Old Wounds and a New Book: Thoughts on her Upcoming Olympic Animal Sanctuary book, by Laura Koerber

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Debris piled outside the pink shed in Forks, WA where many dogs lost their lives.

A note about an Upcoming book from Who Chains You Publishing: I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found, by author Laura Koerber.

Laura has put out the following statement about the meaning behind the work she’s done to bring this story of Daisy and what she and the other dogs went through there:

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Author Laura Koerber

“I am almost done with a book about the rescue of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary dogs.

For some people that sentence is very meaningful and will trigger an emotional response: heartbreak, rage, love, awe, gratitude…

For others, that sentence means nothing, but I hope to change that.

My reaction is complex and varied. On one level, it is a story. An amazing and inspiring story about protests, assault, lawsuits, arrests and an attempt by the abuser to run away with over one hundred dogs packed in a semi truck. On another level, it is a reality, the reality of a great wrong that was done, a wrong that was righted for some, but not for all. And the victims, the dogs that experienced the wrong, are getting old and dying off. I can’t think of them without oscillating between anger, tears, and gratitude. I don’t want their suffering to be forgotten.

After all, the OAS dogs are by no means the only ones to have suffered in the hands of a hoarder, or a failed rescue or a puppymill. There are thousands of dogs and other animals suffering the same kind of abuse right now as you read this. And all over the US, local authorities either refuse to act or actively support the abusers.

The rescue was done because of activists using Facebook. Yes, the notorious social media, supposedly a fever swamp of vindictive inaccuracies. The whistleblower alerted the world of the abuse through Facebook and hundreds of people got organized and engaged in a wide range of activities to free the dogs by using Facebook. People wrote consumer fraud complaints, organized protests, communicated with local officials, raised money, and, after about a year of effort, freed the dogs. Freed the ones that survived.

That’s the part that hurts my heart. Not all of them survived.

Goodby Mario, Lexy, Rocket. I am so sorry Phoenix, Doc, Suki and Malakai. Run free, Dixie and Abel.

But I don’t want their deaths to be for nothing. The OAS rescue is a model that other people could use against abusers in their vicinity. The book is, in a way, a recipe, a how-to guide.

The title is “I Once Was Lost, but Now I’m Found”. The book follows the life of one OAS dog, Daisy, before she was sent to the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, while she was incarcerated there, her trip on the truck to Arizona, and her return home to a family here in Washington state. Along the way the book includes information on hoarders, rescues, trainers and behaviorists, difficulties with law enforcement, and other issues of interest to people who care about the well-being of animals.

The author plans to donate her proceeds to animal groups caring for the rescued dogs.

We’re Giving Away our First FREE Booklet in Honor of our One Year Anniversary at Who Chains You Publishing

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Who Chains You Books is Celebrating our One Year Anniversary from now through August 15th, and we’re giving away LOTS of Goodies for YOU!

At Who Chains You Publishing, we bring the work of animal lovers, activists and rescuers to your doorstep through books highlighting successes, missteps, and the brightest imaginative endeavors of those who love animals and fight on their behalf.

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Our first Anniversary Giveaway is from author Heather Leughmyer, creator of Adopting Adele (now out in Audiobook, too!) and If Your Tears Were Human.

The booklet is called “A Rat’s Guide to Owning a Human”, and is a tongue-in-cheek look at how a rat might deal with  selecting a human to “own.” At only 24 pages, the mini-book is a quick but amusing read, and is beautifully designed and full color throughout.

You can buy the paperback for $9.13 on Amazon.

But why do that when you can get it FREE in .pdf, .ePub, or .mobi (Kindle) just by signing up for our bi-monthly e-News?

A Rat’s Guide to Owning a Human is a short, fun read.
Written by and for rescue rats, of course!

(They kindly allow human Heather Leughmyer to translate for them.)

Description:

While owning a human can sometimes prove to be a challenging experience, it can also be very rewarding if you know how to handle them. As a rat, you can’t imagine living your entire life without whiskers and a tail; it’s understandable, therefore, that you could find this lack in others so disconcerting that you’re not interested in giving them a chance.

Bipeds often get a bad rap, though, so it’s important to remember that not all humans are cut from the same cloth. The key lies in finding the human who is right for you, and ensuring that they do not share their homes with legless creatures of the reptilian variety.

Once you think you have found the right hominid, keep in mind that consistency and patience are very important when cultivating a human—they don’t always learn as quickly as we do. Don’t be discouraged if training proves to be more difficult than you initially thought. Bipeds can be temperamental and/or lazy; however, this should not deter you from owning one.

Once properly broken in, a human can be enjoyable to have around. With a little rattie elbow grease and our tips, you will have a loyal companion and—most importantly—will never again have to worry where your next meal is coming from…

Get Your FREEBIE Now!
http://whochainsyou.com/ratsguidefree.html

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In addition, we are giving away five paperback copies of The Dog Thief and Other Stories in a Goodreads Giveaway, listed through July 24th.

Make sure you sign up on their site for a chance to win one of the five books!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/243279

Kirkus named The Dog Thief one of the best indie books of 2015. “This collection of short stories and a novella explores the complexity of relationships between people and animals in an impoverished rural community where the connections people have with animals are sometimes their only connection to life.”

