*This and a few following posts, the exact number unknown at this time, are a retelling as accurate as I can give of the several recent dramatic events of my life which have been full of some of the most traumatic experiences that I have ever made it through, but which also lead to some of the most profound and startling realizations and epiphanies of my life. While these entries are not directly about animals themselves, the animals in my own life were impacted greatly by the events that occurred, as well as many of these events causing me to examine the predicaments of the various animals that come into “shelters” and animal control centers everywhere. I have chosen to be brutally honest, and realize while some may judge me, others will appreciate my honesty and hopefully a few will maybe learn something from my experiences. The specifics of which ALL will come to be revealed in the the telling of my story.*
the woman being escorted into my, now our, cell was younger than me. She stood about 5’6, thin, and with short dark hair.
“oh i get to be on the floor?” she asked the guard. “awfully cold down there. can’t i have a concrete bench like her?”
“sorry ma’am” said the guard. “there are no available cells. concrete’s concrete” and he closed the door.
the woman sighed, wrapped herself in one of their blankets and laid down on her mat. we began to share stories.
her name was glenda and she was arrested for an outstanding warrant while reporting a recently purchased vehicle of her’s as stolen.
“talk about luck” she stated. “they got the guy that stole it tho”. I expect to be out of here soon. my boyfriend’s working on the bail as we speak”.
i didn’t want to ruin her “hope”, but i had a sneaking suspicion that she would be there awhile, at the very least, late into the night. it seemed like the bail bondsman were taking their time these days, and didn’t even really wanna work the weekends. you would think they’d been all over that what with the economy, but with as many people so broke these days, it also was a much bigger challenge to come up with the money as well.
glenda lived in glenwood springs and was a beauty school student. she also had children, one just 8 years old and who she was very concerned about, since she wasn’t home. a friend of hers was aware of her situation tho, and was with her youngest.
glenda had the misfortune, or fortune depending on how you viewed it, of missing dinner that had been served earlier at 4:30pm. It was now approximately around 6pm and i was in the midst of going in and out of the cell to make some follow up phone calls. i had been trying repeatedly to get a hold of a friend of mine who always gave sage advice, and i also was keeping track of time again, intermingled with reading, as i was to check in with my sisters around 9pm.
glenda was hungry and cold. sleeping on the floor had to be chilly, not to mention it was right next to the sewer drain of our cell. i felt for her, and had some crackers and gave them to her.
i then told her my story.
“i think if i had pets like you and were at risk of losing them all, i would never have pets again” she said.
“i don’t have children or a husband, so they are family to me, i said. “i would do just about anything for them, and right now that means getting out of here as soon as possible”.
eventually she shared with me her warrant and the circumstances of why she was there. exactly what it was, is her business and i choose not to share. like me though, it was a similar set of circumstances. glenda was attending beauty school to provide a better future for herself and her kids. she was a single mom, and had no idea that there was an outstanding warrant for her. like so many of us, just when things were going well, something popped up and threw everything into chaos in our lives.
so many years ago, i had wanted to play a part in the legal system; going after criminals and getting the bad guys as initially i was prelaw when i was pursuing my bachelors. this experience tho, not to mention the last year, had taught me alot of things; mostly that the people who won when it came to the legal system, were the people that could afford our legal system and it’s process (while attending bankruptcy court earlier this last year, it was amazing how much respect those declaring bankruptcy got if they were represented by a lawyer versus those, like me, who weren’t). it seemed that there were alot of good people who were being penalized severely for some really stupid reasons; my legal scenario with the city of rifle i give as example 1. someone who’s practically destitute, who didn’t have a job, was on food stamps, and had been denied unemployment, not to mention had filed bankruptcy, and the former city they had resided in was “putting the squeeze” on them for some weeds, dog poop, and refuse violations.
