Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Christmas "dog tale"...

My poor blog has been so woefully neglected that I thought I'd give it a little attention via hoping readers will give my short story a lot of attention...

Way back in 1996, we put one of our dogs - Beau - to sleep on the day before Christmas Eve. Lousy all the way around, to say the least. Got even lousier when Beau's sister, our precious Emma, mourned him for over a year. And, to be quite honest, I don't know why she snapped out of her grief...maybe because I did?

In any case, I sat down and wrote Zellwood: A Dog Story in 1998. And after two decades of professional writing, this little piece of work remains my favorite. So, I've decided that - this Christmas - I'm going to try and get as many dog lovers as I can to read it. Especially those who've lost and mourned a beloved pet, as we have (Emma died in 2004 and our third dog, Maggie, is now 16 so her days are surely numbered).

And although the story may initially sound like it's too sad for has a glorious ending. So I hope all of you who read it will find it as cathartic as it was for me. Here is the link:

To each and all...have a wonderful holiday season.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dog Books

If anyone is still reading my pitiful blog, the reason it's rarely updated is because I'm so busy writing books for Amazon's Kindle...and marketing said books (which is a major p.i.t.a.)...that I simply run out of time and energy.

Anyway, on that woeful note, I'm going to list my current books below in hopes that my animal-loving friends will - at the very least - sample them. And although they range from short stories to a suspense novel to my previously-published columns, they all have one thing in common: DOGS. Beloved, beloved dogs.

Here are the links to the books:

Very soon, I will have another book to add to this list. Again, think DOGS...:-))

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Brevard County, FL Animal Services: Reactive vs. Proactive

Regarding the resignation of our current county animal shelter director and the search for yet another one:

This entire situation makes me so sad...I've lived in this county since 1965 and here we are in 2011 yet hardly a thing has changed in all those years. Brevard is 72 miles long and currently home to over 500,000 people. But we still have ONLY two animal shelters, both of which are in abhorrent shape. NACC should've been demolished decades ago (I used to work there so trust me on this one) and SACC never lived up to its touted expectations. So, if it weren't for the various humane societies, rescue groups, etc., I can't even imagine how our abandoned animals would if they're not suffering enough already.

But it always seems to boil down to the same crap: money (not enough) and politics (too many). Animal services in this backwater county has always been reactive vs. proactive. As someone who has been involved with animal issues for over 30 years, I've never seen a time when this place didn't have serious issues with how we handle homeless pets.

For the record, I am not a proponet of "no kill" shelters UNLESS and UNTIL there are sufficient funds and space to make this program work. Nor am I a TNR fan. Sorry, but as a former shelter employee, I'd much rather see an animal humanely euthanized than to live out its life in a cage or simply "sustained" in a colony.

Do I have an answer? Well, I wholeheartedly agree that there should be more "publicity" (ie, adoption events, foster programs, etc.). I'd also be in support of a mandatory spay/neuter law for a set amount of time, one that was heavily enforced. But all that takes money. Personally, I'd like to see our shelters privatized as Brevard's powers-that-be still have their heads up their butts and I doubt a new director is going to be able to change a damn thing.

But since I know my "ideas" won't ever come to fruition, I just continue to beat my head against this wall that should've been demolished long ago. In my dreams, huh?

Sunday, May 1, 2011


With all the problems Florida has and with the current legislative session ending this week, our esteemed lawmakers in Tallahassee spent time working on a bill that would designate the Barking Tree Frog as the state's official amphibian. It would join the Zebra Longwing as the official butterfly and the horse conch as the state shell, among many other such designations.

I have lived here almost fifty years and I'm here to tell you that I wouldn't know a barking tree frog if it barked at me or a horse conch if it wonder people call us "Flori-duh".....

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Bunny

My childhood Easter memories: A new spring dress, white shoes and gloves; a rainbow-hued cellophane-wrapped basket crammed with candy; multi-colored eggs in hiding…and the animals. Soft and furry bunny babies. Green, blue and pink chicks; little “peeps” that mysteriously disappeared after a few days.

I honestly don’t know where the tradition of giving tiny, helpless creatures to children on this holy holiday originated but it is a tradition that should be irretrievably broken.

Although I’ve watched TV ads with dismay as a lime-tinted hatchling popped out of a plastic egg, thankfully the horrible and inhumane practice of dyeing has been deemed animal cruelty by those who possess an ounce of decency. Yet, unfortunately, fluffy chicks can still be found in cheap abundance at your local feed store.

