The Climb In Life

For the past month, I’ve really had time to start sitting and reflect on things. Bathroom remodel is done, organizing the whole house is done, cleaning the whole house done, getting the yard to look nice is done. But a more pressing matter is coming my way. One that will flip my world upside down and cause it crash into a brick wall. But that crash will happen with a smile.

My sweet boy will be arriving in a couple months. This future I have been trying to shape for myself and animals out there will now be shared with the arrival of my son, Henry. I’m happy, nervous, agitated, stressed, elated all at the same time. I can’t wait for him to come. But like how I devote my time now to make my wife happy. My full attention and time will be for my son. Its just life. Time is always managed and too short. And now my time for the cause is even shorter. I will probably be incoherent, pale, and exhausted for the six months after his birth.

I think about my progress and what I have done. I try things here and there. I learned that I can’t go full steam all the time and I burn out. Progress is made little by little. Which I have done but maybe I’m disappointed in myself since I don’t have much to show for it. My life and my wife’s have changed significantly for the better with the drastic low amount of meat we eat and any animal products we buy from respected companies. But my point in all this was to make a difference outside of my own world. And even though its really hard, I know it will be nearly impossible to keep pushing after a child. I have to love my family and make sure everything is provided in the best way possible for them. They are my #1 concern and nothing else. But it begs me to think where does that leave the animals. They will continue to suffer everyday by the millions. One soldier is temporarily leaving the battle.

It makes me think about Congressmen Connolly making a speech to environmental advocates saying they need to be more proactive and ruthless. That to get the message out there, it needs to be out like the old days and having to walk door to door and talk to people. And I think who has time for that? And the average person who cares about animals or environment doesn’t come from a background of bravado to make impact. Wheres the money or backing to do so? My letters have gone unnoticed and I start to think whether to keep writing. Is anybody hearing my message? Is anybody making a change? Is anybody thinking about it all. This is just a mental break and I hope to keep this going. The fight still needs to continue.

I started My Dear Layla with a vision and promise. I’m still keeping that promise.  the vision and passion is still strong and alive.

Congressman Update

Haven’t received any response to my email. So why not send him letters to all three of his offices? We have two offices in Virginia at Annandale and Woodbridge. Then another one upon Capitol Hill at the Rayburn building. And if he doesn’t see it, at least some staff will.

Good Ole Connolly

Always nice to see my congressmen out doing animal deeds and awareness for our local community. I hope he continues to be reelected for my district and influence all other areas in Northern Virginia. This is something that we all care about!!!!!!!!!


New Restaurant Review

After the long wait, I was able to finally try out Lotus Vegetarian restaurant in Chantilly, VA. It is a restaurant in a big plaza in Chantilly next to some big stores like Lowes and Petsmart. Easy to access and in a main part of the city on Route 50. My wife told me about this place quite a few months ago. Her best friend and her mother used to love to come and eat here. The menu had a large number of offerings so I was quite excited.

We had a number of vegetable and tofu dishes. But what stood out the most was the fried eggplant. It was to die for! It was crisp and perfectly flavored. Unfortunately, my mother in law order a lot of dishes already so I didn’t get a chance to order some of the protein dishes. They have lots of different type of dishes offered for any sort of vegetarian. But the fact it is an asian cuisine style place which obviously makes my taste buds happy. I will definitely be coming here again. Vegetarian dishes are known for being bland and tasteless. I can’t argue, its hard to get the good flavors without making it unhealthy. But Lotus Vegetarian does a great job of making the food healthy, plentiful, and delicioius. 5 stars from me!


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Local Political Animal Lover

My very own congressman is an animal lover. GREAT NEWS!!!! One way to influence policy as a citizen is to contact your local congressman. Its something you learned in 8th grade civics. Have an issue, write your congressman, they are there to serve you. They will listen. I think back in my day it was Tom Davis.

But for quite awhile now, the congressman for my district is, Gerry Connolly. I saw on a recent facebook post by the Humane Society of Fairfax County that Congressman Connolly invited the Humane Society out for his Federal health benefits workshop. Any press is good press for somebody who is an animal lover. I’m a proud supporter of him and voted him in the last and previous elections. He’s so good that he ran unopposed.

