Key page to help you connect the dots...

Monday, October 31, 2011

A small town American festival ala Hamlet, NC...

Seaboard Festival - October 29, 2011

First off, I'm blowing off the dust from this blog and in doing so, I'm going to knock the cobwebs off of All Aboard Hamlet, too by cross posting.  True, that's something, I don't often do.  Yet, it is fitting in this case.  Since I've had a few readers of both blogs contact me wondering what I've been up to this will take care of both spots simultaneously. 

Without getting overly verbose, suffice it say, due to a fairly serious eye injury which occurred on June 4, 2011, I had to step away from photo taking and blogging for a bit.  Make that an extended bit.  Which means my "Project Rewire" rehabbing/therapy efforts took an extended hiatus, too!

On my end, it's been yet another thing to push through daily since the cornea in my viewfinder eye found itself dead center in the way of a wayward tomato stake.   Long story short, I was as close as a person could get to a corneal implant without having to get one.  That close means the healing has been slow going.  But, steady and progressing on schedule.  Thank God!  What a blessing!  It's not been pleasant.  And it has been  challenging and painful at times.  Still is.  But, the what ifs are much much worse and has helped me keep it all in perspective.   I've tried off and on to take photos during my view finder eye's healing process.  However, it honestly hurt like the dickens, and taxed my other eye which has been in an uncomfortable perpetual state of strain since the injury.  Consequently, I've been forced to take it S-L-O-W.  Not push it.   In fact, I even had a new Canon point 'n shoot camera arrive a few days before the injury, that still sits untried out.  Hopefully, it won't for much longer.  

Anyway, what better day to test the waters again, so to speak; pull out my trusty "Brownie" as a dear friend of mine calls it, than Hamlet's Annual Seaboard Festival. I'm still having issues focusing as clearly as I could before, but I found I could actually see through the viewfinder again.  Which is HUGE!

For vendors, locals and visitors along Main Street, Hamlet, and for those of us who had to work during the festival all know, the day began windy, damp, drizzly, and chilly. It would have been the perfect Saturday to hide under the covers since we've yet again gone from Indian Summer like weather in the Sandhills of NC, to oh baby, it is brrrrr-isk outside! Fortunately, the sun finally broke through early afternoon, yet the chill of the wind continued throughout the day.

My husband and I, along with other Board Members and Volunteers of the Hamlet Historic Depot & Museum were lucky in that we got to work inside our beautiful main museum building, which is the former Seaboard Airline Passenger Station, built in 1900, mind you.  Or, our Tornado Building.  Home to the full scale 1892 reproduction of the 1839 Tornado Steam Engine.

The heat wasn't on in either building, but compared to outside our digs and gigs couldn't be beaten. All in all, although our visitor numbers were off from last year (understandably) we had a steady stream of guests to welcome and greet throughout the day. Not one complaint was heard by anyone.  And we met some of the nicest folks who had returned to Hamlet for Hamlet High School's 50+ year reunion.  I'll never tell how many years!  But, for folks 75 years old, they didn't look a day over 50!  ;-)

I worked from 9:00 a.m. until after 5:00 p.m. with only a short break late in afternoon, so I decided to try my viewfinder eye inside upstairs to see if I could capture a few decent shots through a couple our very dense glass windows.  They're in an area upstairs called "Newton's Nook", even though "no relation", the view from those two windows are the best in the house for a bird's eye view of the happenings up and down Main Street, Hamlet, NC.  

I was surprised to capture a few decent shots with no reflection and only slight aberrations, that appear as if a soft focus effect has gone a little haywire.  But, not enough to trash the photos over, thankfully. Meaning, definitely okay enough to post here and share with a few others as a remembrance of the day.  Anyway, everyone who really knows me, knows I don't claim to be a photographer, or even an amateur photographer.  I'm just a gal who takes pictures to help rewire her brain and I'm *all* about seeing beauty in the imperfections anyway.  And folks in this case that means, I was literally blind in that eye for several weeks and now... I can see!  Plus, I blog for rehab reasons anyway, why not add my endeavors to take decent photos again to it.   If I continue to be unable to focus like I used to, well, I shall figure out a way to work that problem out. 

Just a few simple shots to share of a small town American festival ala Hamlet, NC and mark my return to my "Brownie" and my blogs...

By the way, the Hayden Construction sign is in front of what was once the Historic Landmark Stinson Building, which is being given new life as the Hamlet Visitor's Center and as another annex to the Hamlet Historic Depot & Museum Complex.  Obviously, the contract for the rehabilitation was given to Hayden Construction.  It will be home to exhibits featuring Hamlet artifacts and memorabilia.  So, stay tuned to All Aboard Hamlet.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A secret revealed... one of my photos is appearing on a new Oprah Winfrey Network show!!!


                                                 Small Town America ~ Main Street Hamlet, NC style! 

I can *finally* let the cat out of the bag about my pretty little photo above.  It's part of the open for a brand spanking new reality show just now premiering on the Oprah Winfrey Network called Carson Nation.  The premise of the show is that Carson Kressley travels around the USA to give make overs to very deserving individuals.  Talk about a heart warming and wonderful thing! 

Anyway... my pretty little photo was discovered on this very blog by a designer with the Farmer-Brown Production Company in Los Angeles sometime back in February of this year.  They wrote to me on Valentine's Day to see if I was interested in allowing them to use it for a new show which would soon be appearing on the OWN.  The subject line in their email simply said, "Beautiful photo".  This immediately caused me to scratch my head and wonder which photo?  Which blog?  Was it here on Project Rewire?  Or, on All Aboard Hamlet?  Both contain a volume of what I call my therapeutic photography?  Being such a shutterbug, I actually had to ask for a link to the photo.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was from All Aboard Hamlet and that it was easy to understand why they thought it would "look perfect representing the type of small town America that Carson visits".

As one who believes in promoting Hamlet any way I can, it's not an opportunity I would turn down.  So, of course, I said, "yes, absolutely"!  How could I not agree?  I also made sure to run it by Hamlet City Manager, Marchell Adams-David, to see if she would be on board with the idea of a glimpse of Main Street Hamlet appearing on the OWN.  And she had no hesitation, nor reservation whatsoever.  Admittedly, I was a wee bit concerned about the scaffolding appearing in the image beside the Lackey Building.  Scaffolding that was ironically used during the historic building's extensive exterior restoration aka make over to bring it back to its original beauty of yesteryear.  In fact, it was actually the shot I took to mark the ending of the project as I'd followed the progress from start to finish.  Even though I knew it could be easily edited out, it was nice to know the photo appealed to them in spite of it.  As I've had people with critical eyes point the scaffolding ouot to me, as if I wasn't aware it was there.  No, it was not a faux pas.  I'm very deliberate about what I shoot.  It's all part of the way I use photography as a rehab tool.  Always.  And evidently, as well as thankfully, not everyone is looking for the perfect photo edited picture.

