WCY Books Met our Publishing Goal for 2019! How Many Animal-Related Titles Did We Publish?

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Who Chains You Books is proud to announce we’ll meet our “reach” goal for 2019, with the publication of 24 titles for the year! We’ve released: nine dog books, four cat books, two pig books, two squirrel books, one cow & horse book, one elephant book, and one chicken book (still to come.) We’ve also released two young adult-adult novels encompassing multiple animal issues, as well as two titles under our family & school imprint of Crescent Renewal Resource.

Our 2020 goal remains 24 titles, unless and until we can afford to hire more staff! We also have some more exciting news coming in 2020, so stay tuned for that, too. We are currently accepting submissions, but of animal-related titles ONLY. View our Submissions page here.

Remember, there’s still time to order for holiday gifts, too!

Recap of our 2019 Releases from WCY:

It Went to the Dogs

It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups

Written by Tamira Thayne

A dog activist buys Michael Vick’s dogfighting compound. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out…everything.

•••

The house sat empty, an eerie white sentinel against the flat winter landscape, now guarding only whispers of the past. A six-foot white metal fence with coded entry gate lined the country road, abandoning its purpose at the property line and allowing passage to all with the temerity and curiosity to walk around.

The bullet hole in the front window went unnoticed.

•••

The decision Tamira would make that fateful day in February 2011 would lead not only to a home for her nonprofit’s rescue dogs, but also to the most turbulent four years of her life: she faced down allegations of racism, community harassment, poisoning, and, ultimately, false charges aimed at driving her and Dogs Deserve Better from the county.

There was a reason Michael Vick felt he could get away with dogfighting in Surry County, Virginia—and why he got away with it for as long as he did…

With over 200 bw photos and documents.

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Buy in hardcover direct from printer
Buy a Signed Paperback Copy

Rescuing Cats

In Rescuing Cats I Lost My Mind But Found My Soul

Written by Cheryl Kwasigroch

Cheryl Kwasigroch writes based on personal experience, and with a deep understanding of the feline mind—as well as the knowledge that a cat is a very special animal whose health and medical needs are quite different from those of other pets.

What does it involve to do rescue work with cats, or just be a caring cat adopter? In these 19 short yet heartwarming stories, different cats as well as the people in their lives struggle to understand one another.

Many people would like to foster but don’t understand the commitment it involves—it’s not often simply a matter of playing with a cute kitten. Are you up for the challenge?

And how do you know what your cat is trying to tell you? Can you read a cat’s body language—hint, a furiously wagging tail is not a welcome signal!

Some stories are told from the point of view of the felines, some from the point of view of the person involved in working with the cat. All include valuable information on the psyche and physical well-being of our purring friends.

Travel the feline world with these remarkable stories of inspirational cats. You may shed a tear along the way, but in the end we hope you will find yourself wanting to do more for our beautiful and often misunderstood companions.

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The Case of the Mysterious UFO

The Case of the Mysterious UFO: The Adventures of Swift & Pete, Vol. 1

Written by Ronnell Jackson
Illustrated by Brynakha Vaettir

Mahmah adopted Swift when she visited the local animal shelter; the greyhound caught her eye, sad and lonely in his kennel. She took him home, cleaned him up, and taught him what it was like to live as a beloved family companion. A year later a skinny, matted Scottish terrier named Pete landed on their doorstep, and soon their little family had expanded to three.

What Mahmah had no way of knowing was that Swift and Pete had once lived as strays together, running the streets and scrounging to survive. They’d been close friends and partners in crime, until circumstances — and Animal Control — separated them.

Now trouble awaited the duo once more, as they slipped under their fence and into the dark of night. Swift and Pete raced through the neighboring woods in search of adventure, laughing and remembering the old days. Suddenly a bright ball of light appeared in the sky, streaking toward them and growing brighter and larger before lowering into the dense growth ahead.

They slowed to a stop.

What was that, a meteor? Some kind of aircraft? As the dogs and their friend Icebox investigate The Case of the Mysterious UFO, truths about the mistreatment of animals on our planet and the disappearance of their fellow canines come to light, and their world will never be the same.

The Adventures of Swift and Pete make perfect early chapter readers for ages 9 and up, and can easily fit into school and humane education programs, too.

