Mother Flippin’: Saving Strays and Throwaways

A few weeks ago, I found myself with a dog’s sleeping face cradled in my hands. My son and I were volunteering at the Capital Area Humane Society when we happened upon a dog shaking in her kennel. Sasha was a medium-sized dog with short, black fur and a thin tail that was curled up tightly beneath her shaking legs as she lay on the floor. We slowly ventured into her space and began the canine formalities of cautiously letting her smell our hands as we approached her. I knelt down next to her and started to comfort her like I would one of my own babes. She seemed so scared and unnerved by the noise of the other animals. I leaned over and massaged her back legs where the shaking seemed to be the worst. As her muscles began to relax, I moved my hands under her chin and cradled her head while rubbing her neck. Slowly, I felt her release. Her head drooped in waves, like a baby dosing off into a deep sleep. My heart melted and I struggled with the impossibility of rescuing her myself. We already have a poorly-trained, well-loved, family dog that is perfect for us. Charlie Brown Torok is my darling and I don’t know what I’d do without his antics. We don’t have room in our home for another pet right now. Oh but it was hard to stand up and close the gate to the kennel behind us. Charlie was a shelter dog. I found him snuggled up in the arms of another family. They put him down because of a minor deformation in his paws caused by malnutrition. His litter was found with his mother starving on a construction site. He was the underdog. I had to save him. When people talk about being environmentally friendly or committed to green living, I get nervous. I start to panic about the idea of not using my car, learning about composting or adding yet another recycle bin to my kitchen. I love our planet and I do my best. I also have three children, a self-employed spouse and a nonprofit to run. My plate is full and it’s overwhelming to think about whether the contents are biodegradable or not. However, our family is really good at repurposing. We love on the strays. We give away what we don’t need. We buy local and we love our city. Every year, we add a new environmentally conscious habit to be better stewards of our planet too. However, being green is as much about recycling as it is about redeeming the throwaways. PS: I’m happy to say sweet Sasha was adopted shortly after we met her.

Tags: dogs, Mother Flippin', pets, strays, volunteer


Tashmica Torok

As the founder & executive director of The Firecracker Foundation, Tashmica works to honor the bravery of children who have survived sexual trauma by encouraging the Mid-Michigan community to invest in the healing of their whole being. She is wife to a talented tile installer and mother to three boys made from the unique combination of thunder and lightning. Taking to the track as Nina Firecracker, Tashmica is one of more than 40 athletes playing roller derby with the Lansing Derby Vixens (LDV).

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