Hard Work Pays Off

For the last few months, I’ve been working my butt off.  A lot of things have happened recently.

First of all, the wonderful manager of WAR Chest took a well deserved trip.  So for the past 6 weeks, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work in the store on Friday’s.  It was so much fun!  I absolutely love talking to people and doing everything in the store!  I can’t think of one thing I dislike. 

She has also asked me to help plan events for the boutique, which I am so excited about!  Event planning is one of my favorite things to do.  It’s challenging, keeps me busy and I love coming up with creative new ideas! 

Not only that, I’ve been taking some photographs of volunteers as models.  This is something so new to me.  I love photography, but I don’t typically take photos of people so I’m learning the best ways to pose people and how to direct them to create the perfect shot.

Through that work with the boutique, I’ve been contacted by a local fashion blogger to potentially take photos for her blog!!  I should be meeting with her soon and I am so excited!  Also, a volunteer wanted to hire me to take photos of her grandsons.  How exciting is that?  I can maybe start making a little extra money doing something I love and continue to perfect my skills.  With student loans to worry about, any extra income would be wonderful.

I’ve taken over the Instagram account for Feral Fixers, a local cat rescue.  I’ve also been working more of their events and trying to help with marketing as best I can.  They’ve been working so hard to place so many cats and kittens in a home.   If you live in the Chicagoland area (especially Dupage County) check them out!

On top of that, I’m still doing a fundraising walk with my sister, my best friend Kristiii and my sister’s friend for Mutual Ground and I’ve just signed on to run a 5k for Traffick Free.

Finally, my pride and joy.  The last few months I’ve been working on a seminar to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault.  I have been emailing back and forth with Benedictine University and finally scheduled a time and reserved a room.  They have been so immensely helpful, I can’t even put into words!  It’s been really long days and nights, scheduling photo shoots for marketing material, editing those photos, adding our information, writing event details, setting up accounts, sending out press releases hoping to be picked up by someone, creating contact lists and so much more. 

I’ve been working so hard to get everything together and it is finally happening!  So far 9 people have officially registered and we are hoping for many many more.  I am getting to the point where I am almost completely exhausted, but so excited at the same time.

If anyone is interested in coming you can register at www.1is2many.eventbrite.com

I can’t thank the people who have been helping enough and I’m so excited to see the outcome of this event! Keeping my fingers crossed!

♥ Meggie

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Rescue

I was so ready to leave work yesterday.  It was so slow.  I had a plan for when I got home.  First was to take a nap seeing as how I was out so late the night before, then finish some cleaning, dinner, catch up on Supernatural, nothing too exciting but that was ok with me.

I was talking to Mom in the kitchen when I see my phone light up and I have 2 missed calls, both from my best friend.  Something was up, she never calls.  So I listen to one of the voice mails and I don’t even get through the first sentence which was “Hi Meggie, I picked up a …”  I got too excited.  I knew she picked up some animal!  I deleted the message and called her right away.

It turns out she was driving down a busy main road in town when she saw a Robin flopping and flapping around on the street.  Sitting in the left turn lane, she kept checking her mirror and looking at it until she decided to put her car in park and as she explained it “I ran out into the road with tissues like a crazy hippie lady and picked up the bird and put it in my car!”

Then she called me to see where she could take it.  I got a box ready, cut holes in the side and put a shirt and towel in it.  The wildlife center was closed so she was going to have to keep it over night and take it in the morning.

She got to my house and the bird was on the floor on the passenger side of the car.  She thought its neck might have been broken and that’s what it looked like.  I picked it up in the towel and it was flapping around a bit and shaking.  We laid it in the box and tried to decide what to do next.  I was going to stop at a store to find an eye dropper to give it some water since it wasn’t in any condition to get up to drink from a bowl.

Unfortunately after a few minutes, the little bird stopped flapping, stopped shaking and just laid there, its eye started to close.  I touched it with my finger and felt nothing, he didn’t make it, but at least she tried to save it!

This is why we’re such good friends.  At times, we’re very different at times, but at the core we’re the same. She is the only person I know who is crazy enough to run into the street to pick up an injured bird and this is why I simply adore her.

One crazy, wild heart is perfectly suited for another crazy, wild heart.  that is just the perfect recipe for best friends.

♥ Meggie

My Birds

I volunteer at a local bird rescue as often as I can.  I do a lot of the decorating in the front of the building, sometimes I get to take photos of the birds for the Facebook page or I’m on cleaning duty.