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Squeak the Squirrel

Squeak the Squirrel

Written & Illustrated by Rhonda Van

Squeak’s family used to live in a big nest lined with leaves and dry grass. The little squirrel remembered a mother who loved and cared for them. But one morning there were loud noises outside the nest. “VRR VRRR! VRR VRRR!”

Their branch started shaking, then the whole nest fell to the ground . . . two men were trimming the tree! “Hey, look,” one said. “Baby squirrels!”

Squeak felt something big and wet lick him. Yuck, what was that? A dog’s tongue? The dog picked Squeak up in his wet mouth and ran happily around the yard. “EEP EEP!” Squeak cried. “EEEP! EEEEP!”

Oh, NO! What will happen to Squeak and his brother and sister now? Find out in Squeak the Squirrel, based on the true story of a rescue squirrel named Squeak. The book, beautifully illustrated in full color by author Rhonda Van, will delight any child or classroom, and fits perfectly into lesson areas for humane education or compassion discussions. Excellent for ages 7 and up, Squeak the Squirrel is a great choice for family bedtime, classroom, or solo reading adventures.

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Blessings from My Cats

Blessings from My Cats: How I Discovered the Boundless Joy of Caring for Wild and Domestic Strays

By Janet S. Dumas

Blessings From My Cats is a collection of short stories about the rescued cats that share the author’s home and the feral cats that depend on her in the wild.

Author Janet S. Dumas became drawn to cat advocacy after her visceral reaction to a chilling expose in the newspaper about the thousands of animals being gassed to death each year by the City of San Antonio, Texas. She knew she had to take action, thus beginning her adventures into the world of Trap-Neuter-Return and caring for cats near her, both feral and domestic. Janet shares her experiences as a feral cat colony caretaker, how she came to understand the individual cats, and the relationships they built together.

The author takes the reader through the myriad of emotions she experiences in caring for the cats—from unmitigated jubilation to the depths of sorrow to a level of compassion that she never knew existed within her.

Blessings from My Cats provides a window into the secret lives of cats in the wild, and the surprising ways these cats demonstrate their profound appreciation for their humans on a daily basis, delighting and resonating with cat lovers of all ages.

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Rehoming Love

Rehoming Love: Tail Thumping Adventures of Happily Adopted Canines

By Kate J. Kuligowski

Join author Kate J. Kuligowski as she brings us into the world of dog rescue through 37 heart-warming, tail-thumping episodes of the successful rescues and rehomings of an assortment of fantastic but hopeless, deserted dogs of all ages. We’ll travel through history from as far back as 1910 through today, and meet dogs of different breeds and sizes—some with physical impediments, all left in nearly impossible situations.

Rehoming Love provides a peek into a world and rehoming experience that can at times be convoluted, but also incredible and joyous. These are stories for any dog lover who has been enchanted or bewildered by their dog’s forever loyalty, or has experienced the intoxication that follows a successful rescue or rehoming of a pet.

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Harley Saves the Day

Harley Saves the Day

By Karen Patterson
Illustrated by Nina Robichaud

Harley is a loving dog with a big body and a loud bark. When Anthony adopts him from the animal shelter in town, the two immediately become best friends.

It comes as a surprise when they encounter neighbors on their morning walk who are frightened by Harley’s physical features. Despite Anthony’s attempts to showcase Harley’s friendly personality, neighbors put pressure on him to keep Harley inside and away from their homes.

When a house fire threatens the life of an elderly neighbor, Harley jumps into action to save her life. Ironically, it’s Harley’s loud bark that alerts rescuers to their location and brings the help she so desperately needs. Through Harley’s heroic act, will the neighborhood begin to look beyond his physical appearance and see him for the caring dog that he is?

Join Harley as he proves that kindness and compassion can change the world. Harley Saves the Day is perfect for ages 7 and up, and makes a wonderful addition to humane or anti-bullying education programs.

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Oliver's Big Problem

Oliver’s BIG Problem
Farm Tales Series: Oliver & Friends

By Stephanie Itle-Clark
Illustrated by Jessie Miller

Oliver is one happy pig with a big personality! He loves his home, his friends, and the healthy food and exercise he gets at the farm. But Oliver did not always live on the farm. His first home was far too small!

Discover how he ended up at the farm and get to know Oliver in the first of the Farm Tales Series written just for early readers in grades Pre-K-2. The book text incorporates early sight words as well as discussion questions for parents and educators to support growth in critical thinking and empathy for others.

