Anyone who’s been involved in animal rescue for at least five nanoseconds has probably figured out it’s likely easier to make rainbows out of a mud puddle than it is to please every Tom, Dick, and Fanny who’ve got fabulously bad intentions for how they’d like the rescue operation to fit into their agendas. Sometimes Tom, Dick, and Fanny have great ideas that serve the needs of our dogs’ adoptive processes; sometimes, though, Tom, Dick, and Fanny need a reality check. That happened this past week.
It all started when “Betty” (sorry, Betties of the world) wanted our group to send over twenty puppies for a “puppy bowl,” which was to take place in a large arena. Betty’s email rattled on AND ON about her expectations for her client. I mean, we hadn’t ever talked to this woman, and here she was delivering explicit details regarding what was to follow as if she was doing our rescue a huge favor we’d be nuts to refuse. She wanted breed-specific dogs, namely “at least two yellow Lab puppies.” She wanted to give points to dogs for defecating and urinating before spectators to her game. Why? Because that’s just so cute to freak out young dogs, who are already scared and nervous, so strangers can laugh and point fingers — to bet on their fear. Right. Making matters worse, Betty explained that “not all dogs would be adopted.” Well. Thanks for that hot news flash, ladycakes. I’ll cut to the chase: Betty paved a yellow brick road straight to Crazytown in her email, and we weren’t gonna let her take Toto down with her.
A short, yet polite decline was fired off immediately to Betty, but she wasn’t having it. She wanted a referral to another puppy “agency.” Without dragging it out further, it was decided to tell Betty why we wouldn’t help her humiliate our dogs or any other dogs. After thinking about it this week, I’d like to also stick the reply here for all to read because it pertains to everyone who doesn’t understand the line between abuse and otherwise. We are here to rescue animals, not to perpetuate and catapult the sick ideals of man.
No pussyfooting about it:
After considering your request carefully, I feel the need to fully explain why our rescue, as well as any reputable rescue that focuses on addressing animal welfare needs, will not participate.
When we bring dogs into our system, including puppies, it’s for the sole purpose of locating good homes. These animals have been dumped. They’ve been abandoned. They’ve been stuck on city streets without food, water, love, shelter, etc. Humans have not been kind to them, and because of that, these guys have no reason to trust us. Our goal is to treat them with dignity and respect — to give them what they deserve rather than to utilize them as puppets for what sounds an awful lot like a precursor for some sort of bizarre Roman Olympics opening act.
Our volunteers don’t receive compensation for assisting these dogs. They use their own gas, vehicles, homes, time, etc. When someone applies to adopt a dog, we want it to be because s/he loves that creature — not because the individual saw the poor dog scared and confused and “cute” in a gaming arena with 19 other puppies feeling the same way. We will not strain our volunteers’ resources to accommodate requests like yours when we could spend that time finding homes for their fosters at a legitimate adoption event. Read as: That’s a slap in the face to every rescuer who gives more than what can ever be received in return.
You’ve requested for your “client,” gag, to have in attendance a couple of breed-specific dogs. At least “two.” For crying in a bucket, I hope I don’t trip over all the breeders dumping yellow Lab puppies at the pound in my effort to nab the right actors for your production. You want a couple unicorns with that order? How ’bout some fries and a magical talking narwhal, too? The biggest part of what we do as rescue workers is to help the public understand we have a huge crisis that affects us all going on in city shelters. It’s about battling discrimination and irresponsible breeding. It’s about serving the needs of the animals who are left behind by people who want the fluffy lookers, about giving taxpayers a break from footing the bill for that sort of flippancy. All of our puppies are cute, damn it, even the ones that may be ugly ducklings to your “client.” What you’re asking is akin to calling an orphanage and suggesting it rush over twenty orphans for your Hunger Games mockery — a couple with blue eyes, some with golden hair, etc., for the viewing pleasure of someone who’s paying to see it, for someone who stands to make money off of our rescued dogs’ misfortunes. That’s disgusting and slimy, and we want no part of this trivialization.
