Chapter One: Rescuing RobynApril 14, 2015

me and maya

Chapter One: Rescuing Robyn

This is very personal and as real as I’ve ever been & I don’t have the energy or desire to apologize for it.. It’s come to this.

The following is an excerpt from a note I wrote to a dog trainer recently:

“Hi,

It’s 2:36AM & I’m awake for the 2nd time tonite. Figured it’d be a good time to give you the information you requested about each dog & their behavior. But since I know that you’ll be here training me for the most part, it’s probably more fitting to first tell you why I’m awake..

Last nite I went to bed in severe pain from another rheumatoid arthritis flare-up. It’s getting worse & none of the meds seem to help, even the shots I have to give myself in the leg. Can’t even take any pain meds because they don’t work either. I woke up with an anxiety attack, choking, gagging.. Ran to the bathroom to throw up. Then I cried. Got back in the bed cursing out the dogs. They’re making it worse insisting on sleeping on top of me, all around, forcing me to contort my body to suit them. I wake up every morning not being able to move my hands & oftentimes my fingers stay asleep for an hour. It normally takes me about 3 hours to really function most mornings. These dogs I love so much were now fucking assholes & they had no idea why.

Auto immune disorders suck. This isn’t the old lady arthritis, btw. Best way to describe this pain.. Imagine thick liquid was poured into the tips of your fingers, filling in all the space down your arms into your shoulders, neck, etc. until there isn’t any more room & they feel as if they might burst. Now imagine every single joint in that entire area had cables tied in knots really tight around them. Then they were lit on fire. The liquid makes the joints lock up, sometimes staying stuck for days. The pain is debilitating & excruciating. The previous meds made my hair & teeth fall out. So now they’re experimenting with some new toxic shit.. But I’m desperate. So, yeah..

It’s been 3 weeks like this with no relief. The chronic pain is taking a toll. The fatigue has set in & my emotions are shot. You already know about the stress at my place, i.e. complaints about my dogs barking too much. I live in daily fear of being evicted & honestly don’t know how I’ve managed to care for them during this time at all, really. Been looking for a new place, another converted warehouse or the like, so the dogs won’t disturb anyone, but it’s really hard to find the right thing that’s affordable in this new competitive real estate climate. I don’t expect people to understand this weird lifestyle I’ve chosen, but I do feel a prejudice against it very strongly when trying to find a rental property in Houston.

And really I don’t blame them..”

7 dogs live with me. I have allowed them to rule me, define me, & take over my life & health in ways that were only apparent to everyone around me. I made excuses, justified, & continued to rescue more & more dogs in need. I needed to rescue myself.. A combination of writing the note above & a few Come To Jesus meetings recently has finally opened my eyes. There is so much to say about it, & I will eventually, but for now I’ll say that I’ve made the decision to rehome several of my dogs.

I put the needs of others including theirs in front of my own, ignoring the symptoms of my illness & other needs until the deterioration and pain forced me to finally address it. Their needs aren’t being met in a way they deserve..attention, emotionally, etc. I love each & every one of them. Period. But sometimes it feels as if I’m just dogsitting for 7 peoples’ pets.

I’ve been blessed once in my life already having the most beautiful pet relationship with Maya, so I know how it’s supposed to be. I have no idea what their favorite things are because there’s not enough time to cater to each one when there’s just one of me who has a time consuming business to run also. Somehow I’ve managed to maintain all their basic needs, gotten surgeries when necessary, vaccinations, but that’s taken a hard toll too. What about the families that are missing out on their love & blessings? I just can’t hold them prisoners here anymore. My decisions have hurt all of us.

So, after careful consideration over the last several months, I’ll be taking this one step at a time. Being honest about it publicly will not only make me accountable, but it’ll spread the networking net to find their perfect homes. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Harriet, a miniature parti poodle, is the first. She is the most sensitive to all the stress & chaos. Here is her listing on petfinder:

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/31918331/

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Thank you for your love, support, & understanding..