what most people felt should have been a couple 100 dollars fine, was basically 65 times that, and many friends and family felt it was an extreme abuse of power. in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in our country, and the little town of rifle colorado has determined that it’s number one priority is it’s “beautification process” and enforcing whatever it took to make sure certain selected individuals abided by “the rules”. another example, i had known of one person who had a business and who’s building caught on fire, and so she was running her business out of her home; the city fined her for violation of the zoning code of her neighborhood which didn’t allow that kind for that certain type of use of of your home. in other words, try to get back up on your feet in the city of rifle, and if it’s infringing in any way whatsoever on municipal code, you’d better watch out. or maybe it was just a way for the city to make money. it was one of the few towns on this side of the mountain that wasn’t operating in the red.
glenda got up and banged on the door. “Hellooo! Can I get another blanket? I’m freezing!” It took a good half hour, but her request was finally met. Back on the floor, tossing and turning, she finally passed out for a bit. I was on the slab reading my book, and anxiously awaiting for 9pm to arrive. (the book wasn’t very good by the way. apparently it’s one of the requirements of jail that they have a million different versions of the bible, even in foreign languages, sucky books, but no good books whatsoever).
altho i had a view of the clock, i knew when meds were distributed that it would also mean the arrival of 9pm-oh and i must say here that i was extremely grateful for daylight savings time which arrived that previous sunday (yesterday). any reduction in waiting time i was happy for! soon the nurse was knocking on my door with my medication. i took it and asked if i could use the phone.
“it’ll be a minute” the guard replied. of course, it always is.
by 9:30am i was back banging on the cell door again, and was released to make my call to the tune of both the guard’s and glenda’s complaining the guard due to my relentlessness, and glenda because i woke her up. someone picked up the other end, but charges weren’t accepted. they must not be home yet. i would try a few more times despite the guard’s and glenda’s complaining, but had no luck. i would have to try again in the morning.
both glenda and i spent the night doing our fair share of tossing and turning. her anxious about her children and not being able to get word to them; wondering when she would be able to get out, and me wide awake, from all the previous sleep i’d had, and wondering anxiously what tomorrow would bring. i didn’t manage to pass out until around 1am, and the nurse showed up again sharp at 4am with my medication, followed shortly after by breakfast. i woke glenda up.
breakfast that morning was a big disappointment and pretty gross. i didn’t eat much, and allowed the anxiousness and energy for what the day would bring, fill me up instead.
both glenda and i fell back to sleep, but were awakened at 9am by a guard wanting some paperwork filled out by us for the eventual moving upstairs to “better” accommodations. around ten am, the same guard knocked again and opened the door. i had a phone call. it was the eagle animal services requesting my permission to go into my trailer and remove the cats and dogs. yes of course i said! i’ll be able to get them back tho right? oh yes! i was told. if it was only a day or two they had them, they wouldn’t even charge me boarding fees, but if it went beyond that, we would have to figure something out. at the time, the fact that my animals were going to be taken care of, was a great relief to me. the gentleman said i would be able to get them back, and so i had no worries.
i finally spoke with my sisters and updated them on all that was going on. i also spoke with a friend, a good friend, who not only had been trying to get a hold of me all weekend, but who even had camped out by their phone in hopes i would call. i had been trying their cell phone, thinking that they wouldn’t be by their office phone. my sisters told me that the attorney that they had initially spoken to, was not able to take my case. they had requested that he take my case pro bono or with a large discount, and his superiors said it couldn’t be allowed.
great. i was on my own, but the friend who had been waiting to hear from me, gave good advice. it would heed me well when the time came.
my friend’s advice charged me up. i headed back to the cell, to find glenda extremely frustrated and very concerned about her kid.
“if you want to get them to take your seriously, you’re gonna have to get that door and start making some noise girl” i said. “it’s the only way they’re gonna start paying attention. if there’s one thing i’ve learned this weekend, it’s that we are not their number one priority in here! the only way to get noticed is to make some noise!”
apparently that was all the encouragement glenda needed. i didn’t know how her knuckles could take the beating she gave ’em, but it sure did the guards attention!