As for the games themselves, your description involved something “similar” to what Animal Planet does for its puppy bowl. Animal Planet doesn’t throw puppies in the XXXXXXXXXX Ballroom in front of a bunch of strangers attending a XXXXXXXX. And just because AP does something, it doesn’t make it ethical. There’s nothing cute or kind about giving a puppy points for taking a dump in public.
This is not to suggest that our group is a stranger to mankind’s insistence upon demanding dogs and other animals play games for human enjoyment. Not at all. We’ve dealt with a lot of that. I’m attaching a photo as proof.
Allow me to describe what you’re seeing. This is Bubbles. I was nice and sent you the “after” shot. When we found her, we weren’t sure she’d make it, but she did. It wasn’t cheap. It wasn’t easy. There were a lot of tears and anger from a lot of people. Today she’s living with the most wonderful couple along with a pack of other dogs (none of them yellow Lab puppies, mind you). Bubbles wasn’t forced to attend a XXXXXXXXX puppy bowl, but she was possibly forced to bait other dogs into fighting as a source of amusement and financial gain for those who wanted to see it. I realize the analogy might run the gamut between comparisons here, but I want you to understand how very seriously we stand against animals being used in any capacity against their wills for gaming purposes of any shape, size, or color. If we were to allow our dogs to participate in ANY end of this spectrum, that would blur the line between what is acceptable and what is abuse. We label abuse as anything degrading to an animal, and your puppy bowl certainly falls into that category, even if only at an entry level. After everything that we’ve done to help Bubbles and many dogs just like her, we can’t look her in the eyes now and say, “Give us your puppies for people to laugh at…but only the cute ones. Thanks, girl.” Ain’t happening.
This email might seem a tad harsh, but I hope you’ll take a minute to truly examine why. There’s a reason we run one of the most successful dog adoption programs in north Texas. We’re fair. We’re honest. We are tough. We get it done. And now I’ve got to get back to the mission.
Thanks, but no thanks.
DFW Rescue Me and its 1300 adopted dogs not attending the puppy bowl
So there you have it, “Betty.”
And about this Thanksgiving bizwax? Well, I’m super grateful to volunteer for a rescue that isn’t afraid to tell Tom, Dick, and Fanny what time it is.
Disclaimer: I’ll add here in all fairness that there were no witnesses to Bubbles’ injuries. Therefore, it can’t be written with certainty that she was, without a doubt, used for fighting.
Since Sweetie has a lot more to say on a daily basis than I do, she started her own Facebook page. I told her that’s where she can record her very pressing status updates. So far she’s mostly posted a lot of selfies and complained about the cats and her Halloween costume.
Early last Saturday morning, Sweetie’s favorite cat, Bob, decided to swallow a needle. It was very…exciting.
Deeply affected by the incident, Sweetie wrote on her Facebook page: So my favorite cat, Bob, swallowed a sewing needle while Mom was making our Halloween costumes. What a dork. He keeps telling us he visited India this weekend, so I’ve had to remind him, “You were at the animal ER, dude. They gave you stuff.” Check out his porky, needle-afflicted X-ray. (Don’t tell him I posted it, though.)
Once Bob returned home from his thrilling stay at the animal ER, he was disheartened to learn that Clover had left a negative Google review for the facility after her discharge. (You might recall Clover suffered from liver failure in August.) In the comment section of Sweetie’s latest post, I was surprised to learn that Bob had added his own review. I’m sure Clover is somewhat miffed.
Four out of Five Stars
For the past month, all we’ve been hearing from Clover is “liver failure this” and “liver failure that” and “well, when I was in the Denton County Animal ER…” She thinks she’s real special now, and the rest of us are getting super annoyed by that shiz. Totally started tuning her out. There’s only so much I wanna hear about why she has a private room now and her stupid diet plan that’s “better than what the people eat.” Never seen a cat so far up the inside of a human’s ass. Just revolting, really. She’s been acting like a princess even though we all know she’s not sick anymore.