XO,

RA

Puppies 911April 7, 2015

_MG_6519-EditTwo years ago I told you the story of Julia, a rescuer who was pinned in between 2 cars while trying to save a mama dog & her puppies. That didn’t slow her down, in fact, since she healed she’s been hittin’ the rescue ground running with a vengeance here in Houston ever since. Right now she’s having the fight of her life._MG_6558-Edit-Edit

Her group, The Love Molly Fund, rescued yet another mama dog & her 8 newborn puppies a little over a month ago. She named them Lady Bird & The Wildflowers.

ladybirdEveryone was devastated to hear that all the puppies contracted parvo (The canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs.) Julia’s friends, fellow rescuers, & supporters have been watching & praying over the past week as the daily reports from the hospital come in..

First they lost Bonnie.Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 3.24.35 PM (2)

Then Dandy & Indigo.dandy indigo

Two days ago they said goodbye to Violet.

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Then to Bane.bane

And Saffron.saffron

Two more are now fighting for their lives & they need our help. Meet Thistle & Clover.

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The vet hospital bills have exceeded $20,000 for their care & her nonprofit group has only raised about half of that. Let’s say a prayer for the brothers & donate whatever we can together.

“I am actually in a living nightmare. Behind Molly and my father, this is by far the 3rd worst day of my life. Yes. Worse than being hit by a car. At least there were drugs and sedation immediately after.” –Julia

Thank you. Link below:

youcaring.com/nonprofits/lady-bird-and-her-wildflowers/313895

A message from Clover last nite:

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Bon Voyage! Rescued Pets Movement Is Rollin’!February 20, 2015

Gorgeous animals. Kind people. Smart. Progressive. No bullshit. They love hard, so they hurt hard too. Here’s a glimpse of what Thursday mornings look like at the Rescued Pets Movement facility. Quite the story..

It’s Colorado transport day. 4 huge vans. A veterinarian. Organizers. Transporters. Countless fosters. A photographer. Drivers. Office managers. Assistants. Board members. They all show up because it takes all the parts of this primo engine to work. They all pull their weight. Because they know the alternative is that every single one of these animals would perish in the shelter. All 106 dogs and 15 cats.

There’s just no pretty way to say it. I know it’s hard to volunteer at the shelter. RPM is a great alternative. Their fosters keep dogs for a week or two in most cases prior to their transport. And it saves their lives. Please contact them via facebook or their website if you are interested in learning more about fostering or donating to their cause.

And remember these faces. You just might see them again here. Playing in the snow.

XO,

RA

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The Story of Mr. Rio Bravo. He Was Just A Dog.February 3, 2015

_MG_7485-Edit-2 copybThe Story of Mr. Rio Bravo. He Was Just A Dog.

Just a dog.. of the young Anatolian Mastiff variety who, about 7 years ago, landed in a Georgia shelter where animals are killed to make room for others. They bounced him around from eager foster home to foster home. Despite his striking good looks, he was a huge wild child with no manners and apparently wore out his welcomes a little too quickly. Rio Bravo eventually caught the eyes of Denise & Dell Bryant, a retired couple in Houston, TX. They adopted him. Gave him the love, stability, and training that he needed. Enough to find his purpose.. & become a 150 pound certified therapy dog. (I took the photo above for an art installation at Memorial Hermann Hospital Medical Center in 2012 of the 19 therapy dogs & 1 cat who work in the hospital. I’ve been smitten with him ever since.)Lightroom (rio work.jpg and 14 others)

Just a dog.. who piloted an animal assisted therapy program for down syndrome & autistic children in Houston..of which the Kids Developmental Clinic’s program is based on today. Who worked weekly all these years assisting literally 1000’s of people and children to heal. “I can’t tell you how many stories there are. One time we were visiting a young child who had been in a coma. He laid his head gently on the child’s arm. It didn’t take long. First the fingers moved. And then his little toes. Then he woke up. It was amazing. But that’s just the power of Rio Bravo.” (Most of the photos above were taken by Rio’s proud Daddy Dell Bryant)._MG_7295_MG_7306 _MG_7496

Just a dog.. who dressed in silly costumes to do his work. Because it made people smile. Even when he got sick. And he was very sick. Aggressive bone cancer in his leg sick. He did his therapy work as scheduled on January 16th. His parents were so proud. Unbeknownst to them, it would be his last tour of duty. Helping heal the patients at Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Outpatient Cancer Center. Funny how life works, isn’t it?_MG_7490 4_MG_7364

Just a dog.. who “spoke” on command, but never barked for just no reason to his parents even though it is a common characteristic of the breed. He spoke to them a lot the last few days. Let them know it was time.. But maybe they needed one more sign.. It came in gorgeous rainbow colors of light soon after I arrived this morning.Untitled-1Untitled-2

