March 18, 2021
This Week’s Dick of the Week …
Today marks exactly five years since we opened the doors of Frankie and Andy's Place, our beautiful, luxurious, log cabin senior dog and hospice care sanctuary.
In this the picture you'll see a picture of myself and Homer Bryson, who is one of our board members, hugging and happy in the doorway of the little cabin, relieved that the opening day was in our sights.
For those of you who don't know, I'm just going to give you a little bit of background and then you'll understand the context of exactly why this particular person is Dick of the Week....Every. Single. Week.
As many of you know, the DD Ranch has been in operation for 15 years.
I started out as a behavior counsellor when we first came here from the UK, but rescue was always first in my heart, so I was volunteering at the North East Georgia Humane Society 2 or 3 days a week, working pro-bono for local rescue groups and shelters and, even when we opened the Ranch for boarding and rehab, becoming more and more busy as a business over the years, we always had a bunch of foster dogs staying with us or shelter dogs that we were working with....at no charge.
We have also used our social media following to successfully raise funds for different charities, or different hardship cases. Many of you have helped us with that, for which I thank you.
It has always felt like a community effort, it always felt like we were all coming together to change the world and yes, that made all of us feel really, really good.
Giving always does.
It’s the gift that comes right back to you before you've even handed it over.
Six years ago we sat with our partners, sisters Penny and Krystle Andrews, and talked about opening a senior dog sanctuary on the property, a place to honor and love the senior dogs I had seen passed over for adoption at the shelters...dogs who still had so much to give but because of their creaky bones and frosty faces, couldn't even get a look in. We decided to devote a massive portion of the DD Vacation Ranch land (and income) to making this happen and cast a vision out there in 'Social Media Land' about what Frankie and Andy's Place would look like and what we were setting out to achieve.
By the way, the name comes from two incredible dogs, Frankie the Great Dane, and his cousin Andy, a senior golden lab mix. Our friendship with Penny and Krystle started when I rescued Frankie from the shelter kill-list and then adopted him out to his soul-mate, Penny. She wanted to support our work in rescue and make sure we took it as far as it could go, so she and Krystle helped make it happen. It only seemed fitting to name the senior dog sanctuary after these two incredible dogs who brought us together.
But first, there was the mountain of paperwork and expense to get registered as a charity, which takes an age and is NOT easy, as anyone who's done this will attest.
On the day that we announced that we finally had managed to achieve 501c3 status, and proudly published our official notification, one of my long standing clients, whose dogs I had taken care of for years and helped through some pretty serious end-of-life issues, came up to me in the driveway waving a piece of paper.
She had been on to the Georgia Secretary of State website and printed off a sheet of paper that said we were not yet registered as a charity, brandished it in my face and basically accused us of lying.
She had also taken the time (she has lots of it) to grab a highlighter pen and highlight certain sentences that said we were not yet incorporated and told us, as her husband was on the board of somewhere or other, that they were experts in these matters, and we shouldn't be calling ourselves a 501c3.
She didn't know if she or her husband 'would feel comfortable donating to us under these circumstances' (I hadn't ever asked her).
This mean-spirited little troll was literally ecstatic at thinking she had caught us out in a whopper, like she was the detective that solved the case. I mean...she does kinda look a bit like Colombo.....without the cigar.
Her squinty little eyes were dancing, her mealy-mouthed lips were set in such a smug line, I have never wanted to punch anyone more.
I LITERALLY wanted to pummel her with a massive wet dog turd in a sock.
All I could think of were the hours and hours I had spent researching and discussing cancer treatments for her dog, or caring for her dogs, sometimes pro-bono, because they were having a party and her dog was too sick to deal with the crowds of people in her house....or popping over to visit her sweet old dog when she was near the end of life and I wanted to spend time with her before we had to say goodbye.
