Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Think You Had a Bad Day?

This isn't necessarily going to be a feel-good post. A jaw-dropping, horrifying post, but not a feel-good post.

I got a letter from This Just In's Kosovo Correspondent, SSG Kim. She's been a guest blogger here a couple of times, and you've all been so kind to send her well-wishes and a couple of packages.

Here she is:

In addition to e-mailing, Kim and I have taken to sending snail-mail to one another, periodically, which is a miracle in itself, as we're both pretty busy chica's. It's worth it, though: real letters in your real mail box are total keepers, in this day and age.

I have learned, in these letters, that in her (stateside) U.S. life, she is renovating a 100+-year old home. She loves dogs, and found a caretaker to live in the house while she was gone, in exchange for taking care of her 3 canine babies.

Kim just came home for 2 weeks of R &R.

Her canine babies were NOT taken care of. Timelines not available, the "caretaker" pretty much locked up the house and left the dogs to their own devices.

Kim's doggies were alive when she got home, but starving, and sick. One had developed a large tumor, and had to be put down. She's found alternate homes for her St. Bernard, and for her Golden Retriever, who went from 148 lbs to 101 lbs.

Her house, with 3 large dogs locked in for God knows how long, was a mess. Furniture had been chewed, and everying was saturated with urine. She had to call in a company that clean up after homicides to take care of it. There was so much damage to the floors that even the subfloors will have to be replaced, when she gets back to restoring her home.

Oh, and her homeowners insurance does not cover damage that her own dogs did to her house, she's being told.

Kim spent her entire 2 weeks leave finding alternate housing for her 2 remaining dog, cleaning her house, and sealing it up for the winter. She didn't get to see friends, she didn't, as she told me, even have time to get her haircut.

It took her 3 days to fly back to Kosovo, and it was then that we picked up our correspondence: She spent 13 hours gathering school supplies for children on her first day back. And you know what just kills me? Her first email to me, with all of this on her mind, began, "I hope your mother and your sister are doing well."

She's tired, disheartened, and worried. If you have a prayer, or a well-wish, or a hilarious joke to cheer her up, you can put it in your comments, or I can give you her e-mail or mailing address.

This is one angel that could use a little wind beneath her little wings right now.


  1. OMG!!!! That is awful! My heart certainly goes out to her and her babies. I can't imagine....

  2. Anonymous6:54 AM

    Oh this is terrible. Is there anything that can be done to the "Caretaker?" I would think animal activists would be so on this.
    I'm really sorry this happened to you Kim.

  3. Holy Shit! Her poor dogs! If I were anywhere near there I'd temporarily adopt them in a minute.

    That "caretaker" needs taking care of. I have a good old fashioned wooden baseball bat handy...

  4. StFarmer7:50 AM

    Sometimes I think that for every good story you hear there are 3 bad ones that make you want to cry.

    XO to Kim...

  5. That is a sad story, one that angers me. Find the "caretaker" and have them brought up on charges..

  6. Pursuing charges for the "caretaker" is a difficult endeavor from Kosovo.

    Sadly, our deployed loved ones are often victims of deplorable human beings here, while they are not home to take care of their stateside lives.

    Phone calls to banks and insurance agents, even, with time differences, are difficult endeavours.

  7. wayward10:03 AM

    Oh man - I could have taken on an extra dog for a while. Does she live near C-U?

  8. Anonymous10:17 AM

    Much love to you all from Kosovo, and especially to Lori who has miraculously been my brightest shining star since I arrived here. Sadly, there is little I can do to the caregiver...sic...from Kosovo, and unfortunatley this is one of a thousand stories that happen to deployed Soldiers when they have no way to deal with the issues. Anyway...enough of the's a little update.

    Diggie, my now very skinny Golden is with my good friend in St. Louis and will remain there until I return. I have applied for an extension to remain another year, so he may be there for awhile. She was outraged at the situation, and is also a combat Soldier and I know she will care well for him. Last I heard she was on her way to PETCO to by him a new, soft and fluffy bed.

    The St. Bernard rescue organization I adopted Maggie from drove 12 hours one way to pick her up and will care for her until my return. So they are both safe.

    I believe that God will handle it, and work it out in his own way.

    In the meantime I wanted to thank all of you, and let you know that your are appreciated and loved by this little Soldier 7,000 miles away from home.



  9. This just makes my heart ache...the thought of Kim's pups in need - hungry and confused - just makes me feel like i've been punched.
    I was going to ask you, Lori, whether Kim preferred email or snail mail but I guess I can ask Kim directly, since I saw her wonderful comment just now: Hey Kim, which do you prefer? :-)

  10. Anonymous10:44 AM

    SNAIL MAIL. That way I can read it at 2 in the morning, and keep a pile with me for when I need a "pick up" outside of the wire.

    If anyone gets a second, the one thing that you could really do for me is to send a short little thank you note to the following two individuals. One is the people at St. Bernard rescue who sacrificed so much to get my baby, and the other is Kathy in St. Louis who has my Diggie.

    I truely hope you all know how wonderful you are, and what a huge place you have in my heart.

    Off to another mid term. Did I mention I was taking 13 hours this semester? My hair is turning gray...

    Love to you all.

  11. Kim -- many blessings to you and your pups. I hope they blossom in their new surroundings, and when you are able to return to them, that you may bask in their unconditional love.

  12. Melissa12:28 PM

    Words cannot describe the hurt and anguish those dogs went through. It's bad enough they have to miss their mommy, but to have someone she felt was trustworthy to tend to them and have that person torture(Yes, neglegence is torture)them is beyond what my heart can bear. I am praying for her safe return and to be reunited with her family.

  13. That is absolutely angering.

    Wishing her peace and a bit of time for herself.

