We Are A Family

Wearing this wristband comes with a lot of responsibility and respect.

RESPONSIBILITY ~ When wearing this wristband I vow to stop and listen to anyone that needs to talk, vent or just scream to get out their sadness and anger before it overwhelms them. I also vow to get them help if needed. I vow to help prevent the suicide of a stranger or yet another friend.

RESPECT ~ I respect the hell out of my friend Chloe for fighting her way through what can seem like a never ending battle! We all have moments of weakness, but you persevered and pushed back! I’ll always have your 6 girl! And respect for any first responder or public safety official that gets the help they need to make it through another day!

PTSD, DEPRESSION and SUICIDAL IDEATIONS are nothing to be ashamed of! The things you see as a first responder are what most people’s nightmares are made of. But you push through with a brave face, of what is most likely the worst day of someone’s life. You do everything you can to save them, their house or the life someone else. All of the horror you see as a first responder can easily take its toll on you.

Did you know that the average “burnout” [the a-ha, I need a new career moment] for most jobs is 10 years! The average “burnout” rate for a first responder is ONLY 2 years and since 9/11 the suicide rate for first responders has increased by 46%!

This is real! PTSD/DEPRESSION/SUICIDAL IDEATIONS are real! Please, if you don’t want to talk to someone close to you or you fear that your coworkers will think you’re weak, find a stranger wearing this wristband [we’re everywhere]. They WILL help! You ARE NOT weak for seeking help! #CODEGREEN

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The Price I Pay

I destroy good things in my life. There is no easy answer why. Mostly out of fear. The fear of being hurt and losing someone or something I may allow myself to get too close.

I have built walls around me that very few get past. For those that do breakthrough, it’s a long hard road. I don’t do this intentionally. I do it to prevent the heartache of saying goodbye.

Self destruction has become a part of my personal life and friendships. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’m protecting myself from getting close and then losing someone I care about.

Its (sadly) become second nature for me to keep most people at arm’s length. And for those that do get closer, I hit the panic button! My mind tells me it’s easier to cut a friendship short than it is to let it grow, only to break my heart if I may lose them.

Luckily I have friends [my brothers and sisters] that have been by my side and did not allow me to destroy our relationships. Without them I would not have hope. Without them I would not know love.

Maybe someday I’ll learn how to grow new friendships and relationships without hitting the panic button. Until then, this is the price I pay to protect my heart.

Never Let A Brave Face Fool you

I have fought battles no one should have to endure. I have scars that no one can see. Only I can feel their pain searing inside my skin. I put on a big smile, be as helpful as I can and try to be the life of the party so no one is the wiser.

My demons haunt me at night when I am alone and most venerable. As soon as my head rest on my pillow and my eyes grow weary, the demons rear their ugly heads. They don’t care if I sleep. They don’t care if I wake up soaking in sweat with tears running down my face. The demons won’t let me forget what I saw nor what I failed to do.

I get out of bed in the morning without hesitation. And the never ending cycle begins again.

When The Stars Align

Part IV

Olive and Clementine settled back into their routine with Winnie Fristoe and her husband. Meanwhile the dog rescue world continued to spin and the rescue I volunteered for continued to try and save as many dogs Thank as we could.

On January 26, 2017 I made arrangements to meet a fellow rescue friend in Luling, TX the following morning. We were transporting a dog from the Texas/Mexico border to a foster in Houston. I was to be the last leg of the transport.

Winnie and I were texting back and forth into the wee hours of the morning. Olive had just come home and she jokingly said “I’m ready to send her back! Lol”! We wrapped up and had made plans to meet later in the week.

When I woke up on January 27, 2017 it was unseasonably warm. I let our dogs, Gracie, Daisy and Bailey go out to play in the backyard while I was getting ready. When I returned to let them in, they were bathing in the sun. I called at them to come in and they barely moved!

I looked at the time and made the decision to let them bask in the sun. My boyfriend would be home for lunch in an hour and I texted him to bring the girls inside as soon as he arrived.

This was a decision that will forever haunt me, but one that showed me just how amazing my fosters/friends really are.

Check back for the last II Parts to this amazing story!

