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Everything posted by BrDevon

  1. Of course it can be adapted to a tongue in cheek puppy or kitten with a "speech balloon" saying to a cat or dog "where do kittens/puppies come from?" Or for a slightly older audience who can handle a slightly disturbing image: a puppy or kitten in a trash can with a caption "They aren't trash - control litters - spay or neuter."
  2. One of the more radical approaches I have seen by a pet advocate was to hand out cards at a safer sex discussion at school. (The school hands out free condoms and information.) The card basically asked fellow students to give a donation to support a spay or neuter. A couple of the slogans I remember were "because we can always say no" and "because cats/dogs don't know how to use birth control." Clever but effective.
  3. Sadly, in my neck of the woods, vets have an office pool as to when the first one will hear of a black cat being sacrificed. Disgusting, but true. I am happy to say that all the reputable shelters and agencies will NOT allow black cats to be adopted near the holiday. A lot of area shelters are doing a very honorable thing and having "adoption processes." Instead of just walking in and walking out with the first pet that catches the eye, they are having people front the money for the spay or neuter and vaccinations. (Let's be blunt and honest here - if you can't afford that, you also could not afford emergency care, and therefore have no business adopting a pet.) Around the holidays, local agencies have a cooling off period. You can adopt your friend, but you have to coome visit him or her at the shelter, and play in a supervised environment. You will also need to have a signed letter from a vet showing that you have scheduled your first well care visits. A couple area shelters have clauses on their adoption papers that clearly state that adoptive families will need to produce evidence of having a vet, and failure to keep routine care visits will result in a request for a welfare check from the authorities, and where warranted, a charge of animal neglect and/or cruelty. I am all for a cooling off period, and having an adoptive family pay for boarding during that time. If you seriously care for this pet, and want to adopt him or her into the family, these are reasonable precautions and expenses. It also softens the transition to a new home, because your new friend has a chance to learn your scent, enjoy your company, develop a sense of trust (oh look! The human has come to play with me again!). I would prefer to adopt a pet from a shelter that has a cooling off period because it allows the pet to adjust, and also shows the shelter is not a holding tank for unwanted animals, but sincerely cares about what happens after they leave.
  4. I don't see what feeding a future Girl Scout to a rat is going to do to make it happy. Surely it won't do anything for scouting. Besides, if you run out of Brownies, you won't have any more Girl Scout cookies.
  5. It is coming up on that time of year that fills me with dread... the holiday season. Why would that be? Because somewhere out there -- too many "out theres" -- are people who think it is a good idea to adopt a pet for the holiday. A couple of news flashes: if the pet in question does not have a battery port or is not full of fiberfill, it does not belong under the tree! If you were adopting a human baby and put it under a tree, the authorities would have you hauled away. Ever see a kid on a holiday? Noise! Excitement! I can't sit still! Food! Running! These are not the things that make for a smooth transition into a new home. Your newest family member needs a calm, quiet comforting environment while he or she learns where things are, adjust to all the weird smells, sounds, and activity. Where do I eat? Where do I sleep? Where do I potty? Mistakes are going to happen, and that is more likely when there is chaos and confusion. Also a kid hyped up on a holiday is going to lose focus on how much attention is being given to this little life. It is helpful to remember that a pet is much like a human baby - it needs food, sleep, shelter, care. It is not going to be able to tell you exactly how to hold it and what makes it happiest. You will have to find out. Please... if there is any kindness you can give another living creature, it is this: celebrate your holidays, then after life goes back to normal, welcome your new baby home when you can give it full attention and help it become a valued member of the family. Also, realize the limitations of your household. I have several times been asked why I no longer have a little one. I love them, and would love nothing more than to go to a shelter and save one from a fate that they never asked for. I also realize that I live in an environment that is not fit for a little one. There is no place to run, to stretch, to play. I can not afford the possibility of expensive medical care (this is something that should be seen as a "when," not an "if." Before you adopt a pet, ask yourself: do I have enough funds on reserve to handle an emergency? Can I provide for the dailiy needs of this little one? If you can honestly answer no -- and yes, I know the heart wants what it wants, but it is the head that has to do the thinking -- please do the honorable thing and do not adopt the little one. What you can do is support those in need: donate to spay/neuter programs. Ask shelters or vets what they need: food, old comfotable usable bedding, etc. If you can't take care of one of your own, you might ease the burden of someone who can. Most veterinary hospitals have an emergency fund in case of dire emergency. Most vets that I have met would move heaven and earth to save any animal that has a chance, and do not want to be limited by dollars. I know several happy stories that were made possible by generous people who gave sometimes a few cents or the savings from grocery coupons. Don't have the mentality that "it's a drop in the bucket." Each drop counts, and even the largest ocean is made up of several drops of water. If you do have a friend with fur, feathers, fins, etc.... Give them an extra dose of love from those of us who love "critters" but don't have the right kind of home for them. And be nice to all the pet lovers who were responsible enough not to bring a little one into a household that wasn't right for them. It's tough to walk by a little one in need and not bring him or her home, but it is the right thing if the right conditions can not be provided.