“Decrepit humans rescue desperate canines, cats and the occasional rat in this collection of shaggy but piercing short stories. A superb collection of stories about the most elemental of bonds.”

To buy the book in paperback or Kindle (audio coming out ASAP) visit this link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1946044008/

adoptingadelecoverloHeather’s children’s book highlighting the plight of a rescue rat has been making some waves, and just came out in audio this past week.

Check it out at any of the following links:

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to our charity of the year | Buy Audiobook

Happy Reading!

He Stood in the Tree, Worm in his Mouth, Looking for Babies to Feed

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The bluebird stood in the tree, a green worm in his mouth, but he had nowhere to go with it. There was no nest.

Instinct told him he had little ones to care for; so, on autopilot, he collected the worm. He held the squirming green body for long moments, hopping along the branch, looking down toward where the nest was just yesterday. Nothing.

He finally ate it himself.

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The evening before, I’d looked out my window to see what my bluebirds were up to—like I did about 100 times most days. I had never been a birder before, and probably drove my Facebook friends crazy with my requests to identify new birds I spotted around my home in the woods of rural Virginia.

“Newbies,” they’d scoff to themselves. “So annoying.”

But I’d become attached to the birds who lived in my backyard, as I became attached to all the wild animals who made their homes in the woods nearby.

I believed in their right to life, their value as members of our planet, their unique beauty, and what they could teach me about finding contentment in the moment.

I treasured them all. The phoebes who built a nest on our drain spout and were on their second batch of the summer. The bluebirds who moved into first one house and then another after successfully rearing brood #1.

So I watched them and waited, hoping to catch a glimpse of the babies leaving the nest, the parents feeding. I knew this batch was still young, not yet ready to go, but I remained fascinated and watched as only a birdie-voyeur is capable of doing.

Confusion assaulted me. Why wasn’t my birdhouse where it belonged? What was going on?

Bear.

I didn’t see it happen, but I knew it was the only explanation that made sense.

I can still envision the moment; the ease with which he reached up, cupped the small wooden house, and batted the nest to the ground, smashing the top and emptying the cubby of its fledglings.

I rushed outside, sobbing, “No, my babies!” but knew there was no hope.

Nothing there.

I desperately tried to figure out how I could fix it. How could I put it back together, bring the babies back? Was the mom dead too?

I didn’t know.

The anger and pain rushed my senses. I screamed “Fuck you, Bear, Fuck YOU!” and then fearfully eyed the bushes as the gloom of dusk eased into darkness.

I may have been enraged, but I wasn’t suicidal. If I actually attracted the bear with my verbal onslaught, I knew who would end up on the losing end of that battle.

Sobbing, I fumbled my way back inside.

I reached out to online friends for support in my grief, loss, and anger at the bear, and inevitably got that one person who feels compelled to say something incredibly insensitive like: “That’s just nature being nature.”

On what planet do people believe that’s helpful?

As a reasonably intelligent woman, I can well understand in theory that nature isn’t pretty, and that animals eat each other every single day.

But knowing that will never stop me from wanting to protect those I consider ‘family’, and grieving if something happens to these tiny beings.

The next morning, feeling empathy for my sadness, my husband climbed to the first bluebird house and cleaned the old nest out. We added more safety netting to the bottom of the tree, and removed a couple saplings that were too close to the old nest for comfort.

Then I waited to see if the parents had made it out alive.

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I saw the male.

He was perched at the bend of the destroyed pole, peering about for his lost family. Where had they gone? I watched as he flew from there to the old house, checking inside just in case, and then to a third house that had remained uninhabited.

I was helpless to fix either of our broken hearts.

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He repeated his treks from the old house to the tree limb and back multiple times, and I hated watching his compulsive behavior, suffering my own grief for the loss of his family.

I’d all but given up hope that his mate had made it out alive; I should have seen her by now. What would the male do under these circumstances? I had no idea.

But then, it happened. Something glorious.

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His mate flew up and joined him on the porch of the old nest.

She’d made it!

She made it.

More tears, but now happy ones. The bad was still there—the babies were still gone—but now there was hope for tomorrow for this gorgeous couple.

Maybe they would try again in the old house; maybe they will be back next year.

The world suddenly held room for maybes and possibilities again.

It will always be hard for me to witness “nature being nature.” I am blessed (or cursed, depending on your perspective) with a heart for the animals, and I feel each loss so very deeply.

Please, do those like me a favor. Next time we share our grief and loss over an animal we care about, don’t tell us it’s just “nature being nature.”

We know that, already, thank you.

But we love anyway.

P.S. Yes, I felt sad for the worm, too.

Tamira Thayne is the founder of Who Chains You Books and Spiritual Mentoring, and the pioneer of the anti-chaining movement in America. She spent 13 years on the front lines of chained-dog activism and rescue as founder and CEO of Dogs Deserve Better. She is the author of The Wrath of Dog, Foster Doggie Insanity: Tips and Tales to Keep your Kool as a Doggie Foster Parent, and Capitol in Chains: 54 Days of the Doghouse Blues.