This whole thing is kind of ironic and amazing to me all at the same time, when thinking about Hamlet.  Since it's been going through a very needed and much deserved make over of its own.  It's not done yet, but it's getting there, slowly, but surely.  The fact that a designer out in LA stumbled across one of my blogs and discovered just how perfectly my pretty little Main Street Hamlet photo represents small town America is nothing short of a miracle to me.   Other than post my All Aboard Hamlet blog entries on Facebook and email them to a handful of locals, I don't really promote it.  So, the happenstance has made the experience especially remarkable to me.  Add the fact that someone with a keen eye at the Farmer-Brown Production Company saw, what I see when I look down Main Street Hamlet from the Hamlet Historic Depot & Museum brings me much joy.  Yet, it doesn't surprise me.  I've always felt that sometimes those of us from the outside can see more clearly than those of us on the inside from the potential to the beauty... to the beauty in the imperfections.  The latter of which is a constant theme in this blog.  

To say this whole experience has put a big smile on face is an understatement.  I'm beaming not because my photo was discovered, but because Main Street Hamlet will be seen every single time that show airs!  And maybe, just maybe others will see what I see and appreciate, too!

And just fyi... I gave them the rights to use the photo for free.  So before the rumor mill even gets a chance to begin no one needs to be thinking I made anything off of this.  It's a sowing good seeds thing for me.  As I commented a few times recently when to people who think I should be doing something they think I should be doing," hey, thanks, but I free lance for free at the things I want to do".  Things I believe God puts in my heart.  Most of which involve heartstring ties for me.  And by doing so, cool stuff like this happens out of the blue!

As for Mr. Carson Kressley, some of you may recognize him.  He's an Emmy award winner, celebrity stylist, fashion designer, show host and author.  His dream is to make over the world!   And with Oprah behind him, his dreams very well may come true!

Here's the sneak preview of show that aired on June 25th!

Since this ties to Project Rewire and in a way my own make over process since picking up a camera to help rewire my brain a few years ago, I've cross posted this news there, too!

Lastly, while I'm here on Project Rewire, I shared another secret on June 1st in my entry entitled "Who Wants to Know the Secret?" on All Aboard Hamlet.  It's another incidence of happenstance I didn't exactly fall into, but most assuredly God opened a door rather quickly, I walked right through it, knowing in my heart what it would lead to.  Since, I'm not one to steal someone else's thunder, I'll just beyond what I shared (so far) on All Aboard Hamlet in the link above, stay tuned. The North Carolina Weekend spot will be airing soon.  In fact, much sooner, than later.  Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming press release to be written by Kelli Easterling in the Richmond County Daily Journal.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011 marks 5 years you've been gone, Dad...

Sharing my special photo of you again with a little bit about the man you were and still are to all of us who miss you...  

The photo below is my dad gazing out the window onto
Lake Chubb, Chesapeake Beach,
Virginia Beach, VA.

Circa the summer of 1967 or 1968.

No edits, just a simple scan enlarged. 

Which is actually very appropriate for my dad. He didn't mince words, yet was very quiet most of the time.  But, not necessarily soft spoken.  He just talked loud simply because he was deaf in one ear.  He had a miraculous healing from an illness that almost killed him when he was only 40.  An illness so dangerous and devastating to his body, he required very rare brain surgery.  An infection so bad, he was in isolation, running fevers that would most likely kill someone else.  But, the Lord undertook and wove together a plan using a particular surgeon many states away.  The moment he heard about my dad, he was on his way!  This amazing surgeon traveled to "fix" my dad and he did it with prayers and the Lord guiding his hands.  He was the best one for the job, as he'd developed the incredible and much less invasive procedure.  My dad was written up in the American Medical Journal under "RH" for his unique story of survival.  So, he never ever complained about not being able to hear out of one ear.  He knew what odds he had beaten, yet spoke of it, the rare times he did, like it was a cold.  I could go on and on about how strong and how sensitive and, of course, stubborn he was up until the day he went home to be with the Lord, but perhaps one day down road, I'll pick up where this entry I've left off.

He was indeed larger than life. Each time he allowed himself to become close to another human being, or an animal, the receiver knew the special gift they'd received. I've heard it several times in reconnecting with people from my growing up years recently, as well as people who met and knew him during his later and last years of his life. As he accepted "you" your heart was enlarged.   He spoke so few words, I literally had friends at the beach during my teen years who would count the words he spoke to them on their fingers.  They never ran out of fingers.  They always ran a tally of Dad's "today's words".  

If you really wanted to have a conversation with him, your best bet was to call him on the phone.  He had phones in every room in the retirement home he shared with my mother.  Sometimes, two phones.  One for him and one for her.  He wanted to make sure my mother didn't have to try to make it to the phone, nor he, whenever my sister or I would call, or his granddaughter.  And if we needed help in any way, whatever it was, he would try to make it happen, or give advice. 

I Just adore this photo exactly the way it is,
as it was taken with my father's handy dandy Polaroid Camera.
One of several he had over the years.  I believe he had the very
first one ever made! 
Most definitely, this is my most favorite photo ever.
It's a shot that I've duped for special family members...
my mom, my sister, my niece and my cousin in NC.

My dad was a dad to many. Not just family, but friends of my sisters and to friends of mine. He was a father and best friend to my husband.  Beyond a parent and buddy.

He was a daddy and granddaddy to every pet I have ever had.

I called him "daddy"; my sisters called him Richard as did just everyone else who knew him.  The exceptions were my best friends who indeed called him Mr. Holland, and his work buddies called him by his nickname, Dick.  His grandchildren called him "granddaddy". Two grandsons carry his name, as do two great grandsons.

There are two copies of this photo in my home.
One I keep on my wonderful work table in my bedroom,
while the other is on a table in my living room.
Each time I look at this photo, I always say in my mind how much I'd love to be *not* in his head, nor in our beautiful beach house on the Chesapeake Bay where it was taken. But, in the exact spot where his eyes are gazing.

I look at this photo often...
It reminds me of the person I am...
My roots and I'm the last of my dad's line, so to speak...

My father was what one would call a "solitary" man.  As I shared above, truly he was a man of few words, but he showed how much he loved our family by working hard and by doing things for us. He was a hands on kind of a guy, yet a bit distant at the same time. Believe it or not, I'm kind of that way, too. I'm not a touchy feely huggy type of person, but if I can, I'll be there for my loved ones.

And, when I can't, it tears me up.

But, this isn't about me... it's about Dad.

If I could be one place on this earth again...
go back in time, I'd choose to be in that spot...
Right where his eyes are gazing...

He could be looking at anything.
We had a lovely lake behind our home, Chubb Lake.

There were ducks, geese, a pair of Swan, and a loner Swan we'd named Jake. He'd literally come knock on our patio door for bread.

We'd have Cranes and Herons visit the narrow sandy shore to the lake.  Also, Carp would jump out of the water, often.

And we'd get eeeeeky snakes.

It could be anything. 

Quite possibly one of our gorgeous Live Oak trees
all twisted by many many years and the weather.

One time when he was traveling out of the country two of my best friends and I (Buzzy and Zack) painted the little pier we'd built from scrap lumber the color of peach sherbet. My dad didn't say anything to me, but I bet he did to my mom.

Is he looking at the peach pier? Is it bothering him?

I've asked Mom about this photo and she says she believes he's mad. I honestly don't think so. I believe he's pondering or musing. He could be speculating or contemplating. Figuring something out.

Granted, he does look very serious. Most of the time he always wore a mustache and when he'd shave it off, he looked a bit different.

