I’m a girl who lives in a little orange house by the sea.  I love dogs, flowers, shoes and dolphins and not necessarily in that order.  I’m usually the wildly inappropriate one laughing too loudly in a crowd.

 Look for me.



45 thoughts on “About

    • Add me in. A friend sent me this blog post and said it sounded just like me! I had a similar experience with my senior dog, Bailey – adopted at 7 lived to 10 because she had bladder cancer I later found out. She and I were inseparable. Letting her go was the hardest thing I have ever done as she was my first dog. I am a writer, so I wrote a book. It began out of my word press blog actually, baileys journal. The book is called Letters to Each Other – it’s on amazon and barnes and noble, etc.I cannot tell you how much your story made me cry this morning and made me think of her, as I do everyday. I knew she would find me another dog. She told me so before she passed. Only Bailey could find me another border collie, one named Joy.

  1. Your open letter brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for rescuing the sweet senior and giving her comfort. P.S. your powerful letter is being shared all over facebook on animal lover/rescue communities. I saw it from Los Angeles, CA.

    • Thank you for your open letter. The owner needed to hear those words. I too wear my heart on my sleeve. I have spent the last hour going through your other posts as well and have subscribed to your blog.

    • What goes around, comes around….won’t dog-dumping Jean be surprised one day when she’s old, worried, and has major health problems, and no one wants to be bothered with HER? Perfect.

  2. You are like a kindred spirit! And, your amazing letter to Jean…well, as someone who is a board member, volunteer, adopter and bleeding heart for an animal shelter in CT, you got that letter exactly right. To the T. I am sorry for the loss of your dog, Cocoa, but I am all too happy to have found a new “friend” and comrade in the fight for these precious animals.

    Take care, Caroline S. -Branford, CT

  3. I think we were separated at birth. I rescue and keep old dogs. . . especially the ones with special needs. They spend the rest and the best of their lives with us. I also help other who do the same. Contact me if you a legitimate need.

  4. Well written letter to the a-hole Jean. Cocoa was a beautiful dog and her soul will live on. This is why my next rescue dogs will be like Cocoa, the older the better.

  5. This was one of the saddest blog posts I’ve ever read. Sad for the dog, whose 12 years came to an end. But mostly sad for you and for the state of “animal rescue.”

    Since 2004 I’ve split my career between animal welfare and social work. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that “at risk” animals (like Cocoa) are often the pets of “at risk” people: people who are struggling themselves, people who are living at or below the poverty line, people who can’t access decent health care. You might know them, or you might know. They’re the people who don’t have safety nets, the people who have been forgotten. The people who are trying their best in this fucked up world and want to cling to anything and everything that means something to them.

    And you know what? Often times, those people have one dependable relationship in their lives……their pet.

    I’ve worked in an animal shelter, one that euthanized dogs that didn’t find homes in time. We also euthanized dogs whose owners had abused or neglected them beyond anything we could do. My “heart dog,” Sarge, was 14.5 years old when he came home; he lived his first 14 years with a man who exploited him and was suspected of animal fighting, not to mention the obvious neglect of his daily life. In fact I I’ve adopted 7 dogs, several of whom were 10+ years old when I brought them home. Oh, the vet bills! The constant piss! The inexplicable barking! The walks where we carry them home b/c they won’t walk any farther! The meds! Fuck….the meds! [We’re selling our car to pay for our 11-year-old dog’s meds! And that’s after we sold the OTHER car to pay off her OTHER vet bills.]

    I’ve also worked for a veterinary school that specializes in shelter medicine. It’s no secret that homeless dogs exist, and a lot of them are old, sick, or otherwise at risk for entering a shelter and, maybe, dying there.

    It sucks. God damn, it sucks! So much death and suffering.

    One time I was working with an open-admission shelter and my job was to document the shelter euthanasia process. Watching 40+ animals in a row die on a table, be placed in trash bags, and then stacked in a freezer makes even the coldest hearts question humanity. I sure did.

    Did I mention I’ve also been a social worker?