The best part about this rescue is that most of the birds are just out of the cages.  When they open, all the large birds, the Blue Gold Macaws, Green Winged Macaws, Cockatoos, African Grey Parrots, Blue Fronted Amazons, Yellow Naped Amazons and a few others get to hang out, they stay on the top of their cages for the most part.  There are a couple Blue Gold Macaws that wander (Kiwi and Al), they go into their corner to play with boxes set up for them.  Some of the small bird, like Cockatiel and Conure enjoy sitting on your shoulder as you work.

I was able to visit the rescue this past Sunday and my day consisted of Winston (the Green Winged Macaw) throwing a green bean at me, Pepe (a Blue Fronted Amazon) biting me as I tired to feed him a banana and Jellybean (Blue Gold Macaw) attempting to bite me every time I walked by his tree branch.  However, Morgan (a Green Winged Macaw) was a doll and hopped right up on my finger to hang out for a bit and Al (Blue Gold Macaw) waved at me instead of putting up her usual territorial display!  I loved every second of my time there and after visiting so many time, I know all of the bird and their personalities.

For some reason every single blue gold macaw (Kiwi, Al, Jellybean) in there hates me.  They try to bite me, chase me, spreading their massive wings wide attempting to look large and intimidating, their heads low, ready to charge.  The Blue Fronted Amazons (Pepe and Pablo), they dislike everyone, they weren’t trained properly and therefore aren’t incredibly sociable, but for some reason, they like me.  I can feed them, they’ll talk to me, let me get close, I’ve only been bit once by them.  They are my babies and if I lived alone, I would take them both home, mean temperament and all.

A woman came in yesterday and was asking me about the birds and she asked if she could pet any and I told her it was up to them. They all have different personalities.  I told her about the birds that hated me and the ones that loved me.  She asked why?  I told her they’re just like people, they have their own thoughts and feeling and idea, if they don’t like someone they just don’t, just like people and this concept was almost too much for her to process, as if she thought birds were these stupid creature that had no ability to think as people do.

We often simplify an animal, chalk up their intelligence to mimicking and luck, but they are very individual, thoughtful creatures.  You could put all 3 Blue Gold Macaws next to each other and they all look different and they all act different, I could tell all of them apart very easily.  Animals are just like us and as people forget that which is why I think it is so easy for some to abuse or neglect their animals and just as easy for people to be shocked at how ingrained an animal can become in a family.

I highly recommend volunteering at an animal shelter, for any type of animal.  It’s such a rewarding feeling working with all of the animals and you have the chance to learn so much.  I am so excited to go back, there’s a lot of work to be done!

Do you volunteer anywhere?

♥ Meggie

Frustrations

For those who have been reading my blogs for the past few days, you probably have heard about the Pit Bull I was trying to rescue.  Unfortunately, we were not able to find a home for her.  I tried everything.  Her photo was on my Tumblr several times, I sent over 60 tweets, I emailed people, I emailed pages I follow on Facebook, other rescues for advice and wrote a blog about her.  I have some help from others which was more too, like Caroline (you can read her blog here) was fantastic and put out a Tweet with the little Pits information, and some lovely people on Twitter, one even tried to get a radio station involved!  It was so nice and so wonderful to see people get involved like that, to save an animal, especially a Pitbull.  It made me so happy, I don’t even have words for how happy that made me.  It was definitely a lot harder than I expected knowing what was going to happen to this dog, even never having met her, and knowing that I couldn’t to any more to rescue her.

There were also some moments that were not as happy and some lessons I learned about communicating with people.  I had emailed one rescue that I had volunteered with before saying I have this Pitbull and I’m looking for a foster right now, could you help or if they had any advise the could give me about what I could do.  The president of the organization was emailing me and was very nice, saying they couldn’t pull her without a foster.  Then the president asked me if I was interested in fostering and I told her I couldn’t.  I have allergies and asthma.

My allergies are breed specific for dogs and beyond awful for cats.  For cats, even if I go to a person’s house with 1 cat, I have to take oral medication and an inhaler before I get to the house and then I have to cover my skin completely just to sit on anything because my skin can’t touch anything a cat does.  I have to do the same for some breeds of dog and I’ve never been around a Pitbull so I don’t know how I’d react.  I’ve also talked to doctors and they said even if I don’t have a reaction right away, I could develop a sensitivity or full-blown reaction.  Not only that, my entire family has allergies and asthma and my mom can’t take care of a dog when I’m at school because of health problems she has.

