Long Live The King



I didn’t ask to be born. Did you?

Some people believe that our discorporate spirits choose the family and circumstance into which they are born. This would be tricky to prove in a court of law, so let’s just call that cosmic speculation.

But we are born, and once we are, we want to stay. In the end, we don’t get to, and no matter how much we want someone else to stay, they can’t either.

I once told my father, already in his nineties, that I expected him to live till at least 100. He said “I’m trying!” I thought my request might give him added incentive, but I guess anyone who makes it to 93 doesn’t really need my help. But even the strongest are no match for Time.

And he was strong, in every way. And smart. I would not have wanted to box him or debate him. 

He got out of the bad end-part more quickly than some, but not as cleanly as we—or he— wished. But I know by now that no amount of mental re-writing of this script changes the finale, because I’ve tried.

When I was a kid, my Dad said something to me which was oddly specific, but which has helped me all my life. Heaven knows how the topic came up, but he said “I don’t care if the President of the United States tells you that you can’t use the bathroom, you can.” Although I didn’t know it at the time, he had taught me that I had rights, far beyond the powder room, which no one could deny me. So don’t ever try to stop me if I excuse myself suddenly. Even if you’re the President.

Social media has allowed me to publicly brag occasionally about my Father, and people have been gracious. As annoying as it can be, the internet does provide a socially captive audience to anyone who has some bandwidth. I was surprised but gratified recently when some friends learning of my Dad’s passing actually remembered my previous tributes, mostly posted on his birthdays. It did make me wonder, though, if it’s weird to brag about your father in public. Since I’m a bit—different—in general, I decided not to worry about it.

I’m very clear where I got my two main faces—wisecracks from my Mom, questioning of authority from my Dad. I think I’m very like him, but also very different, kind of like a new generation of your smartphone— you like some of the new features, but you wonder why the hell they had to change the original ones that you loved so much and which worked so well. But I am him filtered through a very different era, and molded by very different experiences. He went into the Navy, I went to Woodstock. I think he never stopped thinking my differentness was just a phase.

It’s shocking when the older generation leaves. We look over our shoulders to find comfort and guidance from the grownups, only to find that now, we are them, and we don’t have all the answers.

Is it harder to have had your parents for a long time, and be so shocked when they are no longer there, or to have to adjust to that loss earlier in life? Is it better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all? Neither question has a universally correct answer.

My father had different beliefs from mine about what may lie Beyond. He wrote about them. His were no doubt more comforting than mine. I don’t like to be wrong, but this time, I hope I am.

I just know that now I feel less safe than when I knew he was in our family home, sitting at his computer, blogging and commenting online, or sitting in his recliner swapping comments about the talking heads on TV with my mother, sitting in her own comfy throne, nicknamed “Big Red”.

I didn’t ask to be born, but thanks for having me, Dad. I don’t know if we actually choose our parents, but thanks for choosing my mother and choosing to be my father. Thanks for feeding and clothing me, and putting a roof over my head. Thanks for always welcoming me back under it. Thanks for all the adjustments and for teaching me, however traumatically, to drive your VW bus. Thanks for lugging me to the hospital when my kidneys were taking me out, and being there when I opened my eyes again thanks to your fast action. Thanks for sticking around for so long, so vibrantly, and so impressively.

Thanks for everything, Dad. I owe you.


No Good Deed…

illustration only

I just read a boast of the conviction of a pet rescue.

I had and have no knowledge of this particular situation except what I just went back and watched and read from the beginning of the case. It may have been a righteous bust, at least in terms of pet limits (that’s another discussion), but the rescue’s vet, operating independently of them, in his interview spoke positively of the project.

Despite the typical description of an animal raid, (deplorable is a favorite term, used almost without fail), no evidence of that was shown in the news coverage that I watched, except for a few turds outside, where they usually are right before they’re picked up. In my experience, if deplorable is there, the TV folks will happily show it, over and over. There were no visuals I found of a hellhole.

When someone houses a number of old and sick animals, that is called a sanctuary or hospice. Of course, the animals must be well cared for and receive medical care, but even when they are, by it’s very nature, there will be sick animals there at any given time. Visit an old folks home for humans if you don’t know what I mean.