    Mostly geriatric clients. Some were victims of physical or emotional abuse, some were victims of financial exploitation, and others just got lost in the system. At one of my jobs, my agency served as legal guardian for these individuals, who had been victimized by family members or simply had no one else who cared. One woman had a “friend” steal her identity, then was dumped — and I do mean “dumped” — in a nursing home so the “friend” could drain her bank accounts, take over her house, and sell everything this woman ever owned. (Except for the woman’s dog……that’s another story, which falls under “senior/sick dogs I’ve taken in.”)

    Most of my social work clients, however, had unremarkable cases. Most of them were clients because they needed more resources than they had.

    Isn’t it amazing how quickly money runs out when life happens?

    You know, when you fall in the shower and break your hip, and after spending a week in the hospital you get discharged to a rehab/nursing home, but you only have Medicaid so you end up in the really shitty one across town where your friends and family (if you have them) can’t easily visit? Really, doesn’t it totally suck when you FINALLY get discharged, but you can’t walk on your own anymore? And you have to see the physical therapist twice a week but you can’t drive (not that you had a working automobile) so you rely on subsidized senior transportation which takes FOREVER to show up, and next thing you know your entire day is spent waiting at the PT’s office to be transported home? And your in pain. A lot of pain. And you’re alone.

    Oh, and you have a dog. An old dog. And old dog who needs meds, but you can’t afford your own meds because in you’re in that fucking donut hole of coverage.

    You live in Florida, right? I just moved from Florida. You know what’s funny about Florida? People think it’s all about Disneyworld or West Palm Beach, you know? It’s like they assume we all live glitzy lives full of sandals and Lilly Pulitzer dresses. And what’s with the golf? No, I don’t play golf; I don’t even like golf, and neither do any of my family members who live in Florida!

    But then there’s this other Florida. It’s the one that has some of the highest poverty rates in the country. The one that has severe health disparities between the “haves” and the “have nots.” The Florida that’s paved by dirt roads, once you get out of the gated communities in the ‘burbs. The Florida I worked in one summer on a door-to-door political campaign collecting signatures and passing out flyers – the summer I realized not every adult could read.

    I digress.

    So Jean…..what do we know about Jean?

    Well, not much, like you said.

    Jean could be one of those “extreme” cases I described, though chances are she’s somewhere in the middle. Chances are, Jean was neither toodling around town in her Porsche nor scraping food out of the trash. Chances are, Jean had this dog whom she cared for for 12 years, and after 12 years it became time to say goodbye.

    Chances are, Jean was neither a rich socialite nor a potential social work client of mine, but someone in between. Chances are, Jean was someone just like me, someone who is doing her fucking best to make things work but sometimes dogs are sick and they’re 12 years old and it’s time to make a tough decision, based on the resources and supports you have available.

    Of course, Jean might have been a total asshole. I know what you’re thinking. “How could ANY pet owner abandon her dog THERE?”

    Sure, it’s possible that Jean decided that after 12 years with her companion, “Hey, screw this! Screw everything I’ve done for this dog for the past decade or so. You know what? I’m feeling frisky today, so I’m gonna “dump” this fucking dog!” And maybe she even went shopping for a new puppy after that, who knows.

    Chances are, Jean — who was probably like most Americans, living on tight budgets, though technically not in the red zone – called around to private veterinarians to ask how much euthanasia services cost. Chances are, Jean learned that euthanasia can cost several hundred dollars, not counting cremation or burial.

    Chances are, Jean then called the Humane Society and was told, “Sorry, we’re full.” Chances are, if Jean contacted a rescue group, they weren’t accepting 12-year-old-dogs with possible medical issues.

    But for 12 years, Jean was “dog person.” She was one of us. And none of us knows what options were available at the end.

    It’s interesting. “Animal people” talk about how we understand each other, like it’s some unspoken bond, because we all love our pets. But the moment someone violates our own personal standards and capacity for care, the judgment begins. We become bullies. We diagnose every “asshole” who does something we don’t agree with and post comments about what we would have done in that situation…..rarely, if ever, knowing what that situation actually is.

    That’s not compassion. That’s not what being an “animal person” is about.