I think he'd just shaved his mustache off and was regretting it.
Well, it's possible. ;)

There are several questions I have all intentions of asking him when we meet again in Heaven.

The first will be what was on his mind in the photo???

The second will be who in the world snapped this photo???

My sister nor I can remember...
It could have been her...
It could have been me...
My mother never ever picked up a camera...

Or, did one of our relatives snap it during a visit to our home?

Knowing my dad, though, he very well could have had taken it himself with a timer.

He was one gadget loving man. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Peace. Tranquility. Harmony. All alive and well for PetFest @ Hinson Lake, Rockingham, NC

Peace, tranquility, and harmony may seem elusive at times, but they are always there for the taking.  It's important to seek and seize the opportunities.  Admittedly, that's something I forget to do at times, depending on what has my attention and/or focus.  This I say knowing fully well what captures my attention and focus can be all consuming.  That's a big problem I have, unless I temper it into an asset. 

As one who has been deemed by neuro expert brain mapper types as grossly non A.D.D. I have an understanding of the problems and the assets of an all consuming state of mind.  It can work for you.  It can work against you.  No one want's to hear they are grossly anything.  Fortunately, the connotation becomes tolerable in the knowing and understanding.  Once I got past the "grossly" part, it's helped me gain some insight into what makes me tick.  If you've never heard the term before, being grossly non A.D.D. means one fixates easily.  Add the fact, that I'm pretty darn sure I was that way before Epilepsy fully manifested in 2006.  I see now in looking back over my life at times mini fixations were actually absence seizure.  How enlightening it was to finally know that. 

Now, when and if my heart is tied to whatever "it" is, I give over to the fixation all the more.  During both of my careers, it was a great asset to a certain degree.  But, there is a danger sign out there, I've been known to push past.  It was always a good deal for my employers.  Yet, for me as an individual, in my last couple years working, it proved not to be the most wise thing I've ever done in my life.  I'm there now again and see the sign in my face.  Hence, part of the reason for this blog post.  I'm documenting the fact that I see the sign!  And, I'm going to take note that there is danger ahead for me physically.  If, I don't take heed.  Last time I didn't, it very much gave ground to a round of cluster seizures that lasted a full six weeks and changed my life possibly forever. 

Sometimes we literally have to make ourselves stop, look, and listen face forward and sit a spell.  Or, stand still blocking out everything except for what's before our eyes and being streamed into our auditory system.  Without taking such a breather, it's difficult to see we're possibly under our own spell.  A spell driven by our reactions, emotions, thoughts and feelings about the things in life that touch our hearts the most.  In doing so we can allow nature and its beauty to refocus our thoughts.  To completely quiet ourselves. we can't just go through motions half way.  Or, from any other angle than spend a few moments doing something healthy for ourselves.  To shut down the thoughts in the forefront of our minds, removing our attention from anything else doesn't take much work when you commit yourself to it.  It only takes a second or two, if we realize we're the ones that have the key to the such moments, so nature can do its thing.  True, those moments when spontaneous can be utterly spectacular.  Yet, only if we recognize those them for what they are.  The joy of such moments is unspeakable.  One example is below which is an aerial I shot from my husband's and my powered parachute.  It was an early morning flight on July 5, 2011 and the ground fog was breathtaking from the air over Hamlet, NC.  However, this particular shot captured what our eyes weren't able to grasp.  Spectacular became magnificent.  And together my husband and I still are basking in the memory of that flight.  It was that perfect. 

Those moments are rare, so, why not create some awesome joy filled moments, when they're there for the taking?  It can be a simple as looking up at the sky when the clouds are moving.  Or, watching a hummingbird in motion, or sitting on a tree limb in the mist of an irrigation system, like I did on Tuesday.  Who knows how long the effects will last when captured in your memory banks?  When you re-live special moments in your mind, your body has the ability to re-live the feeling again.  Why not put it to good use?  Then, give yourself credit for knowing you needed them, and your rose to the occasion for you?  

I believe these Canadian Geese understand it.  They chose to be still to enjoy their time together on a lovely Spring afternoon at Hinson Lake.  As they stood amidst the lily pads amongst many humans and dogs passing by they appeared to cherish their special time.  And this they did in spite of the sounds of the PetFest event and several families nearby simply visiting for the fishing.  They stood secure in the fresh Spring breeze and warm sunlight, rather than fly away, and miss their moment to refresh and rejuvenate themselves. 

Lessons we can learn from nature are numerous, if we only look for and capture them into our psyche.  If you're anything like me, the thoughts in the back of your mind, influence your "now" thought life, too.  All of the self chatter relevant to our nows, including our "what to do nexts", and our ongoing evaluation of ourselves.  Which basically, all involve our life in general and where the two meet within us in our minds.  Personally, the only way I've found on the planet that I can really block 99% of "it" out, is looking through a camera's view finder.  I can shut the world out for the most part.  Along with it the unique nuances that makes living life with my brain out, too.  I live for those face forward soak it up moments.  Yet, I neglect at times to prioritize them into my life.  

I've not been totally lost to what's held my attention for weeks on end now, but it's almost like everything else has been from a distance.  I can hear the birds singing in the background as I've networked, and look at them through my kitchen window.  I have seen the blue skies and fluffies through a skylight in the next room.  I have peeked out through my bedroom window to catch the sun on the rise in the mornings.  And through my kitchen or living room window as it sets in the evenings.  However, I've not spent much time the past few weeks demonstrating any elation over Spring's arrival.  Nor, documenting it.

My non-professional, non-amateur, just me taking photos my way thing and processing them, is a key element to Project Rewire, just as much as writing is.  It has been back burnered deliberately, but the two need to go together to be the most effective, which is one of the reasons, I blog.  All work together as a form of rehab therapy to create new connections, and re-route neuro transmitters in areas in my brain that are either, damaged due to lesions, or mis-fire.

Aside from the fact it is so contrary to what I believe about what's healthy for me, personally, it's important not to miss Spring!  Spring is a change of the seasons I look forward to every year.   And not capturing the first signs of Spring here at home, or at any of my favorite places in Richmond County, such as the Hamlet Depot area.  Well, it's almost unforgivable.  I can't go back and take photos of Spring's arrival to share here, or on All Aboard Hamlet.  All I can do is pick up now, and not forget to take time to use the techniques God gave me to keep the rewiring project ongoing.  And me, more human.  Taking time to stop to find and absorb the peace, tranquility and harmony offered by nature compliments of our Father above, is a big part of it.

Spring gives the three an opportunity to be seized a little easier.  All many of us need to do is open our eyes to view the sights around us.  Spring in its splendor of colorful new beginnings, and dormant coming to life again can be seen everywhere in my backyard.  Both literally and in my regional back yard.

For both my husband and I due to issues with me, my mother and our household of rescues, it's important to discover and enjoy those nearby places that really show the seasons off.  The little hop, skip and jump spots from our home that offer a venue for a few moments of solitude for me with my camera as we wander within my husband's watchful eye.