In my own bitter experience, agencies which kill animals dislike those who don’t, because they make them look bad. They will attack and stop them if they can. How dare they save lives without permission!

A very wise man I know, who also pointed out how very strange it is that “humane” societies took on the task of killing shelter animals, told me long ago that calling someone a “collector”, (and let’s add “hoarder”), is “the last refuge of the scoundrel”.

There are clearly real hoarders and people who mistreat and neglect animals, but simply housing a lot of them, including imperfect ones, does not make you a bad or sick person. In fact, it might make you a hero. However, these accusatory words are as powerful and lasting a demonization as is ” child molester”. When they are untrue, lives are ruined cruelly.

If anyone recognizes the case I’m referring to, I’m also speaking generally because I’ve personally seen it happen a number of times unjustly, and when dealing with government agencies, might makes right. I hope people will be less manipulated by one-sided accounts, pre-existing competition and personal dislikes, and consider motive on both sides.

Before anyone takes this personally and attempts to rebut or get defensive, remember I’ve seen this type of abuse firsthand from just about all my local agencies, which is why I recognize the rhetoric always used to justify toppling private sanctuary efforts to save lives they the system does not. By now, I could write the raid accounts myself in advance.

In many cases, even if there are problems, a little assistance could make them valuable allies to HELP do the huge job of saving animals.

But private no-kill sanctuaries are too threatening for that.

They illustrate too clearly what is wrong with the existing shelter model: that animals need to be saved from THEM.



top photo for illustrative purposes only

Billy D. Lives On

photo—Craig Dyer


Yesterday we laid to rest our good friend Bill Dyer, a force for animals’ lives stoppable only by the conclusion of his own.

Everyone has so many Bill stories, every one worthy of being in a book. Hell, worthy of being in a movie!

In the early days of Last Chance For Animals, way before we had an office, we held meetings at Bill’s apartment in Hollywood. He watched with mildly-annoyed amusement as members closely scrutinized the labels on the bags of snacks he had put out in bowls to make sure no animals had been harmed. At the next meeting, the labels from the bags had been cut out and scotch-taped neatly by the bowls on the table, like a museum display. Without a word, he had made his point.

About 5 years ago, Bill called me and invited me to be one of his support group at his audition for the X-Factor. No one had known he’d already survived 2 cattle-calls and was now invited to the full-out production onstage with all the real judges watching. The whole event would take much more space to describe, but suffice to say that Bill, then 78, took over and OWNED the theater full of mostly young hip hop fans, earning with his sensitive delivery of an old standard roaring applause from the audience and a unanimous rave we’re-in-love thumbs-up from all 4 judges.

Back then, being older than the rest of the group, Bill lamented that he had not gotten involved sooner, but he more than made up for lost time, and his scorecard dwarfs most.

All activists, and especially young ones, can look to Bill’s example when they feel tired or discouraged. If a person as kind and sensitive as Bill can weather witnessing the horrors we face as we try to end them, achieve results and move to the next challenge without breaking down or giving up, we can too.

In us, and in those who will follow, Billy D. lives on.

In The New Year, Who Will Own Our Minds?


As we wrap up a contentious year, I urge everyone to be very mindful that although others can surely cause calamity for us on the National Stage, only WE OURSELVES can agree to divide ourselves calamitously from each other.

Look how quickly everyone became labeled, in shades of black and white, a “conservative” or a “libtard”, a “Trump supporter” or hater of Trump AND those who supported him, and how vigorously we are promoting this division OURSELVES, becoming hysterical daily volunteer propagandists for the powerful forces intent on manipulation.  No one we know magically become evil incarnate on Election Day, but we are condemning each other with more vigor than we muster to condemn Satan.

Consider how quickly this phenomenon happened, and how artfully it was instigated by the professional and skilled people whose job it is, on behalf of their ambitious employers, to assassinate character—on all sides— and propagandize statements and events we would never have internalized without their cynical prompting.