    Compassion is lending a hand to our fellow pet owners when they need us most. Compassion is doing everything we can to share resources with other pet owners who find themselves in situations we aren’t facing. Compassion is helping to keep pets with the only families they’ve known. And compassion can be supporting a fellow pet owner’s decision to say goodbye.”

    I’m getting really angry writing this, and I’m sure I’ve pissed off most of you. But this is not about my feelings, and it’s not about yours.

    It’s about everyone else. Because we – as humane and compassionate people – need to do more to support our fellow pet owners and the companions they love. It’s about less public shaming and more solution-seeking. It’s about less judgment and more resource-sharing. In it’s simplest form, it’s about supporting the human-animal bond, on both ends of the leash.

    No pet was ever brought back to life because a blogger blasted the owner. But many, many pets have stayed in their homes because a compassionate human being lent a helping hand.

    And chances are, you and I will need an ounce of support and compassion one day, too.

    – Kim Wolf, New York City, Founder of “Beyond Breed” (www.beyondbreed.com)
    PS: If you’re still with me (I hope you are!), here’s more food for thought:
    • The Revolving Door: A Poverty Problem, Not a Pet Problem: http://beyondbreed.com/the-revolving-door-a-poverty-problem-not-a-pet-problem/
    • “Those People” and the dogs surrendered to animal shelters: http://beyondbreed.com/those-people/
    • Lack of resources for NYC pet owners: http://beyondbreed.com/the-cronuts-and-spayneuter-craze/
    • Challenges facing senior citizens with pets (a fast-growing demographic!): http://beyondbreed.com/oh-the-times-they-are-a-grayin/
    • “All They Need is Love”: http://beyondbreed.com/all-they-need-is-love/

    • Wow! You have said pretty much exactly what I was thinking. I’ve been that person that made too much money for assistance but not enough to give my pet the vet care that was necessary and had to surrender. That was years ago and it was to a no-kill shelter, still it has haunted me ever since. I now have 6 cats and 2 dogs and all but one have been rescued. I’ve found homes for numerous other pets that have been dumped around the business where I work. I don’t judge those people that have dumped them. Life is not black and white, it’s full of color, some colors are just happier than others. I would rather live in color any day of the week than live in a rigid black and white world where people don’t live up to someone’s expectations and get bashed. You’re right, we don’t know Jean’s situation and while I hurt for Cocoa, I hurt for Jean as well. Thank you for your words and for being kindhearted enough to stand up for the Jeans in this world that don’t have the luxury some take for granted.

      • Oh, and Lunchy, I really think your heart was in the right place. Your anger and frustration is real to you and this is your blog, you have the right to write whatever you feel. However, I think you would have had more impact if you had talked about both sides of the issue rather than just bashing Jean. Like BeyondBreed said, this is a huge problem all over the US, you had the opportunity to open peoples eyes and hearts to these situations. Now it seems as though people are just pissed off at each other and the division grows wider. The whole situation makes me incredibly sad.

  6. thank you for giving a cocoa a chance. most of the time i hate people in general but when i find people like you i believe there is still some good people out there. this made me cry like a baby. you are a great person

  7. An open letter to Jean….what a gift you have for putting thoughts into words….thank you for writing that!!! We that rescue the “throw-aways” know exactly what you were feeling!!!

  8. I have to reply to your blog post about Cocoa. I feel like you shut down comments because it was getting close to critical and you couldn’t have that!

    Wow, I guess I am the only one to say this, but I found you selfish and self-praising. Not everyone is capable of going through a sickness with an animal, either because they cannot afford it or because emotionally it would be just too difficult. Because Jean **** did not do what you felt appropriate–and you have no idea what Cocoa’s owners were going through–they are horrible people?! You give them not a single moment’s benefit of the doubt. I feel terrible for Cocoa, I feel even worse for the family who raised her from puppyhood who were forced to make a very very difficult decision, not the right one according to you, but I am certain it was very difficult. And now they get to be berated and condemned by you!!!. I do not think you have a big heart and I certainly do not think you are an angel. I think you had the money and time (her real owners did not have) and gave Cocoa a good death. This pisses me off! Imagine her owner making this decision, imagine her sitting in the car outside the pound feeling helpless and devastated being forced by circumstance into a terrible position. Imagine her tears, her sleepless nights anxious about what she has done. And then imagine she has to have this posted all over the internet. You are a bully and a bitch. I have shared my negative thoughts with everyone I know.