I didn’t explain all of that, I just said I couldn’t foster because I have severe allergies so I am unable to foster.  Then a second woman from the same organization sent me an email saying “Yeah no way a rescue will just pull with no foster especially a pitbull.Everyone wants them saved but not many want to foster. Im highly allergic as well but just have air cleaners and clean alot to still save the ones i want saved!”. I’m not going to include the name of the organization because it is still one that I work with and plan to continue volunteering at so I don’t want people to get a bad impression of them, but honestly after I received this, I almost started to cry when I read this, for several reasons.

First of all, I felt like she was saying that I wasn’t doing all I could to save this dog and I should just man up and get over it because if I wanted the Pit saved, I would save it.  At first I was so angry and had a really angry response planned in my head!  Of course I didn’t send that!  It would not have been appropriate to respond in that way, but I did explain my situation and how I have air cleaners in my house  and no animals and still have allergy and asthma problem and how her response was incredibly discouraging.  Sometimes when people are so involved in their cause they think that anyone who doesn’t or can’t do the exact same thing, they are just as bad as the problem itself, so they can get really mean.  I just thought that she was very mean in the way she phrased things and it really hurt me.  Being part of a nonprofit, you should be encouraging to those who want to help, especially one who has volunteered for your organization before.  To me one over zealous person or one mean person is not going to ruin an entire organization for me and there are still animals that need homes and that is why I do this, not to talk to people, haha!

Second of all, it breaks my hard to hear this emphasis on a Pitbull.  The hardest part about finding a home for this dog is because of her breed.  I have been connected with some volunteer groups that try to find homes for animals in the CACC, Chicago Animal Care and Control.  Not surprisingly, about 20 of 60 photos are Pitbulls.  We have been taught as people not to judge others by their skin color, religion, place or origin or other stereotypes.  If you ever tell someone you didn’t want to meet a person because of a stereotype, they would laugh at you and say you are being silly for thinking that.  However, we have never been taught that about dogs and it’s ok to discriminate and hate them for no other reason than their breed.  It makes me cry thinking about that.  If you don’t discriminate against people, don’t do it to animals. Please click here for an article that explain why the myths and stereotypes about PItbulls are wrong.

Some other news that brings excitement in my life is a fashion show I’m going to on Thursday night.  I have never been in the audience of a fashion show before!  I have run lights and sounds for fashion shows but this will be a fun change of pace.  I’m so excited to dress up and go out, I’ve been so busy with school and a bunch of other things.  This fashion show is to support WAR (Women at Risk) International, an organization that rescues women from human trafficking.

Also, for anyone who is interested or who lives in the Chicagoland area, I’ve started a Tumblr account you can check out here.  My email is chicagoanimals@gmail.com.  This Tumblr is set up to list some of the animals, anything from rabbits to hedgehogs to birds, dogs and cats, and hopefully find them new homes.  There is contact information for that specific rescue on there and their website or you can always contact me and I would have no problem trying to find an animal and rescue to connect you with.

Finally, there are a pair of cats, Indigo and Jackson who are in dire need of a foster home.  Their owners have moved and they need a new foster.  They only have a few days.  I have met Indigo and if I could own a cat, I would have picked him up already!  When Feral Fixers found Indigo, he was covered in blue paint (hence his name) and he has major health problems because of how much paint he ingested.  He didn’t move the first time I met him, he just laid there, drooling.  The second time I met him, I was standing by his cage, I didn’t even recognize him at first!  All of a sudden, I just something poking my sleeve and his paw was out poking me to get my attention.  He was purring and rubbing against the cage.  He was just so happy to have me talking to him.  He was purring so loudly he sounded like a motor!  I really hope to help find them a great foster.  If you are interested you can always contact me or you can email gotfriendlies@hotmail.com and that goes directly to Feral Fixers.

Please Help

I’ve been so busy with school lately, I haven’t had any time to blog or read anyone else’s blogs!  This one will be short.

I was approached by a friend who sent me a photo of a female Pit Bull who had been sleeping in the snow in Chicago.  She was put in Chicago Animal Control because there was no place else to put her.  My friend sent me her photo to see who I could contact to find a home for her.  There was a very frustrating experience that accompanied several emails that I had sent, but that is another blog and not the important issue here.