Last Friday night, I was watching Kristan sew the elastic on a blue wig for Sweetie’s Katy Perry Halloween costume when I realized how easy it would be to steal a needle. The plan was to just kinda hold it in my mouth and run off and hide it and then pretend I was dying or something so that Kristan would lose her mind and take me to the ER. After all, Clover had gone on and on ad nauseam about the crazy drugs she took there and all the food they shoved down her and whatnot. Sounded like Fantasy Island to me. Plus, I figured that if I went up there, too, Clover’s liver failure story would turn into old news since swallowing a needle is more dramatic than slowly starving yourself to near-death. Anyway, Kristan grabbed me, looked in my mouth, and the thing went down my throat. Totally not the plan. I wasn’t going to hide it IN my stomach. Great. Making matters worse, she flipped out, and Russell had to drive me to the ER instead. Read as: Everybody got the “just the facts” version of events rather than the over-the-top retelling that Kristan would have surely done. Aaaand there was a needle in my stomach.
You may have noticed I gave only four stars instead of the full five. I had to deduct a star because someone in the ER tried my stick something in my butt. I’m not that kind of cat. Some cats may be down with that, and, hey, that’s cool, but I’d rather be asked first. Just a little courtesy. I would have probably only deducted half a star, but I heard them telling Kristan how I didn’t like the butt poke, and I’m sure she told Clover all about that when she got home. I feel we could have kept it between us, really. But whatever. So: half a star for the butt thing and half a star for the overshare.
I also didn’t like waking up from a REALLY awesome trip to discover my stomach had been sewn up. Did the needle do that? Were my kidneys stolen? (I just watched Tourista with Kristan a week ago, so this part has freaked me out a little.) Everything seems fine so far, so I’m guessing I wasn’t victimized by organ pirates. I deducted a full star for this. Some cats might have deducted five, so I’m showing leniency here.
The drugs…I’m giving an additional star for the drugs, which is how I arrived at four stars. I came from the streets, so I have been around good stuff before. Nothing comes close. These drugs are AMAZING. They could have separated my head from my body, and I wouldn’t have minded. I think I went to India? Did I go to India? Wait, no. I was at the ER. Right? I can’t tell what was real and what wasn’t. That’s what I’m talking about. I highly recommend the drug buffet at DCAER. You’ve got to swallow a needle and possibly lose an organ to get it, but I say go for it. Truly, the best weekend I’ve had in a long time.
And Clover can shove it with her stupid liver failure trick. I’m in her room now with fancy-assed food of my own. This is living. Already planning on how I’m going to get back to the ER. Thinking about eating a sock next. Or a steak knife. Haven’t decided.
Mr. Bob Dobalina
As you can clearly see, Sweetie’s Facebook page is more exciting than my blog. I’m also slightly alarmed by my animals’ hyperactive internet presence.
If you’d like to hang out with Sweetie and her drug-seeking, hypochondriac cat pack on Facebook, go for it.
And for the record, the ER deserves five stars on Google from both of those loser cats because the staff has saved at least four lives between the two of them alone. Pfft.
This year’s State Fair of Texas is cooked and done. Put three forks in it. We closed the DFW Rescue Me adoption tent for the last time Sunday evening, and I admit I already miss it more than ever.
When our rescue group assembles for its hardcore, yearly 24-day event, we know great things will follow. It’s never easy, but always a rewarding, memorable experience.
Toward the beginning of our journey, Dallas Police Department’s Sr. Corporal David Renfro stopped by on a break while I was hanging out with Violet, our Boxer/American Bulldog gal. “I just had to say hello and thank you all for what you’re doing with these dogs,” he said. Instinctively, Violet leaned into Renfro and planted a big kiss on his cheek. The cop pulled out his wallet and stuffed bills along the inside of her collar: “I can’t resist. Isn’t she sweet?”
What Officer Renfro probably didn’t realize was the importance of what he’d just done. Standing behind him were three little kids with a parent who was hesitant about allowing them to get within closer proximity to Violet. She’s a mixed bully breed. It happens. The media hasn’t always been kind when it comes to portraying dogs of Violet’s ilk, who are truly faithful companions with gracious souls. However, once Renfro stepped aside, the children were allowed to affectionately greet our good-natured sweetheart and, in turn, decorated her collar with donations — just like their role model in the uniform. The photo was shared and re-shared by social media as well as by our major, local news source.
