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

Hannah

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

Cow

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.

Bullying in the Animal Rescue Movement: Spotting a Bully and Removing Her from Your Life

bullyingrescue

Online bullying is a fact of life, and happens in every social movement and in every dusty corner of the web; however, it is particularly insidious in the animal rescue movement because it destroys the very protective fiber the animals depend on for their salvation.

Most legitimate rescuers enjoy a “honeymoon period” when first jumping into rescue…they’re full of excitement, high on the beauty of saving a life, and starting to build a reputation for themselves.

As long as they’re responsible and on the up and up, things go well for them—for a time. But sooner or later they gain enough visibility to attract a following, and within that following there lurks an element of surprise that most won’t see coming.

Beware the Sycophant

Let’s say a rescuer is deeply involved in a highly-visible dog rescue effort that brings a happy ending for some abused dogs. She (I will be using the pronoun “she” throughout this article, although all points can apply to males as well) does something heroic, even—such as pulling caged and starving dogs from an abandoned home, thereby making the difference between life and death for these neglected canines.

Of course she’s happy. Ecstatic even. And dare I say proud of herself (and she has every right to be).

The police are on her side. The dogs were truly abandoned and emaciated, and the community recognizes her as a hero. She gets airtime on the news, talks about the dogs and her rescue organization and is able as a result to raise some much-needed funds for her work.

But now she has reached a level where she will attract devotees—people who are on the outskirts of rescue but who admire what she did to save these dogs. Many are perfectly nice folks who recognize a hero when they see one. They support the rescue financially, and she develops a rapport with them, sometimes even building lasting friendships.

She also attracts the less sane followers, although the problem for her becomes that in the beginning it is very difficult to tell the two apart. And, she’s naive. She believes everyone who loves dogs is a good person.

She couldn’t be more wrong.

In Dr. Phil’s book Life Code: New Rules for the Real World (a must-read for anyone going through online bullying), he makes it obvious why the sycophant needs to be avoided at all costs: “People who occupy one extreme of the emotional continuum are the very ones who tend to flip-flop to the OTHER emotional extreme.”

In other words? As soon as our one-time hero does ANYTHING that shows her to be a simple human being and not a superhero, her “best friend” suddenly becomes her worst enemy. And she’s been targeted for destruction all along.

Now is when the false claims start.

What’s the Truth?

When we don’t personally know a rescuer, we haven’t been to her home, and we haven’t seen her rescue situation with our own eyes, we as bystanders and/or financial supporters have a problem when accusations of neglect, abuse, or cruelty come to light against her.

Who do we believe?

Accusations of abuse or cruelty are the number one way to destroy an animal rescuer, for obvious reasons. Is the person we’ve trusted to hold the best interests of the animals at heart actually harming them instead? We become morally obligated to take such allegations seriously when they are brought forth, for the protection of the animals.

But by this same token, false accusations of cruelty and neglect have become the number one method nefarious persons use to destroy legitimate rescues.

Because it’s so easy to plant doubts. And they can.

Five Ways to Determine if an Accuser is Lying

We owe it to those brave enough to handle the pain of rescue on a daily basis to give them the benefit of the doubt unless valid evidence is produced. Consider the following points in ascertaining the validity of an accuser.

1. Are the accusations made anonymously?

Contrary to popular belief, ANIMAL RESCUE IS NOT THE CIA. It’s doubtful you would be murdered for standing against an abuser, so claiming you must protect yourself with anonymity is bogus. If someone has a legitimate abuse claim against a rescuer, they need to stand behind that claim, which means using their own name and in full. If they refuse to do that, they should be immediately dismissed as a troublemaker.

The more likely reason someone would make allegations anonymously is that they are lying, and don’t want to be sued for defamation.

2. Is there evidence?

Any legitimate claim will be backed by evidence in the form of photos, videos, vet records, etc. If you witness abuse and are not able to get evidence, you have no business going public with your claim until you can prove it. If there is a total lack of evidence outside of one person’s statement, it needs to be disregarded—unless and until proof can be obtained.

3. Does the accuser have a fake profile?

Often those seeking to destroy others’ well-deserved spotlight create fake profiles in order to do so. Women will pretend to be men, digging up photos of upstanding-looking men they find on the internet in the hopes of lending credence to their claims and throwing the truth seekers off their scent. If you see accusations by someone who isn’t personally known to you, do a little digging. It quickly becomes apparent if they’ve stolen profile photos, and/or other pieces of their persona. If you ascertain their profile is fake, let the victim know and go public with your findings as soon as possible.

