Chained Near the Richmond Liberty Trail Marker; Seemed a Fitting End to the 2014 Tour

On the last day of the Capitol Doghouse Tour, I was scheduled for Richmond, Virginia. This wasn’t my first rodeo here—in fact it was my third—so I knew what to do and where to go. That always takes a little of the pressure off.

This was from our VA Capitol Chain Off two years ago

This was from our VA Capitol Chain Off two years ago

The problem with Virginia’s Capitol is that it’s difficult to get a pic in front of it. This pic is from two years ago when I did get a permit to be on the grounds, but even then they told me explicitly where we could be and only for 1.5 hours. We were not allowed directly in front of it. After our allotted time they promptly kicked us out and we had to move our one-act play to the street.

Which is actually better, because no one sees you on the Capitol grounds because it’s all fenced in and you can’t drive through it.

But still. It’s the principle of the thing…and freedom of speech and all that good stuff. I don’t like that there are some states that are welcoming or at least accepting and acknowledging of our free speech rights, and others that just trample them without a second’s thought.

Um, where was I…

So by the time we hit Virginia on July 30th, I had a case of serious short-timer-itis. Meaning I was damn tired of being chained and just wanted to be done with it.

Where we were chained was along the Richmond Liberty Trail

Where we were chained was along the Richmond Liberty Trail

But as luck would have it, our chaining location along the side of the Capitol complex had a new twist. It was now part of the Richmond Liberty Trail, and a spray painted marker signified the tour.

“The Richmond Liberty Trail is a walking route that connects many of downtown Richmond’s historic sites, attractions and neighborhoods, including 15 national historic landmarks, according to Visit Richmond. This 6.2 mile (10K) trail will be marked with a logo painted on the sidewalk.”

Of course that got me to thinking about how both PEOPLE AND ANIMALS have been treated as garbage throughout history, and the many, many years people spent helping and freeing those in chains along the way. It got me to feeling honored to be out here on my last day of the tour taking a stand for those without a voice in Virginia.

God knows they need all the help they can get.

I felt very down that morning because people who were supposed to chain up with me had backed out at the last minute, and I had very real fears that I would be alone out there all day. That’s a long, long time to sit alone and possibly pity yourself because you felt like you were getting nowhere in your fight for freedom; that your message was just as ignored as the dogs you serve, and that you’d be better off to go work at Taco Bell.

Hypothetically, of course. One could possibly feel that way.

But, low and behold, I ended up with three people standing on that street with me, chained to doghouses, probably looking like idiots to passersby, AND NOT CARING. Because they knew what they were doing was right.

And those three people saved me just like I wanted to save the dogs.

I loved each and every one of them for it.

The last group on the last day of Chain Off Capitol Doghouse Tour 2014.

The last group on the last day of Chain Off Capitol Doghouse Tour 2014.

Jeanne Lou Hull, from the mountains of northern Virginia, chains out all day with me

Jeanne Lou Hull, from the mountains of northern Virginia, chains out all day with me

Jeanne Lou told me horror stories of all the chained dogs where she lives…and of course how nasty people become when you try to help their dogs. She is a founding member of a humane society in her county, and they always have their hands full trying to move dogs into safe places and bigger cities where they can find new and loving homes.

My husband Joe Horvath came out to support DDB

My husband Joe Horvath came out to support DDB

Even though my hubby Joe Horvath had to work a 12-hour mid that night, he still made the 2-hour trek to Richmond to stand out with me for three hours on behalf of chained dogs.

One of the women who chained with me during this tour asked me how to handle an unsupportive family. Thinking she was talking about her family of origin, I told her, “Honey, I know all about that, and you just go on anyway, because it’s important to take the stand whether your tribe believes in it or not.”

But, it turned out she wasn’t talking about her family of origin—it was her husband and her children in her own family. Apparently they are embarrassed by her actions on behalf of dogs, and constantly belittling her and putting her down for it. I so greatly admire her, because she keeps going anyway, despite the unsupportive home life. That has to be so difficult.

I have been incredibly blessed with Joe that he stands by my side as his own work permits and he believes in the work I do. He has done so much for Dogs Deserve Better as a volunteer—has driven 12 hours in a day to pick up and deliver dog food to ensure our dogs have quality food in their bellies—and that’s only the tip of the iceberg for the help he’s given DDB. I often wonder if I’d still be going without his emotional support.

Erica Campbell and her cousin pose for a shot

Erica Campbell and her cousin pose for a shot

Then along came Erica Campbell, pictured left, above. She was SO EXCITED to be there that she barely slept the night before. She was so passionate and so happy to be part of this Chain Off that she was up at 4:00 a.m. and headed out the door from her Virginia Beach home to ensure she got there on time. Erica’s excitement was contagious, and she kept up a lively conversation all day, helping the dragging hours drag just that little bit less.

