Nitro – The Story of a True Survival Miracle – Part 3: The Journey

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)


On the Road!

In the last installment of this story, Nitro was hitting the road with his angel, Vinessa, her puppy, Laela, and Vinessa’s four small children. The drive was from Orange County California to Shelby (northern), Montana. This sounds like a long drive even without the crew. I couldn’t imagine doing it by myself with all those little faces on board. With all her free time (getting four children and two dogs packed and settled in the car, clothing for the trip, all kinds of assorted dog food, crates, beds etc.), Vinessa started a Facebook page “Nitro’s Journey Home.” Please feel free to check it out, and be sure to “Like” it!


Vinessa told me that she makes this trip – Huntington Beach, CA to Michigan four times a year. FOUR TIMES A YEAR?!?! Holy smoke! That’s a lot of miles. She told me that she has a big Ford Expedition, so there’s plenty of room for all the kids and Nitro would get a double seat in the passenger area. Her young pup, Laela, would have to learn to ride shot-gun. She cranked up the DVD player and off they went.


No time for gambling, Nitro! You’ve already hit the Jackpot!


The first stop was in Las Vegas. It was completely dark, but the dogs needed to stretch their legs, take a potty break, and the kids all needed to eat. The photo is of Nitro at the Las Vegas stop. He already looks better. He must know that he is now with friends and safe. He was driving along with his head out the window enjoying the ride. Apparently, he taught his new friend, Laela, to do the same. I can imagine the looks on passers-by. With two German Shepherd Dogs in attendance, no one would mess with that car.


There was one moment that really startled poor Vinessa. She thought she’d “lost him” for a few tense moments. She stopped for a short nap, and when she woke up and turned around she didn’t see his head. She felt for his body and lifted his head. Poor Nitro was stiff as a board. She panicked and jumped into the back and shook his hind-end. Old Nitro just looked up at her like “I am SLEEPING! What is your PROBLEM!!!?” Poor Vinessa! After everything, she feared old Nitro had passed away while she slept. It took her a walk and several minutes to get her heart rate back to normal.


While I was laughing at her story, I started realizing that the reason he was so soundly asleep was probably because this was the first time in a very long time that he could just relax and sleep. This wasn’t concrete or asphalt; it was a soft back seat. He didn’t have to worry about being chased by anyone or anything. He could just sleep and totally relax. He was with people who truly cared about him.


One of our main concerns was what to feed Nitro. Goodness only knows when his last decent meal was. He was more than 40 pounds underweight. We were concerned that feeding him high-quality puppy food (higher fat content and high vitamin/mineral values) might give him diarrhea. Luckily, he didn’t suffer any of that. He was thriving and growing stronger with every hour and mile.


Is that SNOW?

The next stop was in the snow! It appeared that Nitro hadn’t seen snow in a very long time. He sure saw plenty in his life in Michigan, but he had apparently been in California for some time. From the photo here, you can see he was certainly enjoying the cooler weather and the snow.


Why, YES, it IS Snow!
I think I’m going HOME!

One thing that really made me sad was that people were giving poor Vinessa really nasty looks. Yes, Nitro was in horrible condition. He had fly-bitten ears, he was completely emaciated, and was just a shell of his former self; but he was being cared for for the first time in way too long. People didn’t bother to ask. They just assumed that Vinessa was the person responsible for his terrible condition. Nothing could be further from the truth. If it weren’t for her, Nitro’s days would have been very few and very sad. I learned a thing or two, myself. Don’t prejudge. Don’t assume. The story could be quite different from what you are thinking.


Can you help a guy?

Once the troop finally got to Montana, Nitro wanted quite jump up on the bed and cuddle with the family. (That’s one of the more endearing memories I have of the time Nitro was with us. He dearly loved to be on the bed with us.) Poor guy, he still was too weak to jump. This sad photo shows Nitro when he realized he couldn’t make it onto the bed – yet.