  9. Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity when, as a rescue volunteer, I often think all human kindness is becoming more and more elusive. I think you should’ve published Jean’s last name. I’ve had an idea in my head of creating a public shame list, mainly for rescuers so we know never to adopt out to such pieces of shit.

  10. You are a BEAUTIFUL person! Cocoa was blessed to have you in her life =)
    As I’m sure you feel blessed to have her and your other animal friends in yours.
    THANK YOU for writing your open letter!

  11. Hi all. I closed comments because I figured after 300 comments, both the good, the bad and the ugly, there were no more original comments to be made and I didn’t want anyone else speaking about violence towards anyone. But Kim, I did post yours because I appreciated the thought you put into it and I think you’re right about a lot of things, in fact most things.

    FYI, I will not authorize any additional comments in the “about” section.

  12. This is why I think bloggers are the most narcissistic animals on the planet. You would never post anything that criticizes you personally for putting up a thoughtless and selfish post. Kim does a great job of not mentioning you and focusing on Cocoa, which is what you should have done in the first place. I know you will not post this and I honestly could care less. Thoughtless people sharing their empty thoughts on blogs is what is the most wrong with society.

  13. I did read through about 200 of them, but then got tired of reading you respond and defend yourself to the haters, but not once have you acknowledged that you should have, in fact, thought before you wrote. That is the sign of an intelligent writer. That you think and research, especially when sharing an opinion on a potentially contentious issue such as this. The fact that posters AND yourself suggest she could have FOUND the money to take Cocoa to a better shelter suggests your limited middle class bias. Do you honestly believe people can just FIND money?

    Jean deserves a very thoughtful apology, one I am sad to say she will not get. Especially from the god-blessing, angel-loving spirited people posting here. Those are the ones with the most spite, judgment and hatred of another human being, whose suffering may go beyond our imaginations. How can you have more love for a helpless dog and not extend the same to a helpless human. And people keep saying (as you said in defence so many times) Jean was not helpless, she had options. Each of the options presented assumed she could find money; she had a car to drive to the next shelter; she had a computer to list Cocoa online, that she basically had resources to support a better decision. I will argue she did not have the resources while the rest of you are sure she did.

  14. And by my calculations, only about 10% of the posts are critical, a rather limited and unbalanced perspective, I would say. You should have moderated out the over 100 posts that start, with God Bless you! You’re an angel. Life is better with people like you, etc. etc. If my post was thoughtless compared to Kim’s, those are even worse, blach! And, slightly redundant don’t you think?

  15. Can Ali Jee please discontinue his/her presence on your site? Ali Jee – this is HER blog – if you don’t like it, don’t subscribe to it. The bottom line about this person – Jean, is that she could have AT LEAST taken her dog to a no-kill shelter or even just had her put down herself, held her dog in her arms, instead of dumping her at a shelter. THE END. There is no debating that. STOP posting on this blog – get off the page and take your negative and crappy attitude somewhere else. I pity you and the people you socialize with. I feel for them that they have to listen to you and I feel for you bc you are obviously ignorant.

    • Funny I feel the same about you. Your ignorance is astounding. I am not the one who wishes to publicly shame another human being when I know nothing of their circumstance. I am a dog owner, a dog lover and a dog rescuer, but I still value humans and their feelings above those of a dog. People who don’t have limited lives and a limited perspective on humanity. I am not being negative. I am demanding that you all stop shaming this woman with your responses. It is disgusting and ummmm, NEGATIVE.

      This is the last you’ll hear of me. I will unsubscribe and ensure that all of my 787 Facebook contacts through my personal page and my work page are aware of this mess of a blog.

      Let me know when an apology is posted, Lisa.