My gratitude to these three wonderful human beings for showing up in support of our mission cannot be measured. On a day that I was feeling down and “what’s the point,” THEY showed ME what the point was, and they made it all worthwhile.

We even had a state rep and a couple legislative aids come out and give us some advice on how to get a law passed, which was great from an insider’s perspective. I’m not sure I liked hearing the message they were laying down, but I do appreciate their honesty.

What is my takeaway from this Capitol Doghouse Tour and another 49-hours added to my chain off tally?

I CAN’T GIVE UP.

When I most want to give up, I remember reading somewhere that most people were mere inches from success when they threw in the towel. I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to SUCCEED for these dogs!

Sometimes I feel like I’m not enough, like someone else could do this better—but then I think, but I’M HERE. And I’M willing, and I go out and do my best. Someday all that has to add up to ENOUGH, wouldn’t you think?

I sure hope so.

I just heard today that one of the very first dogs I rescued when we moved to Virginia and created the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs on the site of Michael Vick’s former dogfighting compound, Anthony, passed away in his sleep last night.

Anthony didn’t live on a chain but in a crowded pen with a bunch of other hounds, and he apparently was not the one who got the food, because when we got him he was too weak to walk and he was a skeleton. He was also suffering kidney damage.

As soon as we saw the way he looked we took him in, no questions asked—we loved him, gave him quality food and vet care, and he stayed with us until he got a home the next year with a wonderful New Jersey family. They knew about his renal issues and wanted him anyway.

Anthony shortly after his rescue, a skeleton

Anthony shortly after his rescue, a skeleton

Anthony loves his toys more than anything in the world, and he always had a toy in his mouth. He liked the long, furry ones.

Anthony loved his toys more than anything in the world, and he always had a toy in his mouth. He liked the long, furry ones that he could drag around with him.

His mom Christina told me this in an e-mail today: “I wanted to let you know that Anthony passed away this morning. He died in his sleep sometime between 2:00 & 5:45 am. We’re heartbroken but we’re so glad to have had these last two years with him. He was in the final stages of renal failure. Thank you for taking care of him until he came to live with us. You guys did so much for him, nursing him back to health after you got him away from his owner. When we got him, I told everyone I’d be happy to give him one good year and he gave us almost two. He was such a wonderful boy and we loved him like crazy. He’s crossed the Rainbow Bridge now and he’s pain free.”.

This one’s for you, Anthony. I love you—you make it all worthwhile, buddy.

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Kentucky Wins “Most People Chained to Doghouses” Contest

Our brochures help spread the word at each Capitol.

Our brochures help spread the word at each Capitol.

Not that there WAS a contest…but if there was, Kentucky would win.

Interestingly enough, Kentucky has been deemed WORST state for animals the past seven years, according to my friend Tracy Miller of SOAR (Speak Out and Rescue) of Georgetown, Kentucky.

Yet we had eight people chain up with us today, amongst them a magistrate-elect, Michael Turner. It’s my belief that when a state is deemed the worst, there’s nowhere to go but up, and it serves as a motivator for those who actually care about the animals to get out and DO SOMETHING.

A big THANK YOU to Tracy, Johnnie, and Bobbie from SOAR who got a law passed in Frankfort, KY and who gladly gave their day to join with Dogs Deserve Better in advocating for a state law. These are three ladies who walk their talk, which is so needed and appreciated in rescue.

Magistrate-elect Michael Turner, who has always believed in treating our companions with respect.

Magistrate-elect Michael Turner, who has always believed in treating our companions with respect.

Soon after our arrival, our signs blew down and we realized we couldn't reach them from our chains

Soon after our arrival, our signs blew down and we realized we couldn’t reach them from our chains

Johnnie has to unchain to get the signs. Then we chain up the signs too.

Johnnie has to unchain to get the signs. Then we chain up the signs too.

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Tracy Miller, founder of SOAR, Michael Turner, magistrate-elect of Franklin County, Kentucky, and Tamira Thayne, founder and CEO, Dogs Deserve Better

Tracy Miller, founder of SOAR, Michael Turner, magistrate-elect of Franklin County, Kentucky, and Tamira Thayne, founder and CEO, Dogs Deserve Better

Johnnie Woods overlooks her kingdom

Johnnie Woods overlooks her kingdom

The chained dog dance. Everyone was going in different directions and they somehow got tangled up!

The chained dog dance. Everyone was going in different directions and they somehow got tangled up!

