Impawsable Rescue

Rescue Musings and Rants

Archive for the category “Rescued Dogs”

BE the Change….

I am writing tonight to share an update on our rescue: why it’s been silent so long, where we have been and where we plan on going. I would also like to address an recent summary charge that I received, because I believe that total transparency is the only way to run a non-profit organization.

As many of you know, beginning in late October, I had a series of personal tragedies, including the death of my vivacious grand-niece, a cherished rescue friend and the failing health of my father. At that time, I posted that I planned to step away from my rescue work to spend as much time as I could with my dad. During this time, the rest of our organization was doing their best to pick up the slack, but it is an overwhelming task. I was not as available, as I usually was, and morale faltered. I was notified that the other two directors had resigned, via USPS Registered mail. While it came as no surprise that they were “on the fence”, it was still devastating – on a personal level. With only a few to pick up any slack, I named an interim board, but resigned myself to the fact that we were going to be inactive for a period of time.

Now mid-November, I went to the county treasurer’s office, over lunch, to purchase dog licenses for 2015. The clerk suggested that I get a kennel license, because I spend so much on registrations. Although I felt we were under the 26+ dogs per year limit in PA, $25.00 per year and tons less paperwork sounded great. When I got home, I ran off the paperwork that needed to be completed by the vet, and dropped it off. She signed it on November 25th.

On December 5th, when I went to put the puppies to bed, Bartholomew, my special boy, was on his blankie, but didn’t get up to share the puppy hysteria, as he normally did. When I straightened his blanket, I noticed some fecal matter underneath. I tried to pull him to his feet, but he couldn’t stand. I rushed him to Rossmoyne Emergency, transferring him to Boiling Springs the following day. The diagnosis was non-contagious meningitis, common to certain breeds. He passed away in my arms on December 9th, which is my late son’s birthday. I was inconsolable. The fundraiser that I had posted didn’t come close to the emergency vet bills and four days of inpatient care.

On December 10th, I received a call at work that my dad’s doctors were requesting a family meeting right away. He had taken a turn for the worse and life support was being discontinued. I was with him when he passed the morning of December 11th (oddly, my other late son’s birthday). When I got home from the hospital, I found a note from the dog warden taped to my door. I didn’t bother to read it, but gave it to a volunteer, asking her to please call and apologize for missing my opening inspection, explain the situation, and say that I would give them a call as soon as I was able. After the funeral, I came home and sent the dog warden an email, apologizing for missing the inspection and saying I would call, which I did.

I called on December 18th to schedule my opening inspection, only to learn that there was a possibility that I could be CHARGED! I was hysterical when they told me that I could receive a summary offense of operating an unlicensed kennel (that means 26+ dogs in a year-anywhere in the world….not just in PA). I was told they had come out because of a “complaint”, not to conduct my inspection. I thought it fairly convenient that during the alleged “push” to close down rescue networks in PA, rescues are being charged during the application process. Waiting until a rescue applied for a license, then citing them, was rather like shooting fish in a barrel, I recall thinking. I was under the impression that they would look over my paperwork during the inspection, then decide if charges were warranted. I was assured that I would “start with a clean slate”.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the mail on the 20th to find a summary ticket for operating an illegal kennel and a $200.00 fine!!

Of course, being 501c3 non-profit organization means that I agree to be governed by a board of directors, who, in turn, agree to make decisions based on the mission statement of this organization. That said, I scheduled an emergency board meeting to decide how we would respond. There was heated debate on each side, discussing the pros and cons of either plea. We agreed to adjourn and meet in person, after Christmas. I notified the magistrate’s office that I needed more time, which they agreed to give me.

On Monday, December 22nd, I had my opening inspection and, of course, passed. Our PA License number is 12470.

When I questioned the extremely opportune timing of my citation, they stated that they were responding to a complaint. I was told that they “tracked us” at 49 dogs and it didn’t matter what state they were in, PA has jurisdiction EVERYWHERE! They also shared that they were unaware of my application, which “was somewhere in the office”, unbeknownst to them, until our call. They also claimed to have gotten a call earlier in the year, but we appeared to be in compliance at that time. I completely believe everything they told me, by the way. All-in-all, I found it to be an extremely pleasant visit and learned a good deal of information that I didn’t know before. They were courteous and professional. But more importantly – they are dog people. I could easily tell that, by the way my dogs reacted to them.

Because Im-Paws-Able only uses Im-Paws-Able volunteers to transport, there is no way for anyone, outside our organization, to know if the dogs were brought to a PA foster, or a MD foster, or the moon, how many there are, or when they were pulled. If we didn’t share the information, how could they know for certain which dogs were in the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth and which weren’t?

While responding to the charges seemed like a “givens”, there were other things to consider:

In responding to the charges, what amount of money would be taken from the mouths of the dogs? How many more would die while we paid for an attorney? If our goal is to do what is best for the dogs, how could that be a consideration? Since nobody was fundraising, we were already in a precarious position, financially. It seemed a better idea to try and get back on our feet.

What sort of retribution would we receive during future inspections? Because the law states that holding a PA Kennel License means that I agree to warrant-less searches of my home on demand, AND have to make the dogs available for inspection at any time, and I work, failing me will be a piece of cake. I also noted that their annual report lists citations and their clearance rates. That makes each warden personally responsible for someone who is found not guilty. Like a permanent black mark on their record.

If the charges stand…..who cares, really? I was charged in MY name, not the rescue’s name. I have never been in any trouble with the law. I hate it, but considering which course of action will most benefit the dogs, my personal charges are fairly negligible. I’m just annoyed because some Facebook cronies who refuse to come see what is done IN PERSON – WHEN PERSONALLY INVITED – are clearly putting enough pressure on the Department of Agriculture, mid-administration, to have them step up enforcement.

What sort of time would we, as an organization, spend responding to this? What sort of negative energy would be surrounding this? How many walks, games of ball, or quiet times just hanging out, would be sacrificed? We have two dogs here, who are terminally ill. I don’t want to miss one minute we could have spent together on such negativity. We are in the midst of creating several different programs and completely reorganizing….wouldn’t our energy be better spent on doing good and reorganizing?

The Board met again to discuss this. When the time for a vote came, I abstained, because I honestly felt I could not make an impartial decision. I have just been through the most devastating two months of my life. I took the charges VERY personally. But, truth be told, I know, IN MY HEART, that the dogs come first and foremost with me. I trust that anyone who knows me, knows this, as well. That’s all I really care about.

I pled guilty via mail on Friday.

Tonight, I located the source of the discontent on Facebook. I wasn’t surprised to learn that it was someone with whom I had freely confided, regarding another issue. People who are doing the right thing, are free to tell the truth, because there’s nothing to hide. No matter what the Facebook Rescue police say, any law that requires a VOLUNTEER to relinquish their Fourth Amendment rights, be sanctioned, criminally, and establishes rules that are subjective and cumbersome to comply with, is problematic. Any law FOR the dogs that may impinge on their ability to saved, instead, setting up a plethora of regulations, benefits the STATE – NOT the dogs and should be changed.

Finally, Facebook vigilantism doesn’t benefit the dogs… forces good people to stop helping them, and tricks caring people into thinking that such advocacy is on the side of good. It kills dogs. It forces those who mean them ill, far underground, so we can’t see them. It creates the suspicion, in the hearts of donors, that all rescuers are scammers. It robs people of the chance to make their lives whole. It capriciously squanders the resources of dog law wardens, who need to be out there fighting BESIDE rescuers…..not establishing adversarial relationships, borne of kneejerk enforcement policy change, that acquiesces to the fancy of Facebook.