We learned, further, that Nitro’s life, after leaving us, must have been pretty rough – especially the last few years. His emaciated appearance wasn’t the only evidence. He has terrible calluses from sleeping on concrete and a leg that became quite swollen and made him limp pretty badly. Of course, this really worried Vinessa. This is something that will have to be looked into once he gets to an area with good veterinary care. We were able to talk to our niece who is a veterinarian in Colorado. Her educated opinion was that this was probably an old injury that was swelling and arthritis. If it had been new, he would have been very vocal and unable to walk at all on it. We will have it checked with our vets once he’s home, but after a long rest, Nitro seemed to be doing much better. The swelling went down quite a bit. He even felt well enough to “play” with Laela a little.


Nitro with his “Angel” Vinessa

Another thing we learned about Nitro during his journey home is that he’s VERY protective. When the 3-month-old baby cries, Nitro will run, check the baby, and then look at Vinessa as if to say, “What did you DO?!? The baby is CRYING!” Of course, that is very endearing. There’s a whole lot to be said about a dog, who – while still not in the best of condition – will be the protector of his “pack.” It’s also important to keep that behavior within acceptable levels. This may be something worth watching for. We do know that Nitro’s person must the alpha-being. He needs to have a strong, yet calm, leader.


After only a few days
Left Day 1 – Right Day 5

After only eleven days, Nitro got weighed again. He had gained 10 pounds. This is an amazing feat. Yes, there’s a long way to go, but he’s taken such huge steps so far. At each turn, I’m reminded that God surely has a plan for him. Now it’s been two weeks since he left the shelter and he’s a stronger, happier, healthier dog. All of that in such a short time!

Almost HOME!

As of this release, plans are underway to get Nitro home by December 8. The family will be leaving Montana and heading for Michigan. I hope everyone who reads this will think warm, happy thoughts for the family on their drive. They will go straight to family and rest for a week or so before getting back in the car to bring Nitro to us. I know it will be hard for them to say good-bye to him. They have given so much of their time, energy and hearts into saving this amazing dog. Their sacrifices have been so selfless. Every time I think of all they went through, for total strangers and a completely unknown dog, it renews my faith in human beings. The world would be such a better place if more of us followed their examples.



Up Next: Nitro – The Story of a True Survival Miracle – Part 4: Home At Last


Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. From there, click on “Follow.” I hope you will. You will be notified of each new posting. I also hope you will jump in and comment on my posts.


Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!

Nitro – The Story of a True Survival Miracle – Part 2: Salvation?!?!

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)


As I continue the story, I am reminded that only a week prior to getting the notification from Home Again about Nitro, a coworker asked me if I thought micro-chipping was a good idea. I emphatically told her that I did and that we would always be certain that our dogs had “chips.” How ironic is that?


At the end of the last post, we had tried to get some sleep knowing that poor Nitro was in the Orange County Animal Shelter with only a week until euthanasia would be all but assured. I had gone to every Facebook page for rescues and German Shepherd Dogs that I was aware of. My plan for the morning was to check on-line for rescues in the Orange County area.


After a very fitful night, we were heading for work. My mind was consumed with trying to come up with a plan to rescue poor Nitro. I almost didn’t hear the message tone on my phone telling me that I had a private message on Facebook. When I opened the message I almost screamed.


I had a message from a young woman named Vinessa. She was asking if we wanted Nitro to come home to us or if we were just looking for a rescue. She said that she lives in Orange County, but would be coming to Michigan for Christmas!


My voice was cracking and tears were spurting out of my eyes as I read this to Jim. Could this be true? Could Nitro’s salvation have come – and so quickly? I wrote back asking if this were really true and possible. I hardly allowed myself to believe it could be. I didn’t expect to hear anything for a while due to the fact that there’s a 3-hour difference in time between Michigan and California. When I saw the message it wasn’t yet 6 am, eastern time.


I didn’t have to wait long. It was barely 8 a.m. when I heard back that, yes, she was entirely serious and would be willing to get Nitro from the shelter and bring him with her to Michigan. She had also been willing to rescue him and find him a home. Any wonder I call her Nitro’s “angel?” We moved the discussion to private messaging and I told her that I would contact the shelter to find out what was necessary to “spring” Nitro and allow for her to take possession.