  6. A lot of our specialists and vets went to Tuft's. I am so proud of the number of vets, vet techs and other professionals at all levels who paid it forward. Even the administrative and secretarial staff at the hospital (that was my area), would work countless hours off the clock and offer a portion of our pay to help out. Sadly, one area we became too good at was the end of a life. We offered cardboard caskets in all sizes for deceased pets. In order to give them an air of respect and not just hand a "boxed pet" out the loading dock, our staff grew a beautiful garden of roses and wildflowers and would arrange a respectful floral spray with a ribbon and an approprate sympathy card. Many -- too many -- times, this minister would (always at request of the family) say a prayer for the dying or deceased pet. When I first was asked and management caught wind of it, I was blessed with the icy stares and nasty comments. When I replied that I would only do it at the request of the family and not impose it, and that pets are some of God's most innocent creatures, they backed down. In fact, the owner allowed me to go through the entire hospital once with a bucket of holy water and a pine brush and bless the entire hospital that we may serve as many pets and save those we can, mercifully tend to those we can't and bring comfort to pets and their human companions alike. I was honored. I am thankful the days are gone where I had to hastily arrange flowers and place a loved one in a casket, but we serve as we are needed. Many a dollar had been donated by staff to go to thrift shops and the like and buy up blankets and comforters. We had a deal with the local Salvation Army store to buy all the unfit blankets and bedding - stuff that had a stain or tear that made it unfit for sale. We bought them for pennies on a bag and a wonderful team of volunteers would cut out usable sections and sew them into linings and pillows to place in those caskets to soften the blow of presenting the pets we could not save. It hurt like hell each time we had to do it, but it was a service of mercy, and I would do it again before allowing someone to just get a cardboard box with their best friend in it like a package from some department store. The easiest way to make money is the coupons for critters, as long as people are willing to put a portion (or better yet, all) of the coupon savings into the donation. I realize these days everyone seems to be in need and everyone has their hand out, but pets did not ask to be born. One of the most compelling series of posters for spaying and neutering was done by a fellow student when I was going for my associates. An art major did a series of print ad mock ups featuring either a dog or a cat with a condom or a box of "the pill" with a tag line "Hey Dad (or Hey Mom), we need to talk...." The ad copy went on to say that our pets can't read the instructions for birth control and have a hard time using it with their paws, so it is up to pet parents to do the right thing and take care of their kids. I wish I could show you a copy. It's been more than 10 years since I saw those prints, and I still see the images clearly in my mind. Maybe it is time for someone else to run that campaign again.
  7. The animal hospital where I used to work had a fund for those who could not afford care. Most of our spay/neutering and vaccinations came out of that fund. We used to challenge our pet parents to start a coupon kitty bank - the savings from using coupons were placed in a "kitty" for a kitty (get it?). Because we were a training hospital, the interns agreed to take a pay cut so that we could offer "lower fare" treatment. Of course, every intern is supervised by a licensed expert, so fido or fluffy got two doctors for less. We also had "don't litter" days, where we would fund raise for fixes. The most clever spay/neuter program we offered was around Thanksgiving. The poster read "You cook the turkey, we'll handle the fixings." We offered the operation near cost. We also had a collection station for those who wanted to support helping out a pet family in need. Maybe I was fortunate enough to know generous vets, but we had no problem getting the docs to reduce the rates and donate their time. So many regulars were impressed that we never needed to beg to raise money for our fund for needy pets. Most of the time the fund was used for the more expensive emergency room care, and "secret santas" and "secret admirers" donated spays and neuters year round.
  8. Well naturally. It takes hours to hand wash wool and let it drip dry. Did you really think we thought you slept in that suit? That would be silly.