Hinson Lake in Rockingham, is one of those places for us.  It's a beautiful little scenic secret we small town America dwellers in Richmond County are blessed to have.  This past Sunday Richmond County Humane Society held their PetFest food drive/spay neuter awareness event there.  Thankfully, they had the forethought to watch the weather and reschedule the event from Saturday to Sunday.  The Richmond County Daily Journal did a bang up job getting the word out about the change, and to further promote the event.  From the numbers of humans and dogs participating, it appeared to be a very successful event.  It was our first PetFest, and I couldn't be more pleased with how wonderfully organized the event was.  Happy faces were everywhere and no one was in a hurry.  Dogs of all sizes.  From the tiniest fit in one hand Chiuaua to a perfectly behaved Mastiff .  We were surrounded in harmony and it felt good.

Rather than take photos of the event, since it had been before March 4, 2011 (The day the news broke about the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter Atrocities) I focused myself and my camera toward peaceful, tranquil and harmonious sights.  Thanks PetFest for giving my husband, myself, and Roxy that welcomed opportunity to take a break, and to support the shelter animals at the same time.


To those of you who read this entry, seek peace, tranquility and harmony where ever you can find it.  When you find those places and moments, savor them, because they'll give you memories to fall back on when you need a break.  When you remember a moment, your body, mind and spirit has the ability to re-live that moment.  It can help settle you in stressful times, as well, as renew yourself with positive energy.

I leave you with just a few of my welcomed moments of peace, tranquility and harmony ala Hinson Lake, Rockingham, NC

I learned something from these two on Sunday afternoon.  Being still is not a problem of mine.  But, being still completely in the moment, is definitely something I need to work on regardless of my surroundings, or what's happening in my world, or in the world, it's a must. These are stressful times across the world.  Challenges are everywhere.  Horrific events are happening worldwide and have been forever.  As caring humans we can't help but feel it.  As caring humans beings we can't help but want to help.  But, it's like with those of us in canine rescue, we can't rescue them all, and we know it.  It hurts.  It sucks.  But, together one by one we can make a difference and save lives, in order to give new lives to deserving dogs.  We can't help everything, every cause and everyone, but we can make difference in "our world' and in our "backyards".  Because a day will come when our backyard is the world. 

My wishes and prayers for all who read this entry...




Sunday, April 17, 2011

I will pick up Project Rewire again very soon...

If you scroll to my my last post "here", you will see it was on March 15th.  Instead of continuing on with my ongoing efforts to fight for the Chesterfield 22+ here, I created a new blog called Watchdogging for Justice that's for the cause.  Since Project Rewire is where I share my personal life experiences in living with Epilepsy.

If you're an animal lover, or have a heart for animals, please join me there and add your follow.  Although its being circulated around the U.S. most of the comments I receive are behind the scenes.  There are people in or nearby Chesterfield who are hesitant to follow publicly.  It's a little distressing, but I understand.

Here's the actual header image.  To learn more about it's meaning, please visit by clicking the link below the muddy paw print:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's Adopt the Internet Day! Featuring Paws and Claws Animal Rescue, Chesterfield, SC...

Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day

In honor of's 15th birthday they've asked people everywhere today to pledge and spread the word about adoptable pets across the internet via blogs, websites, Facebook and Twitter (#adopttheinternet).  I'll be doing doing my part through this blog entry; my Facebook and through one of my English Springer Spaniel rescue's very own Twitter account @SydneySpringer.

But, this entry isn't about the dogs I've rescued.  It's about the 323,403 pets currently available through 13,422 adoption groups that are in need of forever homes on  Just click ---> Adopt the Internet Day to find out how you can join in, too!

However, instead of replacing my Facebook profile photo with one from the Adopt-the-Internet All-Stars-gallery, as they've requested, the preceeding link will get you there.  That way, you can see the faces of all 415 of the hope to be your forever pet listed.

I can't help but follow my heart in this blog entry, in view of the recent inhumanely shootings aka executions of a yet to be determined number of dogs on March 4, 2011.  And, a yet to be determined number of dogs and cats prior to March 4, 2011 allegedly by the hands of Chesterfield County, SC Animal Control Officers.  I believe that it's important to take this unique opportunity to not only promote Adopt the Internet Day, but to also help create much deserved awareness for a very special rescue group -- the heart of the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter.  So, I'm featuring Paws and Claws Animal Rescue of Chesterfield, SC.  Their website is through, so I'm hoping they'll deem it appropriate for me to twist their instructions a bit.  :)

This is for several reasons.  The Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter is a *HIGH KILL* shelter, like many of the shelters on  What makes them different?  As I mentioned above, on March 4, 2011 what is suspected to be possibly 22 dogs were shot senselessly, needlessly and inhumanely by Chesterfield County, SC Animal Control Officers.  These officers are responsible for the care and welfare of the animals in the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter.  To learn more about the killing field executions of these precious dogs please feel free to read the story via my blog entries beginning with the following:

Exposing the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter ... and the killing field ... 

Now, rather than feature one of the needy pets from's Adopt-the-Internet All-Stars-gallery, the need is so dire at the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter, I'm showing off a Terrier/American Bull Dog mix puppy named, Candy.

Candy, along with many other "survivors" at this shelter need intervention immediately.  The need there is so desperate, and of course, due to the recent shooting incidents, Paws and Claws needs all of the help they can get in finding the dogs and cats at the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter forever homes.  If you can't adopt, please consider making a donation through their paypal account link on their website.  Or, sponsoring a dog or cat today! 

On the web:

Paws and Claws Animal Rescue, Chesterfield, SC

On Facebook:  

Where Hope Lives - Paws n Claws

As a rescue volunteer for another organization.  As someone who has pulled dogs from this shelter.  And as momma to Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter rescues, trust me when I say...

Paws and Claws is indeed the place "Where Hope Lives" for these animals!  But, it begins with you and me!

To those of you following the "story" mentioned above.  Hopefully, there will be some updates soon.  Our outcries are being heard loud and clearly by Governor Nikki Haley.  She was at a town hall meeting in Rockhill, SC last evening and when questioned regarding the investigation, she made it clear that the investigation will NOT be an internal investigation.  See the Fox News Channel 14 below for further details.  What we need to make clear in our future emails is that there was time for evidence to be tampered with and/or destroyed during the time the Chesterfield County, SC Sheriff's Department Deputies were handling the investigation on behalf of Sheriff Parker.  Truly, this is just the beginning, so please continue to let your voices be heard.

Governor Nikki Haley Waits For Outcome Of Chesterfield Co. Animal Shelter Investigation

Thank you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Exposing the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter... and further exposing the killing field

The Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter execution of 22+ dogs has been a great deal to digest and absorb since the story first broke last Friday, March 4th.  Personally, time has flown by because I've been working behind the scenes to network every avenue at my disposal to bring awareness to this case.  However, I have felt every single second of it, as my heart continues to break over and over again.

I am only one little voice among many many others who are supporting the Paws and Claws volunteers at the shelter.  Our hearts are all entwined together made up of rescue workers like me, who have pulled dogs and/or cats from this shelter, along with others who have adopted pets from this shelter.  We also count among us various animal advocate entities, and animal lovers whose love and concern has no boundaries, nor borders.  

Our hearts have been assaulted over and over again each time more news breaks.  But, our common bond is helping us push the through the hurt -- just knowing we're a community working from our various communities.  In the midst of what has become our status quo angst, we are very focused and are doing our best to allow our anger to drive us positively  forward.  We are choosing to take the high road in our actions and words.  Why?  It's quite simple.  We need to be taken seriously collectively.  And not be seen as yahoos, or part of a good ole boy network like the Chesterfield County, SC Sheriff's Department and Animal Control Officers have appeared to be.  It's important that although our angst is driving us, that we keep it tempered and not be seen or judged as barbaric like they have.  It's key that we not make a difficult uphill battle, more difficult by behaving like the animals that pulled the triggers.