I wonder what the dogs where thinking...why are all these people dragging chains?

I wonder what the dogs where thinking…why are all these people dragging chains?

Fluffy the Wonder Kitty follows his mom and doggie brother and sister on their walk to visit the Chain Off. First time we ever had a cat attend!

Fluffy the Wonder Kitty follows his mom and doggie brother and sister on their walk to visit the Chain Off. First time we ever had a cat attend!

We were blessed to have two TV stations and one newspaper interview us. I believe that makes 11 media hits throughout the tour. Outstanding!

We were blessed to have two TV stations and one newspaper interview us. I believe that makes 11 media hits throughout the tour. Outstanding!

Tracy Miller from SOAR was interviewed as well.

Tracy Miller from SOAR was interviewed as well.

Great pic of Mark Anglin

Great pic of Mark Anglin

Bobbie Hudnall, one of SOAR's board members, joins us at the Capitol

Bobbie Hudnall, one of SOAR’s board members, joins us at the Capitol

Love this pic of Tracy too. If you haven't noticed, it actually got chilly a few times today.

Love this pic of Tracy too. If you haven’t noticed, it actually got chilly a few times today.

The 'line' of doghouses and chained humans. Would love to see a line with 50 humans!

The ‘line’ of doghouses and chained humans. Would love to see a line with 50 humans!

Finally, 4:00 arrives! It was a long day, but by far the best of the seven day tour. The weather cooperated, the people showed up and participated, and we got media coverage. As days on a chain go, it was one of the best.

Finally, 4:00 arrives! It was a long day, but by far the best of the seven day tour. The weather cooperated, the people showed up and participated, and we got media coverage. As days on a chain go, it was one of the best.

Yippee! Hooray! We're free! (But the dogs still aren't. What can you do to help the ones near you?)

Yippee! Hooray! We’re free! (But the dogs still aren’t. What can you do to help the ones near you?)

Tomorrow morning we head over to Richmond, Virginia, for the last day of Chain Off Wednesday, August 30th, 2014 at the state Capitol. If you live in Virginia, there’s still time for you to make it to the event, take a little time off. We will be there from 9-4 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

Tami

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A Day of Dog Stories and Dedication to the Voiceless

Friday the Capitol doghouse tour hit Missouri and it’s capital, Jefferson City, or Jeff City as the locals call it.

Me with Missouri DDB Rep Sheila Ehler

Me with Missouri DDB Rep Sheila Ehler

The town was smallish, but the Capitol was HUGE, dominating the landscape in every direction. Although we would have been allowed to chain up on the Capitol steps, we opted to take our plea out to the street level instead, as the state reps weren’t in session and we wanted to be seen by as many passers-by as possible.

I was actually quite excited because today was the day I would finally meet in person two women I’d been working with for years as part of Dogs Deserve Better: Sheila Ehler and Melody Whitworth. Both Sheila and Melody have been part of Dogs Deserve Better, serving as volunteer area reps, since at least 2007-2008. They have stuck with me and DDB through thick and thin, and have saved hundreds of dogs from chains through their local branch and volunteer foster home system.

I want to publicly express my gratitude to these women for all they’ve done as part of DDB, and for all they’ve done for the dogs. Meeting Sheila and Melody in person was like finally meeting a long lost family member or something.

It was delightful.

Darrell and Diane chain up at the Missouri state Capitol.

Darrell and Diane chain up at the Missouri state Capitol.

Missouri was a day of chained dog stories, and those who came out to chain all had a story to tell.

Darrell, who came out specifically to meet us and tell us about the dog who lives in a pen across the street from him, explained the pain he and wife Diane go through watching the suffering of the dog every day. The owners lock the pen—so the feces is NEVER removed—and they just dump water and food into the pen over the side.

Sheila pledged to try to help him as our local rep, but without laws on our side, good citizens are forced to watch the abuse daily without recourse. It’s incredibly disempowering and frustrating, not to mention psychologically traumatic for those who watch.

It’s not only the suffering of the dogs who are stuck on chains or in pens that goes unaddressed, but the suffering of caring humans nearby—forced to silently observe the abuse—that is unthinkable.

When we put Darrell on the chain, he got down on one knee for a photo, and I said it looked like he was proposing to Diane. We all had a good laugh when Diane remarked that it was about time he got down on one knee—after 40-some years of marriage—and it took him being chained to do it.

Love this pic of Sheila Ehler with the Capitol in the background!

Love this pic of Sheila Ehler with the Capitol in the background!