New Young Adult Novel by Author Tamira Thayne Finds Creative Ways to Highlight Dog Chaining, Cat Dissection

wrathcover-lodropAnimal activist Tamira Thayne loved to read paranormal novels, and one of her dreams was to write one herself someday.

Trouble was, although she’d spent 13 years writing about dog chaining and dog foster parenting as founder of the nonprofit organization Dogs Deserve Better, she’d never considered any kind of storyline for a novel.

But then it hit her: What if the chained dog in the story was actually a lot MORE than he appeared to be? And what if he could somehow rise up and take vengeance on those who treated him so poorly?

(I mean really, don’t all animal activists daydream about the animals rising up against those who torment them?)

And so, the idea for The Wrath of Dog was born. While Thayne plans for a three-five book series, she’s already at work on a prequel short story entitled “The King’s Tether.”

The Wrath of Dog is available now in paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited. A signed copy can be ordered directly from the author on our website as well.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

About the Book:

The hairy beast growled and lunged at Baylee, his rusted logging chain straining to break—like it did every morning she cut down his back alley.

She hadn’t dubbed him “The Wrath of Dog” for nothin’.

She’s vowed that someday she’ll free Wrath and they’ll rise up and smite his obviously nasty owner. For today, though, she just needs to get past him without dying and make it the two blocks to class before the bell rings and she has another detention headed her way.

Wrath’s plight is soon forgotten when her refusal to dissect a kitty earns her another trip to Principal Baird’s office. Things go from bad to worse, and before long she’s hearing voices in her head, decamping the school premises with a band of zombie cats, and learning that The Wrath of Dog is a lot more than she bargained for.

Next thing she knows she’s avoiding her best friend, learning she’s not quite human, and taking on an unseen enemy to save the day, her family, and just maybe two worlds in the process.

Becoming an adult sure isn’t what she thought it would be…

About the Author:

tamijewelonyxloTamira Thayne always wished she could smite a nasty dog chainer, but it seems that’s frowned upon in today’s society—so she’s writing about it instead. She settled for pioneering the anti-tethering movement in America, forming and leading the nonprofit Dogs Deserve Better for 13 years.

During her time on the front lines of animal activism and rescue she took on plenty of bad guys (often failing miserably); her swan song culminated in the purchase and transformation of Michael Vick’s dogfighting compound to a chained-dog rescue and rehabilitation center. She’s spent 878 hours chained to a doghouse on behalf of the voiceless in front of state capitol buildings nationwide, and worked with her daughter to take on a school system’s cat dissection program, garnering over 100,000 signatures against the practice.

She’s the author of Foster Doggie Insanity and Capitol in Chains, and the co-editor of Unchain My Heart and the upcoming Rescue Smiles. In 2016 she founded Who Chains You, publishing books by and for animal activists and rescuers.

The Wrath of Dog is available now in paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited. A signed copy can be ordered directly from the author on our website as well.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

You’ll Enjoy this Excerpt from “The Dog Thief and Other Stories”, Out Soon in Audiobook, Too!

dogthief-chosen-loThere’s a reason Kirkus Review named The Dog Thief one of its Best Indie Books…it’s just that good.

We’ve chosen it as our first audiobook, and we’re happy to announce it’s gone into production with Wes Super, and will be available by late June.

In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from “The Dog Thief” novella.

The Dog Thief

How it All Started

Lucky, the three-legged pitbull, escaped from confinement in the tool shed by chewing his way through the rotten boards of the wall. He emerged, blinking in the sunlight, just as Donald opened his front door to toss some trash out into the yard. Donald gave a yell and charged down the steps. Lucky galloped across the yard and took off down the narrow dirt track that led through the woods to the paved road at the bottom of the hill.

Lucky ran like a dog having a fit. With only one front leg, he tended to throw to the left and stayed upright only because of his momentum.

At the bottom of the hill a Berlin Wall of moldy eight-by-four plywood sheets hid a collection of ramshackle homemade dwellings. Cats drifted between the cabins, cruising for mice or tidbits of garbage. An old pickup quietly disintegrated in the mud in front of the main dwelling. Only the community totem, a soggy MIA flag drooping on a pole, could be seen from the dirt road.

Three people stood by the open gate in the plywood wall and watched Lucky’s clumsy three-legged race down the hill. They said nothing as the dog arrived, panting and exhausted, to collapse at their feet.

They knew who the dog belonged to, so they waited expectantly, watching the road. A few moments later a fat pale man in overalls arrived at a trot and halted, sweaty and breathless, at the property line.

“That’s…my…sister’s…dog,” he gasped. He had a large shapeless head from which ears sprouted like pink mushrooms. His loose wet mouth betrayed weakness, but his tiny eyes had the strength of pigheaded stupidity. He took up a stance like a gunslinger and attempted belligerence. “Give him here.”

“No,” said Blacksnake. “Fuck off.”

Blacksnake was wearing combat clothes. Judging by the smell, it was the same uniform he’d brought back from Vietnam. He had a sizable pot belly, a gray ponytail, and a cynical gaze. His two friends, a scrappy one-eyed woman and a tank-shaped Native American, also wore hodgepodges of military garb. All three were old, but looked like they might have been pretty tough back in the day.