Our method is working because other animal lovers and advocates from across our nation have taken up this cause and are joining in our outcry.  Additionally, voices from across the oceans to the east and west beyond the borders of the U.S. are adding theirs to ours, and standing firm with us.  

The news media is truly doing a fine job reporting this story and updating it daily.  The most revealing update by far was on Fox News 14 - Charlotte at 10:00 p.m. last night by Morgan Fogarty.  She is digging in deep with her investigative reporting.  She had an exclusive which exposed what too many of us had already suspected.  The sad fact is that the execution style "euthanasias" have been going on for God only knows how long.  Watch via the link below to see for yourself.  There are no graphic images as side from the paw prints in the mud again.  What you will read and hear will be tough to digest.  But, it is essential that you watch as it contains critical information that needs to be exposed and circulated immediately.  My commentary will appear in italics below the link:

Former Chesterfield County Animal Shelter Worker Speaks Out 

Again, Sheriff Parker is playing the victim, in my opinion.  Again, Sheriff Parker is trying to cover numerous tracks about the animal remains in the Chesterfield County, SC Sheriff's Department Firing Range aka landfill by calling it a "PET CEMETERY"?  You have got to be kidding, Sheriff!  But, you aren't!  Please keep opening your mouth wide to the press and putting your foot into as you try to manipulate the story.  Do you not see that you are hanging yourself, your department and everyone attached to your department from your Deputies to your Animal Control Officers?  Do you not see that your behavior is reflecting upon the citizens who put you in office?  Or, you don't.  You're above law and being brutalized by public opinion. 

Plus, you keep saying that your Deputies found only 6 dogs in that landfill.  Have you deemed 6 dogs to be the acceptable limit?  There is NO acceptable limit.  6 is NOT okay.  1 is NOT okay.  And certainly, what I've called a killing field since the story broke with countless remains is NOT okay! 

But, please continue to down play it!  Because it will bite you in the butt and in your career as a sworn to protect and serve with a code of conduct, law enforcement officer.

My question to you, Mr. Sheriff is how much spent ammo will be found in that landfill "pet cemetery" killing field?  Will you tell us that's where the spent rounds are tossed after your Deputies practice or perform their annual qualifications?  My guess, that very well could be another line of defense you'll say on camera at some point. 

I do have to thank you and those who pulled the triggers for not covering up those paw prints in the mud.  They are like shrines to me, much like the Imperial Foods fire in Hamlet, NC on September 3, 1991.  One of the doors which was locked is now in the Smiththonian because it bears the footprints of trapped employees who tried in vain to escape by kicking the padlocked emergency fire door down. It's an example of man's inhumanity to humans.  Those paw prints in the Chesterfield County owned mud, are right up as an example of man's inhumanity to animals.  Not just animals, domestic animals.  Animals who needed a second chance to be loved and adopted.

I was so elated to see that the Department of Health and Environmental Control designated the landfill where the shelter animals were buried, dumped, and bull dozed as an un-permitted site.  And will not be allowed.  The Sheriff indicated by April, or May that should change?  What?

Readers, while you're at it, you should take a moment to learn a bit about the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter Director, Brian Burch.  As you watch and read, ask yourself, how in the heck did he get the job as the Director, much less, an Animal Control Officer with his criminal background?  To me, that's a crime!  Again my commentary will appear in italics below the link.

Again from Fox News 14:

Learning More About Chesterfield Co. Animal Shelter Employees

Either Chesterfield County, SC as a government entity doesn't have any strict employment standards regarding hiring folks with a felony record.  Or, someone just conveniently chose to look the other way.  Did politics play a role in his hiring and being given the Director's title?  It surely smacks of it.  Because of his past, is he someone in a good ole boy network that could be easily trusted to keep his mouth shut?  The truth of the matter is, in such networks, it's always beneficial to have something on someone.  It helps keep the little dirty secrets, secret.  Could he be trusted to lead by example discreetly in carrying out inhumane acts against the animals in his care, such as herding them across the street to the Chesterfield County, SC Sheriff's Department Firing Range for execution, rather than more humanely by injection?  It's appearing as if he was.  Were these heinous acts carried out for budgetary reasons?  Or, target practice for hunting season?   Everything rises and falls on leadership, regardless of the level, the ones in charge always are responsible.  And you are one, sir, that never should have been in charge, much less carry a weapon!

I could add more links, but the two above are enough for now.  As much as I want not a single detail to be lost, I'm sensitive in the breaking hearts and grief this ongoing story causing those you who are following this case via Project Rewire.

Where am I with all of this?  I'm still floating between heart sick and righteous anger, but I'm trying my best to channel it through positive methods.  The image in my mind that will not go away as I shared before, are the paw prints in the mud, that have forever left paw prints on my heart.  The thought of 88 paws was difficult enough, but now the numbers are too numerous to even guess the totals.  My heart feels stampeded upon inside out by the images and muddy paw imprints of those poor precious animals while trying to dodge the bullets being aimed straight at them.  

I'm also remembering sweet sweet Molly the day pulled her and it's tearing me up.   

As I shared in my initial post about this massacre, she could not get out of there fast enough.  She literally drug my husband to our car, and as I mentioned before, she barked her head off for the next 50 miles on our way to get her vetted.  Now, I know what she was trying to tell us.  She knew what they did there.  Dogs do have keen senses and her nose had already told her the story of the killing of field across the street from the shelter.  I'm so thankful to ESRA for requesting that my husband and I pull her.  She was old and had been described as difficult, which means very likely she would have been written off as a senior too difficult to place in a forever home.  Were her days numbered?  My heart tells me they were and now I know why the inmate was so relieved that we'd come to her rescue.  I'm also beyond grateful that she was given a loving foster home to live out her final days.  God bless you, Molly... my heart still isn't over the loss of you.  But, I'm beyond grateful that you were able to enjoy your life before your trip to rainbow bridge.  More than ever.

Now, how can you help to ensure that justice is done for all of the animals remains in the killing field of the Chesterfield County, SC Firing Range -- landfill, or as the Sheriff calls it, "pet cemetery".  Which I knew, was an illegal way to dump animals.  

The most effective way to help is by contacting:

South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley 

South Carolina Lieutenant Governor, Ken Ard

South Carolina State Attorney General, Alan Wilson

South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division - Greenville Region

Although this case is getting exposure, we need more to ensure that these slain animals get their day in court.  We live in a day where such barbaric acts should be a thing of the past, and not be dismissed, or poo pooed as Sheriff Parker has repeatedly try to do.  Again, I say this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Not only in Chesterfield County, SC, but by making THIS case an example, it gives ground to more cases that are happening across the USA, that need to be exposed.  We need all eyes on this case.  Those of us who are acting as "watchdogs for justice" will help you stay updated.  All we ask is that you help us by adding your voices to ours, or by echoing our voices on behalf of the precious ones who have no voice, nor had a chance to be adopted into forever homes.   