If those who are judging rescuers would just get out of their Facebook world, and step into mine, they would stop. But they won’t – because my world hurts! I never finish. I see the ugliness that others can turn away from. My world’s not fair. It’s often physically painful. I have to watch beings that I have come to love, endure pain. Blame doesn’t work here, because I AM the end of the road for many. Nobody comes in here and thanks me for “my good work”. I have no friends, because I can’t be a good one in return. I am “fair game” for unprovoked social media attacks by those who don’t know me, or my dogs, or what I do! And they don’t care….they have another agenda. My workday simply isn’t over when the laptop closes. I have other things to do than report Facebook profiles.

And I wouldn’t change that for the world…….

If you want to initiate change…..please do it constructively. Try to realize that what YOU are doing with a Facebook page is no different than what dog fighters and abusers do—-just on a grander scale and under the guise of “advocacy”. The results are the same- dead dogs! Don’t underestimate the determination of others to explore from hence your motivation emanates. Im-Paws-Able will reorganize and come back stronger because our mission is set in our hearts add the hearts of our supporters!


Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

District magistrate charges


Fake Service Dogs…It’s Not Just Playing Dress Up!

It’s been ALL the rage in the airline business for several years. Dress up your pet in a service dog vest, then it gets to ride for free! OR, put a vest on your beloved fifi, so you can enjoy a quiet dinner together in your favorite restaurant. What’s the harm, right? Your little dog is as special as a service dog and should be afforded the same priviledges. Plus, you ARE pretty anxious, sometimes. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who are able to convince themselves that they somehow fit the ADA criteria, but you don’t, it’s more involved than that. Everyone who sees your dog in public knows it’s not as well. Its behavior, even if it is a well-trained pet, is simply not equivalent to that of a service team. But, you should know that fake service dogs are a huge issue for those who use a service dog to mitigate those challenges that life has given us.

Recently, my medical alert dog and I were returning to the office after our lunch. Like we do everyday, we walked through the lobby of the government office where we work, heading to the back. We have probably walked past thousands of people in our time there, all sizes, colors, scents and volumes. We never had an issue. Not with screaming, angry people, not with sudden movements, not with charging toddlers and not with the strong aroma that some folks have to them. But today, someone who felt it would be a good idea to dress her pet up as a service dog, almost changed our lives forever. As we walked past the seating area, turning a corner towards the door, a small, fluffy dachshund mix flew out of nowhere, attacking my pit bull viciously! Apparently, this “faux service dog” was seated in a tiny “console” car seat (taking up an extra seat meant for people), beside her rotund, middle-aged owner. This woman had absolutely NO control over this aggressive, vicious beast. She finally fumbled around to grab the leash and pull the demon dog off, as I was grabbing for it. The rest of the lobby watched in horror, fully expecting MY DOG (who is a pit bull) to attack and kill the fluffy demon. But she didn’t. She did what she was trained to do – watched me and waited for an instruction, because she’s worked for years repeating those behaviors. She’s spent years being exposed to every situation I could think of. Because we have been a team for YEARS….she knew what was expected. She is my freedom and I trust her judgement implicitly.

Because I work there, I couldn’t share with her what I was feeling, or how selfish and rude I find that entitlement to be. Lucky you. I’m confident that you wouldn’t care, anyway. And your little Fu-Fu dog is equally as fortunate that my pit bull WASN’T a fake, or FuFu would be dead right now. And MY DOG would be the one in the headlines, “Vicious Pit Bull Eats Service Dog In Government Building”. You should understand how making the foolish decision to misrepresent an uncontrollable pet, by putting a tiny ‘service dog” vest on it, in order to illegally gain access to a public building, had the propensity to have changed all of our lives today.

People with (real) service animals ALREADY have obstacles in their lives. When your totally out-of-control devil dog “goes pit bull” in public, people are pretty sure it’s not trained. When business owners start to doubt the legitimacy of service teams, it increases “access challenges”. Instead of zipping in and zipping out, when I go somewhere with my dog, I am barraged with a million questions, stares, dirty looks, having people take pictures of us, follow me around, or ask me to “do a trick”. I don’t need to play “twenty questions” when I’m in a hurry to grab a coffee before work, because you and FuFu just left and his outrageous behavior has everyone on edge.

When I am out with my dog, she is working. Your dog’s ridiculous behavior, vocalizations, lunging, barking and full-on attack distracts her from doing her job. So, not only have you put her in jeopardy with your vicious ankle-biter, you put ME in jeopardy too, because my dog is not able to focus on doing her job. People who don’t depend on a service dog don’t realize this. Their dogs are not constantly focused on them. They are pets, ornaments and companions. If they miss a critical queue, who cares? If they are so distracting in public that real service animals miss a queue……oh, well.

Many people are genuinely afraid of dogs. For whatever reason, seeing a dog is terrifying to them. That’s why it’s so important for teams who are entitled to public access, to have exemplary behavior. Watching your beast attacking my dog, further traumatized several people who were there. You have validated their fears. Your dog shouldn’t be in public at all. He is a dangerous dog, but has gotten away with it because of his size. I’m sure that you know he is dog-aggressive, but simply didn’t consider a chance meeting with another dog in a public building. I bet you have pulled that off more than once. Service animals are not dog-aggressive. Keep him home where he feels safe. Sadly, there is a roomful of people who will be talking about “the service dog fight”.

Fake service dog handlers deal with unexpected issues that arise, exactly the way you did. Instead of immediately removing the dog from the situation, (like I did, instead of telling you off), fake service dog handlers will stay – with an out of control dog! It wasn’t until you got an “access challenge” of your own, that you thought to leave. Your poor, stressed-out, mean, little dog continued to be subjected to an environment that he was ill-equipped to deal with in the first place.

Trained service dog teams observe a certain etiquette, to ensure that they are as inconspicuous as possible. You didn’t. While I acknowledge that we all have bad days, including dogs, actual service teams will ordinarily not: allow dogs to sit in chairs, booths, etc meant for humans, block walkways, bark, jump (with the exception of auditory dogs), bite, sniff (except allergen detection dogs) or otherwise invade the space of others, solicit attention, and totally disregard their handlers.

A service dog, as opposed to a pet, is there to do a job. They require a stable temperament and sustained attention, in order to mitigate their handlers’ disabilities. Just because you have a disability, or could think one up, that doesn’t make your pet a service animal. More importantly, it shouldn’t impinge on MY ability to live, work, shop, etc, in public. We should be able to go wherever we please, without worrying if a seven pound Kujo is going to spring from nowhere to attack us. We work constantly on training. It’s not fair that my stable dog may now be hyper-vigilant, in her own workplace, because you want to “play service dog”.

Let’s face it….If my pit bull had defended herself against YOUR fluffy attacking dog: 1) Your dog would be dead or seriously injured, 2) I would have criminal charges, (at least), 3) we would have made the news, because “Pit Bull Attacks Cute Service Dog” would be on every channel, in every paper, and all we would hear, and 4) I would be unemployed. She would be at fault because of her breed. We would hear those buzzwords – pit bull, attack and service dog – over and over. It wouldn’t matter that she was a service dog doing her job and your dog was the aggressor.

I acknowledge that many will be offended, incensed, or indignant about my stance on this highly emotionally-charged subject. I am ready for everyone to jump in and comment about this lady’s “hidden disability”, her right to equal access, how the dog may be mitigating a disability by attacking my dog, or how it’s just fine to have a dog who’s “not perfect” or “home trained”…..have at it.

But I don’t see this as a disability issue…..I see it as an entitlement issue. This woman felt entitled to bring her anxious little dog, for whatever reason, despite knowing it was aggressive and untrained. Without bothering to undergo the intense training required, she chose to put a little vest on him and scream “service dog!” if challenged. She can do that with impunity, since negative views on the disabled is also something she gets to choose. Again, lucky her.

She never asked any of our staff if my dog was alright. In fact, I heard she became angered by the comments of others over how well-behaved my dog was and how lucky she was. It wasn’t until another agency’s staff member (who is very fond of my dog), asked her what task the dog performed, did she get up and storm out in a huff. She never answered him.