Our minds and opinions are under constant bombardment, in often-successful attempts to influence everything from the type of toothpaste we buy to the politicians we support or hate, to blind devotion to scientific theories which ultimately change over the years, acceptance or condemnation of an assortment of equally unprovable religious beliefs, and which wars we support.

Four years from now, there will likely be someone else giving speeches, but we have to live with each other successfully far longer than that. It’s a lot easier to burn a bridge than to build one. We need those bridges to survive.

Let’s put away the matches those behind the scenes placed in our minds, and stay united against the darker forces who would burn the pathways which ultimately make us stronger than they are.



Man In A Dog Suit—The Secret Of Solovino


Solo vino, Solo se fue.

“Hey, Jack!!”.

My friend and neighbor Don’s big voice boomed at the fence. “Come look at this dog.”

I went outside and looked across the street at the dog he was talking about.

“Watch what he’s doing—he’s amazing.”

The stocky tan dog, pit-like but not, had appeared out of nowhere. Dumped, lost, wandering, we didn’t know. But he clearly was testing the neighborhood for somewhere to settle in. House by house, he would lie down in the parkway, observe the comings and goings of the resident, and when he got no reaction, he’d move down to the next candidate. 


The house that finally let him stay was the bright blue neigborhood nuisance-drug-cops always there- the ambulance is my doctor’s office landmark. They simply did not chase him, and it was enough for him.

I observed him in the following days. Although he now seemed to live there, he operated independently, lying in front of the house when he liked, following the occupants—when he chose— when they left with the baby stroller, coming and going when he decided to come or go.

He crossed to my side once and approached the fence. I grabbed a treat and offered it cautiously through the fence. He was tough looking and wary, and I didn’t want to lose a finger to kindness. My apprehension was not necessary. He removed the treat from my hand gently and delicately.


I began to worry about his safety. He was muscular and had that faux pit appearance ( I’d later deduce by some strong evidence and expert opinion that he was a Shar Pei/Jindo cross), and the frequency of the police showing up to arrest or snoop or question put him in peril. I could picture him trotting up to a dog-scared cop and getting shot for his friendliness. I decided to get him out of there to a safer haven. {my fears were founded—the police did in fact shoot another dog that lived there, in her own backyard, fenced in and licensed. That little pit luckily survived.)

I took some pictures of him, and started to talk him up. I hadn’t asked permission of the new “owners”. I’d deal with that when I had to.

One morning I walked outside, and the blue house residents were with the dog talking to the dogcatcher in the front yard. My heart sank as I rushed across the street. These people were not going to defend this dog, and probably were over the limit and he was the one to be sacrificed.

“ Hi, I’m Jack Carone” I began, and spilled out every animal rights and protection credential I could think of to overwhelm him with qualifications and interrupt the transaction. “I’m placing this dog in a new home.”

The “owner” looked at me as if to say “since when?”, but he didn’t contradict my claim. The ACO accepted this, and told me he’d be back in a week to check.

What was I going to do with this dog? I had just adopted a big mostly-shepherd that my ex-wife had found running the streets. Having been recruited to find him a home, I fell in love with him and had broken a 3-year no-dog policy I’d instituted after a difficult period during the passing of my former trio of dogs. I’d barely bonded with my new friend Bo, and had no intention of adding to the family so soon.

A week passed, and with no solution, I decided to take the dog, who the blue house was calling Solovino, to a horse sanctuary I was helping to operate in the Palmdale desert. This would buy me time to rehome him, while getting him out of the sights of the dogcatcher.

I went over to fetch him. Heartbreakingly, he was so attached to the security, however tenuous, of the blue house, he would not come with me, or even rise to his feet. The blue house man had to help me lift him and carry him to my car. I felt horrible to be robbing him of the meager stability he had found by his house-testing brilliance, but he was losing that and much more if he stayed.

I began the long drive to the sanctuary, where he would stay in a pie-shaped arrangement of dog yards we had built to house the many dogs we found out there who were wandering in this popular dumping ground of abandonment.

On the way, I stopped by my friend Rhea’s home, which is itself an animal sanctuary, always full of dogs. If she reads this, it’s a long-delayed confession that I was hoping she might want to take him. Although she admiringly remarked that he was “regal”, the dozen or so dogs already there, many of them tripods hopping to protect the gate, were clearly plenty. So we continued to the horse sanctuary.