Sheila Ehler has been a DDB rep for years, and has a ton of great rescue stories under her belt. She told me that the hardest thing to deal with—still—is talking to those who chain their dogs, as they are often confrontational and uninterested in bettering the lives of those they have imprisoned to a chain. It takes a lot of courage and guts to get out there and advocate face to face on behalf of the dogs, and I admire so greatly those who undertake the challenge.

Jennen Herbst shows the homemade 'doghouse' that Gator was rescued from

Jennen Herbst shows the homemade ‘doghouse’ that Gator was rescued from

This is Gator now, happier and healthy, although he still suffers from separation anxiety.

This is Gator now, happier and healthy, although he still suffers from separation anxiety.

Jennen Herbst is a DDB Missouri volunteer and foster mom to Gator, pictured above. She created her own ‘doghouse’ out of a cardboard box and a black plastic bag to simulate how he was living before his rescue. Even though he’s been with her as a foster for seven months, he still suffers pretty severe separation anxiety when she leaves the apartment, because he’s so afraid of being left alone again.

Debbie Hinman chains all day for the dogs

Debbie Hinman chains all day for the dogs

Debbie wrote on the back of her shirt for the dogs.

Debbie’s prose on the dogs’ behalf.

Debbie Hinman made the three hour trek to the Capitol to chain with me for the day, and I am so honored by her dedication. Debbie has a dog she rescued from a chain, and her girl still suffers issues to this day as a result of not being socialized from a young age. She created her own shirt and wrote this one the back:

I am a “Sitting Duck”
For whatever comes by
I cannot run; I cannot hide
The sun bakes my skin
The cold numbs my mouth
But nothing hurts more than being banned for life.
Did I do something wrong?
Did I do something bad?
What could’ve possibly made you so mad
That you hooked me to this chain
For Eternity.
Never Again to be part of my family.
If you love me—Set me FREE!

Sheila being interviewed by channel 13, a CBS affiliate.

Sheila being interviewed by channel 13, a CBS affiliate.

One TV station came out and did an interview of both Sheila and myself. This makes nine pieces of media so far from the tour, which has helped spread the word about chaining immensely.

I joined Melody and Sheila and some of the volunteers for dinner that night, and then met up with them again at Petsmart the next day for their adoption event. My heart was so touched and warmed by all these people volunteering their time as foster parents and advocates for Missouri chained dogs.

Sheila and Melody, center, with some of their core group of volunteers

Sheila and Melody, center, with some of their core group of volunteers

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I managed to squeeze my butt into Diane's doghouse for a pic.

I managed to squeeze my butt into Diane’s doghouse for a pic.

Some of the dogs up for adoption at DDB Missouri

Some of the dogs up for adoption at DDB Missouri

These are the faces of the dogs we fight for

These are the faces of the dogs we fight for

What a beautiful girl!

What a beautiful girl!

The group from the adoption event

The group from the adoption event

Today we drive to Kentucky, where tomorrow we will do a chain off at the state Capitol in Frankfort, with Kentucky rescue group SOAR.

And the beat goes on.

To read more about chaining and DDB’s work for chained dogs, visit our site at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org

Happy Sunday!

Tami

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Wherefore Art Thou SUPPOSED to Be, Lincoln?

So far I’ve hung with a statue of Lincoln in West Virginia, went to Indiana, whose sign proudly proclaimed it to be the ‘birthplace of Lincoln’, then I came to the REAL Lincoln state of Illinois. I’m getting downright confused with all the Lincolnhood!

This factory right beside our hotel started off the Lincoln fest today.

Would LIncoln approve of his face on these smokestacks? Oh, who knows...probably some expert somewhere.

Would Lincoln approve of his face on these smokestacks? Oh, who knows…probably some expert somewhere.

I hear the Lincoln Museum is something to see, and I did take a very brief tour of the Capitol building on my way to the bathroom (seems to be the only way I actually see the interior of the Capitol buildings), but that’s about all the Lincolnness I was able to partake of.

I know that someone of Lincoln’s stature reaches quite the iconic figure by this point in history, and I loved the movie Lincoln that came out a couple of years ago…but I can’t help but wonder what he would think of our world if he were alive today, and what sort of man he really was behind the scenes. Maybe someday I’ll get back and tour his museum and get a behind the scenes glimpse.

For today I had a much grander mission, that of pretending to be a chained dog in order to shock and stimulate thought and conversation surrounding this particularly painful endeavor as it regards to dogs in the greater Capitol building area of Springfield, Illinois.

I have no way of knowing if I met with any success, but on the surface I’d say a tentative NO. Hopefully I’m wrong. I did get a few “I agree with THAT” comments, which always lift me up and help me square away my shoulders and get back in the fray.

