Rescue Road Trips

Rescue Road Trips

"Saving lives, four paws at a time."
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My family recently adopted a puppy that was found down in Mississippi locked in an abandoned home, which got me thinking. We rarely hear of abandoned dogs here up north, though don't get me wrong, it happens, but not nearly as much as it does down south.

It's not that people just don't like dogs down there, or that we like them more up north. People just don't always have the capabilities to care for and house dogs, and due to poverty and other cultural differences, there are a lot of roaming dogs without homes down south. Southern culture is different in many other ways; for instance, there are not strong leash laws like there are in the north, and people down south don't tend to view dogs as family members, but rather as property. Where I'm from, up here on the North Shore, it's very typical to have your dog sleeping in your bed with you and roaming around the house as if it's their own. Down south, dogs are left outside, and spaying and neutering is not as common, which naturally leads to an increased dog population. Many of these dogs end up being euthanized due to overrun shelters in poor living areas.

Here is where Rescue Road Trips, inc. comes in, a low cost transport service for rescue dogs in the "deep south." Greg Mahle travels 4,200 miles every other week to rescue dogs from high-kill shelters down south and bring them to loving homes up north. Due to the lengthy trip, there are scheduled breaks for going to the bathroom, walking, and snacking, where "angels," groups of volunteers, help walk the dogs and give them each one-on-one time. During the trip, there is always at least one person with the dogs at all times to provide them with comfort and care.

As for the trip itself, "we leave Ohio on Tuesdays, passing through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and arrive in Texas on Wednesday nights. Thursdays we work our way from Texas, head across Louisiana and then head north towards Tennessee. Fridays are spent getting from the south to above the Mason-Dixon line. Saturdays are the magic day, because after facing death, all dogs with me are about to embark on the most love-filled part of their lives with their forever families."

At the end of the trip, the dogs are brought to their loving families on a day dubbed "Gotcha Day." "Gotcha day is a joyously emotional experience for all involved. Be ready to shed a tear and have your heart stolen." The greatest thing about this guy's job is bringing these little loves to families that will love them for the rest of their lives. I don't know about you, but I could do that for the rest of my life and be completely satisfied.

If you are interested in adopting a best friend, or you can't but you'd still like to help, click here.

Cover Image Credit: Rescue Road trips

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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8 Lessons I Learned From My Three-Legged Cat

Having a cat with three legs can teach you a lot about life

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Back in February, I was going through a spiral. I had no motivation to do anything, my candle was burning out if you will. My girlfriend and I had discussed getting a kitten so that our other cat, Athena, could have a little playmate. We got to the shelter, only to find that they had to quarantine a good number of their cats due to an FIV or leukemia contamination. Luckily, there were other cats that had been cleared and were ready to go out to a cat cafe. I got to hold a few, but the one that won was a little black kitten that had her leg amputated. I knew she was the one by the way she purred when I held her.

Over the last few months, this little cat, Posey, has taught me so much. Such as:

Anything is possible

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Posey has made incredible adjustments to having just three legs. She chases her sister, jumps up onto cabinets, you name it. Jumping down from ledges isn't quite her favorite, but she's been amazing about it. If she can adjust to that kind of life, so can I. Even if my job hunting isn't going great, nothing is going to stop me.

It takes some work to get where you want to be

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Of course, learning how to do things with three legs takes a lot of work. I don't know how she adjusted when she was in the shelter, but I do know that by the time we got her she was a little champ. She had to have put in effort post surgery to get where she is. Now I need to put in the work to get my life together.

Don't be afraid to speak up

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I'm going to say it right now: she is a little crybaby. I could be sitting two feet away, and she will start crying if I don't give her attention. She let it be known when she wants loving. Letting anyone, even my girlfriend, in on what's going through my head is something that I need to work on.

Someone will love you for you

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Cats like Posey usually have a harder time getting adopted, mostly because of color and "defect". That being said, if she was older, she might have been in the shelter even longer.

There's more than one way to contribute to the house

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When either of them start protesting about being held, my girlfriend and I just say "Oh I know, life is hard when you don't have to pay rent". In all seriousness, these two contribute in ways to help us deal with emotions. The more I think about what they do, the more I realize that I don't have to just work and put in a paycheck for the house.

It does not take much to be self sufficient

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I always worry about her when we go to Atlanta to take care of stuff for our move. But I know that they will be fine for a weekend as long as they have food, clean water, and a clean litter box. As long as I have basic needs met, I'll be okay.

Or to be happy

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She just wants to play and to cuddle. As long as she gets that, it does not take her much to purr like a motorboat. And just like having the needs met, as long as have the simple things, like something to do or someone to do that something with, I am happy.

There's always time for a nap (or just do nothing at all)

Giphy

She loves to sleep and gets fussy when anyone wakes her up. It's gotta be so tough to be as cute as she is. But more to the point, she takes time to take care of herself. And while I may not take a nap, I've realized that I don't have to be go-go-go all the time, and that slowing down and doing absolutely nothing actually helps. Now if I could actually do it, I'd be in business.

So, Posey, I thank you for bringing me so much and teaching me so much more.

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