Moonflowers and Magic

Yesterday was Marika’s birthday, so I want to offer her a couple of gifts.

The first is a photo of the moonflowers growing in Debby’s Fairy Garden from seeds Marika sent. They have survived bugs, storms, and oppressive heat. Though they are not yet producing flowers, just to see them growing and persevering is a recurring gift–from Marika and back to her.

In my work with Rescued Pets Movement, there are hundreds of stories I can’t or won’t tell. There is a lot of triumph in rescue–many happy endings and new beginnings. But there are unfathomable losses. And there is always for me a struggle against judgment. No one knows all the reasons a dog or cat ends up homeless or in a shelter. The writer in me is always spinning stories, both good and bad. But rescue makes me paraphrase what a writer once said about grief and healing: Rescue begins when we stop saying “what if” and start working with “what is.” I can’t judge people’s motives or call what they do mistakes. There are decisions like theirs in my past, too. Sometimes circumstances and events overwhelm us, and we act.

Dash with his foster mom.

Recently I struggled when we learned about a Jack Russell Terrier mix in the shelter. He was twelve years old. He was sick with a cold and partially blind. He’d been brought to the shelter to be euthanized. The first thing I had to do was let go of the WHY, WHAT IF, HOW COULD THEY refrain in my head. That’s his past. When he was less than one hour from being put to sleep, a rescue in Colorado offered to give him his next chapter, and so we pulled him for care and transport. I named him Dash after Marika’s beloved dog, not just because they were both JRTs, but because I wanted him to have a little of the crazy energy of Dash when he was young, and some of the love that Dash was given every day of his life.

When I learned which volunteer would foster him, I knew he’d be cared for and loved every minute he was in Houston. The day he was brought to transport, he was the absolute darling of everybody. He doesn’t care that he bumps into things. He doesn’t care what happened before. He knows everything will be okay because it WILL be. That’s what matters. Little Dash didn’t have a care in the world, quite honestly, and I want to be more like him.

Dash on transport day.

One of our rescue coordinators told me the other day that she’d heard from Dash’s rescue. Here’s what they had to say: Dash has been quite the hit. Everyone [who] meets him wants him. He brings out everyone’s nurturing side. He was adopted today…

Now Dash really will have a home like Marika’s Dash had. Love and care. Companionship and all the good things a dog wants. His life is a gift to him, to everyone who helped him, and I hope to you, Marika. I think there really is a spark of your boy inside him.

Transport Thursday!

Patsy. Her face says it all. Someone has let her down in the past and made her anxious. Today, she’s a little scared and unsure. But there’s still in those eyes the subtlest trace of hope. Hope that what her foster and her photographer say is true: It’s going to be okay. At the end of this ride is a new life in which she’ll know love and fun, comfort and play. Kind hands, open hearts.

Happy life, sweet Patsy.


RPM is currently part of the Macy’s Shop for a Cause Charity Challenge that I talked about earlier on my blog. This time, I’m not asking you to contribute to my fundraising page.

What? Why not? I’ll explain.

First, I’m telling you that an amazing donor has offered to contribute up to $50,000 to RPM’s fundraiser if that donation will move us into first place at the end of the challenge.

Why is RPM so competitive?

Because Macy’s will award a $100,000 grant to the top fundraiser!

Why is RPM so greedy?

It’s not greed. It’s the means for dogs like my foster Omar and cats like those you see writing Pet Prose on this blog to be pulled from Houston’s kill shelters and get into traveling shape. It takes a lot of time, energy, and yes, MONEY, to make this happen. RPM’s board members are unpaid. RPM’s paid staff is kept lean and efficient so that donations can go to animal care and transport.

Please go read this story about Rudyard on Facebook to get an idea of what RPM’s staff does to make miracles happen. Rudyard’s is a story of compassion and hope, and I see stories like his over and over every day. At the end of the story is a link to the medical fundraising team. THIS is where I’d love for you to click and donate any amount. And if you don’t want to read about Rudyard, just please go here and know that every single donation gets us closer to another $150,000 to rescue, rehabilitate, and transport Houston’s homeless dogs and cats to forever homes.

THANK YOU from Omar and me. And by the way, Maddie was adopted. Hermosa was adopted. Every dog I’ve fostered who you met on my blog was adopted into forever homes after they traveled. It’s why I foster even when my heart breaks to say goodbye. It’s why I believe in Rescued Pets Movement. Thank you for every time you’ve shown support for RPM and the work Tom and I do. You are magnificent friends to us and to animals.

Omar is learning to play with toys!

A tale of three cameras

On the left is my D40. It’s the first digital SLR camera I bought in 2008. I was in love and I immediately mistreated it by letting it fall off the over-the-bed table in my mother’s pre-hospice care room. All that tumble did was disable the flash and I bought an external flash for it. After my mother died, I sent it away for repair, and Lindsey loaned me her camera when we had my mother’s memorial service late summer of 2008.

The D40 has logged a lot of joy and sorrow, and it was the camera I was using when I began photographing RPM’s dogs and cats in 2013. I knew I was using it a lot. A LOT. I worried about how long it would last.

In stepped Tim. When he bought his second Nikon, he gifted me the middle camera here, the D60. His generosity was a lifesaver when my D40 had to be repaired. Once it was good to go, the D60 was my backup camera. Then the D40 had to be repaired again. These are not cheap repairs, and I made an agreement with myself. I couldn’t keep fixing a camera just because of my sentimental attachment to it. So when it was fixed, the D60 became my primary camera and the D40 is my backup.

Last Thursday at transport, we were about halfway through when I felt something happen inside the D60 and it stopped working. I ran for my D40 and finished the job.

SO… Of course I’ll have the D60 repaired. After all, it was given to me and hasn’t cost me anything yet. It deserves its repair. But it will take a while to get that taken care of, and the thought of depending on my poor exhausted D40 to shoot anywhere from 300 to 500 photos at transport was unnerving.

Enter the camera on the right, my new D3400. It’s an economical little thing compared to so many other Nikons, all my lenses will work with it, and I can take my time getting D60 repaired. People ask why I don’t spring for a more professional grade camera. I’m not a photographer. I’m just a girl with a camera who likes to take photos. The more complicated the camera, the more intimidated I am. These little workhorses are the right choices for me.

Unless I win the lottery. =)

Meet Omar!

Meet our new foster pup, Omar. Omar has a permanent head tilt which I’m hoping to catch with another camera besides my phone camera because it’s very endearing. It may NOT be a permanent head tilt if it’s caused by an inner ear infection. But he has some scar tissue on the back of his neck that could indicate an old injury that’s causing the head tilt.

Regardless, a wonderful rescue partner in Colorado wants Omar and is looking forward to meeting him and finding his perfect forever home. Until then, I’m going to enjoy this dog who craves nothing but affection, petting, and sleeping close by. He’s a good boy.