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Raffy Calfy's Rescue

Raffy Calfy’s Rescue
Animal Protector Series Vol. 3

By Tamira Thayne
Illustrated by C.A. Wulff

The calf plopped to the ground, looking as grumpy as she felt. She had energy to spare, but nowhere to run and no one to play with. She was trapped! Her mom let out an amused snort, and then licked her little snout clean.

Suddenly there was a commotion in the barn, and a loud braying sent her scurrying under her mother, cowering and shaking. “What’s that noise?” The sound grew louder. Raffy peered through a gap in the wooden fence and saw a huge brown beast, with shiny fur and black trimmings on his feet and face.

“It’s a horse, honey,” replied Momma. Here at the Lazy M Rodeo Company, stories were passed from pen to pen about how the horses helped the humans rope baby cows for “fun and entertainment”; but it sure wasn’t fun for the calves, or their mothers who lowed in frustration as their babies were pulled from their sides.

Over the next few days, Raffy Calfy, Momma Cow, and Serge the horse developed a friendship, even making up silly jokes and playing tricks on one another. Finally, the time came for Serge to tell Rhonda and Raffy all about the rodeo, and the dangers it held for cows and calves.

Was all hope lost? Would Raffy and Momma Cow ever make it to the meadow? Find out in Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, The Animal Protector Series Vol. 3. The book and the Animal Protector Series is perfect for ages 8 and up, and includes a vocab builder and lesson starter questions, too.

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One Eye

One Eye: A Squirrel’s Tale

By Laura W. Eckroat
Illustrated by Greg White

There once was a bright blue house, with a slippery slate roof and a creaky crooked porch, that sat to the left of the fork in the road. The porch was a peaceful gathering place, and the man who lived there often sat and enjoyed the view and the humans and animals who so often stopped by.

The man scattered peanuts and seeds on the porch for the animals, who looked forward to their tasty treats. One day, the man in the bright blue house, with the slippery slate room, and the creaky crooked porch was watching the current summer storm, when he realized he was no longer alone.

A small, injured brown squirrel sat motionless just a few feet away…

Would the man in the bright blue house be able to help the wounded little squirrel? Find out in One Eye: A Squirrel’s Tale, by author Laura W. Eckroat. Includes the story of the real-life One Eye and White Ears, PLUS a wildlife sample lesson that can be used along with the book by teachers and humane educators for grades 1-5.

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Wild Hare

Wild Hare

By Laura Koerber

“The world is coming to an end.”

I pushed the oil rags and cigarette butts off the seat of my friend Arne’s old pickup truck and climbed in. He threw the truck into gear, gunned the engine, and smirked. “What’s the point of being a fairy if you can’t wave a magic wand and get shit done?”

Yeah, I’m a fairy.

No, not that kind.

I’m half-human, half-forest spirit from the wild hare clan—what anthropologists call a trickster—and I live by the wild hare code of “feed, fight, fornicate”; except that’s using the nice word for it.

Maybe Arne had a point. Maybe I didn’t fight hard enough to better this world I so reluctantly belonged to. After all, my personal life was generally OK, so why get into a brawl about shit I couldn’t change?

What I didn’t know, as the ruined scenery brushed past, was that my personal life would soon go tits up too, and I’d get pushed into fighting in ways I’d never fought before. Lucky me.

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Elyse's Escape

Elyse’s Escape
Kindness to Animals Series Vol. 5

By Heather Leughmyer
Illustrated by April Pedersen

Under the big top, Elyse was born; from birth she was trained to obey. She would travel the country, perform for the crowds, but never got to play. Her costumes were extravagant; she wore feathers on her head. But she didn’t have a family, or a warm and cozy bed.

Each night Elyse would fall asleep exhausted and forlorn, wishing for the mom she hadn’t seen since she was born.

One evening when the crowds were gone and she was tethered for the night, Elyse noticed for the first time that her ropes were rather tight. She wasn’t quite the fragile baby that she used to be; she was stronger now, but could she break her binds and easily run free?

Find out in this lyrical rhyming story from author Heather Leughmyer, part of her Kindness to Animals Series. Perfect for ages 5 and up, and excellent for both humane education and library and family story time.

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The Curse of Cur

The Curse of Cur: The Chained Gods Series Book 2

By Tamira Thayne

An animal activist teenager continues her quest to save two dimensions in this sequel to The Wrath of Dog

Baylee jumped out of bed, momentarily forgetting about her father slumbering in the chair next to her. Her heart gave a tug at his presence, but this was no time for sentimentality.

