HOW HUMANE ARE OUR LEGISLATORS?
Looks like the number 13 has been unlucky for animals. Only 65 laws for animals were passed in 2013 by the 113th Congress -- fewer than any single session of Congress in modern history. Why am I not surprised? These guys don't care much about the welfare of humans OR animals.
Here's the 2013 Humane Scorecard for Congress. We animal lovers should keep this in mind when the next election rolls around.
SABLE & QUILL
I'm proud to have my work included in a new anthology, Sable and Quill, which features local writers who are also artists. This book is the brainchild of Jennifer O'Neill Pickering, and it's beautifully done in full color.
I'll be doing a reading in concert with an art show along with the other writers/artists in the anthology on February 8, Second Saturday at the Sacramento Poetry Center. Copies of the book will be available for sale. Here's more information about the Sable & Quill event. Hope to see you there.
FEAR, NOT FUN
In my January Pets & Their People column for Inside Publications, I share childhood memories of the Ringling Bros. Circus.
STOCKTON SHELTER INMATES GET NEW LIFE IN SF
A news report on Channel 13 this evening told about how the San Francisco Animal Shelter has been giving animals at the Stockton pound (I won't even call this high-kill hellhole a shelter) a second chance by adopting them out to homes in the Bay Area. Good for them! The animals that end up in the outdated, overcrowded Stockton facility have virtually no chance of being adopted; 90% of the cats are euthanized, and the statistics for dogs aren't much better, especially for the usual assortment of Chihuahuas and Pits. Space is limited, so most don't last beyond a week. Both my dogs were among the very lucky few to leave this place alive and find a loving home.
My beautiful Peaches was transferred to the Sacramento SPCA, where I adopted her in December of 2006. My darlin' Beau also came from Stockton, where he was on his third strike in 2009. I paid over $200 to spring this five-year-old dog from that place before his time ran out. We got acquainted in the euthanasia room; there was nowhere else there for a meet and greet.
The TV report failed to mention what this shelter charges to adopt a pet from their facility, which is filled with strays because too many people in Stockton apparently don't give a damn about their pets, allowing them to wander freely to starve or be hit in traffic. That's what probably happened with Beau, but his owners refused to post his bail. He was quite thin when I found him and had a limp, perhaps from a car encounter or from being kicked. Unbelievably, bassets are often targets of cruelty.
Every day, I thank my lucky stars (and his) that I drove all the way down to Stockton after seeing his photo on a Website and that I didn't give up and turn back for home when I couldn't locate the shelter, which was so well hidden I'm surprised anyone ever finds it. If they do, I doubt in this economy that most would pay what I did for an older dog. Honestly, I gave it a second thought when they told me the adoption fee but ended up forking out the money. I'll always be glad I did. He's my best dog ever!
Stockton has a beautiful waterfront (far better than ours) and outstanding art museum (I saw my first Renoir at Haggin Museum), but their animal shelter sucks! It looks just like the one depicted in the Disney film, Lady and The Tramp, or something out of a Dickens novel, if animal welfare had been his subject of choice. Are there no pet prisons? Are there no dog pounds? Yep, you'll find one in Stockton.
BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE
We in the west are enjoying lots of sunshine (and not much wet), but much of the country is buried in snow. One hopes that doesn't include pets that are left outdoors without food or shelter. It can be, and should be, considered a crime to do so. A fur coat can do only so much to protect a dog or cat from freezing temperatures. Here's what the Humane Society of the United States recommends if you see a pet left out in the cold.
BARKS FOR ART BOOK SIGNING
Book signing at Adamson Gallery last December
It was tough competing with the adorable puppies for adoption at the event, but I did well. So did the puppies, who got their Christmas wish to be homed for the holidays.