Lynne, and I often took Jess and his friends when they were growing boys because of the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet–when a song came on the jukebox. I was mesmerized, something clicked, and I thought, That has to be the singer Alison’s always talking about. And that song is amazing.

It was, of course, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” and although Prince didn’t write it for O’Connor, as some people say, she certainly rode it into the stratosphere on her ascent to stardom. I doubt I knew it was a Prince song when I bought her CD I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, I just knew it was a great song.

I also feel fortunate that I live in the days of being able to fall down an Internet hole of online music and video whenever I want to hear or watch a legend like Prince. Nothing compares to him, and I’m sorry for all the unwritten, unrecorded music we’ll never get to hear, but so grateful for the music we have.

Recently, at the Hall, part three

This guy had a birthday. Since it fell on transport day, we had cupcakes there so some of RPM’s amazing volunteers and staff could celebrate with him. And because he’s the compassionate person he is, he asked for only one thing for his birthday: donations to Rescued Pets Movement’s Crowdrise campaign to raise funds to restructure and reopen the Jack C. Alexander clinic after much needed repairs and modifications. If you’re so inclined, you can still show your love for Timothy J. Lambert and the movement to get Houston’s million homeless dogs and cats off the streets, out of the city pound, and into homes in other states where they’re desperately wanted. You can click here to donate or learn more.

A Fragile Circle


Sunday I baked the little clay print that was pressed from Margot’s paw. I know I’ll paint it eventually. Yesterday, Tom picked up her ashes, and the card that came with them from Little Friends Pet Memorial had these words from “The Once Again Prince,” by Irving Townsend, from Separate Lifetimes:

We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breeched. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan…

Because it’s World AIDS Day, I can’t help but think of the other fragile circles that were formed among those of us who were friends and caregivers of those with HIV and lost to AIDS. Though society may place different values on who we love, our hearts know no such boundaries. We only love. When we lose who we love, our grief likewise knows no boundaries. We only mourn.

I have infinite happy memories of my friends Steve, Jeff, John, Tim, and Pete, but I still miss them, and I’d rather they be here, healthy and alive. Each of them would have loved Margot and mourned her loss with me. But they and my father were early teachers of a truth: I’d rather hurt inside the fragile circle than live outside it and never know what it is to love.

Today, Giving Tuesday, Tom and I contributed to my fundraising campaign for Rescued Pets Movement in our friends’ memory. I’m going to send out a mass email–one of my least favorite things to do–to encourage others to contribute, as well. When my friends were sick and dying against a backdrop of national indifference, I saw again and again what an impact even the smallest act from one compassionate person could have. I also saw the strength my friends drew from their companion animals, who offered love without judgment.

To support an organization that has saved the lives of over ten thousand dogs and cats in two years, giving those animals a chance to be inside the fragile circle with their adopters–I know my lost friends would support a movement that brings more healing and love to our world.

The campaign continues until January 7, 2016 at 1:59:59pm ET , but if RPM raises the most between 12am ET and 11:59:59pm ET today, December 1, they’ll get a $25,000 donation to their cause. You can donate any amount at all to my fundraiser, and if you wish, you can even say in whose memory or honor you’re donating from your own fragile circle.

Thank you.

Button Sunday

Last year when Rescued Pets Movement participated in Best Friends Animal Society’s Strut Your Mutt fundraiser, RPM raised $108,000, the most money ever raised by a single group in a strut event since its inception. This year RPM’s goal is to raise $125,000. Every cent of the money that Team RPM raises during this competition will be used to save dogs and cats who are unwanted in Houston and to transport them to forever homes in areas of the country who want to adopt them.

RPM consumes my time and my passion, and I’m so proud to be affiliated with the group. Some of you wanted me to let you know when we had another fundraiser so you could donate, and this is one of my favorites of the year. I love Best Friends Animal Society (I first became familiar with them because of the Vicktory Dogs). Strut Your Mutt is an event that engages animal rescue groups all over the country to help save the animals in their own communities. I’ve decided instead of doing my own fundraising page, I’d like to give my support to RPM co-founder and board member Timothy J. Lambert (I’ll provide the link to donate at the end of this post).

Some of my friends and family have already pledged to donate if I’ll fulfill certain bizarre requests of theirs. This will be torment for me (that’s what friends are for, right?), but I’ll do what I can for Houston’s dogs and cats. Maybe you have a request of your own that I can indulge–within reason. My willingness to humiliate myself has limits!

You’ll be seeing more about the campaign on my blog through October. And as promised, here’s the link for you to donate to Tim’s fundraising page:

Timothy J. Lambert’s Strut Your Mutt Fundraising Page


Recently our friend and TJB writing partner Jim was in town and helped RPM on transport day. Here he is with Ashley, RPM Foster Coordinator Extraordinaire, Timothy, and sweet beautiful Farah, whose picture I just saw with her new forever mom!

Independence Day 2015

Looking out the library window today at Houndstooth Hall.

Rescued Pets Movement had a No Show Picnic. For the pleasure of not enduring ants, food that tastes of starter fluid, sunburn, and other such picnic activities, you could make a donation. I was delighted about this, because we really wanted a quiet day and a night in.

First, I made collar covers for our three hounds and Tim’s three just to show we did celebrate the spirit of the holiday.

Margot
Guinness
Anime
Pixie
Penny
Pollock

They are all rescue dogs, ranging in age from almost two to almost sixteen, and they are very loved. As you may know, July 4 is the night of the year when more pets run away because they’ve been scared by the sound of fireworks. The Houndstooth dogs are not fans of the noise, so I donated to RPM to stay home and play music to block out the noise for these six. I even offered to donate more if anyone could guess the night’s musical choice. And while the guesses were good–Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Beatles–okay, maybe not Whitney Houston–no one guessed America’s band! You can hear them in the video posted below. I’ll still add to my donation even though no one correctly guessed whose music I’d play. In addition, here’s a link to a bonus 20-second video on Instagram. Marika said she’d donate to RPM, too, if I’d play one of my least favorite songs and say something nice about it. A snippet is all I’m willing to share of that one, because the rights belong to a very protective estate. Enjoy!

Six dogs completely undisturbed by the sounds of fireworks that are still going on!