She couldn’t afford to be sidetracked from her vision—the vision that told her they needed to get to New York City, and fast.

Because she knew where the Akita they’d seen on screen yesterday, her father’s second in command, was chained…

And her mother was not gonna be happy about it.

Baylee had been instrumental in freeing her father, the king of Perrin, mere days ago from his own 18-year captivity as a chained German shepherd. Now it was time for Baylee, her father, and Perrin’s remaining top generals to buck up. It was her mission, their collective mission, to find the chained warriors, unearth the remaining four keys, and rescue both Perrin and Earth from the grip of Phoebus, The Scion, and their legion of minions.

Easy peasy.

Baylee leaned heavily against the bathroom wall, toothbrush hanging from her mouth. Oh, who was she kidding.

The future looked daunting, indeed.

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Rocky's Story

The Returned: Rocky’s Story, Book Two

By Samantha K. Riggi

Anna and her best friend Molly run a blog and podcast called The Returned, helping returned shelter dogs find new, loving homes and families.

With four successful adoptions through their program, the girls discuss choosing their next dog to feature. Unbeknownst to Anna and Molly, their mission will find them—in the form of a chained dog named Rocky.

Rocky is a pit bull mix who is forgotten in the summer heat in an overgrown backyard next door to the town library. When the girls and their friend Erin stumble across Rocky and his dilemma, they are faced with moral and ethical decisions.

How can they free the dog from a bad situation and get him into a loving home?

In the meantime, they discover a local family has been living homeless, and they too are in need of assistance. Will Anna, Molly, and Erin find a way to work through the challenges to find a happy ending for both Rocky and a family in need? Find out in this second installment of The Returned: Rocky’s Story.

Perfect for ages 10 and up and grades 4-8, the series also makes an excellent humane education tool for nonprofits and humane educators.

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Fiona Finds Love

Fiona Finds Love

By Rhonda Lucas Donald
Illustrated by Erin Nielson

They call me the trash cat. But my name is Fiona.

That’s what my family used to call me before they moved away. “She’ll be fine,” they said. “She’s a cat, after all.”

Now I’m on my own.

Fiona is an abandoned cat trying to survive and feed her kittens. Like so many other felines, she faces the dangers of life outdoors on her own: speeding cars, sickness, parasites, hunger, and cold. Will she beat the odds and find a better life for herself and her babies?

Fiona Finds Love dispels the myth that cats can fend for themselves and ought to be outside. Cats deserve our love and care—and have so much of both to give back. The book is perfect for early readers from age 5 and up, and works great in the classroom and as part of humane education efforts, too.

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Hachi & Friends

Hachi and Friends

By Anastasia Ormeron
Illustrated by Chiara Intropido

If you happen to be passing through Shibuya Railway Station, in the chaotic heart of Tokyo, you are certain to come across a small bronze statue of a dog.

This is Hachi-kò, the ‘Loyal Akita Inu of Japan’, who waited faithfully at that exact spot for almost ten years in the hope of his master’s return.

Shibuya Station is a focal point in this delightful tale combining fact and fiction, and every afternoon our hero unfailingly meets the incoming three o’clock train, seeking the one familiar face which means so much to him—that of Master Ueno.

A mysterious kidnapping sets Hachi and friends on a trail that twists and turns through the Tokyo of the 1920s, and Hachi comes face to face with his worst fear. Will he overcome it to win the day?

You’ll meet some of Hachi’s many human and animal friends, including Maro, the vagabond mixed breed who is proud to live as a street dog, Goro, who was abandoned as a puppy outside the police station and now acts as police dog, and Debbie, Hachi’s special fox terrier friend who lives next door.

This illustrated story for ages 9 and up is dedicated to Hachi, on his eighty-fourth Memorial Anniversary.

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Ouzo the Greek

Ouzo the Greek: A Year in
the Life of a Greek Rescue Dog

By Lisa Edwards

After being hit by a car and left for dead on the streets of Greece, I was rescued by my heroine and first love, Ermioni. With broken bones and open wounds so severe my flesh was beginning to rot, the only option was to amputate my leg.

Ermioni nursed me back to health and I lived for a time at the Diasozo Animal Rescue shelter. However, I was becoming depressed, as the healthier dogs were pushing me out of the way when there was food to be had.