And then, as planned, Denise & Dell said goodbye to Rio Bravo tonite. Even though their hearts are broken, the Bryant’s are so grateful for all their blessings by way of Rio Bravo & they so appreciate all their friends & those who loved him so. Just a dignified doctor, healer, counselor, soldier. Just a big brave guy with a gentle soul who did so much living & inspiring & kicking ass in his short time here. Popular on foot. No interwebs needed. Just a legend. Just my friend. I love you Rio Bravo. ‘Til we meet again..6

XO,

RA

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Donations in memory of Rio Bravo can be made to the following charities that mean so much to his family:

National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network

FAITHFUL PAWS Pet Therapy of Houston, Texas

Rio singing along with the band on the visit to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Dell said the band had a hard time keeping a straight face.

Dear Maximus.January 23, 2015

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Dear Maximus,

My face is wet tonite. Not the normal kind of wet, though. Like when you watch a super sad movie. No, not like that. I feel happy. But not the type of happy like when you’re getting handed that big fat Lotto check or something. For sure some tiny speckles are on the inside of my eyeglass lenses. So I know it’s real. And it’s about you..

From prehistoric-mini-dinosaur-monster-looking-dude, to unbelievably gorgeous exotic beast, I marveled at your every valiant healing step. From foster home to permanent home, you lived well and loved even better. Each person you met since August experienced your wisdom and presence in seriously profound ways. I tried to be a good gladiator-in-training student too. Here’s what I learned from you Sweet Maximus..

1. Know when to battle & know when to surrender. Be brave for both.

2. Be kind. Even when you’re losing.

3. Feeling vulnerable doesn’t suck so bad. There are worse things.

4. Live large. And with a purpose in mind.

5. Fight for what’s right. Ok, I knew that one already. But you really drove it home.

6. If you love the one who’s in front of you, make sure they know it by the look on your face.

7. Do your job really well. It matters to more people than you realize.

8. Inhale the good stuff. Every day. Love heals and strengthens all things.

9. Honor your angels. They chose you for a reason.

10. Teach only to students who are ready and willing to learn. It’s energy well spent.

11. Ask for help. Make it really known that you need it. Even if you have to look like a prehistoric-mini-dinosaur-monster-looking-dude.

12. Be humble.

13. A safe and peaceful home is everything.

14. Be a gracious houseguest.

15. Make the best use of your time. Come in with a bang and go out the same way.

16. Know your value. Appreciate when others know it too.

17. Let them see you shine.

18. Be scared. And do all of the above anyway.

So, about the wet on my face. Thinking it’s my soul talking. You hugged it in the coolest ways and it cries tonite in your honor and memory. Sleep well. Thank you. ’Til we meet again..

XO,

RA

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part One.

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part Two.

State of the Union Super Bowl 2015 Sorry For The Wait 2 WTF.January 21, 2015

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Before facebook et social media al.. I wasn’t sensory overloaded. Didn’t care to understand the every finite move of 1000’s of strangers. Was ok with not being able to know the news headlines & whose bootie was biggest that day every second. Tickers and scrolling and trending, oh my.

I cared that we were friends because we both really earned it. And those friends sought help from real professionals when they felt down instead of blindsidedly pouring their yuck energy over the rest of us. But we chose it. WTF is IT anyway? And who the fuck made up all the abbreviations?

24-7. All knowing and watching and filling our heads with bootieloads of information. Useful? Useless? Before it was just Big Brother watching us. Now it’s Google and Amazon and a million more because they can and we let them and everything is upgraded and upscaled like the rotary phone never needed to be and we buy the shit and feel better and smarter and prettier and faster and more successful and loved and the selfie proves it and the LIKES prove it even more and it’s so exhausting that there is no word I know of that describes the angst and resentment and despair I feel longing for those days none of this shit mattered and you almost always knew the story was true cuz you heard it firsthand and not 32,456th hand.

What’s next? We turn into computers? Fuck. Too late. Cuz I already feel like a robot. Trying to communicate with a bunch of other robot computers. Each on their personal version of an operating system. Not compatible with mine and yours. Wires crossing in the clouds. Interpersonal my ass. Mary J had no idea about the drama that was to come.