The fat man had never been tough. He blinked, sputtered, and started a rant, waving one pink finger in the air. “My mother gave that dog to my sister. He was stolen by these dope dealers. There’s a gang of dope dealers hanging around my house…”

“Your sister is dead,” Blacksnake rarely made eye contact, but now he directed a glare straight at the fat man. “I said fuck off, Donny.”

Stand-off. The dog sprawled in the dirt, worried brown eyes tracking the conversation. The three people didn’t move, and their bodies melded into a wall as dirty and mean-looking as their plywood barricade. Muttering threats, the fat man backed away. The three watched silently, not bothering to jeer, as he turned and shuffled up the track toward his home.

And that’s how Lucky, the three-legged pitbull, was rescued by Blacksnake and his crew. It was an impulse born of a marriage between spite and kindness. No one realized at the time that this simple act would set off a cascade of events including a series of miracles and a felony.

Want to read more?

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

Author Brandy Herr Brings Us the Second in her Second Chance Farm Children’s Book Series with “Emma’s Second Chance”

Second Chance Farm is a real-life rescue in Granbury, Texas, dedicated to helping animals with physical handicaps. Author Brandy Herr is determined to share their stories in the best way she knows how: through a children’s story and picture book series.

Emma’s Second Chance is her second book of the series, and she’s excited through it to raise awareness for both deaf dogs and the rescue who helped Emma along to a wonderful life.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

Interested in an autographed copy of Emma’s Second Chance or Honey’s Second Chance? You can order them direct from the author at this link: http://www.whochainsyou.com/books.html

About the Book:

Emma, a deaf hound mix, thinks everyone deserves a second chance at life. After all, she’s one of the lucky pups who got to start over—thanks to a kind woman who rescued her after her family dumped her along the side of the road.

Emma learns what it’s like to love again, finds herself not one but two caring families, and even gets the chance to pay it forward, becoming a real-life hero in the process.

Based on the true story of Emma the rescue dog, Emma’s Second Chance is perfect for kids young and old. Who Chains You Publishing is proud to release children’s books that are fun, educational, and stand tall as a voice for the animals.

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About the Author:

Brandy Herr was born near Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a major in public relations and a minor in theatre. She now lives in Granbury, Texas with her husband, Matthew, their rescued dogs, Pillow and Luna, and their rescued cats, Emma and Goblin. She currently has three other books available: Honey’s Second Chance, Haunted Granbury, and a short story featured in the collection Nine Deadly Lives: An Anthology of Feline Fiction. Learn more about Brandy and her work on her website at AuthorBrandyHerr.com and follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorBrandyHerr.

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About the Rescue:

The mission at Second Chance Farm is to offer quality care and a place of refuge for abused, physically handicapped, aged or homeless animals. Second Chance Farm, an open space facility, helps protect the quality of life of these animals while improving their well being through prevention, education, intervention, placement and lifetime care, so they can live out their lives with dignity, respect and love. Visit their website to learn more at SecondChanceFarmGranbury.org and follow all their exciting adventures at Facebook.com/SecondChanceFarmGranbury.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

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Don’t Miss Brandy’s first book in the series, too, Honey’s Second Chance!

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

Who Chains Us as Animal Advocates? What Stops You from Making Your Best Strides for the Animals?

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When one applies the “First, Do No Harm” principle to everyday life, feeling a need to extend protection to animals is a no-brainer, and should be the obligation of every human on the planet.

What is “Do No Harm”?

From Reflections on Ethics by Paul Sharkey: It is commonly believed that the principle “First, do no harm” originated with the physician’s oath and is circumscript with the practice of medicine. It did not and it is not. As a moral principle, refraining from doing harm is both much more fundamental and much more universal than that. It forms the very foundation of the moral teachings of the founders of at least two of the world’s major religions and was so central to the life and teachings of Socrates that he literally chose to die rather than transgress it. Fully understanding, appreciating and following this principle is, I believe, key to following a life which is at once, fully human, fully alive, and fully virtuous.

Unfortunately, many people in our world—including our current government—do not live by this motto, and regularly visit harm on both humans and animals without sparing it a second thought. For those who do agree with “Do No Harm” (in theory at least), the welfare of animals is not considered important enough to fall under the principle, and so they apply it solely to humans.

The result is that very few folks who are not actively involved in the animal movement outwardly agree with or support broad protective efforts on behalf of the animals. They are all too quick to brush such efforts to the side in order to advocate for the ‘important human issues’, or dismiss them out of hand.

Where does that leave animal activists and rescuers? “Chained”, and full of negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and fear.

Who Chains Animal Advocates?

Any campaign on behalf of the animals has more than its fair share of adversaries. Law enforcement and society at large actively protect animal users and abusers from every walk of life. This includes but is not limited to: dog chainers, animal food producers, animal food consumers, rodeos and circuses, and pet animal mills.

All too often any human who helps a suffering animal ends up arrested.