My guardian angel continued to look out for me and share my story on social media all around the world, until one day I found my very own Mama and Papa, in little old England.

And this is where my story begins. . . .

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Clarabelle Comes Clean

Clarabelle Comes Clean

By Timothy J. Verret
Illustrated by April Pedersen

Clarabelle Pig was drinking from the school water fountain when Barrett Frog hopped in front of her, blocking her. He stood with Andrea Fox and Ferdinand Rabbit, all laughing.

“Pigs shouldn’t drink out of fountains!” said Barrett, leaping and chuckling.

“They’re too dirty,” Andrea said, wrapping her gorgeous tail around her neck.

“Oink, oink, stinky piggy!” chimed in Ferdinand, holding his whiskered nose.

Clarabelle shook her head and stomped off to her next class. “I’m so tired of those meanies saying pigs are muddy and smelly,” she thought. “I’m gonna prove them wrong, once and for all.”

Find out how Clarabelle stops the hurtful name-calling in its tracks in Clarabelle Comes Clean, a wonderful addition to humane education classwork and lessons in bullying and societal stereotyping. The book is perfect for ages 6 and up, and the illustrations keep the attention of younger students too in parental, library, and classroom read-alongs.

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Tiffany Rolls On

Tiffany Rolls On

By Stephanie Itle-Clark
Illustrated by Rhonda Van

Meet tiny Tiffany and her big personality in this touching story of compassion, determination, and triumph. Readers will discover the dark and dank place (a puppy mill) where Tiffany began her life, and experience her rescue and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Yet even after her rescue Tiffany struggles to play like the other dogs, due to her injuries and weak legs. With the help of her foster mom Ashley, Tiffany gains strength in both body and spirit while she waits for her adoptive family.

Tiffany discovers independence and positivity when she gets a wheelchair that allows her to run and play like the other dogs.

Tiffany Rolls On promotes perspective building and empathy for others, while also supporting conversations about both animal welfare and the fact that our commonalities outweigh our differences. Perfect for ages 4 and up, Tiffany’s story can be useful in a variety of humane-themed lessons, including discussions about disabilities, animal welfare, adoption, and companion animal care.

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Spittin' Kitten's Speed-Away

Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away
Animal Protector Series Vol. 2

By Tamira Thayne
Illustrated by Rhonda Van

The little orange kitten stopped and scratched his neck. “Fleas,” he mumbled to himself; he could feel the bugs wandering around in his fur, stopping for a bite every now and again. Yuk! He was hungry, too, but he knew his mother was struggling to feed him and his four siblings.

Spittin’ plopped himself down in their nest beside the barn. Had the humans simply forgotten to put food out? he wondered. Maybe he could be the one to remind them.

Spittin’ had never been around people before, but—pushing his fear aside—he bravely left the den in search of help. When he reached the other side of the barn, he jumped back in shock. In front of him splayed out a whole big world he’d never known existed!

Soon Spittin’ finds himself on an unexpected adventure—he flies through the air, scrambles for a hiding place, and even takes an unexpected ride in the engine of a car. Where will the little kitten end up, and will he get help for his family?

Find out in Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, perfect for ages 7 and up. The book also features vocab builders throughout the story, and excels as part of a humane education curriculum.

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The Trial of the Outlaw Collie Sam

The Trial of the Outlaw Collie Sam

By Dale Seddon

“I was born,” he began, “by a dumpster at noon,
In a broken down doghouse with only one room,
With only one window we used as a door,
With rats in the rafters and mud on the floor.”

Raised by a single parent, the outlaw collie Sam and his seven siblings run wild and free, feasting on castaway food in garbage cans and chasing after humans to scare them, all for the fun of it. Then one day disaster strikes. Sam and his brothers and sisters mistakenly frighten the wrong human. The Catchers arrive at the dilapidated doghouse in the middle of the night, guns in hand. Sam is wounded. But he manages to escape.

The next day, Sam is found by a Keeper, a kind human who takes the dog home and sets about training him.

“He healed my wound and he purchased a tag.
I trained to the collar and re-learned to wag.
It wasn’t all easy. Oh no, to be sure.
I yearned for the smell of the pack and the poor.
I longed for my snout in the wind and the fun,
For the thrill of the free in the rush of the run.
But slowly I learned that I had to obey.
The Keeper was mine if I wanted to stay.”