It wasn’t all that easy. The shelter required proof of ownership to pick Nitro up. Of course, we are over a thousand miles away. I’m glad the shelter is thorough, though. It protects the true owners from someone who isn’t authorized walking away with their dog. The staff was very helpful. They told me that the email from Home Again would be considered part of the proof. What else could we provide? We hadn’t had Nitro in over 6 years! I immediately thought of our veterinarian. Would they still have records? I made the call.


Not only did our vets still have records with Nitro’s name on it, they actually could provide a copy of the receipt for when we had them micro-chip him. It had his name, our names, address and the micro-chip number. They could, if necessary, confirm the chip number against our records.

Nitro in the Orange County Animal Shelter

In the meantime, Vinessa was busy getting a temporary tag, collar, bed, bowl, etc. She also called her vet to make sure she could bring Nitro in to make sure he was healthy enough for the trip. After seeing the photo above, we all knew he wasn’t in the best of shape.


As she lived only about 15 minutes from the shelter, Vinessa was ready to go get Nitro once all the paperwork was faxed to them. We had moved our conversation directly to texting each other to make our communication quicker and more private. Although I could scarcely believe it, everything seemed to be in place. Her next text told me she was at the shelter and that they had accepted all the material we had sent and that they were releasing Nitro to her. SALVATION!

Salvation! Nitro safely in Vinessa’s Truck

From this point, though, we knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. Nitro was so thin and weak that he couldn’t get into Vinessa’s vehicle by himself. Poor guy. He was in really sad shape.

Nothing but Skin & Bone (and heart)

He made the trip to Vinessa’s veterinarian. The vet was appalled. She had never seen such a bad case of malnourishment and he was severely emaciated. This is a boy who should weigh over 100 pounds and he only weighed 62. The photo shows how badly his bones were showing through. He had absolutely NO meat on his bones at all. Things were looking pretty grim. The vet said she would run a full blood work-up and let us know.


By this time, not only were we praying that Nitro would be able to make the journey, but so was Vinessa. She’d already fallen in love with the big boy and wanted nothing more than to help him come to his forever home. It was one of the longest waits I can remember, but by 5 p.m. our time, we got the amazing news that Nitro didn’t have any illnesses (or even fleas)! He was going to require tender care and lots of food to get him healthy, but he wasn’t fighting heartworms or any kind of parasite that would make it impossible for him to travel and, eventually, thrive.

Poor, exhausted Nitro. First kindness in probably years

Through all of this communication, I learned so much about Nitro’s angel. This young woman was actually leaving on Thursday to drive to Montana and then on to Michigan to visit with her family for the holidays. That was quite a feat in itself, and for her to be willing to bring along a “strange” dog who needed lots of care was remarkable. What made it miraculous was that she wasn’t driving alone. In the car with her would be her 10-month-old, female, German Shepherd puppy and her FOUR small children (the oldest is 6 and the youngest is 3-months). Who does this?

Nitro’s First Bath since?????

In less than 24-hours, Nitro had found salvation and was with an amazing human being who was ready to bathe and care for a thoroughly rough-looking dog. Nitro’s resolve helped us all. His nobility shone through – even in his terribly misused state. His first night with a good bath, decent food, and a soft place to sleep were probably the first he’d had in many, many years. The photos sent were both sad and triumphant.

Clean and exhausted

Here’s a quick timeline of the amazing, “miraculous” things that had to fall into place to be able to save Nitro.


