Friday, May 5, 2017

What is Courage?

As the founder of the organization I am often asked what is courage?  Some would input some form of quote that it is the absence of fear or that it is doing it afraid.  I would agree, and I would also add that it is second chances.  Courage is your story.  Everyone at some point in their life is going to experience loss, tragedy, heartache, and courage is what makes us get up the next day, put our feet on the floor and stand up.  And if that is all you accomplish that day, then you are courageous!  As a survivor of tragedy I often ask others about their experiences and what it took for them to overcome.  I have listened to lectures and speeches on overcoming hardship.  I have learned to share my experiences openly in an effort to help others.  So here it is, the raw and uncut hurts of my life and what courage was to me during those times.  I am a survivor of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  My experiences with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and my recovery are the foundation of the organization Tails of Courage.  But what happens when you recover?  Well, I would later feel the loss of the passing of my Father suddenly, and was notified of his death the same day my daughter was released from the NICU after being born 7 weeks early.  A year and a half later my husband walked out on my infant daughter and myself.  Suddenly I was divorced, and a single mother.  Following September 11th, I had the luxury of staying in bed depressed and feeling sorry for myself.  Fast forward to 2012 and my daughter needed me, so there was no option to stay in bed sad.  So courage in each of these times in my life became redefined, but each time it required me to start over on myself.

I once listened to a lecture by John C. Maxwell, a leadership expert, and he explained that there will always be a crisis, a hardship, a bad day.  But that doesn't mean we have to let it overwhelm us.  It is how we handle the crisis that marks who we are as leaders.  He said that one way he learned to handle a crisis is to "make the problems line up".  This simple piece of advice was so pointed to me because so many times I know I let the problems come at me all at once, never organizing them, and then feeling totally overwhelmed to the point I just want to ignore them rather than face them.  For me, making the problems line up means making a list.  Define the problem then write it down.  Then, below that, write the solution and what it will take to reach the solution.

Eat the frog.  What?!  That's disgusting!  Yes, and that is the point.  Now your problems are defined, they are lined up in a row and they are all out of order and how do you know which to tackle first?  Excellent question courageous one.  My husband (I am now remarried to the most wonderful amazing handsome man) always says to tackle the worst most disgusting problem or project first.  He calls it eating the frog.  That which we loathe to do first and would rather put on the back burner in the hopes it will wither and go away and we never have to see it again.  Well, rather than let it linger in the background like a giant slimy frog, we eat it first.  No offense to frogs anywhere as they are generally adorable creatures and I would never wish to eat one, but it is an easy way to remember how to organize your problems.

So now we have our crisis defined, our problems in line, but what about the fear that remains, the emotions attached and the fact that I can't stop crying long enough to eat?  Courage.  The day my ex walked out the door, I sat on the floor crying for what seemed like forever.  I didn't know what to do, until the good Lord quietly said, "stand up".  So I stood, and when I had stood and cried for a while I stood and stopped crying.  Then I took a step.  Courage is taking a step, standing up, breathing, stop crying.  Today an attorney I only had the privilege of knowing a few months suddenly passed away.  She seemed to be an extraordinary woman.  She had 5 children and a partner who were suddenly without her light and love for life.  From the extreme of death to the simplicity of paperwork problems, all require courage to face the tough stuff.  So today, my Tail of Courage is that you get a second, third and however many chances to keep going.  Keep breathing.  You have Courage.

Monday, June 8, 2015

No Judgment, Just Rescue

I was reminded again yesterday evening not to judge.  My friend and I were following a Facebook post of a woman trying to find a home for a yellow lab.  They had supposedly obtained the lab from another individual, and as I read about the re-homing fee, and their decision not to turn the dog over to a rescue, I immediately became suspicious and upset.  Why do we outcry Craigs' List postings of dogs but think that Facebook is acceptable, I wondered openly to my friend.  Why won't they turn the dog over to a rescue if they were never able to care for him in the first place?  As these thoughts swirled and I became more upset at the potential fate of this poor dog, I was reminded, I am not here to judge.  My job is to offer to help, receive the animals I can actually help, pray for them and their owners, and move on.  We can't save them all, and what about the ones we had to turn away this week?  The good Lord politely reminded me to focus on the calls we are receiving for help and distress and leave the rest to His hands.

People ask frequently, how are we able to take in dogs and cats without judging the owners or saying something to them.  My response is always the same, "it's not our job to judge."  Our West Virginia Chapter has seen some of the worst rescue cases imaginable.  We receive calls for help all over the State, sometimes from people who were well meaning, but limited funds and resources and can no longer care for the animals.  We have been invited to the homes of drug dealers and hoarders to help rescue owner turn ins.  Why do we have the trust that we do in these areas?  Because we never judge the circumstances.  We are here to help if you need us.  Our volunteers and staff will not judge you or treat you with disrespect.  If you need to turn over an animal, and we are able to help, we will.  No judgment, just rescue. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Not Everyone Will Like You . . .but God ALWAYS loves you