The Trial of the Outlaw Collie Sam is so far outside the box that it’s difficult to label as anything but absolutely unique. Part poem, part fantasy, part courtroom drama, and part—a very large part—the true story of the real outlaw collie Sam, a Heinz-57 variety mongrel dog whose life and adventures were the inspiration for the story.

The Trial of the Outlaw Collie Sam and its companion story about the real Sam are both captivating tales. The story of the trial itself is beautifully told. It bounces along in an almost musical fashion—especially when the narrative poem describing it is read aloud. It provides an intimate glimpse into how “guilt” or “innocence” is established for our animal friends.

And the story about the real outlaw collie Sam? Well, that is worth reading too, if for no other reason than to avoid making the same mistakes that the author did when Sam chose him to be his Keeper.

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The Moody Pencil

The Moody Pencil

Samantha K. Riggi
Illustrated by Richard Clark

Connor’s pencil has been acting out lately; in fact, he’s become especially moody!

When Pencil purposefully ruins Connor’s math paper AND his book about whale sharks, Connor tries to reason with him. Connor even apologizes for biting him on the butt and sharpening him roughly, but Pencil refuses to listen.

Soon Connor realizes that Pencil has run away. Will Pencil continue his life on the run? How will Connor get his work done without his friend Pencil?

Find out in this funny take on the daily grind of the school pencil. This full-color, comic-style book is perfect for ages 7 and up, and the back and forth letters between Connor and Pencil will engage even the reluctant reader.

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The Lost Tooth

The Never Ending Thank You

By Samantha K. Riggi
Illustrated by Niki Stage

“My birthday will be fantastically flawless!” Meghan declared from the center of the room she had just decorated with her mother.

Meghan was so excited for her birthday party that she had planned out every detail, including the thank you cards. After she hand delivers her thank yous to her friends, she’s surprised when her best friend Sidney writes a thank you card back.

“It’s beautiful,” Meghan said earnestly, though she was beginning to worry.

Meghan writes Sidney another card, but when Sidney writes back again, Meghan can’t help but wonder if thank you cards are ever supposed to end!

The Never Ending Thank You is simple and beautifully illustrated by artist Niki Stage, and yet presents a lesson that’s never too early to learn about the ins and outs of friendship and communication.

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Who Chains You Publishing Supports Humane Education in its Quest to Promote Kindness to Animals for Today’s Youth

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Humane Education is one of the most important tools we have to engender a sense of kindness in future generations. By breaking the chain of cruelty to animals through direct communication with youth in schools, we create a more caring society, for humans as well as animals. Our wholesale program is perfect to assist Humane Educators in teaching our youth about animal issues in society.

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We offer wholesale pricing of only $6.50 per book (with FREE Shipping—U.S. ONLY, please contact us for shipping to other countries), mix and match, to humane educators—and every book is available for the program. There is a 10 book minimum order for this program, after that the sky’s the limit!

Even better, for humane educators who need books in higher quantities, orders of 50+ books are only $6.00 each, a savings of over 50% off retail.

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Are you a humane educator in need of books? Then look no further! If you have questions or special needs, or would like to ask about other wholesale opportunities, email us at info@whochainsyou.com for more information.

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Interested in checking out all our available books? Please use the order form on our site to check availability and place your order.

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Our books are already in use in classrooms and libraries by teachers nationwide, like Sonya Wilson, pictured left.

Humane Educator Susan Hergert took books from Who Chains You to her first school visit. She writes in her blog: “When it was all over, I gave the students some books to keep there. They were thrilled with the selections and began to immediately read them! I truly wished I had brought more…a book for each child, perhaps. As I left, I told Nancy that I will bring more in the future.”

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Calling all Humane Educators:

Let us know what other topics or animal issues you are interested in sharing with students, and the age ranges you’d like the books to fit. We’d be happy to get our authors brainstorming book ideas for your topic of interest. Leave us a comment, below, with your suggestions. Thank you for caring about the kids and the animals!

WCY Authors Tamira Thayne and Brandy Herr Offer Book Signings in October

The Who Chains You Publishing authors are getting out and about in the community, spreading the word about not only their book offerings, but also highlighting animal welfare issues and our responsibility to care for the animals with whom we share a planet.

This weekend Tamira Thayne, founder of Who Chains You Publishing and author of The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, Foster Doggie Insanity, and Capitol in Chains, and the co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles, will be joining local authors in the Northern Virginia cities of Warrenton and Culpeper for book signings on Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. She’d love to see your friendly face at either of the events!