Sr. Cpl. Renfro, thank you. You unwittingly led by kind example. I hope the Dallas Police Department understands how fortunate we are to have a guy like you around these parts. And Violet? Well, she’s finally in her new home as I type. Victory for all. (As a side note, this is not the first time Renfro has been responsible for cool, animal-related news. Love his heart.)
So much has changed since last year’s fair. The Justice trial is officially behind us. We’ve implemented Voices for Justice, a full-scale educational program for area youth, and have presented our anti-abuse-and-neglect message for nearly 4,000 kids. Fairgoers viewed the slideshow of our DFW Rescue Me Justice dogs’ before-and-after photos on the tent’s monitor — often through teary-eyed, blurry vision. Certainly, Justice was with us in spirit as always this year as we continued to honor his memory by moving toward a world sans the “it’s just a dog” philosophy.
As I was discussing our Justice dog program with a couple, who were interested in adopting one of our dogs, I inquired about the children in their home. The husband told me their daughter was adopted. They’d traveled to Russia seven years ago to help a special needs child who was living in a dilapidated orphanage. And now they wanted to show her there were also dogs with special needs who deserved a second chance as her companion. We exchanged email addresses, and later that night I received a YouTube link to the story of their child, Tatiana’s, road home. Beyond touching, such heroes. In animal rescue, we often see the darker side of mankind, but every so often we meet people who truly restore faith in humanity — people who work alongside our effort by teaching their children, our next generation of rescuers, that it takes the work of the village.
As in years past, the fair wasn’t without its challenges. It rained bucketloads three of the four weekends. Attendance was down. However, volunteers continued to fill shifts from early in the morning until late into the evening. There’s a lot of behind the scenes sort of stuff involved in a major adoption event: washing loads upon loads of “dog” laundry daily, transporting volunteers and dogs at least three times a day, feeding and walking our dogs staged in nearby boarding after the fair closes, conducting home visits, coordinating medical care, etc., and, of course, maintaining all the other responsibilities we perform the other eleven months of the year. At the end of the fair, we gathered in the tent to celebrate the new beginnings for each dog who found a home.
And there were many.
Amongst those were two dogs who’ve been in my heart for a long time — a couple of dudes who really needed special people to step forward, Ollie and Ajax. Their faces have graced our website and the sidebar of this blog for quite a while, but for one reason or another have been overlooked time and time again. A lot of us have said things like, “If we only can find homes for Ajax and Ollie, that alone would make the entire fair worth the effort.”
Every day, a traveling worker named Kamila from our fair neighbors at “Old Time Portraits” would stop in to visit with Ajax, who spent almost every single day of the event waiting patiently for someone to fall in love with him. She’d ask, “Has anyone adopted Ajax yet?” I always hated telling her no. Kamila knew he was a neat guy and would respond, “Someone will. I know it’s going to happen.” But weeks went by, and nothing.
On the final day of the fair within the last hour, Kamila appeared inside the tent. She looked inside each crate while I talked to fairgoers. I knew she was searching for Ajax.
“Where is Ajax?”
I smiled, “In his new home. Happened just a few hours ago.”
And her eyes welled up, “I knew it. I’m so happy.”
Never give up.
This is one of the things I love about the fair: You meet all kinds of caring people from all walks of life that you’d never know outside of the madness of the State Fair, even if it’s only for a minute within space and time.
The group walked dogs one last time on the fairgrounds. Gathered our personal belongings (naturally, I left both of my umbrellas, pfft). Turned off the lights. Made one final trip to our parking area. Then Jim announced, “We have one dog left in boarding. That’s it. Everybody else is with a foster or in a home.” Standing ovation. We kicked major ass this year.