  9. I know I feel in the minority when I say that my path works for me, and each member is free to pursue his or her own path/paths or lack thereof. I have never seen it as a threat to my faith or person when another has a differing view, provided that view is not to inflict harm upon me. I do not need to be right in anyone's eyes. I only seek to be right with my Creator. If I manage that, I am doing well enough. I have learned a great deal from those brave enough to share their views. I have seen many of those people bashed simply because they did not follow another member's prescription of how they should be. This hurts, because the ULC was created specifically with the mindset that each of us has the right to define the path we are called to follow and no one should have the right to tell us what is right, within legal boundaries. I have no right to tell another how to worship (or not to). I have no right to force my truth upon another. There is a far cry of difference between sharing my truth and pushing my agenda. I am happy to do the former, I have no right to do the latter. I miss the days where we had weekly chats sessions where many would gather and we would hold an online service. I saw many people who did not share my path or beliefs come to the chat room to "listen" to the "service," and hang out long after to discuss because there was an atmosphere of sincere interest, and not a competiton to see who was walking the best or right path. I would love to see us go back to that kind of forum. We always had those who only had time to debate. We will have them for the forseeable future. I still think a discussion and sincere interest beats a debate and defensive stance any day. Of course, I am also fond of the saying "you can't shake hands with a clenched fist."
  10. To those who are out, to those who are in, for those who question, and for those who simply wish to love as their hearts lead, may today be a day of love for self and one step closer to being able to be who you are. We are each created as we were intended to be, perfect in the eyes of our Creator. Focus, then, on loving yourself as your Creator loves you, and do not be concerned with those who can not love you for the real you. Love is not a lie, and it can not last when built upon a lie. The first love has to be self. Remember, also, all who have been hurt or killed for no other reason than for being.
  11. It depends on what I am being called wrong on. If I say Genesis 1:1 reads..." and I do not quote it correctly, then yes, I AM wrong. If I state what my beliefs are, it would be dismissive and rude of someone to call that wrong. There is a difference between one's beliefs and values and what one considers fact. When the latter is proven wrong, then maybe the former will change, but I would not resent being fact-checked, or told why someone's values differ from mine in a respectful way. There is nothing wrong with sharing opposing views respectfully. The problem seems to be that there has been a lot less respectfully and a lot more of a need to be "right" or "the winner." For seven years, Enlightened Souls Ministries was on the internet. A majority of those years, Hrodebert was the webmaster and he remains to this day the first Prior of the ministry. Our views on religious matters are about as divergent as they can be: mine leans toward the trinity as taught in most Christian denominations, his is more polytheistic. I don't see it as my personal mission to prove him wrong, nor does he seek to change me. What we do come together on is that we see a lot of truth in each other's path - and moreso that we are both called to the path that is meant for us. We have a mutual respect for each other and each other's path. I am often asked how I can embrace a brother who does not worship exactly as I do, and how I can call him a brother when I can not dictate his path. That is respect, folks. I am happy to discuss my path with Hrodebert and others, and we have had wonderful discussions that have left us both a lot better informed. I am better off for the growth that comes and has come from his sharing. No, I will not be following his path, nor he mine, but I consider him a great scholar, a mentor, a proceless friend, my brother, and am proud to call him a Prior. When that answer doesn't work for others, I have to resort to "It works for us."
  12. There is a difference between "you're wrong and here's why I think so..." and "You're WRONG." The first is creating a discussion. Personally, I don't like calling people wrong on things that are not provable. If I said two plus two equalled five, then it would not be offensive to be called wrong, because we have plenty of evidence that the correct answer is four. When it comes to matters of my faith and beliefs, it is a different thing. I am not WRONG in what I believe, but I may be DIFFERENT in what I believe, and that difference may be completely in opposition to your belief and views. I would be more than happy to learn how your beliefs differ from mine, and if you wanted to go into detail and felt willing to go into discourse and discussion, great. Maybe there is something in what you share that I had not considered. Maybe it will enlighten me or even change the way I look at my own beliefs. Maybe not. Either way, I will learn something about your take on the matter, and that is good. It is also not dismissive. It is hurtful to have someone slam your values, especially when there is no effort to explain why one does not agree with them. Even if I can't put it into words why I may not agree with someone's ideas, I would be loathe to call them wrong. I don't have to embrace someone's path, but I don't need to ridicule it either. The reason I chose to be ordained by the ULC rather than another denomination is that we are NOT told what to think, or how to think it. We are free to discover our own truth and follow our path as we feel we are called (or even follow no path if we do not feel called). Each of us is unique and has a gift. I truly believe we are not meant to be photocopies of one another, but to have our individual signatures. Nothing in nature is exactly alike - fingerprints, snowflakes and more. It follows then that each person in creation should have a path that is unique to him or to her. There can be a multitude of similarities, but there will likely be difference as well, and we should celebrate that we are free to be different, as long as we are not trying to inflict harm onto others.