Great Writers, Right Here
Friday, October 13, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Family Life Center
39 Alexandria Pike,
Old Town Warrenton, VA

Author Extravaganza
Saturday, October 14, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Culpeper, VA Public Library
271 Southgate Shopping Center
Culpeper, VA 22701

More About the Author:

In her empathy for the plight of the chained dog, Tamira Thayne pioneered the anti-tethering movement in America, forming and leading the nonprofit Dogs Deserve Better for 13 years. Her swan song culminated in the purchase and transformation of Michael Vick’s dogfighting compound to a chained-dog rescue and rehabilitation center. In 2016 she founded Who Chains You, publishing books for those who believe people—and animals—deserve to be free.

Author Brandy Herr from Granbury, Texas, has been busy attending events and even sat down to talk with NBC Dallas-Forth Worth about her Second Chance series. You can watch her fabulous interview here: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Clear-the-Shelters_Dallas-Fort-Worth-441017853.html

Below are some of her upcoming signings and speaking engagements:

October 16, 2017, Private Event, Speaking at middle school

October 18, 2017, 6:30 PM, Haunted Granbury Presentation, Benbrook Public Library

October 19, 2017, 6:00 PM, Haunted Granbury Presentation, Mary Lou Reddick Public Library in Lake Worth

October 26, 2017, 6:00 PM, Haunted Granbury Presentation, Weatherford Public Library

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 books available: Honey’s Second Chance, Emma’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.

Be sure to Join our Facebook Page to keep up with all our authors and our new and forthcoming book releases.

Remember: Only three more days to sign up for our Goodreads Giveaway for our new book I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary by author Laura Koerber. We’re giving away three copies to the lucky winners—no strings attached—so sign up Here Today!

Grab our FREE Book, The King’s Tether, in Honor of our One Year Anniversary at Who Chains You Publishing

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, our mission is a simple one: to amplify the voices of the animals through the empowerment of animal lovers, activists and rescuers to write and publish books elevating the status of animals in today’s society.

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Our second 1st Anniversary Giveaway is from author Tamira Thayne, author of The Wrath of Dog (out in paperback and kindle, and coming soon in Audiobook, too!) Foster Doggie Insanity, and Capitol in Chains.

The King’s Tether is a short story at just over 6,000 words, and can be read as a stand alone piece or either before or after The Wrath of Dog to lead into the series or discover more of Wrath’s backstory and how he ended up chained and feral.

This prequel story is part of The Chained Gods Series, a young adult paranormal venture into the world of shifters, immortals, mindlinkers, and earth-dwellers who come together to save not one but two dimensions.

You can buy the paperback for $5.97 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?

The King’s Tether is a short, intriguing read, and will be especially engaging for animal lovers and activists with an interest in paranormal fiction.

Excerpt:

 

In a rare moment of inactivity, the dog rested his head on his front paws. The thick logging chain weighed heavily across his body as he pulled his back legs from beneath the oppressive steel. His eyelids drooped, and even though his feral mind urged him to remain vigilant, told him he was in constant danger, sleep had its way with him anyway.

With sleep came relief.

In the waking state his mind knew only bloodlust and revenge, his body hunger and thirst, and his heart pain and sorrow. In slumber his consciousness freed itself from its bonds, and he revisited an immortal life once known—only to lose the beloved memories upon reawakening.

The ultimate cruelty.

He dreamt of a woman. It couldn’t be just any woman; according to the Prophetess, he would know her when he saw her. His brain, his heart, his mind—they all called out for her, whispering of bonds and mating rituals and a shared future that was theirs and theirs alone.

A kick to the ribs lurched him from the dream, and the woman slipped away from him, again…

 

Get Your FREEBIE Now
http://whochainsyou.com/kingstetherfree.html

Happy Reading!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Been Told You’re ‘Too Sensitive’ for Caring About the Animals? Four Challenges Sensitive People Can Overcome to Make a Difference

 

Are you an animal activist or rescuer who’s been repeatedly told you’re ‘too sensitive’ for caring about animals? You are not alone.

One of the Universe’s little ironies is that the most sensitive among us are the ones tasked with doing one of the most difficult jobs…protecting the animals.

Yet this very same sensitivity—the gift of the ability to empathize, to put ourselves into the shoes, hooves, or paws of another being—puts us at greater risk for pain, depression, and immense suffering, whether we are following through with our chosen mission or not.