What is important is finding this dog a home.  If she isn’t picked up by March 11, 2013 she will be put down.  I’m trying everything.  I’ve posted her photo on Facebook and 7 people have shared that information, I’ve posted her photo on my Tumblr account which I’ve set up for the sole purpose of finding homes for homeless animals (www.tumblr.com/blog/chicagoanimallove if you want to check it out), I’ve posted her photo so many times on Twitter I’ve lost count.  I’ve emailed shelters and they can’t do anything without her having a foster.

They even said it is so hard to do with a Pit Bull because everyone believe all of the awful stereotypes about Pits so no one wants to adopt them and would rather let them die.  When I told one woman I was trying to find a home for a Pit Bull, she looked at me in disgust and said “Why?!”  I told her because they are animals, living creature that deserve just as much love as any other dog.  If you raise them to be aggressive, then they will be, but if you love them they will love you back.  You can click here to read my blog about Pit Bull Prejudice and click here for the article about Pit Bulls stating they are loving wonderful dogs.

Please, if you can help find a home for this dog, I would be so grateful.  I wish I could foster or adopt her myself, however I can’t afford a dog and I’m living with my family and with the health problems of my parents and our combined allergies, we can’t have a dog in the house.  If we could, I would have already picker her up.

Please help this dog, please.  You can contact me at chicagoanimals@gmail.com and I can get you foster papers or adoption papers and get you in contact with the American Animal Rescue Society.  That is the organization that is trying to find her a home.If you can just foster her for a while, just so they don’t put her down.  Post her photo on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, please help us find her a home or a temporary home that will be the stepping stone to her forever family.

Thank you for any help.

3-6-13 pit bull

Pit Bull Prejudice

I was just having a conversation with someone the other day and they mentioned that there was a man who was attacked by a Pit Bull in their neighborhood.  They said no one should have a Pit Bull because they are just aggressive violent dogs and we should get rid of them.

I couldn’t really believe that someone would say that about a dog and I realize that a lot of people hate Pit Bulls and similar dogs like Rottweilers, laboring under the misconception that they are just naturally mean, aggressive, violent dogs out to kill.  That is so far from the truth.

First of all, I know people see Pit Bulls and dogs like that always getting rescued from dog fighting operations and then they have to put the animal down because they are too mean.  If you are trained to kill, then you will kill, simple as that. The owner has ruined them by training them to be like this and abusing them.  They are beaten and live in horrible conditions.  That’s not the dog’s fault.

Not only that, I believe one of the reasons you see Pit Bulls and Rottweilers and Dobermans in dog fighting operations is because they are a very scary looking dog.   They are stocky and hard muscle and look very intimidating!  The building manager at my office used to have a Rottweiler and I swear, it was the size of a horse and solid muscle.  It was absolutely terrifying to look at.  Can you imagine being afraid of a Collie or Yorkie or a Labrador in a dog fighting ring?  Those dogs don’t look as intimidating.

Pit Bulls might be genetically more likely to be a more aggressive however, you can say the same about people.  It is now believe that you can be genetically predisposed to addictions or violence, so do those people not deserve to be loved because of their genetic predisposition?  Let’s say there is a child whose family has a predisposition to violence, whether that is domestic abuse or a temper.  Theoretically, that child should have same tendency to violent behavior, but if he/she is taken out of that environment and raised in a loving one, they will most likely be loving.  Same with a dog, if the owner raises the dog right, teaches him/her what and what not to do, and love them, then the dog will be loving.  Don’t think that an entire breed of dog is useless and doesn’t deserve any love because people raise them to be violent.

This is also just creating stereotypes.  That’s like saying well all Puerto Ricans carry knives and stab people, so then naturally you should stay away from me and all other Puerto Ricans because we’ll stab you or like saying all Irish people are angry drunks, so once again stay away from me since I’m Irish and Puerto Rican.  Reading these statements, you’re probably thinking, “That is so ridiculous!”  Why is judging a person different from judging an animal?  You can’t just hate an entire group of people OR animals based on stereotypes or no one in this world would like each other.

I have also just learned that some people believe that they have the ability to lock their jaw so you can’t get them off if they bite.  That cannot be farther from the trust.  Why would Pit Bulls be the only dog with this ability?  Not only that, if ANY dog bites you, good luck in prying its jaws open.  If a Labrador or Great Dane or any medium to large dog decides to bite you, the bite force is something your hands can’t compete with.  You might have a chance if it’s a little dog, but no way with a medium/large one.