Me. I look really good in that pic. Oh, you can't see my face. No wonder I like it!

Me. I look really good in that pic. Oh, you can’t see my face. No wonder I like it!

I didn’t feel too good about the day today. In fact, to me it felt like a waste of a day, for a couple reasons:

1. I’ve gotten spoiled with the media actually covering the tour. Before today we had 8 pieces of media! Eight! That’s really amazing, and it helps me feel like the tour is succeeding. I have to remind myself that the tour is succeeding no matter what…because we are putting in the effort for the dogs in seven states and that’s what matters.

2. I’m sorry to all those Illinois folks who will be angry at me for this, but the people where I was were by and large not very nice or receptive.

I SAID WHERE I WAS. Not where you were. And BY and LARGE. Which doesn’t mean EVERYONE.

For instance, not YOU. Just some others.

The Capitol was beautiful, but I would take away a point (I might give them a point system in the end, if I can remember. I really should have taken notes.) because I only dared to have my doghouse on the top of the five steps for about 1/2 hour before the Capitol Police came and threw me off. To be fair, he was not rude, only gruff. And he DID carry my doghouse down for me. Which was nice.

He said I couldn’t be on state property without a permit. However, state property belongs to the CITIZENS. And therefore it is just as valid a place for a citizen as any other.

But I pick my battles, and that isn’t one I’m interested in picking on this tour. And, although they are the first state to eject me on THIS tour, something similar has happened in both New York and in Virginia on the last tour, so all the Illinois folks don’t need to get too defensive. You aren’t alone, although I suspect in the minority. I’ll let you know after I visit them all.

And, as for the point system, I might give a point back because they had the best bathrooms of the tour so far.

What, I like bathrooms, sue me.

I didn’t go around getting permits from anyone but Kentucky before this tour, and I only did Kentucky because they emailed me that they heard I was coming. Good news spreads fast, it appears.

Why didn’t I?

Because I believe that one citizen has the right to practice free speech without jumping through hoops in order to do so. I am only one citizen and I am peacefully practicing free speech. Not bothering anyone, not screaming, not forcing my information on anyone.

Therefore I’m following and partaking of my constitutional rights.

These rights do not say “you can practice free speech ONLY if you get our permission first.”

That kinda defeats the purpose of that whole FREE SPEECH thing, wouldn’t you say?

So I’m a bit morally opposed to it.

I figure they don’t own the sidewalk. And if they throw me off the Capitol property—which they did—there is always the sidewalk right there for me to use.

Which I did.

But first I got pics with my doghouse ON THE steps.

Natty Natty boo boo, Illinois. Enjoy them. They are like contraband at this point.

Contraband Pic 1

Contraband Pic 1

Two pretty teenage girls, Izzy and Brynnan, posing for a contraband pic. Which was unknown at the time, so don't act like I'm corrupting the minors.

Two pretty teenage girls, Izzy and Brynnan, posing for a contraband pic. Which was unknown at the time, so don’t act like I’m corrupting the minors.

And another

And another

This is cute

This is cute

Ooh, here's a good one!

Ooh, here’s a good one!

Lincoln didn't mind the doghouse on the steps. He liked the effect.

Lincoln didn’t mind the doghouse on the steps. He liked the effect.

My friend Reg Green came by and demonstrated with me for awhile. He told me a great story about the chained dog he rescued this winter. Yay, Reg!

My friend Reg Green came by and demonstrated with me for awhile. He told me a great story about the chained dog he rescued this winter. Go, Reg!

So the weather cooperated today, and I did get to see my friend Dawn Ashby’s husband Darin. I hadn’t seen him in awhile, and he came up and started talking to me…and I was thinking to myself, “I think that’s Darin.”

But it was one of those odd things where you think “But what if I say ‘Is that you, Darin?’ and the guy looks at you and says ‘Who’s Darin’?”

So I didn’t say it, and then he asked me if I remembered him, and then I thought “Dammit, I shoulda said it.”

Anywho, I was glad to see him and he kindly brought me water and some celery later in the day, which I greatly appreciated.

Because I was so darn bored. Mind-numbingly bored.

I’m a person who’s never bored. I can always find something to do, whether it’s work or fun, but sitting on a chain is not my idea of a good time. I hate it. It’s probably not anyone’s idea of a good time, come to think of it.

And then I remember that’s how I’m supposed to be. It’s how the dogs are. I’m not supposed to be having a party and entertaining myself with my phone all day; I’m supposed to be approximating the life of a chained dog so others can understand that it’s cruel and inhumane.

Ah! Gotcha.

Check, I did that. I think I fairly accurately portrayed that aspect of a dog’s life today, for anyone that was actually noticing.