Haters gonna Hate

Anyone who loves pit bulls must rally and rally NOW!  Please read the following AND ACT ON IT!!! The future of this breed depends on your actions!



I see/hear/read it all the time (like a dull buzz after awhile), “pit bulls are killing machines, who will ‘eat your face off’, spontaneously attack with no provocation or warning; not stopping until their opponent is dead.”

While I understand that small-minded, frightened people often say things out of fear, the recent proliferation of Web pages, blogs, and clearly fake profiles – on a national level – that are calling for extreme, violent and illegal actions against ‘pit bulls’ and their owners, has me frightened.  Thanks to the advent of ‘Google Alerts’, these tirades are now being seen, locally, with the “national participants” injecting themselves into a local cultures, that they are not members of.  While not ‘a movement’, the verbage and syntax are clearly one or two people, taking on the persona/facebook identities of many!  This same ‘group’, then, whips the locals, via the comment section of their community’s papers, into a frenzy!  The same players, just a different game board, time and again, giving the appearance of a ‘movement’, so to speak, of the anti-pit sentiment, that they are spreading.  They then divert the readers to fabricated ‘facts’ via personal web pages that were created to look credible.  Community by community, this faction is creating widespread hysteria, based on lies, to unknowing people who believe everything they read that claims to be based on ‘facts’ or read on a website.  Even when the dog in question is clearly identified as another breed, this group of ‘pit-haters’ clamour that it is a ‘pit-type’, then, proceed with their anti-pit agenda.  If called to reason, they turn the tables, saying that the person opposing their views either: 1) doesn’t care about the victim, 2) is a “pit nutter” and unable to avail themselves to ‘the facts’, or 3) throws personal innuendo about the opposing side that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.  Like the high school girls’ room, they will stop at nothing in their vindictive attacks.

Not since the Doberman hysteria of the 80’s have I seen such histrionic, far-reaching ideology with no basis in fact (actually, facts are often made up along the way!), clinging to an undocumented, unwarranted philosophy.  There HAD to be more to this….here’s what I found.

It All Started Here:

It all began when a jogger, Coleen Lynn, passing a dog walker and pit, didn’t want to slow down, but decided to pass the duo from behind. She was subsequently bitten by the frightened dog, as she attempted to squeeze herself between a fence and the dog – from behind it. She received three puncture marks to the top of her arm and two on the bottom.  The arm was broken.  However, there is significant question as to whether her arm was broken by the bite (as she claims) or in the fall.  The only certainty is that her account could not be factual and it morphed with time.  However, that didn’t stop her from 1) having the poor dog euthanized and 2) collecting a HUGE insurance settlement.

Pages of Interest:

The Lynn Media Group:   Not able to keep a good woman down, Ms. Lynn marketed her infamous “attack” into the Lynn Media Group for ‘Social Awareness’.  Note the last paragraph of this page that states, “Ms. Lynn has built a reputation for her innovative approach to customer experience….”   INDEED!  I suspect that her clever and relentless attacks on a specific breed of dog (by creating a multitude of fake profiles) is what has launched The Lynn Media Group.  Without that, she would be ‘just another web designer’.  Basing a business on the fear of the multitudes would be difficult to incorporate into a business plan, but clearly, Ms. Lynn has made it work for her! – A Registered Non-Profit as of 2011:  Ms. Lynn’s page devoted to fake ‘pit bull’ facts.  This page appears to be the premier ‘origin of hate’ against pits on the web.  Professional-looking and full of statistics (fake ones), this page can fool anyone not familiar with statistical analysis and web design.  The common person, who has no interaction with dogs, can easily be tricked into believing it is a ‘real’ web page filled with actual statistics on pit bulls.

Who REALLY is behind Dog Bites. org – CO EIN Number (scroll to the bottom):

(Interestingly, the domain was originally registered on GoDaddy to an individual named Gary Stevens with the address and phone number of the Seattle Police Department!!!  It was changed very quickly when that fact was brought to the attention of the SPD. Why would a individual from CA, who moved to Seattle, WA, then to Austin, TX with her windfall, incorporate in CO??)

The ‘Donate’ Button is EVERYWHERE! :   Although it has NOTHING to do with pit bulls, her media group, which is a ‘for profit’, seems to be intertwined with the 501c3 revenue (which hasn’t filed 990’s yet) of, time and again

Information referral form to the IRS.  This form is for reporting tax fraud or impropriety.

Here, she even ADMITS that the site is inaccurate:

One Example of Media Bias By the News Director of a Tuscon TV Station:  This particular News Director, Forrest Carr, not only ‘becomes the news’ by constantly interjecting his personal bias, on the side of the crew (apparently, not well enough versed in syntax to realize he’s only speaking to a couple of people with 50 different aliases), but he freely attacks those speaking out for pit bulls, personally!  So scewed are his biases, that he prepared this:  Rarely do we see such blatant attacks lodged by an employee of the news media on such a personal level.  Professionalism to the wind, Mr. Carr shamelessly “went pit bull” (a phrase this group is attempting to make popular slang) on  anyone who dared to insinuate that he was doing this for ratings.  Apparently, it never occurred to Mr. Carr that most people will react stongly to injustice, lies and false accusations, not to mention his frequent personal attacks on individuals.  However, it is only fair to note that the ‘ratings factor’ is not helping his cause, as his station ranks LAST of the THREE Tuscon media outlets.

A Listing of More Fake Bull Sites, Each With Links To More:

A conglomeration of news features about pit bulls that are twisted to suit the author’s agenda.  The site is to “Educate The Public About Pit Bulls”.  While not much effort has gone into this one, it is heaped onto the rest of the pretend-facts blogs to add to the numbers:

This site makes no attempt to hide the fact that it skews facts AND people.  Unabashedly naming-names of those who dare oppose the views of ‘Dawn James’ (another fake name/person) and twisting half-truths to suit their own agenda.  Nationally- acclaimed behaviorists and pit moms alike are trashed in this hodgepodge of fuckery:

FAKE PROFILES THAT NEED REPORTED TO FACEBOOK:  It is against Facebook Terms of Service Policy to have a personal profile that isn’t a ‘real’ person.  As many animal advocates can attest, Facebook is making those having profiles that are suspected of not being ‘real’ people, fax them a copy of their photo identification.  Although I am certain this group of fakes will simply put up another fake profile, the following profiles need to be GONE from Facebook, as they are clearly the same individual.  To report a regular page, go to the bottom left, and click ‘Report/Block’, then check the box that says, “Not a real person”.  To report a timeline, go to the gear in the upper-right corner and hit “Report/Block”, then click “Not a real person”. – This profile actually changed names in the time it took me to write this post!! It was Ginny LRidley, now it is Fiona Mastiff!!!  In reality, it’s a woman named Dawn James:!/profile.php?id=100002775596708&sk=wall

This woman is actually   Now Tim’s Cockatiels…no doubt due to the negative publicity she spouts!!!  If you scroll down to the first page, her Fiona, looks amazingly like a “Pit Bull Type”…classic hypocrite!!!!


Here’s What She Does When She’s NOT trashing pits and their owners:  (She’s not a playa, she just eats a lot.)  Colleen L’s Yelp Profile shows she does a good deal of drinking and fine dining, at the expense of our pups!

  • Review from Colleen L.
  • Photo of Colleen L.

