Tuesday, December 30, 2008


*I want to quit!*

My health is bad. There are days I feel so terrible that I can barely move. My phone bills are outrageous, and I could have replaced my van with the funds I have spent these last 30 years---on animals that were not my own.

*I want to quit!*

I spend hours and hours emailing about dogs. There may be 500 messages when I start--and at 4 AM, when I finally shut down the computer, there are still 500 emails to be read.

*I want to quit!*

Gosh, I haven't the time left to email my friends. I can't remember the last book I read, and I gave up my subscription to my local newspaper---I used to enjoy reading it, cover to cover, but now it often ends up in the bottom of the squirrel's cage---unread.

*I want to quit!*

I've spent days emailing what seems like everyone---trying to find a foster home, help for a dog languishing in a shelter---but his time has run out, and the shelter has had to euthanize to make room for the next sad soul.

*I want to quit!*

I swear, I walk away from my computer to stretch my legs---let the dogs out---and come back to find another dog in desperate need. There are times I really dread checking my email. How will I find the funds, the help, to save yet another dog?

*I want to quit!*

I save one dog, and two more take its place. Now an owner who doesn't

want his dog---it won't stay in his unfenced yard. An intact male wanders... This bitch got pregnant by a stray... This 3-month-old pup killed baby chicks... The dog got too big... This person's moving and needs to give up his pet. I ask you, friends---what town, what city, what state doesn't allow you to own a pet?

*I want to quit!*

I just received another picture, another sad soul with tormented eyes that peer out of a malnourished body. I hear whimpering in my sleep, have nightmares for days...

*I want to quit!*

I just got off the phone. "Are you Pyr Rescue? We want to adopt a male to breed to our female." How many times do I have to explain? I have tried to explain about genetics, about health and pedigrees. I explain that rescue NEUTERS! I usually end up sobbing, as I explain about the vast numbers of animals dying in shelters across the country, as I describe the condition many of these animals are found in. I wonder if they really heard me...

*I want to quit!*

It is not like I don't have enough rescues of my own to worry about---but others have placed dogs improperly and aren't there to advise the new owners.

*I want to quit!*

I have trusted the wrong people--- had faith and heart broken...

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*

My dog, lays his head in my lap, he comforts me with his gentle presence---and the thought of his cousins suffering stirs my heart.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*

One of those 500 emails is from an adopter. They are thanking me for the most wonderful dog on earth---they cannot imagine life with out their friend---their life is changed, and they are so grateful.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*

One of my adopted Rescues has visited a nursing home. A patient that has spent the last few years unable to communicate, not connecting---Lifts his hand to pat the huge head in his lap, softly speaks his first words in ages--- to this gentle furchild.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*

A Good Samaritan has found and vetted a lost baby, "I can't keep him, but I'll take care of him until you find his forever home."

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*

"Jamie took his first steps holding on to our Pyr."

"Joan, you should see this dog nursing this hurt kitten!"

“I was so sick, and this dog never left my side..."

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*

I get an email from a fellow rescuer, "Haven't heard from you in a while---you OK? You know I think of you..."

*AND THEN... *

A dozen rescuers step up to help, to transport, to pull, and to offer encouragement. I have friends I have never seen, but we share tears, joys, and everything in between. I am not alone. I am blessed with family of the heart, my fellow Rescuers.

Just days ago it was a friend who shared her wit and wisdom, whose late night email lifted my heart. Sometimes it is friends who only have time to forward you a smile. Often, it is my friends who forward me the notices of dogs in need.

There are Rescuers who see a flailing transport and do everything they can do find folks to pull it together for you. Rescuers who'll overnight or foster your dog while you seek transport. There are Rescuers not used to or comfortable with your breed, but who put aside their discomfort to help. There are Rescuers whose words play the music of our hearts. Foster homes that love your Rescue, and help to make them whole again---body and spirit. Foster homes that fit your baby in, though it may not be their breed. Rescuers whose talents and determination give us tools to help us. Rescuers we call on for help in a thousand ways, who answer us, who hear our pleas. Rescuers who are our family, our strength, our comrades in battle.

I know I cannot save every dog in need. I know my efforts are a mere drop in a sea. I know that if I take on just one more---those I have will suffer.

*I want to quit! But I won't. *

When I feel overwhelmed, I'll stroke my dogs head while reading my fellow Rescuers emails. I'll cry with them, I'll laugh with them---and they will help me find the strength to go on.

*I want to quit! But not today.*

There's another email, another dog needing Rescue.

This piece is dedicated, with love and gratitude, to all my fellow Rescuers.

The author is unknown

Thursday, December 25, 2008

For Craft Sales, the Recession Is a Help

SAN FRANCISCO — Feeling the pinch of the economic downturn, some holiday gift-givers are saving money this year by making their own presents or — for those who lack the time or talent — buying handmade gifts from others.

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Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
Shoppers at a Michaels store in Pleasant Hill, Calif.

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Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
Dennis Anderson pouring soap into molds in his apartment in Citrus Heights, Calif.
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Craft stores, from giant chains like Michaels Stores to small scrapbook supply shops, are reporting that sales are higher compared with the last holiday season, and online marketplaces for handmade goods, like Etsy, are seeing a boom in listings and transactions.