To add minor insult to minor injury (I confess to not being very het up about it), at around 3: 15 two women came up to me and told me they were with the Secretary of State’s office. I was all set to start telling them about chained dogs, thinking they were actually INTERESTED.

Instead she told me, again, that I couldn’t MOVE my doghouse up onto the steps.

Like I was planning to.

Now, really. What makes someone feel the need to go up to someone who is clearly where they are supposed to be and has been there all day but they feel a burning need to tell this person anyway where they can’t be even though they obviously are not making any attempt to go where they can’t be?

Argh.

I can’t say I was sad to see Springfield, Illinois in my rear view window.

Nor the guy with the deer antlers embroidered on his shirt pocket. You can imagine how that conversation went.

[Am I like Obama when he made that “Pennsylvanians clinging to their religion and their guns” comment, and none of the Illinois folks are going to vote for me for President now? Dammit.]

I believe I have a few folks from our Missouri reps Sheila Ehler and Melody Whitworth’s groups joining us tomorrow in Jefferson City, Missouri. Looks like it’s supposed to be a hot one, high of 91.

I think it will be a better day! Gotta get some sleep.

Thanks again for your support. I would sure appreciate some sponsors for my fundraising page! If you can sponsor me on this tour for our work at Dogs Deserve Better, any amount is wonderful, just click this link. I’d like to raise $2000, I’m currently at $1090.

http://www.razoo.com/story/Tamira-Thayne-Fundraising-For-Chain-Off-2014-Team-Tami-For-Chained-Dogs

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Crying from the Chain in the Indianapolis Rain

Cool pic of the doghouse in front of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis

Cool pic of the doghouse in front of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis

Today was a tough day, because I was wet about 90% of the day. It started raining about 9:45 and stormed for an hour, with the rain pouring down on me and thunder and lightning. The whole nine yards.

I refuse to use an umbrella for these occasions, because I know the dogs don’t have that luxury, and for me that means tough it out.

I was alone out there today, this pic was taken before the rain got too insane. My mood changed noticeably from this photo to the video you will see below.

I was alone out there today, this pic was taken before the rain got too insane. My mood changed noticeably from this photo to the video you will see below.

I do want to thank the Capitol policeman, though, who was worried and asked me to come inside twice. That was nice. There was also a kind woman who stopped and tried to give me an umbrella. Gestures like this, when people show they SEE me, touch me greatly, given that so many people will walk by and pretend I don’t even exist.

As the rain washed away my defenses, I cried as I spoke on camera about the chained dogs and the suffering they endure for their entire lives.

Here’s the link to the video I made in the pouring rain:

I had three TV stations and an online newspaper come out for interviews today, the best day yet for media. Again, thank you Robin Budin, for running media alerts for us.

I’m really exhausted, and not keeping up well with my other work. Not keeping up with much of anything besides getting to the next place and getting into position at 9 and staying until 4.

I guess maybe that’s all I’m really required to do right now.

I hope you watch the video. I endured a lot in that hour in the rain, but nothing compared to what the dogs have to endure. I hope I can reach your hearts and minds with my message about chaining and our best friends.

If you like it, share…get that message out!

Goodnight, all. Thank you for following my Chain Off Tour. It is much appreciated.

Tami

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Columbus Ohio Animal Activists Rock the Chain Off

Tamira Thayne, Dogs Deserve Better founder and CEO, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus asking for better laws for chained dogs.

Tamira Thayne, Dogs Deserve Better founder and CEO, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus asking for better laws for chained dogs.

Day Two of the Capitol Doghouse Tour found me in Columbus, Ohio, at the Statehouse on the High Street side. I was surprised how ‘Big City’ Columbus is, and as a self-proclaimed Country Girl, it made me a little uncomfortable, out of my element. But once I faced my fears with getting there and getting set up, I have to admit being in the city makes the seven hours go faster than sitting out in the country somewhere.

There is so much to see while you’re standing there, and lots of people stop to talk and seem generally interested in the issue. I noticed that they tend to argue less about it too. They listen and ask questions and thank you for the information. Cool!

Plus, Columbus OH ROCKS it for Animal Activists! Seven people and two babies (who came with their moms…I don’t think they were ambulatory enough to get there on their own) stood for the chained dogs today.

It was a super hot day, and I was sweaty by the time we even got set up. Most of those chaining with me stayed for 2-3 hours as they had other places to be and people to see. I envied them the ability to just walk away, and I just couldn’t WAIT for the time to be over.

And that’s when it hit me RIGHT IN THE GUT. Because leaving is a luxury the dogs don’t have. When they are on a chain for life, there is no “Let me just make it through another five hours and I can leave”.