When I got back to my house, my own quirky dog-and-cat pack greeted me at the door. Amongst them was Sweetie, who spent quite a few days herself at last year’s State Fair adoption event searching for her home before I realized she was already there. She sniffed my clothes for the other dogs I’d been cheating on her with all day, knew where I’d been, and gave a disapproving huff. I told her, “OK, it’s over. I’m yours again, you guys.” Then all seven of us sat on my blanket-encapsulated sofa to celebrate.
Wrapping things up like last year with another corny internet toast, here’s to New Big Tex, my reincarnated homeboy and guardian of the greatest fair in the world. Here’s to showing rainy weather who’s boss. Here’s to the almighty fried red velvet cupcake. Here’s to our awesome partners at Urban Paws and Toothacres. Here’s to our Rescue Mom, Fluffy, for keeping us in line. Here’s to no more 8 o’clock fireworks. Here’s to all the State Fair fashion fails. Here’s to the adopters, the second chances, the transporters, the walkers, the photographers, the Pinups for Pitbulls, Tyron Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, the donors, the fosters, the people who cleaned up puppy pee.
Here’s to Sr. Corporal David Renfro.
Here’s to Jim Wenger, our BBAM, and the greatest rescue family of volunteers at DFW Rescue Me a dog could ever hope to find.
And now…here’s to 2014.
I know it sounds corny, but for me the State Fair of Texas is where my heart can always be centered. It’s crowded. It’s crazy. The weather can be temperamental. Still, this is the place where I first fell in love with caramel apples, renewed my wedding vows atop the Texas Star, and showed my child the sort of arts and crafts I’d known growing up as a preacher’s kid in tiny towns across north Texas.
The fair is also where I accidentally discovered my place in the animal rescue world, hence the blog’s header up there. It’s safe to say my life has been changed forever at this point. The animals and people I’ve met have become an enormous, extended family. Through the efforts of many, I’ve witnessed the group morph from a handful of volunteers into a full scale network of almost twenty-thousand Facebook followers with almost 1,200 successful adoptions. We’ve worked together within the community to create educational presentations, spay and neuter days, low cost microchipping events, donation drives, and many, many other beneficial programs benefiting not only the animals, but also the people in the DFW area. That said, every day is a fair day in our world.
DFW Rescue Me is hosting its third annual month-long adoption drive at the State Fair of Texas, and I’m really excited to be a part of it yet again. The past two years, we’ve been fortunate to host the event alongside Dallas Animal Services. However, this year our group will be running the show on our own and will need all hands on deck in order to ensure our dogs are present and attended by as many caring folks as possible.
If you’ve been considering getting involved in animal rescue, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn a boatload about the work we do in a very short amount of time. I promise the experience will be one you’ll not forget, and you’ll be rewarded handsomely in ways that cannot be measured when you witness a dog you’ve grown to love go from near hopelessness to enjoying the new warmth and comfort of a great home.
We need transporters. We need people to walk dogs. We need people to sell merchandise. We need kissing booth attendants. We need people to reassure pups who are scared and uncertain of their environment. We need people who are willing to fill water bowls and distribute treats and remind fair-goers that our dogs aren’t part of a petting zoo. So, you see, there are a lot of ways you can get your feet wet in this shindig.
Reach out to fairvolunteer[at]dfwrescueme.org for more info and to schedule your time with us during this year’s event. The fair begins September 27th and runs through October 20th, so there are lots of times and dates available for you to assist.
This is officially *your* Six Days at the Fair (and more)!
(And now I probably need to give our coordinator my volunteer fair schedule, too, before she strangles me. Sorry, Mer.)
I’ll be honest: I haven’t given much thought to judicial elections in the past, but the entire ordeal with Judge Larry Mitchell grandly fudging up his original decision in the Justice case this week demonstrated how important it is to use the people’s power as wisely as possible moving forward. And how convenient; we are entering an election cycle as I type.
A quick jaunt on social media revealed the name of a prosecutor running against Mitchell: Brandon Birmingham. Mr. Birmingham’s website provided enough information for me to determine he wasn’t on a mission to become the next Montgomery Burns of the 292nd Judicial District Court, but I still wasn’t sure I wanted to throw my full support toward a candidate I didn’t know. Therefore, I decided to introduce him to the toughest possible critic, Sweetie the Pit Bull, who’s never failed at separating the wannabes from the true contenders. With Birmingham and Sweetie both game, I set out to meet our next judge hopeful. I told Birmingham, “Wear comfortable clothes. It’s one thousand degrees where we’re heading, and you’re going to get covered in dog fur.”