  1. Nitro was picked up as a stray and chip read on Monday, Nov. 12.
  2. Tuesday, Nov 13 (around 2:30 pm) – We received the email from Home Again saying Nitro had been found. As we never transferred the micro-chip to another person and never took our names off the records, we were still considered his owners. (If we had made either change, we never would have been notified that Nitro was in the Orange County Animal Shelter.)
  3. Tuesday, Nov. 13 (around 5 pm) – I got in touch with the Orange County Animal Shelter and they gave me Nitro’s ID number and crate number so that I could look at his photo on the web to reassure myself that the dog they had was, indeed, Nitro. After getting over the initial shock of seeing him in such poor shape, I realized it was Nitro. It was an older, sadder, and scared version of the dog we had played Frisbee with, but it was Nitro.
  4. Tuesday, Nov. 13 (starting around 6 pm) – I thought to post his photo and story to several groups and locations on Facebook.
  5. Tuesday, Nov. 13 (night-time in California) – Vinessa happened to go to one of those group pages. What makes this even more amazing is that this is a page she very rarely visits. She sends a message to us via the group asking if we want her help with Nitro’s rescue.
  6. Wednesday, Nov. 14 (5:50 a.m. in Michigan) – I get Vinessa’s message. I immediately respond and the wheels start in motion.
  7. Wednesday, Nov. 14 – Vinessa and I are able to get in touch and we agree that she will attempt to get Nitro out of the shelter.
  8. Wednesday, Nov. 14 – We are able to get all the information required for the shelter and fax it to them. They accept it and allow Vinessa to take Nitro with her.
  9. Wednesday, Nov. 14 – Vinessa is able to get Nitro in to see her vet who gives him the okay to travel.
  10. Thursday, Nov. 15 – Vinessa and crew leave for Montana.

Ready to Go! A much cleaner, happier boy after less than 24 hours

When I consider how many things had to come together, it just completely amazes me. If Nitro had been picked up one day later… What if Vinessa didn’t live only 15 minutes from the shelter? What if she’d never looked at that particular Facebook page?


By the way, every dollar required (and there were MANY, MANY dollars) to pay for getting Nitro from the shelter, vetted, and all the tags, collar, food, bedding, etc. had been paid for by Vinessa. It’s amazing enough that she was willing to do all of this for complete strangers and a dog she’d never met. To be willing to cover all the costs? Again, who does that? Who is that trusting?


We have, since, been able to reimburse Vinessa for most of the costs. There will be more, but she’s more than happy to take care of them until we can pay her back. Pay her back? How will we EVER be able to pay her back for all she has done? It’s not just the money. This brave, unselfish, young woman has single-handedly become a glittering example of what is right and good in humans. My friends, family, and we are astounded! We didn’t know that there were still people out there like this. There is at least one. She is Nitro’s (and our) angel.

Up Next: Nitro – The Story of a True Survival Miracle – Part 3: The Journey


Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. From there, click on “Follow.” I hope you will. You will be notified of each new posting. I also hope you will jump in and comment on my posts.


Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!

Nitro – The Story of a True Survival Miracle – Part 1

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)


This is the story of love, compassion, perseverance, angels, and God’s plan. That sentence probably frightens some of you who aren’t used to me getting all “religious.” This is not a preachy story. It’s a true story that is still unfolding.


Chief (White), Guinevere (Black), and Liesel (Black & Tan)

Let’s start at the beginning. About 5 or 6 years ago, we had three rescued German Shepherd Dogs (Guinevere, Liesel, and Chief). Somehow (memory fails) Jim found a male GSD in need of a home in a nearby rescue. His name – Nitro.



We went to meet Nitro. He was a gorgeous big boy who was very nice and polite around us. We went back with our pack and all went well, so we adopted him. At the same time, there was another person interested in Nitro who asked us to please let him know if, for any reason, our adoption didn’t work out.

Nitro with his Frisbee

As we have always done, we took Nitro to our vet for a complete check-up and to be micro-chipped. He passed with flying colors, so home we went. For the first several days, everyone got along just fine. After the first few days, however, things started to get chippy between Nitro and Chief (our beloved, male, white German Shepherd Dog). Both were young males (neutered) who wanted to be the Alpha male. The situation deteriorated rapidly. Nitro was larger and stouter, but Chief had “seniority.” There was no backing down. Even the girls, who had lived together in harmony for many, many years started fighting each other. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of a 4-dog-fight. For future reference – that’s not a good place to be. Believe me. We hoped that they would all work it out and become one big, happy pack. It wasn’t to be.