There are four hurdles to be overcome in working for the animals which can prove especially challenging to the sensitive soul.

1. Overcoming the Fear of Taking Action

Sensitive folks believe they’ve come to this planet to make a difference. When that difference is scary, such as advocating for animals left out on chains, animals that end up on peoples’ plates, or animals that are used for the amusement of humans, the fear—real and imagined—is amped up accordingly.

There exists the possibility that when one stands in the face of violence against animals, jail, physical and emotional harm, or even death can result. To the sensitive soul these confrontations with amoral people loom large and menacing.

The probability of failure is high, and even when there are successes to tide you over, the greater likelihood is that there remains a continued chance of defeat in each mission you undertake. Those who are sensitive take these failures more personally, believing that it’s all their fault—and just maybe they are not good people—if they can’t succeed.

2. Overcoming Debilitating Pain for and on Behalf of The Animals

For those of us who love animals, the thought of eating them, chaining them, caging them for our amusement, and the host of other uncurbed cruelties that abound out in the ‘real’ world cause us intense emotional discomfort.

We feel this pain on behalf of the tortured souls—as if we are experiencing it AS them—AND we feel this pain on behalf of our own tormented spirits, forced to witness the cruelty and feeling helpless to stop it.

Overwhelming anguish leads to depression, avoidance of the reality we face, and—worst case scenario—suicide.

When we are in such intense agony, it is very hard to act on behalf of the animals. All we can focus on is our own suffering and how to ameliorate it.

3. Overcoming Obstacles and Putdowns by Bullies and Authorities

Sensitive people by and large don’t fend off criticism as well as their neighbors and co-workers. Because they are so easily-affected by the putdowns of others, they struggle to place the far-flung words into perspective, to realize those who are directing abuse at them are really showing themselves for what they are: bullies. To the overwhelmed thought pattern of the empath, the putdowns becomes more proof that they must somehow be defective.

They have a harder time standing up to authorities—even though their moral compass is strong—because the desire to avoid conflict and an inherent kindheartedness is a large part of who they are. As such they are often mistaken for weak by those who bulldoze all those standing in their path.

4. Overcoming Defeat and Getting Back Up to Fight Again

Once a sensitive soul is down, it becomes all too tempting to roll over and play dead. They bury themselves in depression, alcohol, pills, food, TV-watching, internet surfing, or other activities that are self-defeating and don’t forward the mission of advocating for the animals.

Everyone on the front lines needs a break from time to time. Animal advocacy is a very difficult and soul-draining process, especially for those who are empathetic enough to fight on behalf of the animals.

There also comes a time in every activist or rescuer’s career when her front line days are over, she’s served her time, and she can then be of service to the cause as a mentor to others.

Ascertaining at which point on the spectrum the sensitive soul currently sits is an ongoing process, but overcoming a sense of defeat enough to stand and fight another day is a highly-commendable—and possible—goal.

Exactly How Does the Sensitive Soul Overcome These and Other Obstacles to Animal Activism?

Sometimes the most sensitive among us are surprisingly inept at inner reflection and strength-building. Most have suffered intense childhood wounding by their families of origin, and carry this pain into adulthood, mistakenly assuming they are stuck dragging it after them for life.

But our very ability to look deep, to release old, stuck issues, can make the difference in overcoming the obstacles and creating a new reality for ourselves.

Often a childhood fraught with animal abuse brings about the very desire to make a difference for the animals as adults, and letting go of the pain and blame from childhood will go a long way toward giving us the strength to stand tall for those we are now tasked with protecting.

There are a myriad of ways to let go, and there is no wrong way as long as it works for you. Just start exploring the infinite possibilities. I recommend reading “The Four Agreements” if you haven’t already done so, and take its lessons to heart. The agreements are simple yet profound, and the book is short and perfect for multiple readings—as you’ll find it easy to forget what you’ve learned and fall back into childhood patterns.

I’ve become a fan of and use tapping, aka EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), for myself and my clients, as a solid means by which to free negative emotions and build a strong inner core through drawing the positive into your life.

To teach yourself tapping (one of the reasons I love it is that you can totally teach it to yourself), visit the founder’s website and go through the lessons. You won’t regret it. http://www.emofree.com.

Below is a video to get the sensitive souls among us started in overcoming obstacles today. Tap along and you’ll start releasing a little of that pain and negativity within the first 15 minutes!

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.