What to Expect When Confronting This Group:

Myths of the Absolute:

1.  All pit bulls are dangerous, unpredictable beasts who will attack without warning

2.  All pit owners, fanciers are prostitutes, dog fighters and drug dealers

3.   All pit bulls possess supernatural traits, ie. ‘locking jaws’, no fence can contain them, unGodly strength

4.  All BSL proponents are experts on pit bulls, but are unable to define them

5.  All pit bulls must be eradicated

6.  Any individual that speaks out for pit bulls has questionable mental faculties

Recognize Their Tactics:

1.  Personal attacks will take the place of evidence

2. The subject will change depending on where they want to go, or when they perceive you are making ground

3. Goading us into anger

4.  Promoting breed/breeder hatred

5.  Identifying pit bulls as ‘victims’, while calling for their extinction

6.  Hiding behind anonymity

7.  Claiming to be experts, but with no credentials

8.  Bashing those WITH credentials

9  Accusing defenders of doing what they are doing, ie. changing subject, not caring about victims

10.  Isolating one defender to befriend, while trashing another

What to Do To Protect Your Animals:

1. Debate openly

2.  Stay on topic

3.  Ignore personal attacks

4.  Substitute fiction with facts – offer proof

5.  Use humor

6.  Know who you are talking to

7.  Know yourself

8.  Know the law

9.  Treat your opposers with courtesy, respect and politeness

10.  Learn from EVERY ENCOUNTER!!!!!

One Analogy:

Lilly Old Meets New (1st published 3/17/12)

The following article was written in response to a ‘back-and-forth’ between the owner of the ‘sanctuary’ that Lilly was saved from and me on 3-17-12.  It was originally posted to Lilly’s FB Page at

During today’s Cesar Milan book signing in Lemoyne, PA, a number of people recognized Lilly there, as we waited across the street.  We did get to see Cesar as he was leaving, but more importantly, there were Lilly fans who got to meet her.  One said, “I finally get to meet you in person!” Of course, Lilly loved the attention (I think she thought they were there to see HER!) This friend then shared the sentiment that the ‘back and forth’, between the sanctuary owner and various Lilly fans, would give an in-depth look at her meager beginnings and how she came to be in the situation she is in now.  She also felt that by not publicly acknowledging it, I may be giving the appearance that I am ‘hiding something’ – which I am certainly not!  This individual received over $17,100.00 in fines for not treating his dogs, sanitation violations, various counts of neglect, not vaccinating and subsequently turned 25 over to animal control (he stated on tv that was to ‘stock their new adoption center’!!  Of those, five were euthanized. One of those killed, Scooby, was to be pulled by our rescue, but was not faring well in the shelter environment and had heartworm, so he was put down.  It was a sad day for our rescue.

Last Saturday, March 10th, it was brought to my attention that the owner of the ‘sanctuary/rescue’ where Lilly was adopted from was on a thread meant to raise funds for her treatment.  I immediately went to the thread to find that he was refuting the part of the narrative that stated she was “in a crate for two years”.  While I have never been to this Florida sanctuary, I immediately pm’d him, via Facebook, to ask him what he would like me to do.  I never received a response.  Hours later, I posted a clarification with a picture of the specific thread where he detailed the accommodations that were provided on her behalf – thinking that would end the negativity on her thread……unfortunately, it did not!  He continued to hijack the thread and instigate negativity among the participants.  He also shared that he thought I was “selfish” for not putting her in a “doggie hospice” and that treating her for her cancer was “cruel”.  He shared that he felt Lilly would want to die.

Keith Lee Wandell She actually spent two yrs here being a sight buddy for a dog with no eyes and was very seldom crated…

Kxxxxxx Dxxxxxx Are you speaking of Miss Lilly Keith?

Keith Lee Wandell Yes

Jxxx Plr Fxxxxx What a sweetheart and great picture ♥ She wasn’t crated huh Keith? More like kept in a dirty pen in a dirty swamp? Yea, that sounds more like it.

Keith Lee Wandell ‎@jen according to who? You or the credentialed enforcement officers that inapected, investigated, reinvestigated and reinapected and found nothing of the sort??? I suppose I somehow caused her cancer too? GFY JEN!!!

Jxxx Plr Fxxxxx Same song and dance, different day huh Keith? Newsflash for you, just because your swimming deep in denial and delusion, doesn’t make it untrue. You caused her cancer? Living in that cesspool, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

Keith Lee Wandell Again prove what you say or stfu. And yes it’ll always be the same song same dance lol because the truth never changes unlike your many many revisions of your twisted versions of what my practices are/were, but the principal difference is I have official investigative reports to back what I say…what do you have? Like I said….GFY JEN!!

Jxxx Plr Fxxxxx Poor Keith, don’t you know the only thing you can control is yourself? STFU, I think not. The condition of the dogs that have come off your property is proof enough. Just because you cannot properly read official documents doesn’t mean they say what you want them to say.

Keith Lee Wandell And exactly how many of the official documents/reports are you in possession of? And with the exception of Caylee show me a dog that was documented to have left here in less than great shape….just one jen and I don’t mean the photoshopped pics that were spread all over fb. Hahahahaha


Jxxx Plr Fxxxxx So now the pics were photoshopped huh? Here’s a newsflash, if even ONE dog leaves your swamphole in less than stellar condition that’s a problem. I know, that’s difficult for you to grasp. Got a working toilet yet?

Keith Lee Wandell Big fan of the phrase ” newsflash” huh? Lolol and yea 3 of them why do you ask? A little behind in the rumor pool I see NEWSFLASH those lies were discounted LONG AGO…like a year maybe??? Lmao go catch up and get back to me with current…CURRENT info…er fer der, we’s even got that new faancy runnin water thingee ane reeeaal alektercitay…yee haw!! GFY JEN LMMFAO!!!!!!!!!

Keith Lee Wandell I find you an odd rescuer anyway being you won’t send a dog to GA nor accept one from the south but you’ll push a hefty chipin to get one from Iraq to the U.S. what’s the deal with that? For someone within “implied” regional superiority you would think there were enough dogs here needing rescue………..

Keith Lee Wandell Btw…GFY JEN LMMFAO!!

Hxxxxx Sxxxxxxx Excuse me–but I’ve been networking the crap out of this, please let’s keep it about LILLY–this dog needs help NOW–it isn’t about Keith or Jenn–it is about helping this poor dog get her chemo!!!!! Can you two take it somewhere else? and at least share this post and get this dog some donations????

Jxxx Plr Fxxxxxx I pushed to get a dog from Iraq? In what alternate universe are you living? lol Anyway, Helene you are correct. I’ll stop talking about swamp monster Keith 🙂

Impawsable Dogrescue

SERIOUSLY??? Do we REALLY want to go there??? “And with the exception of Caylee show me a dog that was documented to have left here in less than great shape..” LILLY IS DYING!!! And I was told the ‘lipomas’ were checked during the spay & benign (which I believed until I couldn’t get any vet records on it). Now, I am working an extra job & begging thru Chip Ins so she can get the treatment she needs…Just because you don’t ‘document’ something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!! Now take this drama off of her thread…Go fight amongst yourselves elsewhere….

Hxxxxx Sxxxxxx ‎…and also whilst slamming–please think about a small (or big) donation to help this poor girl! She deserves a chance to know what it’s like to be a part of a real family and to finally be loved! (and she is–I know she is so special to Betsy)–PLEASE HELP HER!

Keith Lee Wandell

Absolutely Bonnie, we were aware of the growths as you stated they qwre pointed out at her spay… besides the her genetic predisposition to have an “unpre entable” terminal illness, what was her ov erall shape??? Was she starved, did she show signs of neglect or abuse, was she timid or shy, any aggressive tendencies??? It seems as though you are all accusing me of being a cancer causing agent? And to whomever asked, I am here commenting because I was tagged in the post maybe? And if you don’t know someone it would be wise to watch your tongue/keyboard. I am as sorry as anyone about lillys condition but none of this is anyone’s fault…..

Impawsable Dogrescue

First, it’s Betsy, not Bonnie. MCTs aren’t “an unpreentable (sic) terminal illness”. While their presentation may be unpreventable, if they are found and removed promptly, most never return & don’t require any follow-up treatment (94%). It is not until they are allowed to progress to level two, or, in Lilly’s case, level three (undefined cell walls and likely to metastasize to other organs), are they considered terminal.