    Prayers all around.

  14. That is terrable. And to do it to a service woman makes it even worse if that is possible. Any way we could find the name of this person who did this to her. I would love to have a chat with them. I will keep her in my prayers.

  15. That is horrible! I hope she can take legal action against the "caregivers".

  16. Kim, I'm so sorry you and your dogs were let down in this way and that you had to face such a ghastly situation during your "R & R." It sounds like Diggie and the St. Bernard will be well cared for from here on out. I wish you and them the best and, eventually, a very happy reunion.

  17. Dogs can be very damaging to a house, I have 2 and there is someone usually with them all the time, so I can only imagine the damage done to her house. Hope all works out and the dogs find good homes.....

  18. Anonymous11:49 PM

    this breaks my heart... i have just been sitting here trying to think of something to say. i am glad that kim was able to get home in time to rescue her own dogs, even the one that had to be put to sleep got to feel her love once again. i don't know what kind of person would do this to someone, but i truly believe that God writes all this stuff down and someday that person may find themselves locked in a house alone and starving. blessing to you kim and thank you, THANK YOU for all you do.

  19. Anonymous12:53 AM

    I am so sorry for the situation you and your pups were forced to go through. I believe that in all the darkness that can be in life, there are always a few people whose light shines through...and it sounds like the St. Bernard foundation and the people who are fostering Diggie are truly making this world a brighter place. If you read this, Utah sends our love and well wishes, and I personally would like to become a penpal with a service person...can you point me in the right direction for that?



  20. i had never EVER imagined this situation. it didn't even dawn on me that someone in the service would need someone to take care of their pets. /smacks forehead.

    i cannot *believe* that someone who does this for a "living" would let something like this happen. those poor, poor dogs. my heart breaks for them. not only is their owner absent but no one has been loving them!

    i'm sitting here wondering what i can do to help someone here in utah locally with their pets while they serve our country. how do i find out?

  21. Anonymous3:16 AM

    Hello again from Kosovo. I can't even begin to thank you all for your support in helping me through this. Your posts mean the world to me and do help me when the tears again begin to fall.

    I just wanted to take a second to address a few things before I leave the wire this morning.

    Buddythedog: There are MANY servicemen and women who deploy with little or no family support and trust me, a small snail mail can be the motivation they need and deserve to get them through another day. Lori can guide you in this, or you can send a letter to me, and underneath me name put any Soldier. I will ensure that it gets to someone who needs it. My Soldiers, to include myself, keep letters double wrapped in ziploc bags in the packs, or helmets at all times so that they can read them for a pick me up when they are outside. Email is wonderful, but snail mail is TANGEABLE, and can be read over and over at any time.

    Jess: Pets are a BIG issue especially for single Soldiers. Stories abound about Soldiers having to leave a loved pet behind, and this is especially prevalant among the single Soldiers with no family. That makes it so much worse as they don't even have "Fulffy" to come home to. A lot of shelters won't foster so they require servicemembers to relinquish ownership to find the pet a new home. My suggestion is this. Before I left I heard of an organization that was trying to set up temporary foster homes for animals of deployed Soldiers. I will email my friend and see if I can find that link. If I am able yo locate it I will post it here. You can also call the Utah Guard/Reserves and ask for the contact information of your States Family Support Group. They will take it from there.

    You have all overwhelmed me with your love and trust me I fell it all the way here. Winston, whom was put to sleep, was nothing more than an angel her whole life and i'm sure that she is the type of soul who would have gladly accepted this terrible event if for no other reason than to help others furry babies in need.

    The best thing that we can do to honor her memory, and help the American Soldiers who have nobody, is not to let this happen again.

    Since this has happend I have seriously contemplated setting up a website in her memory, attempting to establish a contact in each State, and set up a Foster system available for the care of deployed Soldiers animals. We know through documented studies that animals, especially dogs, feel the stress and the lonliness of deployments as well as any human does. My vet has told me many stories of having to put dogs on drugs such as Prozac because they develop such serious cases of seperation anxiety while their human parents are away. My Diggie is one of them, and it's serious enough that prior to my being absent for over a week, we start him on them. This time, since he is with Kathy whom he knows and loves it's not necessary.

    I have a huge home, 4,000 square feet and 3/4 of an acre completely fenced. Upon my return I have every intention of posting my "services", free of charge to any needy Soldier and making my house a warm and loving refuge for any animal that is in need due to a deployment.

    If anyone out there is good with website as I am NOT computer literate, or would like to help let me know.

    I resfuse to believe that Winston was put through thas for nothing, and I believe that God has a hand in all of this. I have been praying often to be shown the light from the darkness and I believe in my heart that it was a "hint" from above as what needs to be done to help Heaven's furry creatures.

    Much love to all of you from myself, and my babies and I will keep you informed of their progress.

    I can never post without saying how much Lori has done not only for me, but for my Soldier's here, and all of the Soldier's in the U.S. God also led me to her and she has been my dear friend and insperation when I have most needed it. If God ever sent us a Soldier's Angel, it is Lori. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and I want to do for Soldier's fuzzy babies what she has done for us. Although I could never even come close to being the shining star of deployments as she has, I can, and we can, attempt to be that star for the animals.

    One more thing before I go. The last thing you should have to worry about in a combat zone is what's going on at home. You're focus should be on staying alive, and keeping those young Soldier's that have been intrusted to you safe. If a Soldier can leave the wire knowing that his loved baby is well taken care of, and that a network has been put in place to check on each other Nation wide, wouldn't that be an awsome way to honor the Soldeir's of America?

    Think about that and let me know what everyone's opinion is.

    Love to you all and especially Lori for keeping me heart warm, and constantly reminding me of why I do this.



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