When I stopped my car to get him out and into a yard, I found that he now would not leave my car. He was still desperately trying to hang onto his little piece of permanence, even though that was now 120 miles away. I had to carry him into the little triangular yard, the way I’d had to carry him to the car. I was painfully aware that the dogs there were slow to find real homes, due to the remoteness of the sanctuary and the difficulty of getting people to travel that far to meet them. I promised him I would not let him get stuck there, that it was only temporary. His stare was impenetrable, and it was hard to believe that he trusted my promise.

Unhappy Fate kept my promise to him sooner than I’d thought, as we lost the sanctuary in a coup, and I had to go retrieve him to save him yet again. There was nowhere to go but back to my home, and so we made that long trip back.

I didn’t really know him, and I had no intention of keeping him. I had a new dog companion in the house that I barely knew yet, and cats who I couldn’t risk with an unknown quantity of big mysterious dog.

I put him in my back yard, where there was a nice doghouse, got him food and water and a big soft comforter, and began the task of finding him a good home. I felt bad that he was out there alone, so made many trips out back to visit him and toss a ball. One night I slept with him wrapped together in the comforter. Although I loved big Bo, I felt a little guilty about my feeling that this independent and sensitive Solovino was possibly more my type. But keeping him after having just taken in Bo would have felt like bringing home a new girlfriend to meet my new wife.

I generated some interest, and he even visited one home to test his compatibility with the person’s already-resident dog. The visit went well, but the woman could not decide.

By now, some time, maybe a month had passed. I was having trouble excluding him from a home he was not intended to join, and I liked him a lot. I don’t recall what pushed things over the edge, but in a moment of impulse, I opened the back door , and Bo ran out to finally meet who he’s been hearing and smelling on my clothes. It was as if they had known each other from birth.

The cats were an issue yet to be resolved. I took no chances. I found ways to make sure they were never at risk with the strange dog. I kept a death-grip on his collar when they were around, and never let him free where they might cross paths. But I just couldn’t get a read on his attitude toward them. The pools of his eyes were too deep to see the bottoms.

Things couldn’t go on like this forever. If he was not cat-friendly, I would still have to rehome him. I remembered what my friend Don, the one at the fence, had done with his dog Buddha to solve the same dilemma. He had held his dog close to him, taken his kitten and held it on Buddha’s head telling the dog-—“this is my cat, and you WILL be nice!”

It hadn’t sounded very scientific to me when I heard about it, but now I was up against a wall. I held Solo’s collar and repeated Don’s tactic with one of my cats. Solovino looked at me condescendingly. Can’t you tell I’m a lover, not a fighter?

With no reaction to a cat on his head, I decided to take a chance, keeping as much control over the situation as possible while looking for signs of success. No cat had anything to fear from Solo.

I now had 2 dogs.

Bo loved the dog park, so I decided to see how Solo would do there. The first time we went, he was perfect. The second time he pulled the prison routine—pick the toughest looking guy and beat him to show everybody else they should leave you alone. I guess he picked out a dog who worried him, and ran the expanse of the park to bite that dog in the butt.

Next time was a repeat.

Hoping that was not the end of his dog park career, I enrolled him in an aggressive dog class, even though he wasn’t exactly aggressive and did not start fights. But the butt-biting was not helping either of our popularity rating. I hoped that could be rehabilitated. When we got to the class I knew he didn’t belong. The other dogs were so wild they had to be kept out of the sightlines of their classmates to not be set off into a frenzy.

The pretty dog trainer told Solo he had “cheerleader legs”. Well, we tried.

The blue house people had called this dog Solovino, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t want to take his name from him, but I also worried that it was some inside drug reference, and so I called him Solo, or Solo Mio, or Han Solo.

By now, the blue house people had moved away, I think at the invitation of the authorities.

One day, one of the kids who had lived there walked down the street and passed by the front yard where I was standing with Solo. 

“Solovino!!” he shouted, and came to the fence to greet his former friend.

“Tell me something.” I said. “ why did you guys call him that?”