(Many of you reading this will know that we do not just board dogs at the Ranch...your problems become our problems, we go to the Nth degree to help find solutions to health and behavioral problems, and spend all of our waking hours trying to find ways to increase the quality of life of every dog in our DD family. Even if they're too sick to be paying clients any more, we still love them, they are still our family.)
So while my very patient husband Pete was perfectly happy to just watch her deflate like the Wicked Witch of the North as he explained that it could take a day or two for the website to be updated and proceeded to hand her the original letter of confirmation from the Secretary of States office which proved that yes, we were a real charity and no, we weren't a bunch of charlatans, I was so angry I could not speak.
It wasn't that she had 'checked us out' in a half assed manner and gone ape-sh*t with the highlighter pen.....although, full disclosure, the highlighter DID push me over the edge a bit. I have always urged everyone in every communication to not just take my word for anything and to do their own due diligence...whether it be checking out our DD reviews direct with the people who post them on social media, or in the case of Frankie and Andy's Place, going on to 'Great Non For Profits' or 'Guidestar' to see if we really are as good/honest/transparent as we say we are.
No, it wasn't that at all.....it was that she had trusted me with the life and safety of her dog, trusted me to recommend a previously unknown (to her) cancer therapy that actually gave her dog more time and, later, to help her newly adopted dog navigate some settling in issues....but wouldn't trust us to tell the truth about setting up a non-for-profit to help other old dogs not as fortunate as her own.
I asked her if she thought we were doing this to make money for ourselves and she said "I don't know, do I?"
Damn right you didn't, Mrs E.
But yet.....you inferred it anyway.
So, here goes, here's my 'BOOYAKASHAH' moment......
Frankie and Andy's Place has now been in operation for 5 years.
We have provided a forever home and hospice care for 86 dogs, we have increased from 8 dogs maximum when we started, to 23 dogs with the addition of yet another, much larger, luxury log cabin in 2018, plus we give FREE food and life enhancements, have paid for medications and surgeries, given FREE behavioral help for hundreds more...oh, and community outreach programs that have impacted hundreds upon hundreds of lonely and handicapped people.
Good God, how do we sleep at night, Mrs E?
Desperate Dogs, for the first few years, helped pay for the start-up and helped pay the bills.
Now Peter and I volunteer our time, which runs at anything from 25 to 40 hours each per week. We are not and never have been, paid by the charity...our work is COMPLETELY voluntary.
Our founding partners, Penny and Krystle, receive no benefits from being part of this, they helped make this happen because they just wanted to know we are saving lots of dogs.
This year, we received the high honor of Platinum Guidestar status, which means we have been intensely scrutinized by an independent council and rated among the most trusted of non-for-profits on a nationwide scale and, for the third year running, we have been recognized by ‘Great Non For Profits’ as 'Best Animal Charity' in the State of Georgia.
What a bunch of charlatans we are, eh, Mrs E?
So you can understand why, when this woman (whose dog we still boarded for a couple years after, despite my absolute hatred of her....I liked him, he's a lovely dog ) asked me in the DD driveway a while ago if we could 'kiss and make up', I pretty much told her to go eat a bag of d*cks.
I will be honest, I'm pretty sure I also used a few words starting with the letter F too...can't be certain, I was seeing red at the time.
I also got a bit shrill, which didn't suit me.
One of our DD staff, who was there on the day that Mrs E produced her 'highlighted' piece of paper, told me she couldn't believe I waited so long.
Neither could I. I had carried that grudge for a few years by then, it was getting heavy.
Every week for five years I have sat down to write this 'D*ck of the Week' piece and Pete keeps telling me NOT to vent my feelings because I need to NOT focus on The Troll, to move on, and that success is always the best revenge, blah blah blah.
Today I say "Bollocks' to that.
Today marks our five years of being in existence; we have amazing people, we have done incredible things and will go on to do more and more incredible things... so I am going to say it loud and say it proud.
Mrs E, you are my Dick of the Week, this week and every week!
Now go get back under your bridge you vile little Troll and stop being such an a$$hole.
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