  13. I think we need a bit more of the old saying: "we can disagree without being disagreeable."
  14. It seems there has been a shift in the way members relate to each other on the forum: That was then: "That's an interesting take on it... personally I see it this way...." This is now: You're WRONG. That was then: My rituals (worship/practice/insert your word here) are done this way.... This is now: Cute. When you're done pretending, you should do it for real, like me. There is more posting with a need to be "right" or superior, and less of a tone of "your path works for you, mine is for me." No one needs to agree with all paths (frankly, I don't think it's possible. At some point one path will contradict with another), but all paths are welcome in the ULC, even the ones we don't like. What we need is for the spokespersons for the less common and less popular paths to be welcomed to be the different voice without having to be concerned that different will be called "wrong" or otherwise judged. Short of advocating blatantly illegal activity or harming others, just because one person likes music and another likes incense, or one dances in the woods and another prefers formal words from certain books is no reason to think of oneself as "better." If it's not hurting anyone or denying their rights, one means of worship is as valid for one as another way is for the next. And one does not even have to have a path. We welcome those who choose not to believe and those who question -- without question. The day any person's path is seen as superior to the next is the day we cease to be the ULC that Kirby Hensley created.
  15. Your question makes me think of a television show I was watching this past week, where experts come in to a hotel, restaurant, or in the case of this episode, a nightclub, because the business is going "off the tracks" or not bringing in money, etc. Granted, this forum does not require financial participation, but the ideas are similar: you want to bring in a large number of guests who are going to return and bring additional business. You want your guests to be comfortable and to feel welcome to use the amenities (in our case, making posts). What you do not want is guests beoming intoxicated, loud and obnoxious, making other guests uncomfortable (similar to those who make posts only to be disagreeable, those who choose not to follow the terms of service, those who lack restraint when they post sensitive topics, and so on). It's a delicate balance, and like a night club, we are a people place, and the survival only comes from having a good crowd of good people. Management (admins, moderators) can only do so much. The facilities are clean, the lighting is good, the food has been rotated, the beverages are stocked and fresh. The rest comes from the patronage and their interactions. Their behavior and interaction drives the mood which brings in the business or chases it away. I would love to see an active crowd who enjoys being here. I realize, though, that it does not just happen. It has to develop and like most things, has its up and down cycles.
  16. Technology as defined by the cat: Laptop - that thing from your hips to your knees that I sit on. Desktop - that flat surface I lie on, especially when you're doing that thing you call "working." Mouse - my favorite toy! Input - that stuff in the dish. Output - that stuff in the litter box. Curser - the human when I wake him or her up two hours "early" to get input. Sleep mode - that 23 hour state I enter after processing input into output.
  17. The two points I would give are on the large scale: nature has much to teach us - are we willing to listen? More directly: your dog said it all - "this is a moment to be still and pay attention." There is a message in the experience, but to understand it fully, your heart and soul will be the best sources to determine what it means for you personally.
  18. Deep words. It makes me mindful of my residents at the assisted living facility where I work. I work in the Alzheimer's/Dementia care unit plating meals and serving breakfasts, setting and clearing the room. Dementia causes many of my residents (I have around just shy of half a hundred) to act in ways that would be at best described at "unpleasant." I try to see these people in the light of being someone's child, possibly someone's wife or husband, or the center of someone's world. Many have given unselfishly of their lives when they were able - teachers, military, law enforcement, fire fighters, and others who go where others do not or can not. People are not things - they do not lose value with age and wear. I have several residents to whom I shamelessly say "I love you." And I do. There is a great line from a song with a great message: "You're on my heart like a tattoo." In the song, the speaker is coming away from a failed relationship, but reflects that she has been changed by the experience. So it is with working with my residents. It is not always a day of sunshine and lollipops. We have our frustrations and pains, but I am changed by them - and I believe it's for the better.