Large orange pizza boxes piled high on the counters of Sox Place’s kitchen awaiting the flood of street kids and travelers that would be hungry for lunch. On Wednesday June 1, 2016 those big red doors opened like they often do and the stream of kids lined up for lunch grabbing cheese pizza by the slice donated from Little Cesar’s.
Free pizza was met with yet another treat. An animal clinic hosted by For the Love of Paws, a local rescue that has found it’s place partnering with Sox Place stepping up as our primary vet resource for all things pets. Jen, the heart of the operations works around the clock for Sox Place and all our visiting pets, even though a year ago she admits that she was not interested in the partnership at all.
“We had never heard of Sox Place. I just knew that we did not have time,” said Jen. But Cindy from a non-profit called Favors Project who often donated collars and leashes to Sox Place didn’t give up on her. Eventually Jen agreed to meet with Jordan Robinson and got a tour of Sox Place. Little did she know what she was in for.
After talking for several hours and witnessing the multitude of kids and pets, Jen couldn’t say no. “I remember coming here for the first time and just being blown away by this place,” said Jen, “It was different than what every other rescue was doing, and we were trying to find our place in rescue.”
For the Love of Paws was on the hunt for a mission that fueled their fire and took rescue a step further from the amazing work of just pulling animals from shelters. “Our hearts wanted more, and we found it the minute I walked in the door here,” said Jen.
Megan Brocato, another key player For the Love of Paws recalled getting a phone call after Jen’s meeting with Jordan. The memories played back in her head like an old record, “I remember Jen calling me and just saying ‘This is what we need to do, and I need you to be on bored,’ recalled Megan. Just a week later they both found themselves being engulfed by the missions at Sox Place.
By 4:00 P.M. last Wednesday the team of volunteers had served eleven dogs and two cats, treating them with a series of vaccines, distemper, and even microchips. This basic and yet necessary care can often cost a pet owner a good chunk of change, and yet they offered the whole clinic for free.
According to a 2014 article off CBS money watch, Americans spend $55.7 billion dollars on their pets annually for all costs. Later in the article it reports that $14.37 billion dollars were spent just on veterinary care.
For the Love of Paws works around the clock networking and fundraising for Sox Place and the pets that are passing through those big red doors. “We have donors and grants that are specifically for Sox Place and Best Pets and (C.A.R.E) sponsored this clinic. There are people behind us that are behind you guys.”
For the Love of Paws not only helps provide dog and cat food, leashes and coats, but also has connections with groups that are ready to pick up any spay and neuter costs that come out of Sox Place. One of the dogs that was treated was a black momma Pit Bull who happened to be super sick. Jen kneeled down in front of the dog owner with her hair pulled back in a ponytail behind a ball cap. After having a very hard conversation with the owner, they agreed the dog would receive urgent care the next day, expenses paid for.
“She’s going to the vet tomorrow,” Jen said shaking her head. “Jeff is going to do what needs to be done on her and the best part is that it’s totally paid for, that dog needs serious medical attention,” said Jen with passion in her eyes.
When Jen and Megan started this rescue a year ago, they approached Jeff Baier to come on board, who is the designated Veterinarian for the clinic.
“We knew we needed to get him and we didn’t even have to convince him to do it, he just said yes right away. He is a blessing to us,” said Jen. Jeff is a Vet at Planned Pethood Plus and get’s Jen’s emergency rescues into a very busy clinic. “We could not do what we do without him. The pit bull is in tomorrow, which otherwise would have taken just 24 hours to get a phone call back,” said Jen.
While working in rescue for animals and pet owners can be rewarding, there are lots of difficult conversations and decisions that Jen and Megan are faced with. While spending time at Sox Place, there have been times where Jen felt the need to step in to a dog or cats life and help make the owner make a choice that both benefits the animal as well as the owner. “There was a puppy that I met here and I told the kid, this one’s got to go, because she’s not going to make it,” said Jen remembering those agonizing times.
Those hard decisions don’t stop at the door of Sox Place either. When a dog out of Sox Place ends up in a shelter Jen is often faced with the choice of leaving them there to be adopted to a new family or to put them back on the street. Back in the hands of a street kid.
Only a few weeks ago one of Sox Place’s kids was approached by Jen for this exact reason. Jessica, an owner of black lab as well as four other pets had her hands full. Jen recognized the lab to be a great animal and eventually asked Jessica to let him go to a home.
