In Memory of "Tots" - Our Founder
When I read the email Kathleen sent out this morning and found out about this I replied at once to tell Kathleen that "I imagine her spirit now surrounded by the
spirits of the many animals she helped throughout her life, seeing all of those happy faces, wagging tails, and receiving many licks of love for making such a major difference in their lives for all of those years." I also asked her if she wanted to write this post herself, telling her that "we should put up some sort of a memorial post on the site to commemorate her work, giving a few stories of animals lives that were dramatically changed for the better to use as examples of the difference just one caring woman (with a bit of help from others she inspired to join her) in our county made," but she wanted me to do it, saying that what I had already written in my email to her was "a beautiful tribute to Tots" and asked that I put what I said up here in a post. So, despite the fact that I only met Tots one time and do not have specific examples of the stories mentioned, much less any pictures to share, this is what I am now doing, in addition to making a couple of updates I have been working on trying to get up here for weeks but that my computer was not working well enough to accomplish. Hopefully I will have no trouble with it while I finish making an update here and then on the photo site (even if that comes tomorrow or the next day), as we have had adoptions, a reunification, and new fosters taken in that have all needed to be noted. Anyway, here is what I wrote to Kathleen that she wanted me to share with all of you reading this:
I sure am glad I got to meet Tots at that meeting last month before she died, just as I am glad she was able to see that the group was getting more active and would continue on after she was gone. Even more glad of that fact, even, as I too believe that seeing us all working so hard probably gave her the peace she needed to let go. I, for one, intend to work at this up until the end of my life as well. I certainly am not moving anywhere and can't imagine not doing this work that I have done for the vast majority of my life, so I figure on remaining a very active member of WHHS until the day I die, just as she did and as I figure you will do as well, putting forth my best efforts to make a difference in the lives of animals in this county. With you at the helm to help coordinate and direct things, and the rest of
us doing what we can to support you and the work the group does in our own
individual ways, she certainly left it in good hands. Hopefully she will be able to see and know this wherever her spirit has gone to rest after a life so well-lived.
There will be more that our group will do to commemorate her work, but as this has been such a recent occurrence, there has been no decision made yet on exactly what that will be. At the time of this writing I have not even been informed of when her funeral will be. If the time comes and I cannot get that information posted here in time, but you see her obituary in the paper (her given name is Earline, not "Tots," in case you didn't know), then perhaps you might take a moment to hold her spirit in your heart even if you don't plan to attend. She might have been only one person in a sparsely-populated poor rural country here in Arkansas, but she had a very big and obviously warm heart when it came to the animals here in this county who needed someone to work on their behalf. One person can truly make an incredible difference in many lives if they care enough to try, and that was something that she did accomplish. She also left inspiration and a wonderful legacy that will continue on and build upon the work she started and was so dedicated to for 20 years. If there is anyone who deserves to rest in peace, knowing that their life was well-lived and had made a positive difference in this world, it was Tots. She will be greatly missed, though never forgotten.
With all of that said, I will give you an update on a bit of what the group has achieved since I last posted here and what we will be doing in the near future.
At the Quartz, Crafts, and Quilts Festival, we finally adopted out Hercules!
For those that were touched by him and kept coming back through the course of the weekend to check on him, I have wanted to let you know that so that you could share the joy we felt when he went to such a wonderful home that last day. He is a very special dog who definitely deserved the very best, and we were thrilled when we were able to place him with some really wonderful people one of our active members knows well and visits at holidays so that we will be able to keep up with what is happening in his new home and his new life.
We also adopted out both of the sisters, Missy and Sissy (Sissy was the only one left at the festival and the adoptathon before this last one),
who were living at the same foster home he was at, the two black kittens that lived here were placed (though I now have the last three ready to go now - all boys, and Bridget, the part Lab puppy I took in and rehabbed will be ready in days since she is almost through taking her meds after her surgery - all of the pics of these animals will be added to the photo site as soon as I can possibly get to it), and the dog we referred to as "Bullet"
was reunited with his family just this past weekend! He is actually properly named Lucky and, according to the very happy woman I talked to who was so very thrilled to have him back, had been rescued and taken in after being thrown out of a window of a moving car. He has had quite a life, and I am sure that when they named him Lucky, they never realized that he would be as lucky as he has been, as few rescued animals ever are reunited with their families. Adoptions are a kind of a "high" for us, but I can now say that there is nothing like the "high" you get from a reunification! He was reportedly just about as happy to see the woman who called to thank us as she was to see him, running full speed down the driveway when he saw her and landing straight into her arms.
Our next event will be a Christmas sale the first week of December. Donations of items for sale are most appreciated. Each gift item will include a card that will inform the person receiving it that 100% of the proceeds went to help the animals through Warm Hearts, so each of these unique gifts will be like giving a double gift - one to the person who receives it and one to an innocent animal whose life may well be saved. Better than making some Wal-Mart executive get richer while you buy something mass-produced in a Chinese sweatshop, huh? When I have the exact details of the where and when, I will share them here as well, so save your shopping until after you see what we have to offer for sale as gifts. Quite a few of us have been working on collecting and making these items for months to donate for this sale. And, of course, we will also have the animals with us who are wanting to share their love and your home with you or someone else you know who would be the perfect match for one of them.
Well, I'll cut this short, as it has taken me much longer to get all of this written than I thought it would, and it is getting very cold in here without any heat. I need to go and get under a blanket for the night now. Hopefully we will get our heat in before the next night of temperatures in the 30's when it arrives a mere two days from now. It makes for miserable nights without any heat and not having all of the insulation put up. But, lately there has been so much to do that we just haven't been able to get that far, and no matter what - the animals always come first around this house!
One last bit before I sign of for the night. Tots - wherever you are now, I do truly hope you are at peace and can see that your work will continue to help animals. I give you my solemn promise that I will do everything in my power to not only help them, but to work to inspire others in this community to do the same. I may not have known you well, but I have seen the evidence of your years of devotion to the welfare of animals. Your shoes may be hard to fill, but I truly believe that the good and caring folks in this great county of ours can come together and create a much better situation for them than what it is today. You made a difference here, and the ones of us left to continue to build upon what you started will work very hard to make sure that we keep that work going. May you rest in peace, surrounded by the many spirits of the animals you saved.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.
I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
--Edward Everett Hale
For the animals---