This is your brain on
compassion. Any questions? (PS – support your local animal shelter.)


By Coco Hames


Since I spend a
great deal of time out on the road, I am able to report with some accuracy the
general and nebulous state of the nation.  I see it in the daylight, the
nighttime, uptown, downtown, outskirts, above ground, underground, the denial,
fury and/or apathy in hoity toity wine bars and the denial, fury and/or apathy
of the griping dives.  And right now, what I can definitely say, is
something most people already know: it’s pretty rough out there.  Jobs are
really hard to come by and, if you’re fortunate enough to have one, your money
is tight tight tight.  The need to save (instead of spend) shows up in lots
of ways, and it doesn’t just affect us human people.  In the past six
months, I’ve seen an absolutely unprecedented amount of stray animals on the
roads, and I don’t just mean back alleys and city streets.  I mean packs
of emaciated, mangy dogs trotting aimlessly and insanely through the medians of
highways.  And I’m pretty sure we all know what the odds are for those


My mom said she read
an article recently that the financial crunch is just so strong that, among
other things, people are having to get rid of their dogs.  And while I am
not in the mood to preach the “if you can’t afford/take care of a dog,
don’t effing get one” sermon, I am in the mood to remind you — if you are
so inclined — to visit your local shelter.

When I was in
college my roommate Kiki and I used to foster dogs from the local kill shelter
until we could find them a home.  We were the pain-in-the-ass bleeding
heart dog savers, and yes, we were very annoying.  Especially to our other
four roommates.  But I am glad for what we did, because when a dog has
been at a kill shelter for too long, they euthanize them.  That’s the way
it is.  And while no-kill shelters are a nice idea, the fact is many of
the dogs they get are sick, infirm, badly behaved and extremely unlikely to
find what we in the biz cloyingly call “a forever home”. 

Once, I made the mistake of visiting the Gainesville shelter without intent
(you need to have a plan or you WILL go home either extremely upset or with a
dog, and FYI the two states of mind are not mutually exclusive) and saw a
little crazy guy (he looked like part terrier/part-squirrel) and noticed his
euthanization date was the next day.  I didn’t really have a choice. 
So I took Jarvis home, and while he got along with my other dog, he was totally
crazy.  I won’t go into details.  He was just crazy.  But I
cared for him and he even moved with me to New York.  That pushed him over the
edge, all of the people and smells and sounds.  Jarvis was very unhappy
and I didn’t know what to do; I just knew I couldn’t take him back to a

So I did some research and found petfinder.org.  If you are ever
in search of a furry friend, I recommend it highly.  It’s a free service
that helps list the available rescue animals in your area.  I wrote a
clear little bio of Jarvis and put up some pictures, and within a week, a nice
lady called me from Maryland
explaining her situation.  That their family dog had just passed away,
their children were grown, and it was just her, her husband and some horses on
a farm outside of DC.  We arranged for Jarvis to have a “visit”
for a weekend, and he was so happy.  I still get e-mails from this lady,
about every year, updating me on what a blessing Jarvis is and how happy they
all are together.  Sometimes she sends me pictures.  Sometimes he’s
wearing a sweater.

The point is, I had shown petfinder.org to a friend here in Nashville who is beginning
her search for a dog.  And I was looking at the available rescue dogs at
our local shelters, when I came across a picture.  And yes, I am a sucker,
okay?  Just put it out there, yes, Coco
is a sucker and a major sucker for matted, emaciated, forgotten bag-o’-bones
dogs, okay??  I drove down there and said, you, sad matted stray, you’re
coming with me.  She was all bones and butchered hair, what was left of
her hair was matted and she had a sinus infection.  I’m happy to report
that a week later, she’s all juiced up on her shots, the sinus infection is
nearly gone, and she is as sweet as can be.  She’s really funny, really
smart, and that is that.  Here’s a picture of Lenore.

But Coco, you say, I have allergies/spacial
issues/a really nice couch/a cat; I need a special kind of dog, I can’t just go
to a SHELTER.  To you I say, I am a major snob and have a purebred dog
because I had excuses too (lifelong major allergies, fo realz) but if you do
your research and know what you are looking for, you WILL find an animal in
your area that meets your needs.  I gots needs!  There are of course
a lot of things to consider, but if you make a checklist and give it time, you
will find a friend you can rescue from a sad fate or situation, while filling
your pet needs and enriching your life (BOTH of your lives) immensely. 
You can have your cake and eat it too, I promise.

That’s all.  Just a reminder.  If you like animals, and you figure
you might want one in your life, don’t forget your local kill shelter, or your
local fostering and adopting facilities.  Petfinder.org, y’all.




Blurt “co-co-editor”
Coco Hames fronts The Ettes – Hames on guitar, Jem Cohen on bass and Poni
Silver on drums – whose album
Look At Life Again Soon and EP, Danger Is, were released by Take Root. Their new Greg Cartwright-produced album Do
You Want Power hits stores Sept. 29, and
you bet we’re gonna have a big feature on the band in our next issue. Check out
the band’s MySpace page for music
and tour dates.





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