Click here for a fantastic article on Pit Bulls.  They were actually ranked second on a temperance scale.  They explain more about that in this article.  Just as we teach our children not to judge people by their background or what they look like or stereotypes associated with them, we should listen to what we say and not judge an animal for, in most cases, the faults of their owner.  These misconceptions are one reason that Pit Bulls are less likely to be adopted and more likely to be euthanized.  So don’t judge a book by its cover, there will always be dogs of any breed that are bad dogs just like there are bad people.  I mentioned that Rottweiler that the building manager owes, the one that is terrifying to look at, she was the sweetest dog in the world.  She was never on a leash because she was so well trained she’d sit outside of the office doors until the manager came out and they continued their rounds.  This dog couldn’t even kill a squirrel.

It just breaks my heart to think that so many of these beautiful dogs who are loving never find a home because of these fears that aren’t always true.  If you are looking for a dog to adopt, don’t completely turn away from a Pit Bull.  If you love them, they’ll love you back.

Real Heros

Today, Recycled2New attended the Frosty Claws event for Feral Fixers.  For those of you who don’t know or have just started following my blog, Recycled2New is my Aunt’s business and everything she makes is completely recycled.  She is a mailwoman and has many corporations on her route that just throw away: paper, color samples, thread, just about anything you can think of.  She makes notebooks and earrings and envelopes and scrapers and cat scratchers and more, out of all that!!  You can visit our Facebook at facebook.com/recycled2new.

Next Feral Fixers!  Feral Fixers is a nonprofit that my aunt and I work closely with. They trap, neuter and release (TNR) feral cats.  The friendly cats and kittens are kept and prepare for adoption.  This is a reasonable alternative for the massive feral cat problem.  Cats can have multiple litters in a year so their populations grow so rapidly that for a while  the county’s solution was to put them all down, which is awful.  You can visit Feral Fixers at www.feralfixers.org to learn more and see how you can get involved if you like.

Now that’s out-of-the-way, the turnout was AMAZING!  Feral Fixers had over 100 pre-ordered tickets, which was a massive increase from last year and Recycled2New made three times the amount of money for Feral Fixers than we did last year! There were so many people I met/  I just love meeting people who are really active on the Facebook page, to be able to put a face to the person.  We also met so many new people who were just amazing.

One woman, my aunt knew because she was on her mail route.  This woman was 72 years old and had more pep in her than most people my age (22)!  She was tiny and looked so frail but was the COMPLETE opposite.  She was helping us move things and sell!  She was so friendly and when it came time to tear down everything, she helped us with EVERYTHING!  My aunt told her that I was collecting clothing for WAR (Women at Risk) International and this lovely woman said she might have some things to donate.  After the tear down was complete, she came up to me and we just talked. She said this past year, in the few months before Christmas, she lost her husband, son and her sister.  It sounded like her sister was sick for a long time and this amazing women said she didn’t know what to do with all of her sisters clothes and that this would be something nice to do with them.

I told her she was such an amazing person, going through so much and being so strong. I gave her a hug and she just laughed. Do you know what she said to me then?  She said “Well, some people are so much less fortunate than us and it’s nice to give to them”.  A women who had just lost her husband, son and sister in just a few months and right before Christmas told me that.  She is an amazing woman!  When my aunt came back up to us, she looked at my aunt and said “Your niece want to adopt me!”, grinning madly.

She also took the balloons left over from the event and was going to write notes to the family she lost and send them into the sky.  Then use the rest to decorate their urns in her house.  She told us this with a massive smile, saying that she was so excited she didn’t have to blow up her own balloons and how happy she was.

She never stopped smiling, you could see that she was sad and she missed her family so much.  You could see in her eyes she was hurting and sad, there was no way to miss that, but she was just so strong and positive.  It honestly shocked me when she said that some people we less fortunate than us, just what an amazing woman, I don’t have any other word to use!  She is an honest to God hero, an unspoken inspiration, motivator and a wonderfully positive person.

She is someone who people can learn from, a woman who has gone through so much hardship and sadness and she is still so positive and always thinking of others.  Every time you think you have gone through someone difficult, just remember, there is someone out there who is going through someone just as bad or worse and keeping their chin up, being as positive as they possibly can.  Just be positive and view every obstacle and hardship in your life as a stepping stone that really does make you stronger and with the right attitude and friends  and family, you can accomplish anything in the world.  She proved to me that it was true, she is my real hero.