Nobody is accusing you of being a cancer-causing agent. Nobody knows if MCTs are caused by environment, genetic predisposition, or a combination of both. However, the mass on her neck was clearly an issue for her and was effecting her swallowing. I removed the collar immediately. The wound on her leg was healing over, so I assumed it was a sore, as opposed to a MCT,(esp.when I heard the vet ‘lanced’ it). Our vet caught that. The tumor under her front leg, in her armpit, was marble-sized, and I found it right away. To me, when your dog has a growth, you go to a vet for a diagnosis.

Lilly showed no signs of abuse and she certainly wasn’t starved. I don’t believe that being shy, timid, or aggressive are issues that reflect on the rescue, as I believe some dogs, like some people, are just born that way. While those issues may be minimized through habituation, I wouldn’t fault a rescue for such characteristics. But if she WERE any of those, we would still have welcomed her with opened arms.

But you have to acknowledge how badly reading your claim her condition is ‘great’ stung. Her condition is very serious, having just taken a turn for the worse tonight.

I love her – everyone who meets her does! Of course I wish she were treated for her condition immediately, because it would have increased her time with us! While I personally am past the point of placing blame…I don’t think I can be faulted for my aversion when someone describes her as being in excellent shape…our lives/lifestyle have been impacted, due to her medical needs. But moreover, our hearts ache as we lament what could have been and watch her fight after fight.

Keith Lee Wandell

So it’s a matter of potato/potahto. I just lost my elder Rottie to uterine cancer on the 7th, she was 12, I opted out of treatment choices despite my unconditional love for her so I feel your pain. The fact our vet overlooked a doagnosis was likely due to her age as well, you have a dog between 8 & 11 y/o with a growth or growths one would assume the worst and not subject the dog to a gauntlet of not only traumatic but expensive tests and aggressive treatments that will only prolong life ny a matter of mos, so at that point it should be a matter of quality of life not quantity and the dog will let you know when they’ve had enough. So call it what you will and run with the environmental theories that could very well be true but the short amount of time she was on mine was not the cause of hers and please don’t downplay my comments to a lack of compassion or me being heartless because the dog I just lost never left my side from the day I cut her cord til this past Wed. morning. Again I am sorry Lilly is going through what she is as well as what you are but again it was unpreventable and maybe it’s past the time where Lilly had a say….I’m sure of she could rationalize the situation she wouldn’t want to be causing so much termoil and burdon for you and your family, Lilly is a happy dog and only wants to be happy and bring joy to everyone that meets her so don’t deny her, her own dignity in the name of heroism in your name.

Keith Lee Wandell Chemotherapy on a dog her age and in that stage of cancer is cruel and unnecessary, not to mention selfish on any of our parts. I know it is REALLY ROUGH but please consider doggie hospice, you’ll be able to afford it and you can quit that third job and have more quality time WITH Lilly….what she’d want…

Impawsable Dogrescue

My, my, my….I hardly know where to begin. However, I believe that your ‘potato/potahto’ analogy speaks volumes to your willingness to dismiss the plight of this sweet dog in order to absolve yourself of any responsibility. Frankly, I was inclined to not respond at all. However, your numerous misconceptions and blanket opinions (posing as facts) gives rise to the worry that others will read this thread and believe what you have written.

First of all, please accept my condolences on the loss of your rottie. I, too, lost my GSD at 13 and still miss her everyday!

Secondly, if you have a dog- of any age- with a growth, you should seek medical attention for it, regardless of the dog’s age. More so, if the growth is negatively impacting another bodily function or causing discomfort, as I am sure one over the dog’s throat, that is constantly rubbed by a collar, must have. A vet will do a needle aspirate. It’s a very simple procedure. It is NOT ‘traumatic’, ‘aggressive’ or ‘expensive’. Then you will know what options you have available, i.e. surgery, immunosuppressants, radiation, prayer, or any combination thereof. I do NOT suggest withholding medical treatment!!! Perhaps the most common reason that vets “overlook doagnosis’ (sic) is because they weren’t given the opportunity to actually TREAT the patient.

As a cancer survivor, I find your antiquated belief that treatment of cancer is necessarily filled with angst, trauma and pain, only to result in a decreased quality of life for a limited time – just silly! Chemotherapy, particularly in dogs, has come a long way in a short time. Until last night, Lilly was symptom-free. As soon as she began showing signs of discomfort, supportive care was given & her diet changed…symptoms resolved!!!

Finally, I could go on, at great length, on the fact that YOU are intimating that because I am treating her disease, I am being cruel. But I am certain that such a dissertation is unnecessary – your self-serving innuendo is duly noted. Lilly is my responsibility and a member of my family. No sacrifice is too great to ensure her well-being. Lilly IS a happy dog and brings joy to all who meet her. She LOVES interacting with people and should be granted every opportunity to do so, even if it means the personal sacrifice of the rest of us. That’s what “FAMILY” means here…We rise, we fall; we sink, we swim; we meet our fates – TOGETHER!!!

She CHANGES LIVES, BRINGS HAPPINESS and REPRESENTS ALL OF THE WONDERFUL QUALITIES A SOUL CAN POSSESS…we are blessed to have the opportunity to experience her energy and share our lives with her. Lilly is a being that I consider a special gift, to remind us that not everything is fouled by worldly diversions.

Please don’t assume to know what Lilly’s ‘rationalizations’ are….it’s simply offensive, considering the source.

Keith Lee Wandell

Duely noted and I never meant to discount her sentimental value as a family member and I never dismissed proper diagnosis our vet called the lump on her hip a fatty cyst. While I share in your sentiment for her I ha e to seriously question your response to her having the ability to rationalize, that was meant as a “what if” scenario as dogs are obviously more rational by instinct not by morals, biblical, emotional or remotely anything human. Sorry if my honesty is offensive…I simply came on to correct a misleading quote as to Lilly’s history that we know and was abruptly attacked, called trash, a liar by people that never offered to step up at the beginning of her plight 2 yrs ago at the Gastonia shelter, where I had even turned her away until some persistant ladies raised money for me to accomodate her. But by all means bash away and insniate til the cows come home Irdc…again good luck and prayers…

Jxxx Axxxxxxxx Hope to hell that Keith Lee Wandell stays off this thread. This about Lilly and nothing else. We all love this girl very much and her Momma too. Please, lets just keep sharing her and her Chip In so she can have the treatment she needs to be able to have a good life. I love Lilly girl ♥

Keith Lee Wandell

Will do….wouldn’t want to step on the toes of her real saviors…..can someone scream…”Reality check!” NONE OF YOU GAVE A SHIT ABOUT THIS DOG ((TWO YEARS AGO)) now all of a sudden she’s your personal celebrity and propaganda marketing tool? Perhaps of YOU would have stepped up for her in the final hours before she was to be gassed to death ((TWO YEARS AGO)) her illness would have been caught sooner??? Idts! Do any of you stand outside operating rooms, wait for the surgeon to walk out, pat him on the back and tell him you were glad YOU could help in his patient’s survival??? The save all of save alls huh?

Keith Lee Wandell And that wasn’t directed at you Betsy, you’re doing all you can. You stepped up when they STILL wouldn’t for her. It is directed at all the so called well wishers that only have mindless chatter to contribute…why not treat this like a swear jar and for every insult or speculation you want to sling, donate $1 instead….keep your thoughts to yourselves and share generosity instead….

Kxxxxxx Dxxxxxx If this were a “swear ” jar ..heck nah, we’d have lil ole Lilly chemo paid off from your vile mouth alone KLW…

Rxxxx Sxxx Lxxx Please can we keep this thread on lilly and her recovery!!! Please !!!