Nitro the Athlete

After giving as much time, soul-searching, and as many chances as we dared, we had to admit that Nitro wasn’t going to fit in with our dogs. We were terribly sad because, alone, Nitro was a terrific, smart dog. He knew many commands, loved to fetch and play Frisbee, and was a human-centered cuddler. We came to the conclusion that he’d never been socialized and we feared for the well-being of our dogs who had been with us for years. It was clear that he would have to go back. Then, we remembered the man who had asked us to let him know if things didn’t work out.

I Can FLY!

We called the rescue and they said that they had checked the other party out and that he would have been able to adopt Nitro if we hadn’t. We got in touch with him and made arrangements to meet at the rescue. It was with heavy hearts that we drove back to the rescue.

Where’d it GO?

We were met outside by the man who really wanted Nitro. He was obviously very excited that he was going to be able to take him home to be his dog. Although we would have preferred to be able to keep Nitro, we didn’t feel too sad for him because we felt that he was still going to be loved and well cared for. The paperwork was completed, and the transfer took place right out front. Nitro went from our car to his truck and never looked back.


It was a silent ride home with several tears shed. We felt, in our hearts, that it was the best outcome for our dogs and for Nitro, but we were still disheartened. That was the last time we saw Nitro, until…


Tuesday, November 13, 2012. It seemed for all intents and purposes like any other work day. Then, Jim checked our home email. To our complete consternation, there was an email from Home Again saying that Nitro had been found. Found?!? Even more dumbfounding was the fact that he was in the Orange County Animal Shelter in CALIFORNIA!! How in the world? Even more amazing was the realization that we had never taken his name out of our records, nor had we ever been asked to transfer ownership to anyone else. As far as Home Again and the Orange County Animal Shelter were concerned, Nitro was our dog.


I placed calls to the rescue, but never got an answer. They never did call me back, either. I also called the Orange County Animal Shelter. Just to explain a bit, that is a huge shelter with enormous capacity and an over-abundance of dogs waiting for their owners to come for them or to be adopted. They explained that, since Nitro was micro-chipped, we had seven days to arrange for him to be picked up or they would put him up for adoption (or euthanize) dependent upon his condition, medical health, etc. They told me Nitro’s identification number and the number of the crate he was in. I could go to the website and see a photo to be certain that he was our dog, but they assured me that the chip number matched the records of Home Again. They also told me that he had been picked up as a stray with no other identification.

What Happened to You?
(Nitro @ Orange County Animal Shelter)

Once I saw the photo, my heart broke. The once-proud, regal, strong German Shepherd Dog that we had hoped to have as part of our family was a scared, sad-looking, thin, bedraggled dog. Any resemblance between this shell and the dog we remembered was minute; however, we could immediately tell it was, indeed, Nitro. Our hearts fell. How would it be possible to save him? We don’t have any family in California. Seven days to make arrangements to get to California from Michigan and to bring him home (or to a rescue) was just too little time. It was also pretty obvious that there would be no adoption time for him. What could we do? We knew we had to try something, but what?


I turned to Facebook. We both get posts all the time from various rescue organizations and breed organizations. Maybe if I posted on all the sites I could think of and ask the people there to cross-post to groups that they deal with or know, we could find someone to help us save Nitro. It was a “hail Mary,” but we were willing to try just about anything.


By this time, it was getting pretty late at night for us in Michigan. We are very early risers, so I started making my plans to start calling rescue organizations in California, Nevada, and Arizona the next day. It was a terrible night.



Up Next: Part 2 – Salvation?!?!


Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. From there, click on “Follow.” I hope you will. You will be notified of each new posting. I also hope you will jump in and comment on my posts.


Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!