4. What type of person is the accuser?

If a little facebook creeping and googling shows that the accuser is one who constantly badmouths others—run, don’t walk, to your nearest exit. Is the accuser on the periphery of rescue, or are they deeply involved on a daily basis? A quick scan of most rescuers’ facebook pages makes it blatantly obvious that those who are legitimate have no desire, time, or intention of attacking other rescuers—unless they have scads of proof and a need to act on behalf of the animals.

5. Does the accuser have a criminal history?

Believe it or not, many of these folks leading the charge with pitchforks and dragons to slay hard-working rescuers are actually convicted criminals themselves. They will even accuse the rescuer of activities they themselves have been convicted of—such as embezzling, one of their favorite pastimes. A little sleuthing and a background check can bring up some fascinating evidence against these frauds. Don’t hesitate to spread the evidence you discover far and wide. When they are exposed for the con artists they are, they will tuck tail and run off to torture their next victim.

Still not sure?

The very best way to ascertain the truth of the matter is to go directly to the source. If you’ve questioned the accuser, but still feel uncomfortable, I recommend you ask the rescuer to come see her facility and meet her rescued animals.

ANY LEGITIMATE RESCUE WILL ALLOW THIS. PERIOD.

If a rescue will not allow you to come in and see all areas of the facility—with the possible exception of quarantine—then there is something to hide.

How can a legitimate rescuer handle these attacks?

1. Invite everyone IN.

If you have nothing to hide, hide nothing. The very act of inviting the public to your facility puts many people’s fears aside. For those who take you up on your offer, be gracious and cordial, and answer every question truthfully and to the best of your ability. Yes, it is annoying that you must defend yourself when you did nothing wrong, but life is frequently unfair. Our job in that moment is to allay our supporters fears, no matter how they were engendered.

2. Being defamed? If you have money for legal, immediately send a cease and desist letter.

Bullies are cowards, and the last thing they want to do is spend what little stolen money they have defending themselves in court. Odds are good they will run off to an easier victim. If you must go to court and you have a strong case—and you can handle the emotional strain—then go for it. That’s something only you can decide.

3. Put out your evidence to the contrary. Publicly.

Bullies lurk in the shadows, streaming hate and lies. They don’t fare so well in the light of day. If you are being falsely accused, they will produce no appropriate evidence to back up their lies.

But guess what, YOU DO have evidence! Of how great a job you’re doing! Build a public page on your website or blog, and put all your photos and videos there of your rescued pets playing, running, interacting with YOU, the accused, and showing no fear. Build your case, and make sure to walk folks through the evidence timeline. Your true supporters can copy and paste this link whenever the accuser is trying to stir up trouble. This will go a long way toward assuaging the fears of your supporters.

4. Walk away and get back to work.

Once you’ve taken the steps above—and any other brilliant ones you’ve added to the equation—you’ve done all you can do. Walk away from their drama and get back to work. Yes, a couple diehard crazy folks will still be lying about you every chance they get, but you’re too busy doing good to give them a moment of your time.

5. Work on your self-esteem and become actively involved in spotting and avoiding these kinds of people.

I read Dr. Phil’s book way too late, but you don’t have to make the same mistake I did. I recommend it for every legitimate rescuer, so you can spot these would-be bullies coming a mile away and avoid them like the plague. When your gut speaks up, listen.

The damage these online bullies do to a legitimate rescuer’s self-esteem is not to be downplayed. We are all human and very few of us come into this world with high self-esteem. It’s something we’ve earned by doing the hard work emotionally and intellectually, and using what we’ve learned to build things we can be proud of.

Most legitimate rescuers are sensitive by nature—if they weren’t brought to intense emotional pain by watching animals suffer, they would not get involved in rescue efforts. It is this very soft-heartedness that makes them the target of bullies; it also makes them more easily taken in by a con artist.

Bullies, narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths have no self-esteem of their own, and so steal yours in order to bring you down to their level. They are often plagued by personality disorders that enable them to feel perfectly entitled to take what is yours, frame you for crimes you didn’t commit, and leave you for dead as they walk over your body in search of their next meal.

You therefore need to become active in the day-to-day revival of your self-esteem, because it can land in the toilet after dealing with bullies. I use and recommend tapping in my own life to release the negative emotions that build up from interactions with these kinds of people. Below is a tapping workshop video I created around the issue of online bullying. Please tap along with me and let me know if it helps you to release some of your pain.

To take your own free tapping courses and go in-depth into tapping, visit the creator’s website at 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.