“When he came, he had a tag around his neck that said Solovino. Just the name.”

I recalled that he had something around his neck when we frst spotted him, I think a womans’ fabric belt as an improvised dog collar. Solo had later been attacked by a loose dog, gashing his neck, and I guess that’s when he lost the belt.

I hadn’t had any luck in my previous searches for the significance of that name, but I decided to try again. What I found floored me.

Solovino is the name given in Mexico to street dogs, independent dogs at liberty, living as they chose with no human to dominate them.

Solo vino. Solo se fue.

He came alone. He left the same way

Someone, presumably someone from Mexico, living here, had seen in this dog the independent and freedom-loving spirit and streetwise capability of the dogs of his native land, and gone so far as to tag him with this name. Not an address. Not a phone number. For he would not be a solovino with those burdens around his neck. Whoever did this just knew who this dog was, and honored it.

When I learned this, Solovino got his real name back for good. It wasn’t a drug in-joke, it was an emblem of honor and respect, and I restored it respectfully for my new friend.


Not long after, Tanner, a little unwanted cocker came into my hands, and we were now a pack, me and the trio of perfectly compatible male dogs, who lived a lifetime without one cross word between them. We walked these Valley streets and they became a large part of my own identity, the tall guy with three dogs. It was great living with three young dogs after the aging medical issues and sad passings of my former pack.

When I’d leave the house, Bo and Tanner looked at me with big grins, never doubting I’d return. Solovino would look at me through the deep pools of his eyes. What he was saying had no words in English. I always left wondering what he was saying—or asking.

Somehow, we all became older. Bo and Solovino both began to have seizures, and we worked to control that. Early last year, Tanner died without warning. I presume his big little heart had worn itself out with happy excitement over every mundane event. I expected him to last the longest, but he left first. Maybe he was giving me space for the difficult days ahead.

Bo declined and finally had a cluster of seizures from which his big frame and heart could not recover. We said a sad goodbye last August when living was just not tenable for him. The hole he left was as big as his beautiful 90 pound almost-shepherd body. It was now just me and Solovino.

Although we had finally gotten his seizures under control, Solovino gradually, almost imperceptibly, lost his mobility. He never lost his will. We did what we had to do to live as content a life as possible. I vowed to not give up until he did. That took a long time, and I think he never really did.

About once a month for the last 6 months he would get a fever, probably due to things brewing in him due to so little movement. Each time, antibiotics brought him back to his compromised but livable baseline. A couple of weeks ago, we repeated this arc, only this time, although the fever slowly receded, he did not bounce back like before. I hoped against hope that if he was leaving he would do it on his own, a true solovino, and not make me give the horrible instructions that would preclude any suffering.

Last Friday, he seemed to cross some invisible line. The baseline was slipping. As if he was entirely spent of energy, he lay, not in pain, but too tired to move. In consultation with his vet, I administered a homeopathic remedy designed to either kickstart his energy or help him to make a transition he may have been resisting for my sake. The plan was that if he was still in this world in the morning, I’d take him to his vet, who practices in a house on a small horse property, for an assessment and a decision.

Saturday morning he was still with me. I carried him to a soft bed in my car, and made the 20 mile drive that always made him smile, even at times when smiles were scarce. Today, he was too tired to smile.

I made a soft bed in the living room of the home in which the vet has her office, and carried him to it. As I and the vet’s mother, who is Solo’s acupuncturist watched, his vet checked his vitals and for the very first time it was clear she thought he should be released. Still hoping that he might leave on his own soon, and spare us the horrible responsibility of deciding for him, I asked how long I might take him to depart. The answer was too long. With one last question, to which I already knew the answer, I asked the vet what she would do if he were her dog. Her answer dashed any hope of being relieved of speaking the words that would give permission to end my loved one’s life on this Earth. As I lay on the floor holding him and kissing his face, he slipped away quickly and gently. Some resist, he did not.

I brought him home to lie in state for a day or two, as humans do with each other, something I learned from a dear and sensitive friend, and covered him in flowers. I repeated the words of love and admiration I’d spoken to him over and over while he could still hear them, and when all that was exhausted, and all dreams that he would somehow stir and rise were over, I loaded him one more time in this form into my car and drove him to my friend’s facility to be turned to dust once more.