There are very real emotional hurdles for an animal advocate to conquer in order to take a stand for the animals. These include, but are not limited to, the following five areas:

1. Fear of Standing Up and being Physically or Mentally Attacked by Animal Abusers

When one decides to take a public stance against any form of animal use and abuse, a primal fear of death must first be mastered before an advocate can and will put him/herself on the line for others. The chances of suffering either physical or emotional abuse for taking a stand for the voiceless is at virtually 100%. People who abuse animals without a thought have no compunction about doing the same to any human who gets in their way; therefore, those who desire to advocate for animals have to first face their fears and decide to act anyway.

2. Fear of Arrest

Any activist or rescuer working on behalf of animals faces arrest if they are engaged in front line efforts. Being arrested and dragged through the court system is not only scary, but affects one’s career and life outside of animal work, one’s pocketbook, and can even end in a felony and jailtime. That’s a lot of fear to get past in order to do what anyone with a heart would consider ‘the right thing’!

3. Anger that Even though there are Cruelty Laws on the Books, these Laws Don’t Protect the Animals

Virtually every state has cruelty laws on the books that go along the lines of “every animal must have food, water, shelter.” Not only do these laws often get completely ignored, any activist or rescuer who—forced to make a life or death decision on behalf of the animal—takes it into her/his hands to provide the animal the care and nutrition they need and deserve is labeled a vigilante at best, and “worse than the worst hardened criminal” at worst. (That’s what the D.A. said about me when I rescued a dog name Doogie from deplorable conditions in PA.)

Watching the suffering of animals and feeling as though your hands are tied to do anything about it leads to 24/7 anger and stress, which takes a debilitating toll on an animal advocate’s physical and mental well-being.

4. Frustration with People who Claim to LOVE Animals, while Refusing to Lift a Finger to Help

The animal movement is hard-pressed for willing volunteers. While so many people pay lip service to loving animals, the truth is that most won’t show up for fundraisers or foster an animal, let alone stop eating them. The hypocrisy of the situation is a source of endless frustration to animal advocates; and, worse, they are forced to keep these feelings inside for fear of offending donors and potential volunteers. Pushed down inside, these negative emotions brew up a nasty cocktail of physical and mental maladies, with ailments beginning to show up more and more regularly.

5. Fear of Failure in Helping the Animals

No one likes to fail. When we do suffer a failure in helping the animals, we are hit with a double whammy showcasing our own feelings of inadequacy sandwiched with highlights of guilt and shame for letting the animals down too. Soon an advocate may give up trying because the pain of failing again is just too daunting.

Compassion Fatigue

From my book, Foster Doggie Insanity: Just what is Compassion Fatigue Syndrome, anyway? In a nutshell, it is caused by the pain of witnessing or bearing repeated trauma while caring for others (in our case, animals) and putting the care of others before ourselves. We see no end to the need and no way to make it stop. The resulting apathy, detachment, inability to express emotions, and substance abuse heads a long list of manifestations now associated with and labeled as Compassion Fatigue Syndrome.

Most on the front lines of animal rescue and activism are at danger of developing Compassion Fatigue and/or PTSD, depending on how much abuse they are taking and how much self-care they are practicing while they are going through it.

Animal Advocates Deserve Better

You all deserve better than this ending, and I’d like to see us ALL practicing self-care on a daily basis in order to prop us up, allow us to keep working in the movement, and making a difference for the animals.

When we become sidelined due to PTSD and/or Compassion Fatigue, that’s one less heart and soul in the fight to end their abuse.

And they truly are the voiceless without us.

Why I Like Tapping for Animal Advocates

I like tapping for those in the animal activist and rescue movements because it focuses on REMOVING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS that are held in the body.

Practiced daily, it can and will set you on a positive path, even when you’re embroiled in front-line pain on an everyday basis. Watch the video below to get you started, and visit the founder of Tapping, Gary Craig’s website to immerse yourself and help you work through childhood ‘stuff’ that gets in the way of healing.

Once the Negative’s Out, Bring in the Positive

While it’s essential to release that negative each and every day, it’s also essential to fill the remaining ‘hole’ with positivity! Find a way that works for you, but opening your heart chakra (picture it right where your heart is, so open that heart!) to receive good things for you and the animals is crucial. The more time you can spend each day with an open heart (even though it makes you feel vulnerable, do it anyway!) the better your life will be and the more positive responses you will draw into your life.

If you’re working hard for the animals, let me be the first to commend and thank you. Please work on your self-care each and every day, as you deserve so much better than to be embroiled in pain for advocating for those we all love.

Have a great week!

Tamira Thayne is the founder of Who Chains You Books and Spiritual Mentoring, and the pioneer of the anti-chaining movement in America. She spent 13 years on the front lines of chained-dog activism and rescue as founder and CEO of Dogs Deserve Better. She is the author of Foster Doggie Insanity: Tips and Tales to Keep your Kool as a Doggie Foster Parent, and Capitol in Chains: 54 Days of the Doghouse Blues. To book a one-on-one session with Ms. Thayne, visit the website at http://www.whochainsyou.com/activism.html.

“The Listener’s Tale” Now Available from Author Laura Koerber and Who Chains You Books

listenercover-loNewly Released from Who Chains You Books and author Laura Koerber, The Listener’s Tale: Book One of the “Our Side” Collection.

Anna didn’t even know she had an aunt. Aunt Moira had appeared the day after Anna’s parents died in a car crash: a tall grey figure through the screen door, silhouetted against the bright sun. The neighbors welcomed her—they were relieved to get Anna off their hands and into the custody of a relative.