What he didn’t know was the great significance of our meeting place. As I opened the hatch of my vehicle, I told Birmingham, “This facility is where I met Sweetie. She was abandoned here for six months a year and a half ago by people who’d neglected her for a lifetime, dumped her when she was dying. Luckily, DFW Rescue Me and Toothacres were able to step in and save her life. Give me a minute to make sure she’s comfortable being here, ok?” I searched for compassion in his eyes. Found it.
Sweetie lumbered her way out of my car and greeted him. Happy tail, so we were off for a walk around the grassy perimeter of the property. We bragged about our kids and families, the rescue effort in north Texas, and it felt like I was really just walking dogs with a new volunteer rather than discovering more about a politician. After a bit, Birmingham asked if Sweetie wanted some water, so we headed over to where an oscillating sprinkler was being operated by a couple of other volunteers. He coaxed, “Come on, Sweetie! Cool down a little,” and stood next to her while she tested things out. I tried to stop him: “Wait, I was going to get a photo of you. You’re going to be all wet,” but Birmingham laughed, “Oh, it’s fine. I don’t mind. She’s hot. You can take a picture anyway.” I watched the sprinkler chase them while Sweetie rolled in the mud like a pig. Hard to imagine Judge Mitchell doing any of that. Really hard.
One of the ladies introduced herself from Duck Team 6, a local rescue group that serves the needs of Dallas’s street dog population. When I mentioned my guest was running against Mitchell, who presided over the Justice case, she couldn’t conceal her excitement. “You’re running? And you’re here? That’s wonderful. Thank you!” Suffice it to say that finding political candidates willing to spend their free time walking around a deserted pet cemetery with a wet-and-muddy, old, rescued Pit Bull is akin to spotting a unicorn riding a narwhal over a rainbow; it just doesn’t happen often enough.
While we visited, I asked the prosecutor where he stands on animal welfare: “I always look at why people commit crimes. What were their motivations? If I find a lawless person has been senseless with no mitigating reason, I feel those responsible for acts of violence deserve to be punished severely. Animal cruelty cases fall into the spectrum of individuals who cannot stand up for themselves. They don’t deserve what happens to them. Those are the class of victims I take to heart and have throughout my career.”
And Birmingham’s record attests to his claims. With over a decade of prosecuting experience, he successfully tried the state’s case against Willie Atkins, who was sentenced to life in prison for intentionally spreading AIDS to many unknowing people. Imagine proving THAT. Bank robbery cases? Yep. Abuse cases? Check. He was even able to deliver a guilty conviction in the case of unapologetic, child killer Jose Sifuentes by presenting evidence recovered through the enlistment of superdogs Vodin and Pace from Search One Rescue Team. “Because of those dogs, the defendant pled guilty and got a life sentence,” he mentioned. In addition, Birmingham was the key prosecutor in the conviction of Juan Cantu, a member of the Mexican Mafia who received life for the brutal murders of his friend’s child and ex-girlfriend in 2004.
“The defendant was mad at his friend’s girlfriend, went to the house where he found not just her, but also her poor kid and another woman. He raped and tried to kill the other woman, even set her on fire. Just a horrible crime. We got him on DNA evidence and witness testimony. It was a tense case, and I admit there were a few times I feared for my personal safety, but that’s a part of my job.” Elaborating further on proving cases through DNA, Birmingham, who is also Chief of the Cold Case Unit, pointed toward his role in the judgments against Marion Sayles and Frederick Anderson last winter. “Once the DNA previously exonerated [Raymond Jackson and James Wilson in court proceedings prior to Birmingham's involvement], we had the DNA from the rape exam entered into the CODIS database — it’s a database of DNA profiles created from inmates in TDC — and the DNA matched two inmates. The case was indicted, and I was asked to try it. I did — both of them with Russell WIlson, Chief of the Conviction Integrity Unit. I wish I could say that I shook the hands of the exonerated [who'd been wrongly imprisoned for 29 years]; I hugged the victim Mary Smith after the trial and was proud to do so.” He credits the partnership between the two units as being instrumental in securing life sentences for the “true perpetrators who committed this horrendous crime.” Nice.