Not everyone will like you.  This is an extremely difficult thing to hear and accept.  Wednesday evening an individual wrote something hurtful and cruel on the Tails of Courage Facebook page.  Friends and family of this person, who actually volunteer for TOC were enraged and distraught, coming forward and apologizing and sharing how much they love volunteering.  For a portion of Thursday I felt that little grey cloud hanging over me, the one that creeps in and tries to tell you how low and pathetic and weak it wants you to believe yourself to be.  I tried not to let it hang there for too long and moved on with my day.  Thursday evening Tails of Courage stepped in to rescue two dogs, one from New York City, a Rottweiler who is a service dog and another from our partner rescue in South Carolina, a small beagle who was hit by a car.  Going to bed I was feeling pretty good about myself and Tails of Courage following the outpouring of thanks and cheering that came our way.  Friday morning, I awoke to see a posting from Mandissa, one of my favorite artists, where someone had expressed something horrible about her and how she chose to respond to the pain.  And then it hit me, I am a survivor.  I am the President of Tails of Courage.  I am a survivor of One World Trade Center.  I am a mother who sat the first 10 days of her child's life in the NICU unable to hold her baby, and only able to touch her hand through an incubator while she struggled for life.  I survived the day a Detective called to tell me my father had died, and 20 minutes later through my tears, listened as the doctors told me that my daughter was breathing on her own and could come home that night!  I survived divorce, because the God I serve is greater.  And myself and Tails of Courage will survive and overcome every negative comment thrown, and return your hate with love.  Tails of Courage has programs for animal rescue, children, the elderly, and the military.  If you can't find something nice to say about one of those, I don't know what to tell you, except that I challenge you today, instead of complaining and asking the world to validate your negativity, roll up your sleeves and say, Lord, how can I help?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

HUGE News for Tails of Courage - Headquarters!!

Home.  It has so many meanings.  To a dog it can mean living under a tree outside in the cold, a deadly shelter, or being chained up somewhere before being rescued and moving safely to a foster home and eventually a forever adoptive home.  To our organization, it refers to the places where we house our dogs, where we meet with other volunteers to run or discuss a program, where we meet to worship God, and where we lay our head at night.  Tails of Courage has never had just one home, we have many.  We open our homes to the lost and abandoned – dog and human alike.  Through the extreme generosity of Passage East Kennels of Wilton, Connecticut, ( Tails of Courage had a temporary home to house many of the dogs waiting to find their forever homes.  The staff worked tirelessly, helping volunteers with adoptions, and accepting donations, and most importantly, caring for our dogs as though they were their own pets.  Because of their incredible efforts, they helped Tails of Courage to grow and prosper.  They stepped in during a critical time for the organization and were lifesavers, not only for the dogs, but for Tails of Courage.  The manager, Fawn, helped to breathe new life into the rescue.  When we realized one day that we were completely outgrowing our allotted space at Passage East, we faced a crossroads.  Would we set out to rent more space in other locations, spread out the dogs and try to coordinate adoptions from various locations, or would we make the HUGE leap of finding our own space?  Our own home.  We are pleased to announce that Tails of Courage, after much work and negotiating, and with the generosity of Wilcroft Kennels of Danbury, Connecticut, will officially as of July 15, 2013 have a headquarters!  Tails of Courage Headquarters will be home to a kennel where we will house our adoptable pets and meet the public for adoptions, meeting spaces where we will work to run our various programs, and well, we do not yet know what else, but are looking forward to the next phase!  Now, while we are celebrating, we also need donations.  We need everything from cleaning supplies, to office supplies, to towels and blankets, dog bowls, beds, and of course, monetary donations.   To see our wish list, please go to  Our new Headquarters address is 1 Pembroke Road, Danbury, CT 06811.  We are only leasing this space as of now and hope to raise the funds to purchase.  Check out our building fund project! We look forward to having you stop by and visit us! 

In other news, Tails of Courage has 5 runner slots given to us for the 2013 ING NYC Marathon!  We have 5 runners chosen and are in the process of setting up our runner registration.  We are already up and running for donations.  Please check out 

Our Traveling Tails of Courage program has been going so well.  Our teenage volunteers have been enjoying visiting the residents of the nursing home each week.  If you want to recommend a nursing home for a visit, please email us at  We are always welcoming new volunteers to the ministry. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Damien - The Brunette Gentlemen. Well, brown furred - at least!

So - many of us out there share a devotion to Pit bulls and other bully breeds. We will protect and defend them with our lives, just like they would do for us. Unfortunately, many dont realize just how lovely pitty's are. They don't give them a chance to show their true colors. Devoted, loyal, loving - they are some of the most fantastic creatures I have ever had the pleasure of sharing my life with. And yet, every day, hundreds die in shelters. Cold - alone. Some perfect - some broken inside. No matter what they've experienced, no matter how hard they've tried, they aren't given a chance. Labeled as a 'pit bull' - they are thrown out, deemed vicious - baby eaters. Quick - hide your family! One of my greatest hopes for this coming generation is that they see, and understand, how stereotyping people and animals can have such a significant effect on them. Pit Bull's have a heart of gold, and a mind like no other. And so, with pleasure, I introduce Damien! Gray hair spots his muzzle, brown eyes lead the way to the kindest heart. A senior pup at about 7 years old, who deserves to live out the rest of his life in comfort, and with love - more then he could ever possibly imagine. And, on January 24th, our rescue (Tails Of Courage) stepped up to provide him just that - a chance to receive what every dogs wishes to posses - a home. However, most fairy 'tails' have a twist. Damien, a plain brown pit with a heart of gold, has a cancerous tumor growing on the side of his muzzle. If it is not removed, he won't have much longer to live. All his waiting, wishing, wanting, for a home that only wants to love him will go to waste. A brilliant mind, a fantastic heart, all will go to the ground. We are going to need all the help we can get to get Damien the medical funds he so desperately needs to survive. Please, help us get Damien the closest to heaven that he'll ever be, only with all four paws touching the earth, and his head on the lap of a new mommy. To donate to Damien, please visit or Thank you!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Please help Damien

div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> 1/25/2013 - He was rescued as an animal cruelty case. His owners were not giving him any medical care.  He ended up in the shelter and the mass on his mouth was biopsied and found to be cancerous.  We were contacted and agreed to take him.  He is being transported for treatment and surgery.  We are told he his super sweet and is about 8 years old.  The medical care is going to be expensive we know.  We will post updates on him frequently!