If you don't know where to start, or feel comfortable composing an email, and are concerned about the unaccounted for animals, feel free to either copy and paste my emails to both Governor, Haley and Lieutenant Governor, Ard below.  Or, use it as guide to help your thoughts and words flow.  To me it's important to be direct, polite, and temper the anger, yet demand justice.  Also, it's helpful to personalize causes and issues when dealing with politicians.  Trust me, I know this from experience in trying to bring awareness to Epilepsy and my husband and I have rubbed shoulders with many politicians from the local, state and even the federal level.  So, I chose to include a link to my initial blog entry, to put the faces of three dogs in theirs that represent the ones who were spared.  Yet, could be in the landfill -- killing field, or as the Sheriff calls it, a "pet cemetery".  I want accountability for the 80 or more dogs and cats who are showing as euthanized by the Animal Shelter's own records.  However, only two vials of Phenobarbitol were purchased since last September to be used for euthanasia.  That's enough to put down about 14 animals depending on weight.  I don't want them to slip through the cracks of the investigation.  So much ground time was given during the Sheriff's Department investigation which could lead to evidence tampering and/or cover up.  Thus, I chose to lead with it in my emails to them.   

Governor Haley and Lt. Governor Ard:

Please ensure that the investigations by SLED and the State Attorney General's office dig deep into the deaths of what may be 66 or more animals between the period of last September and last week.  According to news media reports only two vials of Phenobarbital were purchased since the shelter went from a gas chamber to lethal injection euthanasias.  Two vials will put down approximately 14 dogs.  However, 80 or more animals were euthanized over this same period.  This information was given by Whitney Knowlton in an interview with The Cheraw Chronicle.  So, by the Animal Control Officers' own accounting there are many animals that were killed by some other means.  I hope to God each death was humane.

Also, attached is a link to my blog entry.  I'm a rescue worker for English Springer Spaniel Rescue America, and have pulled dogs from that shelter over the past almost two years.  Two of which, have found forever homes with my husband and I and our family of rescues.  I can't look at their faces and not see the faces of the dogs who were executed at the Sheriff's Department Firing Range, and buried there.  I can't get past the paw prints in the dirt that have been shown over and over again via the news media.  The only way we can find peace, is for the truth with accompanying evidence (all of it) to be revealed -- brought into the light, so that justice can served.  Hopefully, since the eyes of the nation are upon SC because this horrific incidents.  Or, better said, these horrific incidents other places across the country where the inhumane killing of animals by Animal Control Officers will be exposed, and stopped.
You have the ability to break ground that needs badly to be broken, so other states can follow suit.  You have ability rather than to be example of horrible acts upon animals, to lead by example.

Please do click in to see the faces of my dogs, which forever in my heart and mind will represent the faces of the dogs executed and inhumanely killed while in the care of the Chesterfield Animal Shelter and Animal Control Officers.  Those dogs had their chance to be adopted taken away from them heartlessly. 
Jeanne Holland Newton 

Thanks to all who have been circulating and sharing this on the internet, via email and on Facebook!  God bless you all in helping put the word and for doing your part to stop the insanity not just in this case, but for animals who are inhumanely treated and killed.  Please continue to share my updates.

That's all for now... if you've not read my initial entry and the first update, regarding this horrific story, please click into the link below: 

Exposing the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter... and the killing field... 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let's ♥ WSOC & WCNC & the other news agencies for doing a great job of investigative reporting...

and for dogging the Chesterfield County, SC Sheriff's Department about the recent shooting of the possibly 22+ dogs at and dumped in the Sheriff's Department Firing Range.  As well, as contacting SC State officials.  Public outcry is making a difference!

Having friends in the news business, I know how much ground can be covered quickly via dogged investigative reporting in a short time.  At the same, admittedly, I'm highly critical of the media.  But, the local news affiliates and print press nearby Chesterfield County, SC (and beyond) deserve kudos for the job they are doing.

I was wondering when the Sheriff Sam Parker would see that it would be in everyone's best interest for him request  investigative assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, meaning... turn the case over to them.  That is always an option at a Sheriff's disposal.  Could it be that the heat from the outcry has been too hot for him handle?  No, sadly not.  As per the news report on WSOC at 5:00 p.m. today, Solicitor Will Rogers had to convince him to do so.  

I, for one, sincerely, don't believe there can be enough heat placed on Sheriff Parker at the moment.  Or, responsibility placed on his shoulders for being the authority over the Animal Control Officers.  He's under scrutiny, but didn't see that he should call in a higher authority without being nudged to by the Solicitor?  I can just imagine the conversation...  "you're making our state look bad... if you are innocent, it's better it be proved, not assumed just because you're the Sheriff.  You need to be concerned that it not appear that there is any wrong doing..."

Hmmmm... I'm not sure Sheriff get's the appearance of evil thing...

Who believes that Law enforcement officers should be held to a higher standard?  I do!  Don't they take an oath of office to protect and serve?

Additionally, Fourth Circuit Solicitor Will Rogers, as well as the Attorney General’s Office, and Governor Nikki Haley offered full cooperation from South Carolina State agencies to Sheriff Parker on Monday. 

Could they're be tired of him making them look bad?

Let's just hope he ceases playing the victim on TV and in his statements.  It's so unbecoming for someone in his position. 

I've also heard from one of my best friends, yet have not seen, that CNN has picked up the story at 3:00 p.m. today. In the Charlotte viewing area that would be channels 32, or on HD, 1400 on Time Warner Cable.  I'm currently glued to the tube watching for the story.  In the meantime, here's a link to WSOC's, FOX News and WCNC's most recent updates:

SLED Takes Over Dog Shooting Investigation

Sheriff's deputies dig through landfill for slaughtered dogs

Chesterfield Co. Sheriff Speaks Out About Shot Dogs, Employees Being Investigated

The above Fox link was edited in @ 12:00 p.m. March 9, 2011.  In my humble opinion, the Sheriff is a baffoon!

And before I close this super short entry, thank you to all who have cared enough about the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter dog shootings, to pass on my blog entry from last night.  You have touched my heart and my spirit by choosing to add your voice to mine and all of the others who are networking on Facebook, off Facebook across the internet, via email, by phone calls and every manner of communication to ensure that justice is done.

Your care, concern and devotion is helping Rainbow Bridge shine a little brighter for those precious dogs.

The story will be ongoing... so please continue to share it.  The more it's in the public eye, the better.

That's all for now... if you've not read my initial entry regarding this horrific story, please click into the link below: 

Exposing the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter... and the killing field... 


Monday, March 7, 2011

Exposing the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter... and the killing field...

Just when I'd committed to myself to do more to promote Epilepsy Awareness on Project Rewire in March for Purple Day on March 26th, a story breaks on the news that broke my heart into 22 pieces.  So, as much as Epilepsy Awareness is of importance to me, it's not my passion.  It's a cause, and will take a back burner for now.  My passion is animal rescue, mostly lived out in canine rescue with an emphasis on English Springer Spaniel rescue.  As a furkid mom to four English Springer Spaniel rescues, three of which my husband and I acquired as volunteers with a wonderful nationwide group called, English Springer Rescue America.  Whether I'm hands on or not, I'm very much hands on at home all of the time with four rescues who all have unique special needs.  I'm also a momma to three special needs rescue kitties.  So, needless to say the recent massacre of what now appears to 22+ dogs while in the CARE of the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter takes priority.