When The Stars Align Part III

First time fosters, Winnie Fristoe and her husband, made it through the first month with Olive and Clementine. The pups had almost completely recovered from demodex mange and it was time to get them spayed.

We decided that they should be separated for at least a week post surgery to allow time for these energetic sisters to properly heal. So, on the day of their surgery Olive would come home to stay with me and Clementine would go home with Winnie.

Being the amazing foster that she is, Winnie packed Olive her favorite blanket, some yummy organic treats, food and a couple toys. She reminded me of a very nervous mom leaving her infant with a sitter for the first time. Winnie knew sweet Olive was is great hands, but it was hard for her to let go.

Olive loved being at our crazy dog filled house! We had 4 dogs of our own and 2 fosters! Needless to say it was pretty action packed around our house. Olive made new friends with all of our dogs and the fosters. She slept with our fosters (Lilli Pad and Bubba Blue) and myself every night.

Winnie and I sent pictures back and forth. Texting several times a day. Clementine was enjoying her time with Winnie as Olive blossomed here at our home!

When it came time for Olive to return to Winnie, I found myself not wanting her to leave. I had gotten so attached to Olive as did all of our dogs! But it was time to reunite the sisters.

I packed up Olive and took her to see her sister again. Winnie and I watched from the deck as they began rolling in the grass and wrestling! They were happy to see each other.

Little did we know the tragedy that lay ahead of us in the coming weeks that would strengthen our friendship and forever change my world…

Part IV to be released next week!

When The Stars Align Part II

When The Stars Align

Part II

Soon after Olive and Clementine arrived at Winnie Fristoe’s home, we found out the sweet pups had demodex mange (non-contagious). This is easily treatable, but causes hair loss and the pups are rather uncontrollable.

For an experienced foster having two 12wk old fosters is a challenge! Winnie and her husband were first time fosters and both of their foster pups had demodex mange. Needless to say, I was truly amazed every day that passed and I did not get a phone call saying, “I give up! Come get these puppies!” This says a lot about the sheer strength and perseverance Winnie and her husband have.

A few couple of weeks went by and I got a call from a very sad and sobbing Winnie. She was questioning if she was going to be able to continue fostering the pups. She was worried she wasn’t doing things the way she should and maybe she wasn’t “Cutout to foster!”

After a long talk and a few tears, she decided to sleep on it. I was truly worried that;

1) I had a foster about to lose her mind

2) How was I going to inspire enough confidence in this amazing woman to show her she CAN do this

3) Where the heck was I going to put these puppies if she couldn’t do it

So, I sent her the following text before I ended a very exhausting day:

Winnie,

I have had days where I say, “I’m quitting” “I just can’t deal with this anymore!” But then I look into the eyes of one of my fosters (or my own dogs) and see the true love and eternal gratitude that only a dog can show to the person that saved them, and all is forgiven!

You see, they don’t understand why they can’t talk to us or why we don’t speak their language, but they do their best to help us understand. Sometimes it’s like a puzzle, but when we solve it, oh what an amazing feeling it is to communicate with a creature that loves you so much. You can do this! I’m only a text or phone call away! *

Winnie and I kept in touch on a daily basis texting or talking. Our friendship grew just as quickly as Olive and Clementine did!

A lot can be said about me as a Foster Coordinator (at the time), but one thing is that good, bad or ugly, I stood by my fosters. My fosters were and still are family to me!

Check back for Part III of this foster journey!

When The Stars Align Part I

Written December 7, 2017

1 year ago today, four sweet puppies and their momma were rescued from the Liberty County AC. The puppies went in pairs to their new fosters as did their momma.

Two of the girls went to a first time foster family here in Houston! Winnie Fristoe and her husband named them Olive and Clementine.

None of us new at the time that the stars had aligned and we were all brought together for a reason.

Check back for Part II of this amazing story!

Dog Rescue Life

In rescue sometimes you have to laugh or you’ll cry! I have had days where I say, “I’m quitting” “I just can’t deal with this anymore!” But then I look into the eyes of one of my fosters (or my own dogs) and see the true love and eternal gratitude that only a dog can show to the person that saved them, and all is forgiven!
 