Sales at Scrap, a craft supply store in Portland, Ore., were up 33 percent in November compared with the year before. The shop’s customers have made a menorah out of yellow plastic bottle caps, Christmas tree ornaments from wood samples and calendars from fabric and paper collages, according to Sarah Dyer, the manager.

“A lot of people are doing a do-it-yourself Christmas, because of the economic downturn but also wanting to make their lives more sustainable, making stuff as opposed to buying more stuff,” she said.

The boom in crafts and related supplies contrasts with poor results for traditional retailers, like electronics retailers and department stores. The nation’s overall retail sales in November fell 7.4 percent from the year before, according to the Commerce Department.

The craft sector, which has about $5.9 billion in annual revenue, is “operating in its own little niche,” said George Van Horn, a senior analyst at IBISWorld, a research firm. “The number of establishments is growing.”

Last year, 42 million households gave handmade gifts, according to the Craft & Hobby Association, a trade group, and that number is expected to increase greatly this year, its spokesman, Victor Domine, said.

“Across the country, people are crafting more,” he said. “With the recession, people are looking for ways to save money, and doctors are recommending it as a major form of stress relief.”

Elizabeth Ludington, a 25-year-old paralegal in Rochester, N.Y., is one of those who chose a do-it-yourself Christmas. She works for a nonprofit legal aid group that she fears could suffer from a downturn in grants. “I looked at my bank account and budget and realized I didn’t have a lot of cash,” she said.

She usually spends about $20 on each of 10 friends and relatives for stationery, bath products or spa gift certificates. This year, she is stitching cable-knit coffee sleeves to use instead of the cardboard ones at coffee shops. They will cost her $1 each to make and an hour of her time after work while she watches TV at night.

“I wanted something that was affordable but still meaningful and kind of fun,” she said.

Michaels Stores, the chain of craft retailers owned by the Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, hopes that a holiday spike in sales will make up for weak results earlier in the year. For the quarter that ended Nov. 1, the company reported a net loss of $20 million and a decrease of 6.5 percent in same-store sales. But in November and December, Michaels’ 1,014 stores have had sharp increases in traffic and transactions for small-ticket craft supplies, said Brian C. Cornell, the company’s chief executive.

Michaels does not release monthly sales data, and Mr. Cornell declined to discuss specific numbers. However, he said that premade holiday and home decorations, which tend to be more expensive, are not selling well. Less expensive craft supplies, which generally account for 41 percent of revenue, are moving briskly, and sales have been particularly strong for supplies used to make jewelry, baked goods, scrapbooks and decorated clothing.

Michaels has shifted its marketing strategy to take advantage of the trend. The company created an advertising campaign called “Endless Creativity, Endless Savings” to market craft supplies for handmade gifts. It started a Web site, Where Creativity Happens, with videos on how to make gifts like picture frames and candles, and it held free weekly in-store workshops.

“We’re certainly seeing much better results than we would have anticipated,” Mr. Cornell said. “There’s a much greater interest right now in how you decorate your home and create your own gifts yourself.”

Jo-Ann Stores, the craft supply leader with a 19 percent market share, has had a similar pattern. Though same-store sales fell 1.5 percent in the quarter ending Nov. 1, sales of sewing and craft supplies, which account for half of revenue, were stable that quarter and have climbed this quarter, said Lisa Greb, a Jo-Ann spokeswoman.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Please Read All~I adopted YOUR dog today

I adopted your dog today... The one you left at the pound,
The one you had for nine years
and no longer wanted around.

I adopted your dog today...
Do you know that he’s lost weight?
Do you know that he’s scared and confused
and has lost all faith?

I adopted your dog today...
He had fleas and a cold,
but don’t you worry none -
You’ve unburdened your load.

I adopted your dog today...
Were you having a baby or moving away?
Did you suddenly develop allergies or was
there no reason he couldn’t stay?

I adopted your dog today...
He doesn’t play or eat much.
He’s very depressed now
but will learn again to trust.

I adopted your dog today...
And here he will stay.
He’s found his furever home
and a warm bed on which to lay.

I adopted your dog today...
I will give him all that he could need -
Patience, love, security, understanding.
Hopefully he forgets your selfish deed!

- Author Unknown

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Cards

Simple this year, but because I send out over 40 I figured I was allowed to go more simple=)

The Kids Santa Picture

This years picture with Santa Clause!!

My homemade doggie biscuits

I just now got around to posting my pictures of my doggie buscuits I made last week for Christmas. I have wanted to make my own dogs some for a long time, but never got receipes or time, so I finally did...they are pretty easy to make, but it is hard to get whole weat flour at some stores, so I ran out and have not gotten more yet. The bags of dog bones are a dozen a bag, and the small shapes were 4 dozen per bag, so there was a LOT of dog cookie bakin' going on that day...
The tins I got at Michaels and decorated to give away as Christmas gifts to my animal family members=)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Husband the band man

This is J Walkin' Band and their new singer playing 12/06/08 in Mt. Morris. That makes 3 Jays in the band now...the drummer (he is the original J for the band), my Jay the soundboard, and the singer Jay.
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