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2009 -


I have not written anything for quite a while because somehow time just slipped away.  The previous three years have been tough, but this past year has been the saddest of my entire life. 

 I lost my beloved Mother on Wednesday, October 7, 2009.  I have been through a lot of sadness dealing with the shelter and seeing how people treat their pets, but this has been the most devastating thing ever to happen to me. 

 My mother was always there for me.  She listened to me when I talked about how people treated animals and was there for me when I cried about how cruel to them  people could be.  She worried about me, consoled me, gave me moral support and was always proud of what I did.  She understood how so much of my time was consumed by what I did, and why I wasn’t always available.  My mother gave so much and never asked for anything in return. 

 Her death was unexpected but I was fortunate to have spent more time with her before she died.  I am grateful for that and believe that I was given that time with her for a reason.

 My mother left behind seven cats, who she loved dearly.  They were a huge part of what kept her going.  Unfortunately one of her older kitties passed away on January 28, 2010.  I guess she needed another kitty up there.  Mom also took care of a very lucky feral colony.  These cats were cared for better than a lot of people take care of their house pets. 

 Her six remaining cats now live with us, and a very nice person took over care of her feral colony.  I know that Mom is very happy about that.  There were some people who asked us what we were going to do with her cats.  Anybody who knows me would never have asked that question.  I have seen many pets dumped at the shelter after their person died and it just devastated me.  A lot of them didn’t make it and I believe they died of a broken heart. 

 Mom’s cats are a part of her and they are a part of our family.  We love them dearly and they will live the rest of their lives with us.  Most of them are older and I know that we probably won’t have them for long, but as long as they are here they will be loved and taken care of.

 I will continue to do whatever I can to honor my mother.  I know that she would never want me to give up on the animals, who she taught me to deeply love and respect.  I just wish that more people were lucky enough to have someone like her for their Mother.

 Mom, I love you and miss you every minute of every day.  Thank you for not only being my Mother, but also for being my friend.  Take care of all the furry little critters up there and I will take care of the ones here.   I know that someday we will all be together again.

                                                             I LOVE YOU MOM,



I have been involved with the largest shelter in Brevard County for over 6-1/2 years and I have to say that this year seems to have been the hardest. When I first began my journey on August 17, 2000, I was unaware of the magnitude of the problem of people disposing of their pets as if they are garbage.  Since then there have been some wonderful changes within the shelter, but the attitude of people apparently has not changed.

 My husband and I have also lost two of our beloved pets within two months of each other, which has left us devastated.  One of those beloved pets, Shadow, had been dumped at the shelter at the age of 13.  It turned out that he had diabetes, but he lived almost four more years and was never loved more in his life.  He is missed so very much.  Shadow died in my arms on April 21st, 2006.  We found our other boy, Charmer, eating out of our garbage can in New Jersey.  We were going to find a home for him but he “charmed” his way into our hearts.  Needless to say, he found a home with us but sadly we lost him to kidney failure on June 15th after 14 years.

Recently, my husband and I broke our own rule by fostering some kittens.  Every kitty we had “fostered” became a member of our family.  Unfortunately, we could not keep these kitties, but we made sure that they got the LIFETIME homes that they so deserve.  These kitties would have died simply because they developed a cold at the shelter.  The number one reason cats and kittens are killed at the shelter is because they develop an upper respiratory infection.  This is a treatable condition but unfortunately, there’s simply not a big enough staff or room in the facility so that they can be medicated.  Many people are not aware of this.  Upper respiratory is air borne and is caused by stress. 

 Four of the kittens are black.  Unfortunately we find that there is a prejudice against black kitties among some people.  It is very sad because these are the sweetest kitties.  If people would adopt a pet with their eyes closed and their minds open perhaps they would change their mind.  A pet is not an accessory to your home.  A pet is a living, loving creature that doesn’t have to match the furniture or fit some standard of what someone may deem pretty.  They are ALL beautiful and they ALL deserve to live.

I will continue to do what I can for the abandoned animals at the shelter for as long as I can, but I must step back a little.  It is an emotional journey that never gets any easier.  There is loss every day and it is taking its toll on me.  People are always telling me that they could never do what I do because they have “too much heart” and would take all the animals home with them.  Realistically, nobody can take them all home because more just keep getting thrown away.  I often take offense to those words because I have as much heart as anyone, maybe more, although I know that people don’t realize what they are saying.  I do what I do because I know that I have made a difference in many lives.  I live this 24/7.  Even when I am not physically at the shelter,  the animals there are still with me.  I see those innocent faces who have done nothing wrong but wind up in cages because of “human failure”. 

  Please stop accepting the idea that killing as a means of controlling animal overpopulation is OK.  It is NOT.  Get involved in some way to help the ones that can’t help themselves.  We can all do something to make a difference in their lives.  More people need to get involved and stop making excuses.  If you truly love animals please do something to stop the killing.  Money helps, but it is not the solution.  

