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MelissaBelle Chimes In

  • Social Disease

    Posted on Sunday, January 31, 2010

    Well, maybe you heard it through the grapevine already, but yes it's true.  Despite my barely discernible Facebook skills and being quite possibly the worst Spark person EVER (I have not even figured out how to set up my own page there and I think I accidently signed up for a challenge or two—something about either drinking more water and/or swimming the English Channel. I am not quite sure which), Shady and I are persevering in our quest to conquer social media. In these last few weeks, we have published a website, started a blog on Wordpress and just last night we "tweeted".  Maybe some of you noticed us quietly following you?

    I know I should do better.  I should figure out how to send a heart to a Facebook friend or help a lost and lonely calf on Farmville.  Is it rude to keep ignoring the apps and group requests on my page? Maybe I could make time to blog or comment about the summer challenge, be a better Spark team member and tweak my site to the top of the search engines.  Direct messages and personal emails?  I need more hours in the day to do as many of those I’d like. It has all been overwhelming.  I do not know how you ladies keep up!  

    So, here today I will put before you all the ways to find me (and Shady) outside of Fab and ask that you please do come and find us.  If you friend me, I will friend you.  If you follow me, I will follow you.  If you link to my blog, I will link to yours.  If you get on the treadmill, so will I.   If you cannot figure this stuff out either, we'll do it together.  If you already have it figured out, I'll follow your lead. Surely not all social disease is bad; this kind is just a little "viral".

    Blog: [Link Removed]
    The most recent post is about the bad rap the "yappy dogs" sometimes get.

    [Link Removed]
    3 ways to help homeless animals now.

    [Link Removed] 

    [Link Removed]
    Tweets about all of the above.  Just as soon as I figure out how to do it from my phone : )

    Melissabelle, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

    17 Replies
  • MelissaBelle says THANK YOU!

    Posted on Friday, January 22, 2010

    Good morning and Happy Friday!  Just a short blog today to thank all of you for checking on my (well, Shady’s) new blog, adding it to the blogrolls, commenting etc.  While Shady and I are not expecting to become millionaires off of this venture, we do hope to raise awareness and money for homeless animals.  Your blog comments and traffic boost our visibility and improve the chances of that happening.  

    So far a few people have asked for more info on what we are doing or asked us to tell their stories for them, so that is a positive thing especially so early on. Our Facebook page is up and running and Twitter is next.

    We would not have taken any of this on without the support, feedback, generosity and fine business examples of the women here. WE appreciate it more than we can say (well, more than I can say, Shady can’t talk).

    If you are reading this and do not know what the heck I am talking about, here are the Shady is telling-all on a controversial topic (for her)—CATS!:
    [Link Removed]

    Have a great weekend, all! Drop me a line or a comment here and let me know what you are all doing. I’ll be learning about Twitter and starting on some pet stories.

    Melissabelle, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

    9 Replies
  • A dog by any other name

    Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Shadys next tale, A dog by any other name, is out on wordpress today. You can read it all here today, but we hope you will share with others on your own blogs, Facebook or anywhere else and give them this link: [Link Removed]

    When Mom first met our rescue dog LoJack, she thought she would only be fostering him for a while.  As you may recall, he adopted us in no time, but in the brief time before that was a fate accompli, arrangements were made for Mom to bring him to adoption events closer to our home than the 90 minute shelter where he was found.  It was there that Mom met the animal control officers in our very own town, and learned that (at that time) we had no shelter for our homeless animals here.  There was a "holding facility" in a garage that a private company let them use to temporarily house the animals.  It was not open to the public and the dogs and cats brought there had to be turned out into homes, rescues or something else pretty quickly. Despite this, residents still surrendered their animals without much regard for where they'd end up and strays were still found taken in regularly.  

    The animal control officers used to bring their vans to the local pet supply store and park, with animals in tow as sort of a mobile adoption unit to help the animals be seen and adopted.  They were in dire need of volunteers to hold leashes and promote the evet that was the only chance each week these animals had to find their forever homes.  They recruited Mom right away. She was glad to have a way to help, be hands on with the animals and assist at such a local and personal level.     Several others were recruited too and for a few weeks they had a great turnout of volunteers.

    Soon though, attendance waned and Mom found herself the solo volunteer one week.  She was handed a leash with a medium sized dog at the end of it, a portable kennel with a few cats and the customary "adopt a pet, save a life" sign, and  a folding chair and left at the front of the store while the animal control officer responded to a call.  The medium sized dog was a small black, white and brown spaniel- border collie mix who had been found stray and dubbed "Jake". I don't have a picture of him because this was before Mom started documenting some of the animals and convinced the local paper to do a weekly feature about the animals that needed homes.  Mom recalls Jake's story well though, because he was the dog that made her want to start writing the stories down.  

    Jake was thin, but a very attractive dog with soft brown eyes and he seemed pretty calm. He also wasn't very affectionate or overly energetic.  He looked young but did not have that puppy earnest that often grabbed the attention of the passers-by.  Despite his good looks, he had an aloofness that can be detrimental to pets looking for new families. It meant he was not the kind of dog the kids ran up to yelling "Mommy!!! Puullleeeeeaaasssee".  Whenever I was lucky enough to get out of my pet store cage and meet a prospective family, I always made sure to lick their faces and wag my tail extra fast so they'd know I would love them forever, but Jake had a different and  much riskier style.