There is no leaving.

There is no going somewhere else.

There is no water if not given.

There is no food if not provided.

There is only the chain and the dirt and the time and the weather and the pain and the sadness and the loneliness.

Over and over and over and over again for 11 years or 96,000 hours.

I can’t stand it.

I can’t take it.

It makes me crazy that I can’t fix it for them.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s it for the day.

What else can one say about the cruelty America inflicts on our dogs and the cruelty America inflicts on those who advocate for the dogs and who care about their plight?

It sickens me.

Channel Six came out and did an interview today.

The rest is a day in pics. Thanks to everyone who came out to spread the word for the dogs today.

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David Olk and Izzy Queja-Wells chained at the Columbus, Ohio Statehouse. David is an artist, activist, and works and lives in Columbus. Izzy is traveling with Tamira and Tamira’s daughter Brynnan, and decided she would go the activist route for today’s demonstration.

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David was super excited to meet Dick Goddard, who is quite famous in Ohio as a Fox 8 retired weatherman and now a wonderful animal advocate.

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This pic called out for black and white.

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So we got Brynnan to take this pic of me, David, and Izzy on the chains. Then David said we should be less posed and more activist. So we all turned the same way and looked even more stupid.

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Then Brynnan told us we looked stupid and that we all turned the same way, so I started cracking up laughing.

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So then in my infinite wisdom, I turned the other direction. OK, posed unposed shots. A bit of a fail.

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I got a kick out of watching people look at Izzy with a puzzled look on their faces. I tried to get pics of it, but didn’t get the best ones.

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Linda Tenzos, Julie McDonough, Marlee Henley-Francis,  Tiffany Esposito-Mackey, and Tamira plus babies on board chained at the statehouse in Columbus Ohio.

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Tiffany and Julie

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Love Linda’s sign she had made for the event.

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People got hit with multiple messages as they walked by, and hopefully they really got what we were throwing down.

It was exciting to interact with so many people, and to feel that we genuinely reached them and helped them understand the issue. For example, Peter here, from Nigeria, who took a brochure and pledged to start campaigning against chaining dogs in his country.

It was exciting to interact with so many people, and to feel that we genuinely reached them and helped them understand the issue. For example, Peter here, from Nigeria, who took a brochure and pledged to start campaigning against chaining dogs in his country.

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After noon we were virtually out of shade, and had to hope for the clouds to come and block out the sun. The buildings finally blocked it out just in time to leave for the next state.

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Totally adore this pic of Marlee and her son!

We discovered a new use for the DDB brochures today...apparently they are very edible. Who know.

We discovered a new use for the DDB brochures today…apparently they are very edible. Who know.

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It was so hot and sunny that Izzy and Brynnan resorted to sitting under their signs.

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Welcome to Indiana! Which, as it turns out, is Lincoln’s birthplace. I think this trip is all about the Abe, and his message to those of us fighting for freedom for the dogs. He might be telling us, saddle up, it’s gonna be a long and bloody fight.

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Asking advice from Abe in West Virginia…how do I free the dogs?

 

Me asking Abe for advice. "Hit me with your best stuff, Abe."

Me asking Abe for advice. “Hit me with your best stuff, Abe.”

Well, who did I find at the West Virginia Capitol on the first day of my Doghouse Tour but Abe Lincoln! Just the man I wanted to see.

Me: “OK, Abe, hit me with it. Obviously it’s been twelve years and the dogs are still not free. What am I doing wrong?”

Abe: “Humphh.”

Me: “No, I don’t think I can become president and make a proclamation. Got anything else?”

Abe: “Humphh.”

Me: “OK. I’ll take it under advisement.”

[I think he’ll come to me in a dream tonight with some better advice. He wasn’t ready for such a tough problem today. He’s thinkin’ on it.]

After Abe's advice. OK, it wasn't that good, but I swear he will come to me in my dream with something profound and meaningful. You'll see.

After Abe’s advice. OK, it wasn’t that good, but I swear he will come to me in my dream with something profound and meaningful. You’ll see.

Well, as days spent on a chain go, it was a pretty good day. Why?

West Virginia has a really gorgeous Capitol building!

West Virginia has a really gorgeous Capitol building!

1. It didn’t rain. I spent the majority of the day in the shade, perhaps through a little cheating at the end. (Hey, I forgot to put on my sunscreen! I couldn’t afford to get burned on Day One. Which I still did anyway, but not too bad.)