But Anna hadn’t warmed to her aunt or her pug, whose eyes eerily tracked Anna’s every move. Something wasn’t right; her investigation leads to a world she’s never seen and even more relatives who live in a quirky village—a village where singers dance in the sky, the elders are hundreds of years old, and everyone has access to magic.

At first bemused, then charmed, Annie settles in to live with her new-found  (and vegetarian) relations—and unravel the mystery of who is trying to kill her.

The Listener’s Tale is a charming fantasy for young teen readers or the young at heart.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

laurakoerbercolorAbout the Author:

Laura Koerber is an artist who lives on an island with her husband and her two dogs. She has always entertained herself by telling herself stories. As a child, she used to like going to bed because she could lie awake under the covers and run movies in her head. Later, as an adult, she enjoyed long distance driving for the opportunity to spend hours writing novels in her imagination. Now Laura divides her retirement time between dog rescue, care for disabled people, political activism, and yes, she still tells herself stories while she is driving. Her first book, The Dog Thief and Other Stories (under pen name Jill Kearney), was listed by Kirkus Review as one of the One Hundred Best Books of 2015.

Paperback:
ISBN-13: 978-1-946044-05-1
ISBN-10: 1-946044-05-9

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Depression in the Animal Rescue and Animal Activist Communities: 4 Steps to Getting Past the Pain to Make a Difference

Depression is rampant in 21-st century America, and especially pervasive in the animal rescue and activist movements due to constant exposure to pain and suffering on the part of our animal friends.

We are often told that depression is anger turned inward, yet in the world of animal activism and rescue, depression more adequately equates to anger meets helplessness.

Not to overstate the situation, but there is an overwhelming amount of NEED in the animal rescue and activism world. Even if you were financially-set and resource-laden, one person still could not stem the flow of animals that need places to go and daily help. 

So how does one animal-loving human—without significant financial resources—feel when accosted daily with both the overwhelming need AND anger at those who abuse animals or allow abusers to get away with it?

Helpless, hopeless, frustrated, furious…

DEPRESSED, that’s how.

And with just cause.

Unfortunately, wallowing in depression doesn’t get us anywhere—and doesn’t get the animals anywhere—so it’s in our best interest to find a way to relieve both our suffering and theirs without breaking the bank or giving up our lives. Below are four steps you can take daily if you’re one of the folks who suffer from depression due to the status of animals in our society.

(Obviously, if you’re suffering from deep depression or are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, it’s important to reach out for emergency medical help.)

Give yourself even an hour a day with these methods and I strongly believe within a month you will be moving in a positive direction.

1. Tap to Release Negative Energy

I’m a big fan of Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique), because I can do it on my own, I don’t have to work with a therapist or a facilitator, and IT WORKS for me. In fact, according to the founder of tapping, Gary Craig, there are few people he hasn’t been able to help with this method. Luckily for you (and me!), he offers a completely free course on tapping on his website at http://www.emofree.com.

Tapping works with the body’s meridians to release the pain we hold inside. Given that most of us like to pretend that the negative doesn’t exist, we tend to deny the pain and so our body continues to hold onto it, mostly on a subconscious level and within our cells. But tapping daily can bring relief from this pain and even cruise you past childhood emotional injuries that have been holding you back forever. Try it! You can do it while you’re walking the dog, driving to work, even watching TV if you’re feeling down but too desperate to make a big effort.

Tap along here with me for a sneak peak at tapping for depression, and get an idea of what all it entails (hint, it’s easy and simple!):

2. After you Tap to Release the Negative, Bring the Positive Back into Your Life

Hopefully after tapping you’re (at least temporarily) an emotional blank slate. Now is the moment to bring the positive back into your life and heart. Think of a time when you were REALLY HAPPY. During that one special moment you—without even realizing it— held your heart wide open and ready to receive good things.

This is a vulnerable place for us to be, and so we often shut that valve off in order to protect ourselves. But the more and the longer we can keep it open, the better chance we have of bringing ourselves to a more positive place.

So picture that moment, open your heart, and try to hold it open and envision yourself receiving positive events in your life for at least 60 seconds. Smile! Remember, you ARE worthy of good things, just like every other human on the planet.

3. Make a Goal for Yourself

If you were ready and willing to go for your BIG DREAM, what would that look like? Would you build an animal rescue? An animal activist organization? Would you volunteer and become more involved in the day to day world of work for the animals?

Take out your BIG DREAM. Shine it up. And sit it beside your computer. Because now you have a goal, something to work toward, and you’re not going to let depression stop you.

4. Every Day, Take One Baby Step Toward That Goal

I remember when I started Dogs Deserve Better in 2002. I knew I wanted to take a stand, but I was TERRIFIED. I promised myself I’d take five steps toward my goal before the end of the year.

But guess what? Once I got going, I was taking a step toward it every day.

You can do that too. Take one teeny tiny step toward your goal each and every day. If that means you make one phone call? Good. Do one google search on something you’re trying to understand? Great.

Feeling depressed that day and afraid of failing? Do it anyway. Make yourself take the one step.