And much to the detriment of Peter cottontail, the Easter bunny myth rages on. Come the lovely month of May you need look no further than our animal shelters for proof. Rabbits galore, and they didn’t breed themselves silly to get there.

These hapless young animals are the remnants of Easter Sunday, tossed out as casually as that torn and crinkled cellophane, tragic symbols of an otherwise glorious occasion.

Far too many people do not project far enough into the future when acquiring a pet. Their own financial, physical, and emotional capabilities notwithstanding, the very real needs of the animal are often ignored.

This is especially true at Easter. For that fuzzy, itty-bitty chick will soon be a scratching, squawking chicken. And although baby rabbits are adorable, as adults they are a whole different animal than that precious little hippity-hoppity of six months ago.

So soon there will be a mini-farm in the back bedroom and the kids will have returned to their video games. Now what?

Humane societies constantly see the pitiful aftermath of these hasty, impulsive decisions. Yet they will take your feathered former-friend and hope for the best. They will try to calm your Easter bunny that, for lack of attention, has been reduced to a cage-trashing maniac. And they will listen to the loud and clear testimony cloaked in your sob story that the newness has worn off and, oh, what a mistake you made. That baby cluck has turned foul and the infant March hare is now a ‘dirty wabbit.’

Hopefully, the lesson will be learned here before it’s too late. For, although your children may beg and plead, the reality is that not long after the sun sets on a few Sundays, they will most likely ignore those once-upon-a-time little bundles of life.

If parents succumb to this seasonal whim, odds are great that it will be the animals who pay the ultimate price. Alone, neglected, and in a hell not of their own making, the meaning of Easter will surely be stained.

So please resist the temptation of crass commercialism and teach your children intelligent compassion instead. Cute and cuddly stuffed animals don’t mind at all being tossed aside and forgotten.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Patrick the Pitbull

Please take a deep breath - along with your painkiller of chioce - and watch the following video:

Then please take a huge gulp of animal-loving righteousness and sign the following petition:

'Nuf said...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Profound and Beautiful Baby Squirrel Rescue

I live in Florida. We have palm trees. I don't give a flying-flip if the dying fronds "hang" to the sides until they come off in their own good time. But my husband does.....SO, despite repeated warnings of "watch for baby squirrels" - which he repeatedly says he does - today he announces that there are two pink, hairless babies on the ground. I was so pissed I could've spit at him.

Anyway, not only were babies on the ground but the entire nest was, too, and it was upside down with the infants hidden underneath. So I righted the nest, put babies back, and watched and waited. No Mom. Got a towel, filled a hotwater bottle with warm water, and put all of it in a box with the babies on top. Watched and waited. No Mom.

In the meantime, called a local wildlife sanctuary. No answer. Left a message and waited. Still no Mom. Moved box into the sun (palm tree is in the shade and it was getting cold outside). Waited. No Mom.

Mind you, I've been through this scenario before but never with the "no nest" issue. And each and every time, Mom always came and got her kid(s) almost immediately. So now I'm getting increasingly anxious and worried and called the sanctuary again. Got an answer and was told everything I did was perfect and, if Mom didn't show up in a couple more hours, then deliver to said sanctuary. Yet I was supposed to remove the towel (I don't remember why).

Went out to follow these instructions of the babies was gone. How in hell did that happen when I'd had my eyes glued to the window for hours? In any case, one tiny pink body was still there and I got frantic that the other had wedged itself down inside the box. Rearranged everything again and went back inside. And watched. Waited for maybe a minute and...

Saw that scruffy tail beating the air. Saw her body trying to scale the sides of the box. Saw her disappear inside the box.....then saw her leap to the ground with her baby in her mouth. Saw her scamper away and I broke down in tears.

So let it be known far and wide that, IMHO, God is non-human. For watching this young mother squirrel finagle her way up, down, and all around to save her infants was an incredible experience. Where she took them, I have no clue (though I understand squirrels have multiple nests for just such an accident). All I know is that she wasn't going to let anything come between her and her kids.

And, for the record: If you find yourself in the same predicament, definitely give Mama time and space to come to the rescue. Unless she is dead, she will. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.....bless her heart, she will.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Three-Dog Night

Below is an excerpt from my new e-book, A Three-Dog Night. Hope you like it...

by Rebecca Stroud
Copyright 2011

My name is John and I'm lonesome.