Here’s the thing about dogs and weather. You never realize just how bad they have it with the weather until you try a couple of days on a chain. Rarely, and I mean rarely, is there a perfect weather day. So even if the day starts out nice, like mine did, with plenty of breeze and shade, by the end of the day the shade is gone and the dog is stuck in the blazing hot sun. Not cool. And deadly.

I am never as obsessed about weather as I am when I am chaining to a doghouse. Then I worry about the temp, the rain, the clouds, snow. Just a nightmare!

2. TV stations came. Two of them to be exact, plus a newspaper sent out a photographer. That’s a good day’s work right there. A big thanks to DDB’s Robin Budin who’s been doing media for the event. Thank you, Robin!

http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/eyewitness/140721_26727.shtml

I’ll add more as I find them.

3. Someone genuinely wanted advice on what to do about his dog. This is the thing that gets me, when my work really and truly TOUCHES someone. It suddenly feels so much more meaningful and powerful.

A gentleman came up to me and very formally told me he was impressed with my ‘moral fortitude’ and asked me for advice. He said he puts his dog on the chain only while he comes to work, and he wanted to know if we got a law if that would be wrong. He asked if he lived in the city of Charleston would he be breaking the law.

I told him he would be, since Charleston’s law states you can put them out five times a day for two hours. I asked him for details, and he said he has a black lab who likes to run. While he is working he puts her out on a chain and takes her inside when he gets home.

I asked if she destroyed or peed in the house. He said not really, when she was younger, yes, but she is pretty well behaved now. I said to my mind the best thing he can do is build her a fence with a doggie door, then she can truly be free to choose where she wants to be at all times. I gave him options on how to do it cheaply and how much a sliding panel doggie door cost.

He seemed to think that was as good idea, and I am so hopeful that my advice get his dog free from the chain for good.

That was more of a gift for ME than for him…getting to feel like I made progress and my work was accepted and needed.

WOW.

So for my cheating with the shade story…

I could see around noon that I was losing my shade. I kept moving my doghouse down, and stretching my chain, until it could go no further and give me a place to sit on the stone wall.

I watched the other side of the Capitol steps, and as nature would have it, the trees there started sending their shade into an area where I could sit. But I needed to get over there.

I needed to move territories. Neighborhoods. You get it.

My assistants, Brynnan and her friend Izzy, were off at McDonalds enjoying the free internet and a beverage, so I was on my own. I couldn’t really carry my doghouse that far without things getting crazy, so I waited for some strapping lad to walk by. None arrived, but an in-shape woman came along, so I asked her.

She graciously assented to help me carry my house to the other side of the Capitol, and I was grateful to get back into the shade.

Obviously, this is cheating since the dogs don’t get to move spots like that. If it’s any consolation, it looks like I will have NO SHADE at all tomorrow. So you’ve got that going for you.

OK, this is a super creepy bug. Who knows what it is? He was already dead. I didn't murder him. FYI.

OK, this is a super creepy bug. Who knows what it is? He was already dead. I didn’t murder him. FYI.

As it turned out, except for the shade, I moved into a worse ‘neighborhood’, with a half eaten apple carelessly tossed into my area, plus some scary dead bugs and my sitting area swarmed by small, biting ants. Sigh.

Such are the struggles of a chained dog! Often the family will ostracize the dog WAY to the back of the yard, as far away from the house as humanly possible. Then, if there are enough citizen complaints, they will move the dog to an even worse area, resulting in more suffering for the dog.

I’m telling you, the chained dogs can’t win for losing. And if you spend even one day on the chain, you’ll get a taste of what they have to live through.

Here are a few more pics from the day in West Virginia.

Actually laughing about something.

Actually laughing about something.

The apple tossed into my new neighborhood. By that time I was so thirsty I actually contemplated eating it for a half a second. Ew.

The apple tossed into my new neighborhood. By that time I was so thirsty I actually contemplated eating it for a half a second. Ew.

The afternoon Shady Side of the Street. Or Capitol.

The afternoon Shady Side of the Street. Or Capitol.

Gorgeous view of the river all day and the awesome houses thereon.

Gorgeous view of the river all day and the awesome houses thereon.

 

Tonight we are in Columbus, Ohio for a trip to the Statehouse tomorrow. I will be there from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. if you can come out and chain with me or even come for moral support. Hope to see you there!

There is no state law prohibiting or limiting chaining in Ohio, but there are a few communities with ordinances. Check this page to learn more: http://www.unchainyourdog.org/Laws.htm

And, my friend Gail Downie and her fellow advocates have just recently succeeded in getting a new law passed in Dayton, Ohio! (Would share a link, but the only link I could find didn’t work. But take my word for it, they did. They rocked it.)

See you tomorrow.

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