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Posted by on Jan 24, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

A Pet Story

 

nolan dalla

 

A PET STORY

Yes, this is a commercial but I’m writing the post and this is my story. I feel the need to share because good deeds deserve our praise.

A few years ago, we got a coupon for Chewy.com. It gave us a discount on cat food and pet supplies. Normally, we buy at PetSmart or off the sale rack, but this was too good an offer to pass up. Long story short — we ended up with a monthly delivery from Chewy for about $50 per month (two cats).

In May, our beloved “Alex” died. He was 18. Ginger cat. I loved him so much.

We still had “Faro,” our grey cat (both were adopted from shelters as strays). Faro was 15. However, when Alex died, Faro stopped eating. We tried everything. Six weeks later, Faro was dead. We couldn’t diagnose what went wrong, but we think Faro died of a broken heart. He missed Alex.

I can’t tell you how painful this is to remember, even now, 6-7 months later. This also reminds me to write about taking Faro into the vet one last time, which is a painful memory for me, but one I think could help others who lose their pets. Let me file that away for now. Tearing up, here.

So, we lost Alex and Faro barely two months apart. We went from two cats to none. The house seemed so empty. Those of you who have lost pets will understand “the silence.” It’s deafening.

Distracted by death, Marieta and I forgot about our monthly Chewy delivery. Then, another shipment came. We were billed for $50 for dozens of cans of cat food. It was a delivery we didn’t need.

I didn’t know what to do, so I contacted Chewy’s online support. I asked for a refund and told them the circumstances. Then, I totally lost it after what they did next.

The Chewy rep told me they would refund the $50. She also said not to return the unused cat food. I was advised to take the large box and make a donation to the local animal shelter. All from Chewy.

I was blown away by this act of kindness and a genuine display of compassion. The company wasn’t seeking publicity. They had no idea I am a writer. They didn’t know I would write this, which is entirely deserved.

So, I took the box and later ended up doing some work for a local shelter. It’s so gratifying that all the cats enjoyed what amounted to a full day’s supply of food, made possible by Chewy.com.

We have a new cat now. Another stray. “Cosmo” is nearly 10 months old. We expect him to have a healthy and happy life. He will be a loyal Chewy customer forever.

The kicker to the story is my aunt, Deborah Massoletti posted something similar recently about Chewy.com, which leads me to believe this is their company policy. No one would have take offense if they had a no-return policy. Given the low-profit margins and weight of the shipment, I really didn’t expect them to even respond to the inquiry.

This is how a good company does business. I want to publically thank and endorse Chewy.com as a great supplier of pet products and a group of people filled with love in their hearts.

Thank you.

__________

 

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Posted by on Nov 7, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

Another Discussion Worth Having: Animal Rights and Stopping Abusers

 

 

The tragic killings in Central Texas this past weekend have sparked yet another round of tireless debates about gun laws and mental health issues.

While these are debates worth having, they don’t fully address a national epidemic worsened by the distorted scales of criminal justice in America when it comes to animal cruelty.  Turns out, abusing animals (often family pets) is among the most troubling indications of serious trouble to come later in life.  And — we don’t take this issue nearly as seriously as we should.

The deranged Texas gunman wasn’t just a military reject, a mental patient, and wife beater.  He was also a viciously cruel man who was charged with animal abuse.  In 2014, the mass murderer was cited for animal cruelty after neighbors told police he viciously punched his dog outside his trailer home in El Paso.  Court records show the case was dismissed after he paid a small fine.

A small fine.

So punching a defenseless animal in the face so brutally that witnesses living in a trailer park felt compelled to call the local police gets taken about as seriously as a parking citation.

Most animal abusers aren’t caught.  Most aren’t charged with criminal offenses.  The vast majority of animal abuse goes unreported.  And most people who abuse animals don’t do it just one time.  They are habitual offenders, mindlessly cruel sadists who do awful things to animals for some sick perverted satisfaction, even joy.

There’s a terribly disturbing pattern linking animal abuse in childhood (and sometimes later on, even as adults) to the monstrous acts they commit which brings them into the public consciousness.  Consider the most high-profile killers in history, most of whom have tortured animals, and then gone on to commit viciously wicked crimes:

  1. Albert DeSalvo, a.k.a. “The Boston Stranger” murdered 13 women.  As a child, he trapped dogs and cats in boxes and would then shoot arrows at them.
  2. David Berkowitz, a.k.a. “Son of Sam” murdered at least six people.  Before he began his mass killing spree, he shot his neighbor’s dog.
  3. Brenda Spencer shot a gun into a crowd of children.  Eleven were hit by bullets and two died.  During her childhood, Spencer liked to light the tails of stray cats and dogs on fire.  Not as many women commit these horrendous acts.  Most childhood animal abusers tend to be men.
  4. Jeffrey Dahmer was a sexual sadist who murdered 17 young men.  As a kid, his hobby was to kill neighbor’s pets.  He even impaled a dog’s head on a stick, which he proudly displayed.
  5. Ted Bundy killed 40 people.  He learned cruelty early in life, often watching as his father tortured small animals.  As a teenager, Bundy later did the same acts to animals, and eventually people as an adult.
  6. Edmund Emil Kemper murdered eight women (including his mother) during the 1970s.  As a child, he found cats around the neighborhood, killed them, and then displayed their heads on poles.  He even killed his own cat and sliced it into pieces.
  7. Andrew Cunanan murdered five people, including fashion icon Gianni Versace.  As a kid, he often went to beaches and tortured crabs by gouging out their eyes.
  8. Lee Boyd Malvo was the impressionable teenager in a duo of snipers who terrorized the Washington, DC area during the early 2000s.  As a child, he used to torture small animals.
  9. Dennis Rader, who would become the infamous “BTK Killer,” discovered a grotesque thrill as a kid when started binding, torturing, and killing animals.  He cruelly experimented on several types of animals, even going so far as to prolong their lives during torture sessions so they would experience more pain.
  10. Now, add the name Devin Kelly to this list, who murdered 26 people on Sunday.

It’s excruciating for me to point out this short list is by no means complete, nor is it comprehensive.  Indeed, there are innumerable cases — thousands, hundreds of thousands — of kids who torture animals who later go on to commit even worse crimes as adults when empowered with greater means and opportunity to inflict more pain and destruction upon innocents.

So, what is to be done?  And, how do we stop this?

I don’t have all the answers, but this is a question we should be asking.  While gun debates and how we administer mental health treatment is a vital issue right now, so to must be animal rights and mindless cruelty.

A good start might be each of us taking an interest in what we observe.  Neighborhood kids throwing rocks at ducks might not seem like such a big deal.  Chasing defenseless animals seems innocent enough.  Shooting a pellet gun at birds isn’t illegal.  But engaging in these inexplicable childish acts not only exhibits a complete lack of empathy for other creatures.  These common acts of adolescent violence often become an early foundation for horrors to come later.  They are an affirmation that is okay to amuse oneself at the expense of animals.  It’s fucking sick.

We need more teaching.  We need more respect for animals and the environment.  We need to instill goodness in the hearts and minds of children.  We need more counseling.  We need greater access to mental health professionals.  We need more severe punishment for those who harm animals.

Not small fines.

It’s time to take animal cruelty much more seriously.  Too often, it’s the secret and silent beast within which incubates for years and later mutates into mass murder.

 

READ MORE:  DO MASS KILLERS START OUT BY HARMING PETS? [PSYCHOLOGY TODAY]

 

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Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 0 comments

Hero Cat for Sale — $10,000

 

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Meet the hero cat with no name.

Over this past weekend, this brave young feline rushed into a burning apartment building here in Las Vegas and pulled several families out of the flames.  Unfazed by danger, the cat dove directly into the fire and removed an undisclosed number of men, women, children, and other animals from the blaze.

Since his residence has been destroyed and family can’t be located, this hero cat now needs to find a good home and a loving family who will adopt him.

Okay, on a more serious note….the burning building cat rescue story didn’t really happen.  He’s not really a hero, but he very well could be.  Let him rescue you with lots of love and affection.

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Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 6 comments

Who Will Stand Up for Animals?

 

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On the scale of issues most important to voters, animal rights probably ranks somewhere near the bottom.

Animals don’t vote.  So why would our furry friends be a topic of political discussion?  Why would any candidate have a stated position on animals?  Answer:  Because it’s the right thing to do.

For me, one of the benchmarks of a person’s character is how they view and treat animals.  This viewpoint is non-negotiable.  I believe our treatment of animals represents the ultimate manifestation of human empathy.  There’s nothing tangible to gain from being kind to an animal, so kindness is truly an act of sincere compassion.  In fact, one could argue in a very primordial sense that animals fuel humankind’s most selfish needs and desires.  It’s even counter-intuitive to have affection for most animals.  After all, from our earliest times, animals have been used for transportation, strength, security, entertainment, and of course, food.  Many are a nuisance.  Some are even dangerous.  Advancing their rights generally requires severing that traditional relationship between man and beast and demands an adjustment of how we view other creatures.

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Posted by on Jan 10, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 0 comments

Vegetarian in Spirit, Carnivore in Practice

 

generic cow pic (with Rousse Tower in background). PIC CHRIS GEORGE

 

I often write about my moral and spiritual evolution.  Peace and enlightenment aren’t final destinations, so much as constant pursuits.  They require work.

Most of us go through life in a perpetual state of fluidity and fluctuation.  I like to believe that I’m moving in the right direction of becoming a better person.  But that’s not always the case.  I admit to falling short of my personal goals, way too often.

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