Due to a confluence of many factors, much of 2013 was physically painful, and mentally and emotionally…I don’t know the adjective…what’s the word for draining + soul-ripping + hopeless + hopeful + tiresome + tireless + cautiously triumphant? Anyway, 2013 was tough.
But apparently it wasn’t quite the total zero that my reflex memory says it was. Because when I went to tally some of my tangible accomplishments, I came up with all the stuff below. It made me feel better. I knew I was trying to get stuff done amid the muck and mire and foggy sloggy molassessy morassessy blechhness. Turns out I actually was!
For a lot of reasons, I tend to think of this past “year” as stretching to around 15 months, ’til back around September of 2012, when things took a series of tough turns. That’s probably one reason “2013″ has felt like such an arduous slog to me. (Smart thinking, Lance!) But it also has the benefit of pumping this list up considerably, because the end of 2012 was also when I briefly had an assistant. And when I have an assistant, I jam. So some of the stuff here took place in later 2012, or got started then.
(For the record: with my imaginarily-supersized 2013 coming to a close, I’m officially rejoining you conformists as regards measuring years. 2014 = 12 months, starting now.)
This began as one blog post, but as it tipped toward 4000 words with the end still far away, I decided it was a multi-parter. Here’s part 3: Animal Stuff.
I seriously (re)committed to helping animals in need
- I donated to a bunch of non-profit organizations (mostly recurring monthly-style):
- I made an extra effort to help animals (and owners) in the field:
- helped at least 3 lost dogs find their owners/homes
- played a major role in my neighbor’s weeks-long hunt for her missing dog (who ultimately made it back home)
- advised one of my neighbors who was thinking of putting her dog to sleep (but really just needed to put her on a diet)
- visited neighbor horse Golondrina (and fed her carrots) pretty regularly, and other horses (and another horse and goats) on occasion
- provided social interaction for dozens of neighborhood yard dogs on a daily basis
- I buried/honored two abandoned dead animals: a cat from the neighborhood “crazy cat lady”‘s house that got run over and left on the side of the road, and this poor dog that someone dumped along with a bunch of other dead animals. (VERY GRIM picture of that here. Oddly, all the other stuff in that pic disappeared after a day or so, except for the dog.)
- I helped care for and watch over the chickens and chicks that were wandering around the neighborhood this summer (and mourned and buried the chickens and chick that were killed by a neighbor’s dogs :-()
- I relocated multiple black widow spiders to a safe distance…including moving a big egg sac out and carefully reuniting it with mom after realizing I had separated them. :-)
- I rescued (my new dog) Weirdo…
- …and Portia and the Porch Puppies (raising ~$500 for their vet bills in my first-ever crowdfunding campaign)
- …and Willie and the hot tub kitten family (more pics here; more on this soon)
- I reported 4 or 5 possible animal mistreatment offenders in the neighborhood:
- for excessive chaining or confining of their dogs
- for an excess of dead animal smell coming from someone’s dumpster on separate occasions
- for a dog that seemed to have the markings and injuries of dog fighting
- for a chicken that seemed to have been tortured/strangled to death and dumped roadside (my call trying to get the Sheriff’s Dept. to care about that went real well (NOT))
- for the aforementioned chicken-killing dogs, that my neighbor can’t seem to keep in his yard
- I raised money for the ASPCA (in anticipation of their fundraising Halloween half-marathon that I ended up having to drop out of, but they still got the money :-)).
- I volunteered on the Stand Up For Pits site (building and helping to maintain it) and helped relaunch the OurHorses site under WordPress.
- I conceived of and planted the seeds for a project of mine called No Kill USA, which will seek to identify every shelter in the U.S. that still kills healthy animals and convert them to “no-kill”. (And just based on the template site I set up, I got an email inquiry from someone wanting to donate, which is a good sign.)
- Edit: Almost forgot…I gathered together petition and info links when Leon Rosby’s dog Max was stupidly and cruelly killed by a Hawthorne, CA police officer.
This is obviously a relatively terse summary of these events, many of which were huge and life-changing. I’ll be expanding on a lot of these items with full stories, video blogs, and more images in the coming months. (As I’ll report soon in “wrap-up part 4”, I took ~4000 pictures last year. A good ~3800 of those have not seen the light of day. And a pretty good chunk of them are animal-related.)
And lastly…I decided in advance to make these wrap-ups primarily about the positive things that have happened during this time, and it’s mostly just focused on things I did, but it wouldn’t make sense to have an “Animal Stuff” wrap-up from 2012-13 without mentioning that I had three pets die during the expanded 15-month “year”. (That’s one of the reasons I mark the “year” as starting in Sept ’12 (the first death), or even earlier, when my old dog Cali started turning toward the end.)
There was Cali, who was 16 and had been with me for 15 years; my cat Leo, who was 15 and who I rescued from the bushes as a tiny tiny kitten; and little Natty, who I had for just 2 months before losing him suddenly and tragically (in—you guessed it—September ’12). I can’t do their lives or deaths justice in this context, and I won’t try to, but I had to mention them. You can correctly infer from the nature of the above list that my pets are and were a big and very important part of my life.