 Animal Guardians has spayed/neutered hundreds of cats and dogs but it just doesn’t seem to be enough.   This will help save a lot of lives, but until people learn to respect their pets and make a LIFETIME commitment, the shelters will never be empty.  My dream for 2007 is that people will keep their pets for LIFE, and spay and neuter so that more are not born only to die.  I know that it is a dream but hopefully some day it will become a reality.  Unfortunately, I won’t live to see it.



Barrels of bodies after a routine day euthanizing unwanted cats and dogs

Why does our society accept the killing of healthy animals?   It is very distressing that so many people think that the answer to animal overpopulation is to kill them.  We live in a disposable society and that is one reason that people accept it.  I hear over and over ” Look at what people do to children.”  Does that mean it is acceptable to kill animals because people also abandon their children?  Would we accept the killing of children who are abandoned and cannot find a home?  Absolutely not. 

One answer to the animal overpopulation crisis is to spay and neuter every cat and dog, no matter what breed they are.  EVERY BREED winds up at shelters every day all over the nation, and “Breed rescue” groups are always full.  People have no problem “getting rid of” a dog or cat even when they have “papers”. 

  We do not need any more breeders….period, but obviously there is a demand or these breeders would be out of business.  Why do people still go to pet stores when they hear about “puppy mills” all of the time?  Dogs from pet shops wind up at the shelters also.  Why is one dog or cat more valuable than any other?  They all are living breathing creatures with feelings. 

Volunteering at my local shelter recently, I was very upset to hear the question raised by a small child who had come into the shelter for a tour with her Brownie troop.  When the tour was over the employee asked if there were any questions.  This little girl asked “How do you put them to sleep?”  Of all the possible questions to ask, why was that foremost in her mind?  Why are children told that these animals are “put to sleep” when the fact is that they are “KILLED?” 

Children are being taught that it is okay to kill animals by “putting them to sleep,” instead of raising them to be responsible adults that will respect the lives of these beautiful creatures.  I often see families come into the shelter to “get rid of” their cat or dog.  Some of the children are matter of fact about it.  Others are in such distress and are crying their little hearts out.  What are we teaching them? 

Why can’t people understand that when cats or dogs are brought to a shelter their whole personality may change?  The most loving cats or dogs can become aggressive or reclusive simply because they are scared.   People should just imagine themselves in the same position as these displaced, frightened cats and dogs.  I’m sure if they would think about how it feels they would realize that cats and dogs have feelings too, but that they may express themselves differently.  They all are unique and have their own personalities. 

I will never know the answers to these questions.  I just wish that we would no longer accept KILLING as a means of PET OVERPOPULATION CONTROL.  Please, spay and neuter your pets, and show them the respect they deserve.  Don’t dump them like garbage……PLEASE.





As a volunteer helping homeless animals in the shelter and in the community, I often hear from other people how they could not do what I do because they have “too much heart.”  I wonder why they think that I do it, and why they think that my heart must be harder than theirs.  I volunteer because the sadness in my heart prevents me from ignoring the needs of society’s forgotten pets.

I know that I have made a huge difference in the lives of so many animals that society has deemed disposable, but many more desperately need help to save their very lives.  This ongoing battle will never be won if the people with TOO MUCH HEART don’t get involved in some way.  They are the only ones who can make a real difference in the lives of unwanted pets.  If they truly do have the heart, and I believe that they do, then they must act because no one else is going to do it.

Five years ago, I had great conviction but had taken little action on my concern for homeless and abandoned cats and dogs.  I started my journey as someone who didn’t know the magnitude of the problem but wanted to do something to help.  I truly believed that people loved their pets FOREVER.  I was astonished that someone could relinquish their pet because they were MOVING, or having a baby, or simply for convenience sake.  Pets are part of our families, and depend on us like children.  How can they be relinquished so casually? 

I moved here from New Jersey and it never entered my mind to “GET RID OF” my pets.  They were, are, and always will be, members of my family.  Having felt such heartbreak when a pet died in my arms, I couldn’t understand how someone could give their pet up.  I did everything I could to keep my little one in my life but, unfortunately, it was not meant to be.  She was taken away from me despite my best efforts to keep her close. 

I would often say to my husband “I just don’t understand how people can give up their pets,” and he said that I never would because I didn’t think that way.  I will never comprehend why people think it is okay to “GET RID OF” their pets as easily as an old pair of shoes.  Unfortunately, pets are considered property and, like any property, some people take very good care of their things and then there are the ones that don’t. 

The ways people dispose of their pets is as varied as the reasons they give.  Why would someone think it is okay to throw an innocent kitty out of a moving car, injuring him so severely that his leg needed to be amputated?  I have had that wonderful cat in my life for over three years and when I look at him with his three legs, I ask “what could you have done to be thrown out of a car?”  There is no way on earth that someone can justify this atrocity.  This is a wonderful, sweet kitty, who still had boundless love to give even after such a horrendous treatment.  I don’t see him as a three legged cat; he is a perfect cat with no disability at all.  He loves and is loved, and that is all that matters. 