“I like Jessica she’s one of those kids that just knows that she couldn’t do it anymore. It was too much. Those are hard choices that we have to make, and she wants to do right for her animals. That’s the kind of kid that we love working with because the want to do the right thing.” said Jen.
There are so many stories and special relationships at Sox Place between a human and their pet. After working in rescue there’s a lot of terrible things that they witness happen to animals but they admit that these kids are not the ones abusing their pets. “That’s their soul pet, their life, their buddy. They’re not going to abuse their animal. I see a greater appreciation for their animals from these kids,” said Jen.
Pets can play a big role in a persons life and we are so grateful for our friends at For The Love of Paws and all that they do to support Sox Place and our pets. If you believe in what they are doing for Sox Place please consider visiting their Facebook page. We are so excited to see how this friendship will continue to grow between us.
A story of two who escaped a magazine crew in Denver
I got a phone call Monday afternoon, June 4 of this year. The voice on the other end was of Pastor Bob Blevins in Pocomoke, MD. He had gotten my name and cell number from our District headquarters; they had told him that I could help with his problem. The problem? A victim of human trafficking named Shannon was in Denver and wanted to go home. She had called her mother back in Maryland and she turned to Pastor Blevins, the only resource she knew to turn.
Pastor Blevins gave me a description of Shannon: tall, slim, 18 year old girl, and had a tattoo on the left side of her neck. She was supposedly at the bus station where she and a friend slept outside on the sidewalk Sunday night. I left the comfort of my home (actually reading in my hammock) and went to the bus station, but no Shannon.
I walked the 16th Street Mall from one end to the other looking for this girl I had never talked to or met. She was a statistic, another victim of the scam called a magazine crew. * But she was a daughter of a very worried mother who loved her; Shannon was worth rescuing!
I walked along Broadway Street where many of the street youth hung out. Walking up to choruses of “Sox!” or “Doyle!” I began telling a few of them what I was doing out on a Monday afternoon, that I was looking for this girl who was in trouble and needed to be found. Krazy said that she thought she had seen her, but didn’t know for sure.
Another youth, named JA, said that he would help put the word out. JA is a junkie, addicted to heroin and barely hanging on, but willing to help find this girl, a stranger from another state. Out on the street, a stranger is often taken in and watched over. Many of the youth said they would keep an eye out for her.
I was playing phone tag with the pastor, who was talking to Shannon’s mom on a borrowed cell phone; the leader of the magazine crew had stolen Shannon’s cell phone. The leaders of the crew use verbal and physical intimidation, along with physical and sexual abuse to get the workers in line. Shannon fortunately had not been subjected to the abuse.
I headed back to the bus station and found her along with her friend David, who also left the crew. They were shaken, but no worse for the wear. They told me that some of the leaders of the crew had come to the station and surrounded them to intimidate them into coming back. The crew didn’t want them to leave because Shannon and David were money in their pockets. Remember the whole deal is a scam to make money off unsuspecting youth selling a false product. They would have to recruit and “train” others if they left, but when these people saw me, they figured the kids were not stranded and left them alone.
I got them bus tickets back to Maryland, got them something to eat and a place to stay for the night (their bus left at 7:15 on Tuesday night). The next morning I took them to Sox Place for a while and then they went over to the bus station to wait for their bus.
When I took them over to the bus station, I took some time to speak with them about their lives and how they didn’t have to live under the curse of no father, but could, with God’s help, live a life that was different. I told them they were special and that I was blessed to have met them, thankful that God had let me be part of their lives. I then prayed for them and over them; that was really special!
Shannon is back safe with her mother and family. David is tagging along, hoping to find his way in this life! Thank you for your support that allows us to be part of the rescue of two very wonderful teenagers who had stumbled into a trap. Thank you for standing with us so we can stand with the fatherless and those that are at risk.
*Magazine crews recruit young people with enticing ads such as, “Travel the country and earn as much as $[some ridiculous amount of money] per day!” The crew then sends them somewhere far from home to sell magazines door-to-door. When pay day rolls around, they don’t get a dime. The claim is that the young person didn’t make enough in sales to cover the cost of the hotel, food, travel, and training, thus being in debt to the company. The truth is that they will never make enough to get out of debt, and they are often threatened, beaten, and molested to force them stay with the crew.