No need to pray anymore. All your most important life questions can be answered by The Google God. There’s a Top 17 Reasons..blah, blah article for whatever your heart desires, sweetheart, and you will believe it cuz it glows from the slick screen into your eyeballs and then brain cells and it’s just all so shiny and what was that really important life question that mattered so much to me 9 minutes ago, again??

Maybe I’ve just been amazed too many times. Emotionally rollercoastered by the minute. My fingertips are magic now. For most of my life they were only good for turning pages. And even then they needed a little lick to work that corner of the paper right. I can travel the world and back with them now. In no time. Crazy and amazing. But not sure my robot can care about this much stuff.

When is it enuf? Too much? I want to hold a big vinyl record or a paper photo & cherish it like it was meant to be at the time it was created. Really important stuff. Not take it for granted because there are a bajillion more digital whatevers being spit out at that very same second. By every Jones and Harry and Dick. Of mostly little substance. That I’m trying to top so I will be more loved tomorrow. So I can fill that mystery space that’s empty. So WTF.?!

HFD Rescues Tiny Maltipoo Dog Trapped 48 Hours by Robyn AroutyDecember 28, 2014

HFD Rescues Tiny Maltipoo Dog Trapped 48 Hours by Robyn AroutyWas sitting at iHop this morning, waiting for my friend Teresa from Lone Star Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso Rescue who was running a little late, when she called to say she got caught on the phone trying to find a foundation or excavation team to come out to Memorial where a little 9 pound maltipoo dog was stuck under a house since Friday.

After she arrived, she said that Adele of Houston Miniature Schnauzer Rescue had got in contact with Captain Langston from the Houston Fire Department Technical Rescue & they were on their way to the house with a team. So we headed that way too..

Wow, those guys totally kicked ass! It took several dog lovers contacting each other through social media to make this all happen. It was cold & this dog is tiny. There was no heavy equipment; it was all done by hand. And did I mention that the homeowners whose sunporch was being torn up were out of town?

The home is on a hill & there was an intricate concrete & beam structure below which created a maze of sorts. They had no idea how the dog got under there or where he was exactly, but they heard his cries.

They removed parts of the deck as needed.

They used a snake with a camera on the end of it to look for Onyx.

Channel 2 News was there to capture it all.

There were plumbers there digging from the other side of the house also.

They kept bringing in containers to haul off all the dirt & leaves they dug out from under the house. Then he said the cries were getting louder.

It was like watching a live birth, I swear.. There was Onyx! And he handed him up to the rescuer above!

Mama was thrilled & they ran him directly over to Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists.

Last report is he was back home with only some eye irritation from the dirt. Great job everyone!

robyn arouty-

Update:  Video of the rescue courtesy of Teresa below!

A Christmas Story. And May The Force Be With You!December 27, 2014

A Christmas Story. And May The Force Be With You!

robyn arouty1I had a pretty good idea of what David meant when he surrendered Madonna & Anthony Ciccone to me that day when he said, he “..didn’t want anything standing in the way of their happiness and well-being.” Wish he could see where his buddies are today..

If you’re not familiar with their story, go here.

10688251_10152759070759277_2996401228052397786_oMadonna was adopted right away & now lives in Alabama on a fab farm. With horses, chickens, donkeys, all kinds of stuff, & greyhound & great dane brothers!

It took a little longer for Anthony, but boy did we enjoy the heck out of that goofy angel guy at the studio! I have to thank a few people for donating their time & resources for Anthony. I couldn’t have done it without you: Jessica, Michelle P., Regina, Kristen, Bryan, Karen, Katie, Julia, Lisa, Kira, & Michelle M.

Then an adoption application came in from Kathleen, a Houston doctor, who wanted to meet him right away. Her 13 year old son Tres had been wanting a dog for quite a while..even created a digital presentation for his parents about why he should be allowed to have one. As rescuers we are not necessarily fans of giving pets as gifts. But since this was a well thought out adoption for a fine young man, I decided to have faith & be excited for the beautiful life I know Anthony will have with Kathleen & her loving family.

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On Christmas Eve night, I snuck him into their home while the family was at church. And he was the biggest hit!

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Here he is with his new family!

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Tres is a Star Wars fanatic. He renamed Anthony Chewbacca & they’re calling him Chewy.