Impawsable Dogrescue

Apparently, not ‘duely (sic) noted’ enough! Please note the use of ‘apologetic quotations’ in my responses. Apologetic quotations are often used to denote irony in selected text. That was not meant as a prompt for you to shower us with your ‘vast knowledge’ (see the quotations?) of the inner psyches of dogs. Rationalization (by which I assume you mean the process of constructing a logical justification for a decision that was originally arrived at through a different mental process) is not available to dogs, instinctively, or otherwise. How disappointing to learn that I spent all those years in school and sat for my ABA Boards, when I could have simply hung out here on FB with you!

I have kept my mouth shut about all of this, because I was so glad to have Lilly in our lives, and truly believe in the power of positive energy. But your wanton diatribe and malediction of those who truly care for her well-being, needs to stop. This thread is to help Lilly get her chemo treatment, not to serve as a laundry list of your personal defense mechanisms or an outlet for your hypomanic episode. Claiming that she was properly diagnosed and the vets first “pointed it out” during her spay is surely an understatement. I can hear them now,”OMG! Look at that lump on her throat! Does that dog have two heads?” How could you have missed that? She was constantly swallowing from the pressure on her neck. Granted, I understand why the vet lanced the tumor on her leg (which caused scarring that forced it to grow inward). He no doubt thought it was an abscess, since its placement was the same as the pressure sores on the other dogs. lipomas aren’t diagnosed by lancing.

To push the envelope further, you then stated that I was cruel and selfish for actually treating her – ON A THREAD FOR THAT VERY PURPOSE!!! Your suggestion that she be placed in a “doggie hospice”, while not surprising (considering the source) is unconscionable…she’s spent too much time already languishing without anyone paying attention to her…now she’s going to live!! She’s going to go to the largest pet store in the world and hang with old guys in wheelchairs and go to parks and hang in the Waggin’ Tales Reading Group at the library and ENJOY!!! Everyone is going to share her energy. She’s the girl who will shatter myths and break hearts.

You came on this thread to “correct a misleading quote”…with an equally misleading one! By stating that she was the “sight buddy for a dog with no eyes”. Anyone who didn’t know better may have thought that you actually worked with her to teach her something! As soon as I was made aware of your comment, I pm’d you and asked what you would like me to do…and waited. I have yet to get a response. While I doubt that anyone actually questioned it but you, I immediately posted a clarification using what evidence I could find. Nobody attacked, bashed, lied, or insinuated anything. I think I treated you VERY fairly. YOU are the person on LILLY’S thread, telling her supporters to GFY & STFU…NOBODY disrespected YOU!! And when you were asked to tone it down and redirected…your response was to BLAME THEM!!! FOR WHAT? Not saving her when she was in a pound? How can you blame someone for not acting on what they didn’t know? What sort of logic is that? Then go post that rescuers are ‘whores’ on your wall is beyond audacity!

And btw…we love the well-wishers!!! Their POSITIVE ENERGY is uplifting and keeps us going when things are looking rough!!! To all of those following Lilly’s story, I apologize for not speaking out sooner on your behalf. As you know, it’s a very busy time and not everyone can be on FB 24/7. I try my best to keep up! From now on…only positive comments PERTAINING TO LILLY need be posted!

Keith Lee Wandell · 6 mutual friends

Great use of but your terminology might suggest a deflection or rebuttle of sorts but I didn’t come on here to win a spelling bee or blurt out degrees or acedemic accomplishments. Perhaps you need to converse with someone that actually knows how Lilly was kept while here and who her kennel mate was…may e from the person that arranged for her to come to you and actually now owns that dog with no eyes that Lilly was a tremendous help with (as per ‘actually working with her’) not so much as using her to work with other dogs…you don’t know me Betsy, nothing about me other than what you’ve read in fb-land and that’s obvious considering the preconceived overtones of your comments…like, “considering the source” etc. Have great luck in your mission to raise enough funds to rescue 12 more dogs so that you may prolong the life of one by maybe 6 mos if that…*shrug*

Jxxx Plr Fxxxxxx Yes Keith, we all know you would cast her to the side and not spend a dime. It’s what you already do with the dogs in your care. Same song and dance with you. Blah blah blah. If you cannot simply show support on this thread might I suggest you go away and actually take care of dogs? Yes I know, foreign concept for you.

Keith Lee Wandell · 6 mutual friends


Jxxx Plr Fxxxxx Does anyone know what dog in Iraq he’s blathering on about? Now I’m curious.

Keith Lee Wandell · 6 mutual friends

Better yet, I know….I have a half dozen dogs in need of transfer from my care…you willin? Oh, that’s right you don’t actually have an onsite rescue huh? You rely on fosters to foot the expense while you collect sponsorships, chipins and donations…you don’t even pay for s/n huh, it’s done under an actual 501c3 org huh???

Keith Lee Wandell · 6 mutual friends

And btw Betsy, since when is it ethical to collect donations for your personal dog u der your rescue’s name??? Remember? After meeting Lilly you couldn’t resist adopting her for yourself…??? Just sayin…if I did that I’d be called the biggest fraud in Fl. No wait a minute….they’re already saying that…ain’t they (sic)???



Impawsable Dogrescue

Alrighty, Keith…You are such a prolific poster, able to cover vast expanses with one fell swoop, I will try to address some of your ‘concerns’ (there are those quotes, again!). However, as I shared previously, it’s becoming tedious.

First of all, people only ‘know’ what we choose to present to them as ourselves, or our persona. Of course I only know you from Facebookland!! You aren’t my neighbor, or a member of my family. I know the “Keith Lee Wandell” that you have chosen to present. YOU control that! I find it ironic that you allege that others misjudge you, on the basis of what detractors post on FB, then suggest that I ask SOMEONE ELSE in reference to Lilly’s treatment?!? I have judged the way Lilly was treated, while in your care, on WHAT I SAW with my own eyes. I don’t need to ask about amount of care she received when I have a dog of her age, who has lived in a training facility for 2 years, that doesn’t have a reliable ‘sit’, has malignancies that cause her to swallow every ten seconds (that were allegedly cleared by a vet) and a healing sore on her leg…why would I need to look further to form an opinion on the caliber of care she received??

When you belittle & disparage, post innuendo and publicly share that you think sweet Lilly would be better off to JUST DIE, so 12 others can be saved…please don’t expect my undying devotion & support!

While I understand that there are other issues that, clearly, are influencing your behavior that are out of your control; that doesn’t mean that I will allow you to just post whatever libelous drivel you please!

Keith Lee Wandell · 6 mutual friends

Once again jen, old info that has long since been proven false lol ams feel free to look through my pic albums and point out this swamp land that the several of you that have never been here can’t seem to shut up about lol high and dry here…

Jxxx Plr Fxxxxx I think you meant ‘training facility’ Besty 😉 Don’t let this man get to you, Lilly is lucky to be with someone who will actually CARE for her now ♥

Jxxx Axxxxxxxxx Keith Lee Wandell, I didn’t know anything about anyone of Facebook 2 years ago, not that it’s any of your business. Besides which YOU are a poser, a loser and a fraud! You’re not worth wasting time on.

Impawsable Dogrescue

Now, on to the allegations that I wasn’t the ‘original’ adopter. I believe you put it, “…after meeting Lilly, you had to keep her for yourself”.. You ARE really fishing with THAT! Lilly was originally pulled – and applied for – by my daughter, who has mobility issues. However, since my daughter is young, and we consider our dogs as members of our family, I was also added to the application, as were my animals. As any ethical adoption coordinator would, yours screened the veterinarian, who I pay, and did the responsible thing and added me to the application. Lilly was NEVER a foster pull…I ALWAYS committed to her!!! As is covered in the blog, Lilly isn’t partial to PT and my daughter isn’t physically capable of lifting a 67 pound dog around after her multiple surgeries….Ironically, the stellar job your rescue did with the screening/adoption/transporting process is the thing you choose to pick apart! You may also want to check the microchip….see whose name that is in!