You’ll be amazed at how you’ll feel afterward! And soon you’ll be adding up all those steps to making a REAL DIFFERENCE for the animals.

P.S. I’m in no way making light of depression, and am well-aware it’s a continual struggle for those who suffer with it. I grew up with a depressed parent, and always thought it was ‘normal’—which meant it became part of my life, too. I offer you these tips if you want to crawl out of the abyss of that kind of pain to make a difference. Sometimes having something to focus on outside of ourselves is the biggest boon we can receive. I wish you all the very best that life has to offer, and the strength to continue your path toward wellness.

Tamira Thayne is the founder of Who Chains You Books and Spiritual Mentoring, and the pioneer of the anti-chaining movement in America. She spent 13 years on the front lines of chained-dog activism and rescue as founder and CEO of Dogs Deserve Better. She is the author of Foster Doggie Insanity: Tips and Tales to Keep your Kool as a Doggie Foster Parent, and Capitol in Chains: 54 Days of the Doghouse Blues. To book a one-on-one session with Ms. Thayne, visit the website at http://www.whochainsyou.com/activism.html.

The Trap of Over-Rescuing Animals: Saying ‘No’ When Your Heart Says Yes

Delilah, a mostly-blind dog the author rescued from her chain

Most in the animal rescue movement are here because they have a strong love for animals, and a desire to take action on their behalf—this action usually manifesting itself as fostering or adopting.

Sometimes, though, somewhere along the way, an inability to say “No” paired with deep subconscious psychological drives can get a rescuer into trouble…ending with a spiraling disaster and a filthy home full of animals that aren’t getting the care they need and the living situation they deserve.

There’s no doubt that rescuing FEELS GOOD. When I used to pull a dog off a chain, there was no greater joy than having the power to bring him/her FREEDOM. None.

Delilah took to life after chaining like a duck to water

And watching that very same dog, inside of a week, curl up on the couch or a dog bed inside like he/she’d been doing it his/her whole life? Truly PRICELESS.

Yet I soon recognized there was a limit to the number of dogs I could handle, and my personal upper limit was six. When I exceeded that number (which happened more often than I care to remember), not only would all hell usually break loose in my home, but I would feel so psychologically overburdened that I had a hard time putting one foot in front of the other.

While I understand that we are all different, and one person’s tolerance level for filling their home with animals is higher than another’s, it’s crucial that you ascertain what your level is and find a way to stick to your maximum. If you don’t, you’re doing no one any favors, most certainly not the animals you’ve committed to.

From Foster Doggie Insanity: Tips & Tales to Keep your Kool as a Doggie Foster Parent:

Foster Doggie Insanity

Foster Doggie Insanity: Tips & Tales to Keep your Kool as a Doggie Foster Parent

But, even IF you said YES to every single dog that came your way looking for a foster home, trust me, you’d do it forever and never be done.

One year Dogs Deserve Better tried to do just that. We were saying YES to every dog we could handle (or THOUGHT we could handle), and they were coming in droves. We spent over $100,000 in vet care, but nothing stemmed the flow.

Instead, we succeeded in making ourselves miserable and destroying our area rep program by letting in irresponsible people who only made us look bad. It was a brutal lesson.

So you have to find some boundaries for yourself. If being Super-Saving-Dog-Woman will not make it go away, then why are you killing yourself? Because trust me, for the naysayers and the never-ending line of dogs in trouble, it will never be enough, no matter what you do…

I swear to you, if I knew for a fact that if we each fostered five additional dogs this year that the rescue crisis would be over, I’d be the first to say “Let’s do it!”

I could suck it up for another year.

But it won’t. The need will stay the same as long as our addiction to being needed remains in place…never-ending.

So now you, theoretically, have a house full of dogs and you’re miserable. You feel like you have no life of your own, no happiness, everything revolves around the needs of these dogs and getting through each day caring for them.

The need to feel needed, to feel important, to fill the gaping hole in our gut or our heart is psychological, and many of us come into this world with it or we develop it early in life due to our environmental stressors.

Some people fill the hole with shopping, some with sex. Some with food.

Some of us fill ours with rescue. (And then maybe shopping, sex, and food.) My subconscious belief has been that rescuing the next critter will somehow save my soul, make me feel good about myself, earn me a spot in heaven. I don’t wish to speak for you, but I suspect I’m not alone in this.

Soon it’s just another mouth to feed, another dog to train, another needy soul sucking your life energy away. There’s no time for you, because—guess what—you planned it that way; you planned, subconsciously, to fill your life with taking care of others so you didn’t have to think about what would REALLY make you happy.

But you’re not happy. And though you’re overwhelmed and giving 200%, there’s still just as much need out there as ever. You’re putting your finger in a tiny dam hole; sooner or later it overflows the top or bursts the entire structure.

The crucial problem with using animals to fill your love tank and meet underlying emotional needs is that each one is a LIVING BEING with needs of his/her own, needs that YOU must fulfill. Yet, the more you take on, the less you are able to fulfill the needs of each animal, and the more you are weighed down by the never-ending burden.

Denial of the ongoing issues can quickly spiral to a state of emergency, one where animals are dying and a hoarding situation has developed.