You see, dogs don’t understand why they can’t talk to us or why we don’t speak their language, but they do their best to help us understand. It’s like a puzzle, but when we solve it, oh what an amazing feeling it is to communicate with a creature that loves you so much.

 

No creature on earth is like a dog! No matter what you do or say to them (sadly because some people are just plain evil) they will always seek our love and approval. They crave it!
So, on your foster or rescue journey, as hard as it may be at times, remember that they will never forget the love, grace and dignity that you showed them on the day you saved them!

Written by: Renee’ Landrum 
*1st Picture is Mimi a corgy mix. Saved from under a trailer with her three puppies. Mimi is available for adoption through http://www.HHFRescue.org 

*Pictured is Leila Belle. Abandoned by her owners and left in a field to fend for herself. Now she is with her fur-ever mom Jan! 

Foster/Rescue Dogs? 

How can you rescue/foster dogs/puppies only to say goodbye when they are adopted? 

This is a question that I have been asked many times. It’s an unimaginable feeling of happiness and dread when the dog/puppy you’ve been fostering for weeks or months finds their fur-ever home. 

Happiness because you know that you have chosen the perfect family for your foster. You know that when your foster finds their fur-ever home, you will be able to save another dog/puppy in need. Dread because you know that the day is fast approaching when you will have to say goodbye to the foster you saved from almost certain death. 

The bond you form with a dog/puppy you save and foster is indescribable. All I can tell you is that they speak to you with their eyes. So much pure love and appreciation is shown just by looking into their eyes. 
I am truly blessed to be able to witness this time and time again when I bring dogs/puppies to a foster and see what love can do to change a once broken and scared animal. Today, I was privileged enough to see the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

Monica, her husband and daughter Monique have been amazing friends and fosters with me for over a year. I truly consider them family! So it was not out of the ordinary for me to ask them to come along and aid in rescuing dogs/puppies.

On a very stormy Sunday in early June, I asked Monica to come with me to a trailer park and translate Spanish to English for me. We had been alerted to a momma dog and 3 puppies living in terrible conditions under a trailer. So, off we went to save the mom and puppies.

It took a few hours in the rain with lighting and thunder clapping above us to wrangle mom and 2 of her pups. We couldn’t find the 3rd pup and the owners (who were relinquishing the dogs to Honoring Hope and Faith Rescue, Inc..) were not being cooperative. So, we left with the mom and 2 pups determined to come back and save the 3rd pup the following day.

I headed to Destiny and Cliff’s with mom and 2 pups. Their house suddenly became ground zero for the little family. Destiny and her family fostered and ultimately adopted puppy #1 AKA: Piper. Stephanie fostered puppy #2 AKA: Truman and her mother in law adopted him. Ashley and her boyfriend fostered mom AKA: Mimi until the amazing Sandra was able to take over (Mimi is now available for adoption). 

But there was still 1 more puppy scared and cold, hiding underneath that trailer.
Monica and Monique were not going to let that puppy suffer any longer! When we did not hear from the “owners” the next day, they went over to rescue the puppy. It took several hours, but the puppy was now safe! The “owners” were more than happy to have us out of their hair!


Monica and her family took care of sweet puppy #3 AKA: Lilly Von until we found the absolute perfect family for her. Today I picked them up at their home and drove them to complete the adoption and let Lilly Von begin a new chapter in her life.


I am in awe of the strength and love that Monica and her family show to each and every dog/puppy they foster! As we left Lilly with her fur-ever family I turned to Monica and gave her a hug. We both cried. Monica because she was saying goodbye to her sweet Lilly Von and me because I can’t stand to see someone I love, admire and adore in any sort of pain! 


We all climbed into my SUV and began talking about what we went through, how many people were involved and the hours spent to save a mom and her 3 puppies. 


THIS is why we rescue! THIS is why we pour our hearts into loving a sweet animal that will one day leave us to begin a new chapter.

Now to continue to save more!

LUM

Written by: Renee’ Landrum 

*A special thank you to Natural Pawz for allowing us to take over their Pearland store this afternoon flooding it with happiness, tears of joy and lots of laughter!