I've been living in basic shell-shock since my wife, Lydia, left me six months ago. We'd been married for nearly fifty years so how in hell do you carry on when the person you practically grew up with goes and dies on you? Not very fair of her, was it?

At least, I don't think so. I mean, we were supposed to grow older and grayer together. Then, quite selfishly, I was supposed to go first, damn it. Because I can't stand life without Lydia and I'm at a loss as what to do next.

Should I clean this house that hasn't seen a duster since she died? Should I get up out of my Lazy-Boy, turn off the idiot box, and go out to smell the roses. What roses? They've all rotted and withered on the vine…just like I'm doing.

I do make it as far as the front doorstep to fetch the morning paper. Occasionally, one of my neighbors is doing the same. So I wave and hurry back inside as I don't want to talk to anyone. Apparently, they don't really want to talk to me either because I see the looks on their faces. How they avert their eyes and scurry away faster than I do. Fine by me.

And since I still have to eat - although my appetite rivals that of a bird's - I also make it as far as the corner market where Lydia and I have been grocery shopping for decades. Sure, I could go to one of the big-box stores but why bother? Yeah, my brother told me I need to get out and mingle but I doubt Wal-Mart is the place to start a meaningful conversation. Say, how 'bout them tomatoes?

So, every Monday morning, I continue to buy my meager nutrient requirements at Bud's Bodega and hope like hell Bud doesn't want to 'engage' me in chit-chat. Of course, since Lydia and I have known him forever, neither can I be rude. This particular trip proves to be a test of my willingness to socialize.

"So, John, how are you this fine day?" Bud smiles like he's never smiled before.

I grunt and nod, "Okay, Bud. Thanks for asking." I head for the produce aisle to pretend I'm looking for that award-winning tomato. He follows me.

"Ya know, John, I've been thinking. Maybe you should get a dog."

Christ. A dog. Just what I need. Another perfect soul that I can get attached to, love more than life itself, then have it die on me, too.

"No, thanks, Bud. I'm doing okay. Just going to take some time."

Unfortunately, I have to pay for my meager nutrients so I find myself face-to-face with him while he rings up my bill.

"Really, John. Just listen for a minute. Please." Bud's entire demeanor changes in a heartbeat as he relates the story of a dog that saved his family from perishing in a house-fire. A dog, who shortly thereafter, was relinquished to the local shelter because his owners were getting divorced. A dog whose repayment for giving life was most likely going to be death as he was already nine-years-old.

So, as Bud recounted this sad tale, I did. Listen that is. Because something in the telling struck a familiar chord. Tugging at me, I think it was the fact that the dog and I were a lot alike. Through no fault of my own, I had lost the light of my life. Ditto for the dog. Then came the clincher...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My e-books...

Hi, there even an "everyone" any more? Anyway, the links to my "animal" books are at the end of this post. A brief description of each:
1) Zellwood is a short story; it's about the grief process after losing a beloved dog.
2) Devil's Moon is a suspense novel; and, of course, there's a dog involved...big time. The book does, however, contain R-rated language as the antagonist is a real - ahem - piece of work.
3) The Animal Advocate you already know about but I'll tell you again; it's a collection of my newspaper/blog columns (yes, some you can read here) .
4) My next short-story book will be published in a week or two; more "dog tales"

In any case, whether you have an e-book reader or not, you can download these books to many other devices (your iphone, your PC, your Blackberry, etc.). Also, please pass the links along to all on your "animal loving" list - be it via email, Facebook, word-of-mouth, whatever - as the snowball effect is what will make my work a success. I thank you so much in advance...


Devil's Moon

The Animal Advocate

Monday, January 24, 2011

Buyer Beware

Just a note about Goodlife dog biscuits...

Although I've been a faithful customer for years, my latest bag contained a very disturbing - and potentially dangerous - "string" of treats. "String" meaning that three of the biscuits were connected by a heavy, ropy thread that also wound itself through the biscuits.

After repeated attempts to reach anyone who gave a shit at Goodlife (including writing a personal letter to the head of the pet division at Mars Corp. and including one of the treats) - to date - I have received no response.

So, even though I'm very careful about doling out treats to my dog, some may inadvertently toss them to their pet without noticing anything amiss. All I'm doing is asking that you be very careful and ensure that you check these biscuits first. For if a dog - especially a small one - ate the ones I still have in my cupboard, you would, at best, be looking at an emergency vet visit. At worst.....a choked-to-death dog.