On July 4th I posted my "review" of the film Dark Water Rising. On July 10th I received an email that began hello, this is larry from the movie.
I'm thinking...he's going to ream me out for my comments about him and Aaron and Winn Dixie. He's going to use a lot of capital letters and exclamation marks and be all huffy and defensive* because I was critical of them for making choices that precluded many animals ever getting reunited. I was so pleasantly wrong. His email was polite, calm and in some ways, very sweet (with no caps or exclamation marks). He informed me of those things I was wrong about. For one, he was not the one smoking with the tattoos (even though I have nothing against tattoos). He told me that the collar on the dog in the scene I wrote about was very tight on the dog's neck in spite of the dog having lost 20 or more pounds. That was what made him so mad and made him toss the collar at the house once he was able to remove it. He also said that what sounded like tags were not tags, but actually the buckle. All of this of course was not clear from the film itself.
We exchanged emails and stories about our experiences of the past 11 months and in our first (multi-hour) phone conversation, shared thoughts and ideas about the future of animal rescue - one of those "we can make the world a better place" sort of conversations.
Larry and I are now friends. He was one of those people I immediately trusted when we began to exchange emails. I have come to realize that he is, without a doubt, one of the real heroes of all this, and one of the most truly dedicated and compassionate animal people I've ever met. Through him I came to understand that many of the animals that he/they encountered had been abused or neglected. And he understands fully that the pet owners we have been working with are not searching for those abused and neglected dogs. We both recognize that Winn Dixie, just like Lamar Dixon, Best Friends, Pasados...all had people there who stole dogs regardless of what one wants to call it.
In my mind, if a person went to the Gulf Coast after Katrina to "rescue" pets or volunteer at a staging area or film a movie or sightsee, and took an animal (or several) home to "foster" and did not immediately post that animal on Petfinder (the AERN database which was set up specifically for Katrina-rescued pets) and did not actively search for the owner (preferably with the help of a Stealth Volunteer) than the pet was stolen. Period.
I hope that this update to my review of the film doesn't embarrass Larry. He and I have agreed to disagree about those things we disagree about which is what all friends should be able to do. Thanks Larry for the 2 1/2 months you spent in New Orleans for the animals. And thanks for getting in touch with me a few weeks ago.
* so many "animal people" are so out there and reactionary....often if I post something on my blog that someone doesn't agree with, I'll get a ranting email. These emails tend to be predictable and follow a pattern. The author of the email almost always first attacks me and then gives an overly lengthy and detailed accounting of all the wonderful things she has done for the animals. And for some reason, most people feel it necessary to also tell me how much money they have spent. This last part perplexes me as I think they have me confused with their accountant. Anymore I don't respond because a) of having very limited time and b) because anytime Me thinks doth protest too much I already have all the information I need. Footnote: Several years ago I stopped working in the mental health field because it was driving me crazy (pun intended) but this past year, working with so many "animal people" and seeing so much deplorable behavior, my background has been a huge benefit.