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Chewy is sleeping in a crate in Tres’ room…right next to this awesome galaxy Christmas tree (minus the A&M thingee, anyway).

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Did you know that George Lucas was inspired by his own dog sitting in the passenger seat of his car when he came up with the Chewbacca character? (The dog, named Indiana, also inspired the name of the lead character in another one of Lucas’ film franchises – Indiana Jones. It is said that Chewbacca’s name is derived from собака (sobaka), the Russian word for dog. Cool, huh?)

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“I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m here to rescue you.”

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Just when you think you’ve seen it all.November 10, 2014

Just when you think you’ve seen it all.

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They didn’t know how or why..

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But there they were…abandoned in a neighbor’s yard.

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I shook my head. Called a good rescue friend. And took out the camera.

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She recently had puppies…& now she was nursing two small kittens.

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Caring for them as if they were her own.

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Protecting them and teaching them.

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Compassionate and loving. And doing all the motherly things.

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And happy to have the job.

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The (thus far) unnamed Mama Yorkie & kitties have been graciously taken in by Buster’s Friends Rescue. If you would like to help with their care, you can click on the yellow donate button here:  http://bustersfriends.org/. Thank you.

RA

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part Two.August 18, 2014

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez, commander of the Armies of the Warehouse District, General of the Houston Legions, loyal servant to all who feed me. Ooh, I meant, Need Me! Father to many murdered sons. And I will have my peace. In this life or the next!robyn arouty

 

OK. The truth is I’m just Maximus. But you can call me Max. I have seen The Gladiator movie 8 times on Netflix & so now I randomly break into Maximus-The-Gladiator-Speak. LOL. Here is Part One of my story if you are not familiar._MG_9685

 

I was a novice gladiator here. Still a common person. I thought the Gods had a sense of humor that I was still alive.10426927_10204408120188799_2239912083530538604_n

 

The day Kim drove up I was really tired. Tired of feeling sorry for myself. I barked, “Dear Gods! Allow me to go home!”_MG_9710

 

Robyn documented our Kira and the cavalry meeting very carefully._MG_9670

 

This is my foster brother Freddy. Kim bought his freedom too. (Did you catch that reference?) He stayed in his crate in my arena the entire time. He learned a lot too.

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I have seen much of the rest of the world. It is cruel and brutal and dark. I was looking for the light. I found it with Kim. Kira shined it even brighter._MG_9665

 

I’m not looking back. What’s done is done. And I have a lot of work to do here. This much I know is true. What we do in life echoes into eternity. And my life is about to change.

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Houston is a colosseum of people in pain. Doing painful things to animals. It is hard to talk about. The suffering will continue for as long as we fail to solve our own problems. The guys who arrange dogs to fight are no different than the businessmen who organized gladiator fighting for money in Roman times. They were called lanistaes. The term also meant “butcher.” Interesting. You know dirt cleans off much easier than blood. But I digress…_MG_9688

 

Kira speaks with animals. Not for them. She helps us reconnect our emotions and our hearts and souls. The soul has all the answers. She has many keys._MG_9713

 

1.2 Million of my brothers & sisters are out there in the swelter. Tens of thousands are bloodied with needles. Thousands more will never leave these places. I refuse to believe they fought and died for nothing.

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I know no fear now. Kira is an amazon. A female gladiator of sorts; conquering the walls that separate so many important things. She believes that causes and effects are related. For example, a recent “effect” in my life was that my back legs stopped working. The “cause” was my inability to accept my new life in a family environment. I’ve always had to provide for myself. Knew not of love and affection. The change was a shock to my core. But now I quite like it. And I can walk!

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We should know when we’re conquered. Our battle is within ourselves. I thought myself so elite. So busy trying to hide my unappealing parts, yet that is precisely what the world saw of me. Surrender now. Selfishness is not becoming. The chariot to our authentic lives await._MG_9676

 

Strength and honor. Authenticity and heart. End to spirits of War. Isn’t that what we all pray for? I fought the good fight. My armour on the soil. Retreated. Withdrew my weapons. Home is my reward._MG_9662

 

I think I was afraid all my life. Broken from the pack today thanks to Kira. My grip has shifted and I can march on with the swords of my soul blazing._MG_9712

 

I know now that I have talent for survival. All for the glory of the empire! My brothers and sisters. Animal and human gladiators alike. Hear our new battle cry! VICTORY!

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