Friday, November 20, 2020

The Greatest Gift

Most of us remember the wise words from  Dr. Suess,

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!"

"Well, in Whoville they say - that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!"

 I believe, our pets often share the same message, gifts from the heart mean so much more; it is the laughs, homemade gifts, and the things you did to give back that will resonate most in your memory. Our pets don't care about the price of things, for them it's about the love and fun.

There is something about Christmas that puts that sparkly fairy dust in the air. We bake, we wrap, we want to give and make merry.

My furry friends and I would like to encourage you to share just a smidge of that magic in your heart and merriment and remember to give back in any way that resonates with your heart.

Giving back can be not only rewarding but fun. I really enjoy heading up charity pet photos with Santa. It is an evening of laughter, joy and giving back. Even this year, with the pandemic we found a safe way to continue the tradition. Sometimes you have to do a little creative thinking and stay diversified but when you are a jolly elf, doing Santa’s good work for those who need it, a way will present itself.

The greatest gift I ever received, I sadly lost at the end of January after 15 ½  years, my dog Odin J.  I am so grateful for all the years we spent together, teaching each other, increasing our bond and enjoying the never long enough journey. I write this article to continue his message to “Help all dogs (and pets) live their best lives”, in his honor. The love I received from the little rescued boy found freezing in the snow was something I hold in my heart forever and ever. Odin knew I could never replace him. He also knew I was lonely and sent me a gift from heaven above to help my heart heal. He sent this gift via Louisiana to Muskegon Humane, a furry white dog with Odin marking both his sides in the shape of a heart so I knew his message was clear.  This goofy silly boy, named “Odin J.’s Heavenly Sent Heart” ‘Olaf A Snowman’”, keeps a smile on my face and my heart lighter. I KNOW Odin J. will always be my guardian angel and is making sure I am being taken care of.

Another of my most treasured gifts, I was given right after Odin J. passed. A gold bone that hangs on a kennel at Muskegon Humane. This bone was given as a gift from my good friend and business partner, Paula. She generously donated this bone and paid to sponsor a kennel for one year in Odin’s name. The sponsorship pays for a dog to eat in the kennel for one year. I cannot think of a greater honor to a loved one than to sponsor this in their name. I plan to continue this sponsorship for as long as I am able. I go into the shelter to visit and take photos and try to find homes for all the dogs, but I feature the dogs in his kennel on social media in his honor, in hopes they can find their furever family even faster.

One by one we can all make a difference. What way would make your heart smile? What time, talent or gift can you afford to give? Shelters are struggling now more than ever.

“Saving that one dog (one cat or one horse) will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever."

Angel Odin, Olaf, Raven kitty and I make a Christmas wish that all the homeless pets and those in shelters will have their world changed for the better. We hope they find their perfect fur-ever home and never feel lonely again.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Showing support for the pack


“Throw me to the wolves, because there's order in the pack.” –Red Hot Chilli Peppers

I believe there is so much truth in that statement. I trust the animals more than any other being in this world right now. They are the voiceless, the fair and the innocent. I believe those that care for them are angels.

I have been going to Howling Timbers and have been a supporter approximately 18 years. I see them dedicate their lives to their mission:

"To provide life-long sanctuary to wolves, wolf dogs, and exotic animals that have been neglected, abused, abandoned or relinquished by their previous owner. To assist humane societies, animal shelters and the Michigan Department of Agriculture with the placement of wolf dogs and exotic animals. To educate the public on the proper care and humane treatment of all animal species."

They have done this and so much more! I can attest to how much love and commitment Brenda and Jim have for the animals.


Recently, as we know, media can be poisoning without having their ducks in a row.  I am writing this article to make sure that this place with a heart of gold gets the proper positive attention they deserve. If you don't know me personally, you could ask anyone what they thought of me. I would have to believe that the number one thing they would say about me is, “Jodi loves animals and that is her life.”  I believe with my whole heart in protecting and helping the voiceless.  Brenda and Jim are on the top of the list, when it comes to being one of my heroes in achieving this.  They are true angels to the animals. They have given hearts to these animals. They wake up caring for them; they go to bed caring for them. They educate the community and give homes to animals that would be destroyed without them. They give the animals the best lives that they could ask for and should be commended for their dedication and love.

Recently when  I spoke with Brenda and Jim, I asked them, “How did this place start? Did you buy the property with the intention of doing this?”  Jim replied, “No I bought it with the intention of sitting on this porch and watching the deer and the wilderness.” Somehow one wolf dog at a time this wonderful place was created.


I asked Jim and Brenda, “Which one of you started rescuing the wolf dogs?” They smiled and both pointed at each other.  Jim told me when he and Brenda were first together, she had on high heels and perfect makeup. Everything had to be perfect, she was scrubbing the baseboards with a toothbrush.  That’s when Brenda commented, wearing a hoddie with jeans, “Now I carry a bucket with a poop scraper.” Things sure have changed for this couple
Now they have become caretakers for those in need, no more high heels with everything spotless. I know they wouldn’t have it any other way.


Just recently supporters and I were privileged to be able to show our support by participating in a drive by parade to show Jim and Brenda how much they were loved. I was brought to tears by the amount of support that showed up.  Baked goods, donations, gifts and so much love and camaraderie.  The community stepped up to show what a gift Brenda and Jim are to so many.

I invite you to visit Howling Timbers in Muskegon MI  and see for yourself how this place is a haven for creatures being cared for with love and dedication.  Please contact them for available times. Please see their website for details, visitation and a list of needed donations. These may be things you have in your home you were already going to discard of : slightly wilted produce, cans and bottles and for the hunters out there,  a way to honor the animal's life by donating scrap, the head, and any part you don't use. The wolves will be howling a thank you for being given food they are naturally meant to eat.