Please, don’t let this happen to yourself AND the animals you set out to help. If you see yourself in some of the patterns discussed above, take a look at these five possibilities for underlying emotional issues, and make an honest evaluation of yourself and your own needs with regards to rescuing animals.

1. I am taking in too many animals in order to fulfill an emotional need.

Let’s be honest, most of us had a less than idyllic childhood. But for many in the animal rescue movement, our childhoods were fraught with animal abuse and neglect. Maybe of us lived with chained or penned dogs, saw or participated in animal deaths, and suffered physical or emotional abuse in the home environment. If you bear a love for animals deep in your soul, any of these possibilities can throw you into a frenzied attempt to make up for childhood pain surrounding animals by diving headfirst into a prolonged burst of animal rescue that’s bound to go haywire if the pace isn’t slowed and realizations aren’t embraced.

2. I have a need to be seen as a savior.

From Savior Complex Anyone? (and switching out “people” for “animals” is on me) a savior complex is defined as the following:

The savior complex is a psychological construct which makes a person feel the need to save animals. This person has a strong tendency to seek animals who desperately need help and to assist them, often sacrificing their own needs for these animals.

There are many sides to a savior complex and it has many roots. One of its fundamental roots, in my experience, consists in a limiting belief the savior person has that goes something like this:

“If I always help animals in need, I will get OTHER PEOPLE’S love and approval, and have a happy life.”

This is, of course, a nice sounding fairytale…

On top of this, always putting rescued animals’ needs first makes a savior not take care of their own needs. So while they may feel happy because they are helping others, at some level, they feel bitter and frustrated at the same time.

When I took a good, healthy look at my own rescuing habits, I had to admit I had a dose of savior complex at work within myself. Odds are good you do, too, because I doubt too many of us would rescue animals without this underlying drive pushing us to act. However, once you recognize the savior complex within yourself, you can take steps to understand where the need comes from and put your rescue efforts into safe limits that allows you time to nurture yourself, too.

3. I was made to feel bad about myself as a child.

The need to be seen as “good” vs. “bad” most likely stems from a childhood in which you’ve been told over and over—in ways both verbal and non-verbal—that you are a bad person.

For those who’ve grown up with a parent exhibiting an extreme personality disorder such as narcissism, they will have been pummeled from an early age with cues that tell them they are worthless—yet all the while their inner soul screams that they are ARE worthwhile. Hence many of their actions in adulthood are subconsciously based on proving this worth.

For those sensitive souls who bear a love for animals, this kind of childhood trauma can bring with it a desire to prove you are good by rescuing those in need. As long as this desire and the actions to fulfill it are kept within the realm of manageable, rescue work can indeed be a way of bringing yourself some much-needed sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

It’s only when the desire blows out of proportion that hoarding can take over and deep trauma is again inflicted on both the person doing the hoarding and the animals she seeks to help.

4. I feel too guilty if I say “No.”

Guilt is a powerful motivator, and the very real possibility exists that an animal could suffer and die if you aren’t the one to take him/her into your home. When you have a need to be seen as Super-Saving-Dog-Woman, any time you say “No” and someone criticizes you for it, it will cut you to the depths of your soul.

But if you’re overwhelmed, it’s time to say “No.” Yes, there is always a temporary wave of guilt, but in the end it’s better because you’re not putting yourself last anymore. And guess what? Without scapegoats to pile all the work on, others will start to step up and do their share. We must stop enabling them by swooping in and causing ourselves further harm.

5. If I say “No” and the animal dies, it’s all my fault.

This is really the crux of the issue, and the last thing you want as an animal lover is to bear the emotional responsibility for animal deaths, even if you didn’t physically cause it. But you simply have to give yourself the gift of not carrying all the blame if you are full and can’t take anymore. If you’re doing your share as an active rescuer, you’re DOING YOUR VERY BEST. Did you breed the animal and cause him/her to be thrown into the shelter? No! Did you have room and said no just to be spiteful? No!

If you are full, stay off social media sites where you are pummeled with requests for help until you have room to take in one more. Like an alcoholic avoiding the bars, don’t go to where you are most tempted to put yourself and your animals in a position of overreach.

In the end, each of us must come to a realization for ourselves that we are not Super-Saving-Dog-Women (and Men.) We are simply humans doing our best, and as such we have limits and needs of our own to attend to. When you are able to reach this point, you have indeed made considerable progress on working through issues you’ve dragged along since childhood. Well done.

For a simple tapping exercise to help you release some of these negative emotions associated with the desire to over-rescue, tap along with the below video. To teach yourself tapping as a way to work through childhood trauma and reach a happier frame of mind, visit http://www.emofree.com.

 Tamira Thayne is the founder of Who Chains You Books and Spiritual Mentoring, and the pioneer of the anti-chaining movement in America. She spent 13 years on the front lines of chained-dog activism and rescue as founder and CEO of Dogs Deserve Better. She is the author of Foster Doggie Insanity: Tips and Tales to Keep your Kool as a Doggie Foster Parent, and Capitol in Chains: 54 Days of the Doghouse Blues. To book a one-on-one session with Mr. Thayne, visit the website at http://www.whochainsyou.com/activism.html.