Why would anyone throw away a “nice cat” after 13 years because he started urinating a lot and drinking a lot of water?  Why didn’t they take him to a vet where diagnosis was easy and treatment straight-forward?  Even if they couldn’t afford his treatment, how could they leave him at a shelter to spend his last days in a cage after 13 years?  They couldn’t know that there would be a volunteer who had just lost a beloved kitty after 18 years, and could not get his big green eyes out of her mind?  Three years later, this kitty is on insulin twice a day and has truly blossomed.  He is loved more than he probably ever was in the 13 years before he came into my life.   Unfortunately, I probably won’t have him for too much longer and that saddens me because I can’t imagine my life without him. 

This is not the fate of all of the kitties that have been thrown in a shelter after so many years.  They always seem to think that their pets are cute enough, or unusual enough, or sweet enough, or special enough in some way that they will be lucky enough to find a home.  However, if those pets aren’t good enough for those people to keep, how can they delude themselves into thinking those pets are good enough for someone else?

I also wonder how some people come into a shelter and think that it is okay to kill one type of cat or dog but can’t comprehend why anyone would “GET RID OF” a certain breed or look?  Why are some pets considered disposable simply because they don’t have a pedigree?  Are these people so perfect?  Do they have a pedigree?   

All of my beloved pets started out as throw-aways.  It started 20 years ago when my husband and daughter found a cat that turned out to be a pregnant stray.  My love of animals started with that kitty and has just grown with every passing year.  She gave birth to three kittens; all were special but one turned out to be the “LOVE OF MY LIFE.”  They are all gone now, but many lives have been saved and will continue to be saved because of what they gave to me. 

Please help all of the disposable pets in our society.  Too many innocent lives are thrown away every day through no fault of their own.  It is because of HUMAN FAILURE.  There are many, many nice Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chows, Labrador Retrievers, Shih Tzus, Maltese, Beagles, Poodles, Shepherds, and “mutts.”  There are loads of beautiful Persians, Siamese, Calicos, Maine Coons, and the famous “Alley Cats”.  There have even been Chinese Crested dogs in our shelters!  They may have papers, but they mean nothing when they enter a shelter.  Ask yourself, why is there a need for Breed Rescue groups?   Obviously, they are just as disposable as any others.   

I pity anyone who has not known the unconditional love of a pet.  It is their loss.  If you truly do love animals, please, please help in this fight.  There are too many healthy, loving pets lost every day because people don’t want to know or don’t want to get involved.  Just because you don’t acknowledge something doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.  You can close your eyes to it, but it doesn’t stop innocent animals from dying every day.  Please open your eyes and your heart and help to stop this senseless killing.  Killing is not the answer and we cannot accept it as a way of controlling animal overpopulation. 

Spaying and neutering is one answer.  Another is to make pet adoption a LIFETIME commitment.  Open your eyes and your heart, and help STOP THE KILLING……PLEASE!!!!



I go to the shelter every day with butterflies in my stomach.  It never gets any easier.  I don’t know who will still be there and who will be gone.  They were there when I left the night before.  Did they go to LOVING, LIFETIME homes or have they gotten sick and been killed because of human failure?  Has the shelter run out of space?  Did they have to eliminate some to make room for all of the others waiting for their chance to find someone to love them FOREVER?  

Every time they leave with someone I hope that I will never see them again except in a photo in their new FOREVER home.   I never know who will be returned after being adopted into what I hoped would be a LOVING, LIFETIME home.  Did people take them home and decide it just wasn’t working because they did not completely adjust in a day or two?  Or did people “buy” them like inanimate objects to be disposed of for the most superficial of reasons?   Were they not “perfect?”  Is there any such thing as perfect?  Are these people perfect? 

I look at beautiful, innocent faces looking back at me just wanting love and attention.  They are such innocent creatures who have done nothing worse than simply being born.  Why are they there?????  What sin could they have committed to end up in cages like common criminals? 

They are there because people do not value them.  They are there because humans decided they wanted them at one moment for whatever reason, and then decided they no longer had any use for them.  They are there because someone moved on in life and left the “things” they did not want behind.   Or because someone committed a crime and their pet is the one given a life or death sentence. 

They are there because people who are ignorant, or stupid, or don’t respect themselves, do not see the value of these beautiful creatures.  They consider them purposeless and unworthy of respect, simply property to be discarded like yesterday’s trash. 

Why are these precious ones created, only to be cast aside?  They are non-judgmental, loving balls of fur.  They don’t care what you wear or what you look like.  They just want to love and be loved.  What more could anyone want in life?  If only we could change places with any one of them for just one day.  Perhaps we would learn to understand them.  We might realize that they value their lives as much as we value ours.  We might learn that every living thing has its place on earth.  We might find that if only we were a little more like “animals,” then perhaps we would have a more “perfect” world.  If only….

I do this work to honor all of the beautiful cats and dogs who have never found their LOVING, LIFETIME homes.  It is my hope that you are all in a better place and we will all be together again.


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