Since the story broke on March 4th, it's taken over my thoughts and my heart.  I can't let go of it. The only peace I've found is that at least it's been exposed, and that God knows who pulled the triggers.  He also knows the ones who are just as guilty by allowing it; possibly encouraging it as a cost cutting measure, while perhaps conveniently looking the other way.  Whom or who might that be?  Well, as someone very close to the law enforcement community, since the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Control comes under the wing of the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department, I can't help but point fingers toward them, too as the "governing" agency.  Someone in power had to know this was going on.  A decision to do it had to be made by someone.  And I highly doubt it was by someone on the bottom end of the staff totem pole.  They knew it was wrong by the shear fact they were covering their tracks by tossing the bodies into the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department Firing Range, rather than disposing of them appropriately.  Is that a red flag, or what?  And what a God awful way to make it rainbow bridge.  We must be thankful, as horrific as it is, that the killing field was not a dump site in the back woods off road in the boonies somewhere.  Had it been, would it have ever been exposed?

I've plastered various media coverage in the form of newspaper articles and television news stories on my Facebook for past three days in an effort to bring attention to the inconceivable incident. Which is turning into incidents.

I'm now turning my blog, so as not to wear out my welcome on Facebook with my friends and family.  Normally, I post encouraging messages, uplifting quotes and devotions, while sharing about my dog loves of my life, and my hobbies.  I'm sure it's been tough for many of my Facebook peeps to see the information and links I've shared pass by on their news feed.  I'm sorry, but it was *must* do for me.  Rather than share the whole story here, I'm going to add a couple of media links, even though I don't believe there can be any overkill in sharing the story. 

In a nutshell 22 dogs are now suspected of being shot (and not all shots were kill shots) to death by Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter personnel at the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department Firing Range across the street from their facility. Yes, I know... WHAT?  Well, then how could the Sheriff or Deputies not know?  However, it also appears that the original suspicion of 22 dogs will be the tip of the iceberg.  And that in fact, the the firing range has been a killing field of sorts for a yet to be a determined period of time.  It very well could be six months as the facility did away with their gas chamber last fall.  God, I hope and pray it's not been going on longer.  Also, as of last September their records show that they only purchased two vials of Phenobarbital to conduct euthanasias.  That's enough to put down 14 dogs.  Further, their records also show that 80 were euthanized between last September and now.  So, by their own record keeping and accounting, in essence, it appears they've recorded their guilt in the inhumane "disposal" of animals.  Not sloppy record keeping.  How long did they think they could get away with this?  Had it not been for canine rescue worker and volunteer for the shelter, Deborah Farhi with Paws 'n Claws along with the help of two other volunteers literally digging up evidence in the firing range.  The slaughter may have been hidden awhile longer.  Between she and Whitney Knowlton, CEO of Last Chance Animal Rescue the dirty little secret of epic proportions was brought out of the firing range into the light for public outcry.  Thank God for those two dedicated and devoted women and the other two volunteers.

As you can see from the link below The Cheraw Chronicle, the local paper in Chesterfield County, is doing a good job covering this horrific story.  A story which won't be over for a long time.  I hope that they stay on it.  I hope they demand justice via investigative reporting and by  keeping the pressure on while continuing to report the all of the facts when revealed.

I count myself among those who believe that the Sheriff's Department should not be the agency to investigate the slaughter of these poor animals.  I say animals because recent stories have indicated that the remains of a cat was discovered, and puppies, too.  For real justice to be served, I wholeheartedly agree with those who are pushing for the South Carolina Department of Law Enforcement to investigate both the senseless inhumane shooting incidents, AND the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department's possible role in it.  Since Animal Control comes under the authority of the Sheriff's Department, that's a true conflict of interest and gives ground to a potential cover up.

Of the news coverage I've watched on television, I appreciated Charlotte's Fox Affiliate Channel 14's reporting and the fact they they were sensitive by blurring heart wrenching images.  They shared shocking details, but did so in a compassionate manner.  Their story, although, gripping, was well done.

Click to watch:  Shelter Dogs Killed, Dumped in Landfill...

Why have I taken this so personally?  Because my husband and I together have pulled three dogs from the pitiful Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter over the past 21 months.  Two of which are special needs dogs who were meant to have forever homes with us.  All three were heaven sent rescues. 

For those of you who may not know them, I'll introduce them to you...

This is our adorable liver and white mini Springer as we like to call her, Roxy... 

aka Rotten Rootie.  We pulled Roxy on June 9, 2010 while in foster care, arranged by the former Chesterfield County, SC Shelter Manager.  Roxy's prior owner called the shelter to come pick her up to euthanize her for Epilepsy.  Rather than take her to her vet to be evaluated and treated her "mom" believed it was better for her wallet to kill her.  She assumed treatment would be too costly.  Roxy is living happily with us and her rescue Springer family -- two sisters and one brother.  We are managing her seizures with low dose Phenobarbital.  Not only did the former manager show Roxy compassion by putting her directly into foster care, the officer that picked her up, did as well.  Acts of kindness for which we will forever be grateful.  The officer who took the call was really taken by Roxy the moment he laid eyes on her.  He even described her to us as a little show dog.  He shared that upon asking the "mom" if she was serious about putting Roxy down, she replied that she was indeed.  At that point, he said he couldn't get her out there fast enough.  Instead of caging her in the back of the truck that hot day, she rode in the cab of the truck on the seat beside him. Now, this is the place where I feel a sense of betrayal -- because he's still on staff there.  Having met him twice now, I can't imagine how he could condone what's been happening there since the former manager was dismissed.  Unless I'm totally crazy, the former manager had a heart for animals and was into saving them, rather than destroying them.  He fostered dogs on his own.  He found foster homes for others.  He worked with rescue groups.  He truly appeared to do the best with what the county gave him, and the rest he did from his heart.  Maybe he was conscience of that place?

Next up, is our beautiful liver and white with chestnut tri color, Summer, our first pull from the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter...

I chose this shot of Summer because she's resting peacefully.  Her story is very different than little Roxy's.  It's a story that involves a great deal of suffering.  Suffering she went through at the hands of her prior owner.  It's been easy to piece together her story.  She was used only for breeding purposes (from we can tell) and horribly neglected.  She was confined in a pen or a cage.  In the care of the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter, she was caged again with seven other dogs.  Several of them were intact males who in my opinion raped her during her days there.  She was third stage heartworm positive.  Her chest rattled so badly when she coughed or barked, it was heart gripping.  Of course, being in a common pen with the males dogs, the "breeding" caused her to become pregnant.  The puppies wouldn't have been viable, so sadly, we had to make the right, but difficult decision, to terminate her pregnancy.  Since we (our vet) and my husband and I were unaware that she had just been impregnated when we pulled her, heart worm therapy began immediately.  Two weeks later her pregnancy was discovered.  It was decided in her best interest, to let her body recover a bit more from the neglect and the effects of the HW treatment before spaying her.  It was a rough time for both she and I.  As mother dog who took her role seriously she was in pain emotionally.  She was in pain physically, too, because we had to put off another surgery she needed.  She had much going on all at one time.  There is much more to Summer's story.  Other medical issues which had to be treated and anxiety issues.  Some she will never be free of.  But, she's very much a special part of our family, and the most needy dog in our lives.  She's still not where we'd like her to be emotionally, but she is night and day from where she was when she came into our lives on June 23, 2009.