    Early in the day a middle aged woman and her husband entered the store, but the woman quickly turned back around to see Jake and Mom.  Mom did what she always does, and talked up the plight of the dog and the town with no shelter, but the woman was more interested in talking about her recently deceased golden retriever.  She was clearly still sad over the loss and Mom listened politely as she pulled out pictures from her wallet and told stories about him.  By this time Mom had been left alone almost an hour and was glad for the company.  The woman sat beside her on the curb, also very aloof in her own way, and pet Jake gently while she spoke.  When her husband exited the store with a bag of cat litter, she stood up and announced to her husband "I am taking this dog home, why don't you go pick up Lindsay (her daughter) and bring her here to meet him while I fill out the paperwork?".  Then to Mom she said "He is okay with cats, right?  He does not seem to mind these that you have here".

    This took Mom by surprise.  While they seemed like a lovely family, they had not set out that day for a new pet that day and frankly, Mom had not seen any extraordinary bond built with Jake on that curb.  She was a little concerned that this might not be an ideal match. Mom explained that she would have to wait for the animal control officer to return to process the adoption.  The woman asked if she could take Jake for a walk, but Mom had to decline just in case the woman decided just to keep walking and not return with him. That woman  sat with Mom with Jake for three more hours.  That was how long it took the officer to return. Her family came to meet Jake and went and came back again but she sat with him the entire time.  After the small talk with Mom waned, she focused on him solely and spoke gently about all the things waiting for him in his new home.  She talked about his lovely eyes and the big yard and soft beds that would be all for him. Jake might have needed a home, but this woman clearly needed this dog in her life much more—and more importantly she wanted him. As it turned out, the bond was formed right there in front of that store. Jake's new Mom must have known that would happen eventually, if not today than over time. By the time the adoption was complete and they left, Jake was re-named Eddie and the woman was grinning from ear to ear.

    A few months later Mom got to see Eddie at the pet store again...if not for the woman next to him he would have been barely recognizable. He was keenly alert, had put on some much needed weight and gained back a youthful bounce in his step. Mom tried to engage Eddie's Mom and ask how he was doing, but the place was really busy. It was picture day—a holiday event where patrons donate a dollar to have their pets pictures taken with a Poloroid camera on Santa's lap. Mom took over 180 photos that day.  The woman remembered her but they did not get to say much.  While her sadness seemed to have lifted, she did not seem overly anxious to regale Mom with details of his transition.  Both she and Eddie had put his short stint as "Jake" well behind them.   They found each other at the perfect time and were able to shed their less-than-happy recent past.  He was her dog now, her Eddie, and always would be.

    Melissabelle, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

    6 Replies
  • Shady secrets revealed to the world (the worldwide web, that is)!

    Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2010

    My dog Shady has branched out and started her very own blog.  While some of you will find her first post familar, I hope you will visit anyway...and stop in often.  Shady is working her way through all my old photos and notes on a lot of the dogs we have found homes for over the years through our volunteer efforts and is telling the world about them to help raise awareness about homeless animals.  

    [Link Removed]  

    As Shady adjusts to being an only dog, we will surely keep blogging here as well.  Thanks to all of you for your support these last few weeks. We would not have made it through without you.

    Melissabelle, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

    13 Replies
  • Are you trying to increase traffic to your website?

    Posted on Friday, January 8, 2010

    We have just started a blog at my company that will be discussing SEO and search engine marketing for a particular industry. Most of the tips and principles will apply to any business, though.  Please visit and feel free to contact me directly through Fab40 (or via blog comments) to ask for more info or assistance. We are not selling anything, it is strictly an informative blog to assist our clients and prospects (who are insurance agents), but I think it could be useful to anyone with a website. I am looking forward to diving in and having a reason (and a deadline!) to learn about this important part of internet marketing.

    [Link Removed]

    Given that this is my business's blog, I will not be able to republish it here straight up, but I will remind you all about when the topics are particularly relevant.  It is structured in a certain order to be sort of a tutorial though—maybe you all can help you think once a week is enough for a blog update or should it be more often?

    Melissabelle, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

    6 Replies
  • 2010 minus 2

    Posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    We had all three in 2009,
    And in 2010 there remains only one,
    Our beloved dogs have lost their battle with time,
    The mourning has just begun.

    The sadness brings us so many tears,
    As we miss the sweet faces,
    Wet dog noses and soft puppy ears,
    That filled our home’s now empty places.

    Now I look at my last little girl,
    And wonder, does she need a dog friend?
    Then think oh no, how in the world
    Could I ever go through this again?

    The time is not right,
    You all know I am still in pain,
    But I figure the day will come,
    When I will indeed do it again.

    So many animals lost out there
    Who need love and a new home,
    For them it is all just so unfair,
    As more often than not they die alone.

    Locked in a shelter awaiting their fate,
    With so much love still in their heart,
    And hoping we come before it's too late
    Waiting for a new life, a new start.

    I won't do it just to come to their aid,
    I'll do it much more for me,
    Once the sadness starts to fade,
    Overcome by memories of love and loyalty.

    No kind of pet will ever replace,
    LoJack and Nikki who left me this year,
    But someday I'll be ready to find the next needy face,
    And another dog to live and love here.

    photo album

    photo album

    Melissabelle, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

    11 Replies