Solo vino.

Solo se fue.

The ballad of the street dog. He came alone, and he left the same way.

Solovino, my Solovino. You may have come alone, but you somehow came to me, and no way would I let you leave alone.

I hope you know, that you feel it, wherever you have gone, that a large unnamed part of me has gone with you. Keep it close.

When it’s my turn to close my eyes and leave a tired and useless body behind, it will help me find you, Bo and Tanner—our pack—and I’ll introduce you to all the packs and herds to which I’ve belonged in this life.

And together we’ll bark, howl and whinny again at the smiling, winking stars in the heavens, this time, forever.


What Goes Around


A mightier alien species comes to Earth, and easily subjugates us.

They separate our families, who never see each other again.

They imprison the young women, and kill the old ones who are useless for reproduction.

They cook those and simmer them in dishes where their tough meat is tenderized and disguised by the other ingredients.

The young women are raped by machines which impregnate them, so that they will have offspring and produce milk. Since the babies drinking the mothers milk would deny the aliens the beverage, the babies are taken, crying, from the screaming mothers and fed gruel instead, which will keep them alive long enough to also serve the aliens’ purpose.

The useless baby males are butchered for their tender flesh. The female babies, orphaned by the invaders, are preserved to be the breeders of the future. But they will also be hung by their feet, stabbed, drained of their blood and butchered when they stop producing milk.

Billions of others are packed into vehicles, forced down a chute and slaughtered straightaway for their flesh, which is glorified in alien communications heralding amusing new ways to burn and serve the muscle and other tissue. Some of the presenters become wealthy and famous for inventing new ways to combine the body parts and disguise them with spices and sauces.

Some men are kept alive to produce sperm for artificial insemination. Others are allowed to live for the work they can provide. They pull wagons, race for gambling purposes, are chased and roped in public displays and are also brutally killed when no longer able to perform these functions.

Before they are killed, the human captives are kept in sheds, cages and crates, their prison environments manipulated to produce the most output for their captives.

The aliens make jokes about their favorite human body parts, finding more novel ways to include them in their concoctions.

In this way, billions of humans of all ages suffer and violently die each year.

The few aliens who express revulsion at these activities are marginalized and ridiculed. Some aliens who feel some twinges of conscience nevertheless turn away and deny what is happening, in order to still experience their favorite tastes and textures.

We, the victims, look upon the aliens as monsters. In our hate and fear, we want only to kill them—all of them— and escape.

But they are stronger than us. And no god comes to rescue us.

As no god rescued our victims from us, when we were the monsters.

A Lion By Any Other Name


I’m glad the story of a dentist murdering a beloved lion has gotten national, even worldwide attention. But there are lots of degenerates, often professionals similar to the smiling dentist, whose bloodlust drives them to spend huge amounts of money and travel the world to kill defenseless animals for the bragging rights.

If you really want to retch, get a copy of Safari Club International’s expensively-produced magazine– every story is the tale of a brave dentist or other lucrative professional killing an animal–or a lot of them– with similar photos, always grinning beside their victims. The ads are for “outfitters”, with a menu of prices for the array of animals you get to kill, with names like “Grand Slam” for snuffing one each of the favorite targets..

This case receives attention because the lion was a celebrity with a name bestowed by humans, was protected and wore a tracking collar (which in itself is an intrusion for human purposes). It was “illegal”, as opposed to “legal” murder.

There is no sympathy for the murdered creature used to lure the lion. His or her species is not even mentioned. His or her life was important, too, just as important to them and their family groups as was Cecil’s. So were the many, many other animals killed for fun by other psychos. Those animals had no human names, although they no doubt had names in the minds of their mates, children, family bands and rivals.

Please remember that this is going on at all times, is organized, has clubs and magazines and a cult of killing for fun and self-aggrandizement for the small-of-heart, and possibly of other organs.

Call these miscreants out. Call them what they are any time you have an opportunity. They all deserve the heat this dentist is getting. Don’t let this fire cool off.