And then, our most recent pull last September 28th was dear Molly...

Sweet sweet Molly was a senior girl fostered by some close friends of ours after we pulled her.  She was given a wonderful funfilled dog friendly home.  Or better said, a dogs rule home and was able to live out her last months fully enjoying being a dog.  She reveled in sleeping beside her daddy at night.  She was deemed too much to handle.  The shelter contact volunteer advised us that she was only 7, well 12 or 13 was more like it.  So, something must have gotten lost in translation in Molly's story.  She came out of that place barking loudly and didn't stop for the next 50 miles.  She was SO happy to get out of that place.  She had been owned by an older couple who could not care for her and was passed on to someone else and was kept her outside.  She was strong and the moment she realized we were there to free her, she couldn't get out of there fast enough.  The person who greeted us at the gate and turned her over to us was an inmate.  He told us how special she was and how glad he was that she would no longer need to be there.  He was there when she was dumped off.  It was easy to see, he had soft spot for her.  He truly was the most compassionate person we encountered during this pull.  And he is one of reasons I'm having a difficult time reading comments on new sources pointing fingers at the inmates as the possible shooters.  That's just nuts.  They should not be scapegoats.

So, there you have three precious reasons why I'm torn up about the events that have been revealed the past few days, and why I can't let go of it.  Their faces to me, represent those in the dumped in the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department Firing Range and those still existing in that shelter.  ALL had stories.  ALL had stories that didn't need to end.  NONE deserved anything less than a happy ending, but what did they get?  Inhumanely SHOT!  Gathered together, walked across the street, and SHOT.  Who knows whether it was execution style one by one, or multiple shots being fired at once.  Anyway you look at it, it was massacre.  A tragic killing field at the Chesterfield County Sheriff Department's Firing Range.

In rescue we walk a fine line in our relationships with kill shelters.  Our first goal, is to rescue.  I don't want to do anything to jeopardize our first goal with this shelter, because Lord knows, the animals there need assistance to get out of that place.  At the same time, my mantra and the mantra of many of my friends and contacts in rescue is that "it's all about the dogs".  It truly is.  So, it's all about the dogs is ruling my conscience and sense of obligation.  If I step on any toes by being so outspoken, I'm sorry, but you're not in my shoes with this one.  And I'm the one that has to live with me and get up with me.  I've no clue as to whether I'm crossing a line of what's appropriate for someone who wants to maintain relationships with kill shelters to save the dogs, in sharing my feelings.  But, most assuredly the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter has crossed a serious line in human decency.  They've also broken the law.

The South Caroline Code under Title 47 Animals, Livestock and Poultry, Chapter 3 Dogs and other Domestic Pets, Article 7 Animal Euthanasia and Tranquilization, Section 47-3-420, Item (3) 

Shooting may be used as a means of euthanasia only in an emergency situation to prevent extreme suffering or in which the safety of people or other animal life is threatened or where it is considered necessary by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to eliminate or control the population of feral animals.

(B) In any of the previously listed methods an animal may not be left unattended between the time euthanasia procedures have commenced and the time death occurs and the animal's body may not be disposed of until death is confirmed by a certified euthanasia technician.

Click to read Title 47 in its entirety  (shows current through 2010 -- I could not locate any updates -- as the above snippet indicates, it's all black and white.)

I implore outraged animal rescue workers, shelter volunteers and the compassioned public to read this code and let your voices be heard, so this type of tragedy will never happen again at the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter.  If our voices echo throughout the country with a collective focus on the inhumane practices exposed at this shelter by making it an example, it's likely other inhumane practices will be revealed elsewhere.  So, there's a chance, they'll be stopped in their tracks.  Also, it's the only way to ensure that justice will be done on behalf of the 22+ animals in the Chesterfield County, SC Sheriff's Department Firing Range.  That in and of itself opens up another can worms.  Is it not illegal to shote and dispose of dead animals in firing ranges?  But, that is not a topic I care research at the moment.  I don't know about you, but as for me, I intend to be a "watchdog for justice"... until justice is served for the 22+.

A few links to assist you in making your voices heard:

South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division

South Carolina House of Representatives

South Carolina Senate

South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley

South Carolina State Attorney General, Alan Wilson

Chesterfield County, SC, Sheriff. Sam Parker

Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter

By the way, Sheriff Parker's direct email link is not included, however, considering that the following is his department's mission as per the following web site, he should welcome hearing from his citizens via telephone or fax, or the admin email address.

The primary mission of the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office is the protection of life and property of Chesterfield County citizens and the operation of the county's Detention Center. With dedication, honor and commitment, the Sheriff's Office works to provide quality law enforcement services to all residents of Chesterfield County. Officers and staff demand the highest standards of honesty and integrity and recognize the importance of investing in the future of their community's children. 

The question is, do they walk their talk?

Due to the nature of this post I will not be cross posting to my other blog All Aboard Hamlet as I'd previously stated in my last entry.  I'm not sure if I'll be following through with more Epilepsy Awareness posts prior to March 26th.  But rest assured I'll be wearing purple that day, and Roxy will adorn her collar with a purple ribbon.

If there are any questions to content I've shared here, please feel free to ask.  If you need a place to share your outrage (vent), feel free to, as well.  You can do so anonymously if that enables you to share openly.  May God bless each of you who have taken the time to read this.  I ask that you please add your prayers to mine that the truth will be revealed in its entirety, however awful it may be, so true justice can be delivered.... that NO one will get off with a slap of the wrists.

Where am I at with all of this?  I can't look at my two precious rescues, Summer and Roxy from Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter, without seeing the paw prints in the dirt at the landfill.  I can't look at Molly's photos and not see and feel the same thing.  Those paw prints have now been embedded into my heart and I will never ever forget them -- my dogs wear their faces.  I'm still flowing between moments of being heart sick and outraged with sadness and anger in between... with moments of utter gratitude and thankfulness to Deborah Farhi and Whitney Knowlton and their volunteers.

To show your support for Paws 'n Claws consider joining their Facebook Page, Where Hope Lives.  Right now they need and deserve all of the encouragement they can get.

I ask as favor of all who read this, and that's to please share it and link others to it.  Feel free to pass it on to legislators, so they can see how rescue changes lives.  And those 22+ won't get their chance, but may pave the way for others to be rescued.  I've learned in my struggle with Epilepsy, that unless someone has face, they don't often truly get it.  This entry my way of helping to get the word and to put faces on the precious animals dumped in the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department Firing Range.  It is NOT about me, it's all about the dogs.  The dogs in the firing range have no voices, so those of us that can, need to speak for them as best we can.

Some of the information shared are my personal opinions, but all are based on facts that have been shared and by my own experiences in dealing with the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter. 

A special ♥ felt thanks to the editor of Virginia News Source for featuring this important story!

Updates to this story will be linked below...  

March 8, 2011 -- Let's ♥ WSOC & WCNC & other news agengies for doing a great of investigative reporting...

March 11, 2011 -- Exposing the Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter... and further exposing the killing field