But my favorite drivel is certainly when YOU are questioning ME about ethics!!! What a HOOT!!! The difference between you and I, Keith, is that people can SEE her vet bills, KNOW that I am working several jobs and don’t sit around and plagiarize – I mean post- on FB all day! If they have a question…all they need to do is ask. The difference is that people KNOW that I didn’t commit to a dog with cancer, I committed to a stabilization dog. But now that she’s here, I am going to be responsible (not pretend that they are lipomas or that that she’s too old), and she’ll get the best care possible. They KNOW that I am not a fraud. They SEE me in the community and they HAVE MET Lilly and experienced her energy!! They KNOW she’s worth saving!!!

YOU had an AMAZING ANIMAL and you let her outside in a cage, crate, kennel, pen….whatever, ‘potato/potatho’…..She has the makings of the sort of dog that can TRULY CHANGE the world’s perceptions of the breed!!!

I honestly can’t imagine one of my fosters, that found a forever home, dealing with THIS, then getting on a post to help MY OWN DOG – PULLED BY MY RESCUE – and trashing MY OWN ADOPTER!!! Who does that????


Where Do We Go From Here???

Some folks’ lives roll easy as a breeze
Drifting through a summer night
Heading for a sunny day
But most folks’ lives, oh they stumble
Lord they fall
Through no fault of their own
Most folks never catch their stars
And here I am, Lord
I’m knocking at your place of business
I know I ain’t got no business here
But you said if I ever got so low
I was busted,
You could be trusted

Some folks’ lives roll easy
Some folks’ lives
never roll at all
Oh, they just fall
They just fall

~Paul Simon


I am writing this with a mixture of sadness and despair, rage and contempt, denial and indignation.  It seems so simple to me – goodness should be rewarded and badness should be punished.  Unfortunately, that’s not how life works….not even close.  No, shitty people continue to do shitty things, bringing misery at will, yet seemingly unscathed by the pain that the rest of us feel.  Perhaps evil has a special resiliency, but I think not.  I think that life is just not fair.

Our emergency visit to the vet today, during a snowstorm, has hammered home the realization that no matter how good of a girl you are, the randomness of the universe can, and will, bite you in the ass.  Attacks by an unknown, unseen enemy named Cancer have brought us to our knees and we are unsure of whether to fight, or make ourselves comfortable while awaiting the inevitable.  The middle, uncertain ground is never a place where I enjoy finding myself.

Just what IS a grade 3 mast cell tumor?  Often called ‘the great imitator’, mast cell tumors can only be diagnosed by removal and biopsy by a pathologist.  Mast cell tumors are also known as histiocytic mastocytoma, mast cell sarcoma, and, in Lilly’s case, mastocystosis.  They can appear as warts, lumps, or opened sores. The recurrence of tumors, their location on the body and definition of the cell walls are all criteria for ‘grading’ (examining the cells to predict the prognosis of the disease and develop treatment strategies).   Tumors on the mouth, paw, lymph nodes or any particularly venous area of the body  are particularly worrisome.  Lilly’s tumors were over her throat, in her armpit and on her leg.  Mast cell tumors are often mistaken for lipomas (fatty tumors), as Lilly’s were, and ignored, particularly when the dog is ‘older’.  It wasn’t until we began going to another veterinary practice, for reasons not related to Lilly at all, did the veterinarian aspirate the tumor on her neck, returning with the  diagnosis of probable mast cell tumors.

So, the question remains, “Where do we go from here?”

There seems to be something, deep inside my soul, that doesn’t allow me to give up, or give in….particularly when ANY hope has been extended (even if that extension is only within MY mind)!!  However, we have been through chemotherapy with a senior pit, named Otter, in the past.  He was 10+ at the time of diagnosis.  While admittedly significantly older than my Lilly, I fear that my refusal to defer to death may have caused him considerable suffering, most probably with no significant increase in his lifespan.  Our miserable, two and a half hour-long trips back and forth from UPenn became the most dreaded trek of my life.  He underwent two separate surgeries in an effort to be cancer-free.  After his first round of chemo, I decided enough was enough. He was so very sick from it.  His eyes pleaded with me to help him, but I couldn’t undo the medication or grant him relief.  Finally, I put him on a mixture of herbs meant to inhibit the growth of tumors and enjoyed our time together.  Although he far exceeded the most liberal estimates on longevity, he passed, after 23 months, of kidney failure.  He lapsed into a coma one morning, awaking long enough to ask to walk out onto the porch to enjoy a stunning  March afternoon for a few moments.  He was helped across the bridge that evening by our compassionate vet.

Financially, the decision to go to extreme lengths to have Lilly, perhaps, beat the odds, is not a sound one.  As a single mom, with a full-time job, bills, other dogs that need care, teenagers (who need everything), and volunteer work, it simply isn’t really logical to be spending half of my income, monthly, treating a dog with late-stage cancer.  I don’t know of anyone in my extended family who would support that decision. I may know of two or three people, in my close circle of friends, who would support such a decision – mainly those who have met Lilly and experienced her energy and countenance and our love for her and her’s for us.  However, putting ourselves in financial peril, especially given the current economic trends, in an effort to ‘hope against hope’, is simply not the judgement call of a rational person.

Practically, what are her odds?  What if money were no object?  Admittedly not known for my pragmatism, I am able to break some issues down into smaller parts and examine them objectively.  A major problem is, the odds in this case are contingent on so many other factors that I am unable to verify.  For instance, one factor that would impact a decision on whether to pursue life-saving treatment is Lilly’s age.  If she were six, that would increase the odds that her body may to be able to tolerate more aggressive therapy, than if she were eight.  The fact is…we really don’t know!  Another issue is how the tumors were ‘graded’.  While her AgNOR did indicate a likelihood of malignancy and recurrence….what if each recurrence were caught in time and removed?  What if a different pathologist would have ‘graded’ her as a two?  Of course, now I am rationalizing…but my point is that there is simply so much that we just don’t KNOW!!! Lilly’s Facebook page is replete with comments from owners whose dogs have survived, beyond reasonable expectations, with diagnoses thought to be much more deadly than Lilly’s!  Perhaps the fact that medicine is simply so subjective causes my pragmatism to falter….

Emotionally, what toll will a full-tilt, ‘throw-down’ against canine cancer take, both on me and on my kids?  What lesson(s) will I be teaching my children?  As a family who has already suffered devastating loss, am I sending the message that life should be pursued at all costs?  If I do that, am I promoting, or negating, the beliefs that I have already taught them about death?  Whenever one family member is ill, but moreover terminally ill, all dynamics tend to shift in support of the one with the illness.  I believe that is a natural occurrence in any tightly bonded family, albeit one that has a definite impact on the other members as well.  Lilly has both good days and bad.  I often find myself consciously fighting the disappointment, anger, helplessness and uncertainty that I feel, especially on the bad days, to prevent it from spilling over into the aura of everyone else.  As her illness progresses, our lives will, no doubt, be increasingly centered on her.  I am left to wonder what effect that will have on the various aspects of our lives.  I am already hoarding vacation days.  I find myself calling to check on her during the day, and becoming impatient when the person on the other end shares something, other than her status, at the beginning of the conversation.  When Gabe comes home, rather than proceeding to pick up the phone or bike or remote or skateboard, as most teens do, he goes directly to Lilly.  He has begun to insist on accompanying us on trips to the vet’s office.  Our lives are gravitating, already, around sweet Lilly.  But I can’t imagine it any other way, but is that the best course for everyone?

