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Dear unrelenting rain: please stop.


Clockwise from left: the handle of our spade, which was (I thought) protected under the overhang of the shed, the fruit of our since-euthanized botrytis (gray mold) plagued tomato plants, fungus on the feet of our two year old Adirondac chairs on the patio (note green algae spots on patio itself), black algae growing under the front porch, and what I assume is some other sort of blight.

Of course, there are some things that thrive under these sort of conditions…


Meet the Elephant Ear That Ate Hendersonville.

Tilting at windmills

About a month ago, when several of our favorite cats at the shelter were on thin ice because of overcrowding, I posted to Craigslist appealing to anyone who might be looking to adopt a cat, hoping it might result in even one cat getting a home that might not have otherwise. I don’t know if it did or not, but it did result in my getting the following email the next day:

I’m not trying to be rude but the reason you have such a hard time as well as other shelters is because you charge a lot for the animal. I’ve been there many times and seen a lot of animals i would love to take home but they are expensive. Most people get their pets for cheap or free thats why nobody buys from you. I agree that they need homes but if you care about them getting a home your wouldn’t be trying to get rich off selling them. Sorry but the truth hurts. With the economy the way it is and it getting worse your gonna have to give them away or sell them really cheap or your gonna spend more money putting them to sleep which i think is cruel.

I got really, really pissed off, then decided to wait to reply until I could do so rationally. Cussing someone out who attacks you out of misconceptions they have just slams the door on actually addressing those misconceptions. So I waited. A month passed. This morning I sent the person this response:

I let this email sit for nearly a month because I didn’t want to reply in anger. I don’t know if it will do any good to reply at all, since you seem to have your mind made up based on some misconceptions you have, but just in case I am wrong about that, here goes…

First off, I don’t work for the shelter. I am a volunteer there and do not represent the shelter. I occasionally post to Craigslist trying to help animals that just aren’t finding homes, as I did in this case.

I agree that economic times are hard but the shelters certainly are not trying to “get rich” with adoption fees. Actually, at least in the case of Henderson County, none of the money actually goes to the shelter. Take for instance the highest adoption fee, for a female dog that was previously unspayed with no known vaccination history; the fee is $90:

* $50 is paid to the Humane Alliance (and if you think THEY are profiting from this, try calling around for vet quotes on what it really costs to spay a dog)
* $8 is for the 1 year rabies vaccine, required by NC law
* $10 is for the microchip to identify the dog if she ever is lost
* $12 is for the other vaccinations given at the shelter, a combo vaccine with distemper, parvo, etc. and a bordetella shot. Any other treatments or dewormings the dog may have had while at the shelter are not charged for.
* $10 – This is the actual adoption fee. The money goes to a county administrative fund, not to the shelter itself. And any donations that come in go to the county low income spay/neuter program. THERE IS NO ‘PROFIT’

With puppies and kittens too young to be spayed or neutered, there’s a $100 deposit, which is promptly refunded as soon as proof of surgery is given. This was necessary because some people were not getting the animals fixed otherwise.

You might not have been aware of this, but if some of the above things have already been done, the adoption fee goes down accordingly. Several times recently, someone adopted a dog or a cat but then surrendered them back to the shelter for some reason. These animals can be adopted for as little as $10 depending on if the vaccines are still current, etc. Other times, a volunteer has sponsored the animal they’ve become personally attached to by contributing towards their adoption fee or paying for their surgery. I’ve done this myself a few times. If you ask at the shelter, the staff can tell you what animals have lower fees…

The ‘free’ dog someone gets from the local paper or wherever is often going to cost way more than $90 if they are responsible and have them neutered and properly vaccinated – and if someone doesn’t do these things, shame on them – they are part of the problem. If someone can’t afford an adoption fee, how do they plan to pay for it if the animal gets sick, or has some other emergency? Yeah, that sounds harsh, but if someone can’t afford basic veterinary care they shouldn’t have pets. I am saying this as someone who is still in debt, paying off thousands of dollars of vet bills ran up on credit cards several years back when several animals all had health emergencies at once, so I do understand how hard it can be.

The shelter is understaffed, overworked, and it’s an unimaginably difficult job, both emotionally and physically. It would break me, and I have nothing but respect for those who stick it out, and have the courage to do what most of us don’t, because they love animals and are trying to make things better in this county. You wrote your email thinking you were writing to a shelter employee, which as it turns out, you weren’t. Please have some compassion and *think* before you write next time — imagine spending nine or ten hours busting your butt cleaning cages, taking care of animals, dealing with people dropping off animal after animal (some for legitimate reasons, some not so legitimate) dealing with the abused and abandoned ones the officers bring in, and at the end of some days, and having to put dozens of them down because the shelter is full… then coming home to have some stranger who doesn’t have all the facts crap all you them in an email. That is what I think is cruel.

I probably just wasted an hour I could have spent at the shelter with the animals, which is where I am headed now. But maybe she really never thought about where those fees really go? Or maybe other people who think the same way will read this and learn from it?

We were out of Cheerios, so I had some Gloom-ios for breakfast today

After spending most of my early AM hours following my usual blogs, news sites, and feeds, I decided to look for the lyrics to “Aenema” by Tool to add a few lines to my quotes page. Then I wondered if it would be a copyright violation to add the entire song because it just so fits how I feel about the world in general. Then I decided maybe I need to shut down the computer and spend some time outside with the birds and plants and trees, since the Internet is definitely not improving my disposition this morning 🙂

So I am off to garden a bit (and fling slugs) then spend some time volunteering at the shelter, and maybe after Joy gets off work we can sit out on the patio, watch the hummingbirds at the feeder and not think about oil slicks, wars, ecological destruction, the economy, genetic engineering, the decline of our culture, corruption, greed, corporatocracy, and things like that for just a few hours.

But here are the lyrics anyway*… 😉 Just substitute “modern society” for LA.

*I looked it up and you really can be sued for quoting material like this. I removed the quoted stuff, and the lyrics can be found on the lyrics page on Tool’s official site

Thought of the day

I think that all public restroom stalls should be wired with speakers and sensors that detect an occupant using a cell phone.  Then, when some obnoxious jerk is carrying on a loud conversation while, uh, ‘taking care of business,’ the speakers should blast the audio from the toilet scene of Dumb and Dumber.

Link: America’s love affair with the car more of a forced marriage?

No Impact Man has a good post, which includes the above-mentioned article as well as some other observations. There is a lot of good discussion in the comments as well. We’d heard about the GM antitrust prosecution before, in The End of Suburbia. GM was also responsible for killing the EV-1 electric car.  The auto industry has blocked the implementation of emissions and fuel economy regulation, resisted any attempt at regulation, seemingly deliberately stalled on developing alternative fuel vehicles, and of course lets not forget GM gave us the Hummer. And now they want a handout. If it wasn’t for the sheer number of people who would be jobless if the automakers folded, I would say let them rot; as it is I am not sure what the best solution would be. A no-questions-asked handout to bail out their sorry asses is NOT it.