When I asked about a case that really touched his heart, he paused and inquired, “Do you remember Monika Korra? She was the SMU student who was abducted by three men as she was walking with her friends and repeatedly sexually assaulted. They just stopped and swept her away. She lived and wanted to come forward to stand up as a voice for rape victims; she didn’t want to be silent. Very, very brave young woman. A book about her plight is currently being written.” He continued, “It feels good to stand up for a victim as a prosecutor, to channel anger to prove a case. There are long hours. It’s tedious and like a roller coaster, but at the end of the day, I really feel honored to do the work on a case and tell the story from the victim’s standpoint, revealing all the vile and deceitful acts of a violent criminal. I know more about their crimes than they do. Because of that, I can’t wait to tell twelve people what I found out.”
Sweetie is all about changing the world for the better, so I thought I should throw in a couple of questions for her about what Birmingham would like to see happen in the future. He obliged. “The judicial system is set up to be reactive and tends to not, by nature, be proactive. I like to see programs put in place by groups that enlist our help to go into the community.” He says he’d be happy to lose his job as a prosecutor if it meant there were no more cases for him to try. “That would be great, but right now there’s a need. Violent offenders need to be locked up, and we need to be vigilant about those other non-violent offenders to help them become productive members of society.”
Having covered the heavy stuff, I figured I should give the guy a break. After all, Sweetie reeeaaally wanted to know: “Do you have a dog?”
[Laughing] “A cat.”
I assured him, “I can fix that.”
“Yes, we’re quickly on our way then! No, we have a thirteen-almost-fourteen-year-old cat named ‘Macy’.” Then he quickly added, “That’s ‘M-A-C-Y’.” (Love that.)
“Got it. Macy. ‘M-A-C-Y’?”
“Yes, that’s correct. I adopted her from the Houston SPCA. She was with me through law school and has been my friend ever since.” He whipped out his cell phone and scrolled through pictures of his girl. “This is her right here,” he smiled.
“And what would Macy have to say about you?”
“Oh, Macy would say something like she prefers to be fed by hand and drink water directly from the faucet. She’d also say she misses me because I work too much.”
Wrapping things up since Sweetie was past due for her third afternoon nap, I asked my new legal friend what he’d be doing if he wasn’t in law. After assuring me he’d be point guard for the Mavs, Birmingham admitted he’d love to teach history or philosophy . . . or become a musician. I shouldn’t second guess his aspirations. He’s already appeared on “The First 48,” lectured around the nation regarding rules of evidence as well as constitutional and ethical issues, learned how to play guitar and drums, and, of course, continues to fulfill his most important role as family guy to his wife and two kiddos and Macy.
For now, though, he’s prepared to put aside his secret ambition to join the Dallas Mavs in order to serve the residents of Dallas County. He assures, “I pledge to be a full-time judge, who is decisive, consistent, fair, and tough when needed.”
“So you’ll hammer and hammer to get us what we deserve?” (I had to.)
“Ha, ha! YES!”
(Hear that? March 4th. Mark it on your calendars. That’s the big day, not to be missed, folks. He’s got to win the primary in order to make it to November’s ballot. Click here for precinct and voting info.)
After submitting to Sweetie’s pressing inquiries, Birmingham told her goodbye and that he really enjoyed meeting her. She reciprocated the sentiment and prepared for her big nap home.
Sometimes you meet someone who sincerely wants to make the world better for everybody in it. There’s just an obvious quality about that sort of genuine kindness you can’t fake. That was the overwhelming feeling I had about Brandon Birmingham as I drove away: What a super nice guy. Just don’t tick him off by breaking the law because, evidently, then he’s, eh, not such a nice guy.
And that’s what we need.