Finally, the last, but most important consideration, is Lilly’s quality of life. That is certainly the most difficult aspect to write about, but crucial for  decision-making.  For those of you who have never met Lilly, she exudes approbation.  She doesn’t know a stranger- loving and accepting everyone on equal terms.  As I have written about before, she is also remarkably intuitive, not only picking up on the energies in her environment, but acting on them as well.  On a recent trip to the veterinarian’s office, there was an elderly man in the waiting room who was obviously upset.  His wife would pop out from time to time, whispering updates on their dog’s condition.  Lilly honed in on him immediately and  made several attempts to ‘enter his space’ by physically placing herself increasingly closer to him.  Although I made it clear to her that I wanted her to remain within ‘our space’, she persisted, which was very uncharacteristic of her.  After Lilly saw the doctor, we, again, were in the waiting area.  The elderly gentleman was still there, head bowed.  He appeared to be glancing at her out of the corner of his eye, but did not respond to her, now blatant, attempts to engage him by doing the infamous “Lilly Grunt and Wigglebutt Dance”.  The receptionist whispered that he may be afraid of pit bulls (perhaps something he had shared with her while we were in with the doctor).  As we checked out, I hooked the handle of her lead on the hook designed for that purpose, to enable me to write a check.  The vet tech was explaining the new medications, when suddenly, she stopped – mid-sentence – with her eyebrows raised and her mouth opened.  At the same time, I looked down and was mortified to realize that I hadn’t hooked the lead on the hook correctly, allowing Lilly the freedom to finally stroll across the waiting room to make physical contact with the object of her affection.  I turned to find her standing with her back to me, facing him.  The entire top of her head bowed and placed against his calf, as tightly as could be.  She stood with her body perfectly still, as if she were trying to transfer some sort of calming energy directly into him.  She didn’t even wag her tail… The man, head bowed and face expressionless, had the hand closest to Lilly out, fingers pointed toward the ceiling, like he either wanted to touch her, but couldn’t bring himself to do it, or was planning on warding  off any attack she may spontaneously decide to launch.  And there they were…frozen in time….for what seemed like forever.  My first instinct was to scoop up the lead and snatch her away from him….but I didn’t.  Something told me to stand down and let Lilly deal with it…she’ll know best.  Slowly, she lifted her head, eventually meeting his eyes with hers.  No longer a grunting wigglebutt, she was the epitome of calm, but focused, energy.  As she lightly rested her chin on his knee, her eyes dropped and looked away, enabling him to summon the courage to lightly touch the top of her head, which caused her tail to slowly wag.  That lone touch caused a visible release in him.  He began stroking her head with both hands.  She  remained still as could be!  Then he said, in a half-whisper, half-sob, “I know it’s going to be alright, Lilly.”  I was shocked that he knew her name, even more surprised that she evoked that response.  As I held her lead, and shifted my feet to align myself with her, so she knew that we were leaving, I felt like an intruder.  I gently touched his shoulder, without saying anything,   There was no need to speak…Lilly had said it all with her calming energy and her gentle strength.  I often hear of people saying that this dog, or that dog, is an excellent ‘Ambassador of the Breed”.  I have heard that said of Lilly, too.  But I disagree.  Lilly, if deemed the ‘Ambassador’ of anything, would be the paladin of hope, of strength, of kindness, of compassion….who just so happens to be in a pit bull body! A true “good girl”.  I would never do anything to jeopardize such an extraordinary energy, for fear of tempting fate by forcing the unnatural extension of such a phenomenal rare gift.   While I don’t want to waste the awesome vitality that has been entrusted to me, by not taking every advantage to preserve it, neither do I have a desire to force it to burn beyond its time, for fear its brightness would diminish and spoil.

After completely analyzing the multiple aspects of my Lilly’s illness…I am still left with the question, “Where do we go from here?

A Second Chance At Love!!

I lost my favorite girl on November 26, 2010, at around 5:15  PM.  She was the most wonderful friend and confidante, that perhaps, I have ever known.  She never told a secret that I had shared with her, never hesitated to offer a shoulder to lean on when I could bear no more weight,  she was as good of a babysitter as she was friend.  I loved her immensely.

Loose-E is the life of the party!

I remember that freezing cold Spring day when we all piled into the car to get her…a birthday gift from Ian while he was home from the Navy on leave.  “You will need a dog to keep you safe, Mom, now that I’m not here.”  Watching that furry, floppy-eared goof on what was one of my best birthdays -ever- I could never imagine, then, the role she would play in my life.  As time passed, her keen powers of observation showed her what was acceptable and what was not.  She was an eager, willing student, too!  I used to say that Loose-E knew what kind of day I was going to have before I did!  Ever alert, she was also a beautiful representative of her breed, often commanding comments on her beauty from those around her.  She would be by my side, years later, on another, most horrible birthday, as I buried my beloved Ian…somehow, she sensed I bore a pain like no other, she sensed that our lives would never be the same and as she respectfully sniffed the flag that had draped his coffin, she thought to pick up a bone to give me to toss, then thought better of that and put it down, resting, instead, at my feet.  She gently licked the tears from my cheeks whenever they would show up, never anticipating her usual head pat or ear scratch, in exchange.

After thirteen years together, our movements were synchronized about as well as two moving beings’ can be.  I credit Loose-E, of course, for her momentous powers of observation that enabled her to appear to be constantly Velcroed to my left leg at all times.  I sure don’t know how she managed it, but she did.  In later years, of course, it would be my turn to patiently stand in place, as I stood to move, but waited a minute or two, for Loose-E’s old bones to assume their rightful place at my side.  I repeated this vigil, even after she was gone, for quite some time.   Yes, after thirteen years, we had certainly choreographed our movements to perfection, without needing to even think about it.   I honestly never thought that I would ever have that experience again, but one day…….Lilly arrived!

Miss Lilly originally came to work as a stabilization dog for my daughter, Daney, from a sanctuary in Florida that was closing its doors.  However, it was immediately apparent that was not going to work out, simply due to Lil’s short stature and Daney’s instability.  Unlike most new  dogs at intake, who need time, patience, and quiet to decompress and learn the ‘lay of the land’, Lilly loved everyone immediately, especially Gabe!!  Just about the only thing that Lilly did NOT take a liking to immediately was physical therapy & the equipment that came with it….so we put that on the back burner, for now.

Even from the beginning, Lilly had the uncanny ability to judge what noises in our home were acceptable and could be ignored and which were not and would require adult intervention, without the benefit of ever living there!!  On her first night, she gently nuzzled me awake, when a litter of Dachshund pups, squeaking wildly from the isolation room below us, were louder than normal.  Once I reassured her that that is how they always sounded, she rolled right back over onto her back, snuggled her head into my armpit, and assumed the position that we have come to make our nightly routine.  Later that week, the exact same pups were doing the exact same squeaking, but this time, Miss Lilly decided to waste no time, taking  both front paws and digging the covers off of me, so I would immediately go down to check on them (I must admit, I had checked on them a number of times that night, already) and sure enough, water had just begun to creep into their room! How did she know????  Perhaps I will never know where her unique intuition comes from!  Lilly also appointed herself the personal escort of a little, Doxie boy who is so shy, he can hardly move around the house.  She dutifully walks beside him, as he passes the ‘scarey dogs’…using herself as a buffer.  What a wonderful friend!! Later, they snuggle on the bed and doze off into doggie dreamland.

Miss Lilly doesn’t have the lovely, flowing coat that Loose-E enjoyed, or the sparkling white teeth, or the perfectly dremeled nails.  Thus far, nobody has picked Lilly out of a crowd to comment on just how stunning she is…but that matters not….because she is so much more than what can be seen….so much more than simply fills our hearts.  Someone, somewhere, really loved Lilly – not just to hang out with her, but loved her with all of their heart – and it shows!  It has given her the intuition and security to be able to function on a level few dogs can!  Lilly has offered me a second chance to have a ‘heart dog’, which I thought I would never, ever have.  Perhaps she was sent by some angels…who love to see dog hair on my suits!!

Lilly and Winn enjoying a Sunday

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