      • Are you serious Ali Jee? You feel badly for the lady who dumped her dog to be euthanized and the author in your opinion “is ignorant?” Anyone who can take their dog to a kill shelter deserves no respect because they don’t care. You need to send an apology to the author for even suggesting she needs to apologize to you. I am betting that you have never adopted a dog from a shelter and prefer buying them from breeders. You need to get with it and head down to your local shelter to see what is going on. I dare you. And help the world and support dog rescuers like the author not the “owners” who turn their pets in to shelters.

  16. I have opened the blog up for comments now that I have the time to approve all of them. And by the way, Ali Jee, every comment has been approved EXCEPT one from someone who wished harm upon “Jean”. So you can rest assured that I’m not censoring the bad stuff. Everything is there, the good, the bad and the ugly. I would appreciate it if any and all future comments are left over there and not under the “About” portion of my blog. Thanks and have a great day!

  17. I came via a link on facebook and just wanted to say that what you did for Cocoa was beautiful, to give her love, unconditionally.

  18. Somehow, today, your Lunchy columns showed up when I loaded my gmail on my phone…
    I had to revisit them and I loved them as much as I had previously!
    I am sad that you are no longer posting, or -at least- not posting here. I very much enjoyed the way you told your story. Thank you for that -for your perspective and your gift of sharing.
    Are you blogging anywhere else? If so, would you let me know where? …if not, well, welcome to the more anonymous world. Whichever it is, I hope all is well with you and your animal companions… I wish you happiness and peace.

  19. Hello Jamie,

    I stumbled on your entry in the Huffington Post from 2 years ago about Cocoa and I must say, you rock! Those things needed to be said and you were absolutely right. I’m sick and tired of this political correctness where we are not supposed to “judge” anyone. Well I’m sorry, there are good people in the world and there are assholes and cowards. I had to euthanize 2 of my dogs in the past month and it still weighs heavily on my soul, although it was the right thing to do for them. One was a very old black Toy Poodle, found as a stray, matted from head to toe, with no teeth, liver problems and seizures. He lived a happy life here for 2 years and I will miss him for the rest of my days. The other was a 12-year old Mini Poodle who was part of our family since puppyhood. Both of them still wag their tails in my heart. So, good on you for telling it like it is, Cocoa’s owners were wrong to do what they did, plain and simple. There is ALWAYS a better solution than abandoning an old dog at a high-kill shelter.

    Also, I wanted to ask you if you’ve ever heard of Spain’s Galgos and Podencos? Every year, about 100,000 of those poor dogs are abandoned, tortured or killed at the end of hunting season, which is now in Spain. The hunters torture them mercilessly in all kinds of horrible ways. It’s really a nightmarish situation and one that the Spanish government is turning a blind eye to. So, if you’re interested in learning more about it or writing about it, let me know and I can give you the contact info for people who are involved in their rescue, in Europe and in the US and Canada. I also have pictures and stories that I can share. I’ve translated into French a book on Galgos and I’m in the process of translating one on Podencos. They really need all the help they can get: from volunteers, to raising awareness about their plight, to donations, etc. Let me know!

  20. It is a while since you wrote about Cocoa. I just thought I’d let you know for future reference, if you deal with alternative medicine, there is a way to treat that type of cancer which I’m guessing was hermangiosarcoma. Yunnan Baiyao stops the internal bleeding. IP-6 and C-caps and some mushrooms reduce the size of tumors. Going grain-free on foods and feeding anti-biotic free human grade meats helps. We had a RUDE vet diagnose one of our older furbabies (they are all rescues) and she said “she has 4-6 days. Do you want her euthenized?” Well, she has ALWAYS hated vets to the point of being petrified of them. Told Mz. Rude we’d take her home. That was a few months ago. HOWEVER, she first got sick OVER a year ago and they “missed” the diagnosis. We could have saved her so much pain! Feel free to write if you have any questions should you have this problem in the future.

    AND, NONE of our furkids are going to any pound. We’ll hock the house to get them the care they need. Screw Mean Jean or whatever the hell her name is.

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