Definitely going to keep him in mind and write him when I get my ideas going. Hopefully I can speak my mind through him for our state political policy. Go Annandale, go Fairfax County, go Virginia!

Lets Get Things Going, Keep It Movin’

There are quite a few updates on the Pet Overpopulation project. I thought for a long time how I could contribute and what I could do. There are many things you can do but what can make a direct impact. What can do the most good.  I was thinking about cities at my previous work with the US Conference of Mayors and what I did. Then it hit me, why not do a Best Practice? It’s something you have done before, it’s something you can share with cities, it’s something people can read and feel they can do. This is it!

I decided to reach out to the City of Tucson council member Steve Kozachik who helped passed an ordinance requiring pet stores to only sell rescue dogs. That was dependent on whether the State of Arizona passed a law that cities do not have that right. I read the articles on the story and it was very small excerpt from the council member. I researched some more and found some editorials by him. He is a strong advocate and vocal as well. I enjoyed that he was willing to stand by and voice strong opposition. He was even willing to break way form the Humane Society because of their willingness to compromise with the state on the issue.

I reached out to him and we had a good talk. He felt what I was doing and how I was going about it was a good thing. I wanted to be direct about the issue, no hiding the tragedies, showing the best of the best to stop the madness, and show people things can be improved. I was also surprised how the pet store with their backers were so easily able to get something passed in the state because it was deemed as anti-business and not something cities should regulate. He then looped me with a few others from the Humane Society. They were initially very willing to help and agreed but then retracted there confirmation for a best practice. They thought it might be reinventing the wheel since others have already said what to do or Humane Society mentioned they know what works and to stick to it. They have been in the fight for years and know what works and not. So who am I to say what is what we should do in this fight.

I sat on this for a few days. I’m not going to lie; it beat me up a little bit. Thinking I had this great idea to help and share with cities and build momentum. But here the stewards of the issue say move on and focus your energy to try another way or their way. Made me rethink if I should do it at all or what I can do would even contribute. But hey, there is no time to sulk and complain, animals don’t get saved with me crying to myself.  Animals get saved with action, sulking is done, get back to thinking.

What was odd with me through reading the information and step guides, it seemed like an overpowering wealth of information to dissect and analyze. Sure for somebody who wants to know the ins and outs of the issue, it’s wonderful. I guess you need someone who is willing to read it all to fight and know their stuff. But the whole idea for people to go out themselves and take on this whole fight against the pet system is daunting.

Something just didn’t sit right with me with what to do and what is being done. Not to say its wrong. I just want to see more. Ok so pass a local ordinance. Well I can’t pass local ordinances in my city or county. The city of Tucson just got shot down and overturned. The process takes months or even years. So that’s not likely. I make a post on my social media pages, great! But then how do I keep people do it or if I do it too much it get annoying. Alright so write a letter, I did, and now what wait. This is all going through my head; it just seems like dead ends, not gaining real awareness. But I can’t complain, I need to show there is more than can be done. Go out and do your own work and awareness. Go ahead and change people’s minds.

My initial idea was for pet care was to make a pamphlet or brochure at local community centers to share. But then it evolved into, why not tackle both issues of puppy mills and euthanasia. Why don’t you’ make a stand sharing pamphlets on both issues of puppy mills and how people can keep pets. There we fight both fronts all in one place. Make it simple. Make it something people can understand and share. Get people talking? Also I was thinking what something tangible that people can share and talk about. Why not do a dog tag that shows your dog and you are against puppy mills and love you dog. That’s something a dog or cat can wear anywhere it goes and people can see. Get people to talk. If you don’t have the tag, what does it mean? Where do I get one? So let’s work on that. Let’s work on something we can put together in the community.

Keep Thinking

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I keep thinking how did this come about. This is where it all happens. Where pets come in and where they go. I believe the key is awareness. People are fueling the demand and people want to make dogs to feed that demand. So in the end it is just us causing the issue. The reasons are ridiculous and can all be solved.

I’m in the process of making my brochure and hope to share with pet communities. If they read hopefully they want to keep the pet and if they read enough, hopefully if they can’t handle it, they won’t get one either.