After the Storm

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

I was going to do my next blog on the topic of “Fall,” then Sandy came along. I’ve decided that I would talk a little about hurricanes. I know I tend to jump around a whole lot – no discernible major topic – but as I said on the tab “What This Blog is About,” my blog is the Seinfeld of blogs. It’s about whatever comes into my mind.

I guess I’m something of a “weather-wonk.” Meteorology has always fascinated me.

Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy had me very worried about New Jersey. I have a whole passel of kin who live in New Jersey. I spoke to my aunt and, thank God, all in her immediate family are okay. Some are without power, but all are well. All my family is originally from the Garden State (both sides). My father was born in New Jersey. My Aunt Viv – who I spoke to – is my late father’s, brother’s widow. (Got that?) My mother’s parents moved to Florida before she was born, but they and umpteen generations prior were from a very small area in New Jersey.

Seaside, New Jersey Roller Coaster
(courtesy LA Times)

The photo above is from the Jersey shore. My cousins and I went there when my family and I visited. A very sad site for me. 

Growing up in Florida, hurricanes were a part growing up. We didn’t actually have that many, but we were always prepared. I guess that’s why I was so astounded that so many people in Hurricane Sandy’s path decided to stay in low-lying areas. Did they not watch footage of the destruction caused by wind and water in Hurricane Andrew or Katrina? Sure both Andrew and Katrina were category 5 storms, but in my memory there have been so many really horrible hurricanes that I would have thought that people would take note and move themselves and their family and pets to safer locations. Did they just never pay attention before because the storm was somewhere else? Did they think that they’d never be touched? I guess now almost the entire country realizes that these storms can affect just about everyone.

Here in Michigan (where I now live), we even had some weather offshoot from Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. We had 60+ mph gusts and sustained winds in the 40s. We didn’t get nearly as much rain as in the storm, proper, but we did get quite a bit. I know that virtually every state east of the Mississippi River had some ill weather caused by Sandy.

Below are some photos of the leaves that came down from the storm. In a strange way, Sandy helped with our fall clean-up. Usually, we are raking and blowing leaves for weeks and weeks. I would say that this year, it was accomplished in almost half the time.

Ankle-high leaves

Backyard Leaves
(Courtesy of Sandy)

One of the stories from Sandy that makes me very sad is that the HMS Bounty, her captain, and one crew member were lost. The Bounty was harbored in St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Basin for years. As a matter of fact, my junior-high school beau and his father were part of the crew who sailed her on her maiden voyage to St. Pete. I remember what a hoopla it was when she arrived. She became part of our city very easily. The fact that she is forever lost with her captain (also from St. Petersburg) and one of Fletcher Christian’s (the REAL Fletcher Christian from mutiny fame) multiple-great-granddaughters were lost makes the loss so much more difficult.


HMS Bounty as I remember her
(photo from

Bounty after Hurricane Sandy
(photo from Christian Science Monitor)

These storms are not to be trifled with. Who can ever forget the story of the “Perfect Storm” of 1991 in which a Nor’easter intertwined with Hurricane Grace in which there was so much damage and the fishing vessel Andrea Gail were lost.

Damage in St. Pete/Tampa area
Hurricane Donna – 1960

My first hurricane memory was that of Hurricane Donna in 1960. Daddy had to tape and board up all the windows in the house. We had sliding-glass doors in the living room, so those took a lot of work. Our house was cement block with brick, so we knew that she wasn’t going anywhere, but – the windows – those were a different story. I tried to help as much as I could with the tape. Mostly, though, I was told to keep an eye on my baby brother. When the storm began to really scream, my parents took my brother into their room with them. My room had a high window that looked over the front entry porch. Our family car was in the garage, but my dad’s little Austin Healy Sprite wouldn’t fit in the garage with the big car. He had pulled it up onto the entry porch – which had cast iron supports along one side and the block and brick of the house along the other and the front. The back, however, was completely open. I remember listening to the transistor radio that my parents had given me while the commentators were driving around the area reporting on the storm. One of them went to the Gandy Bridge (which was – at the time – the major bridge between St. Petersburg and Tampa). He was reporting the bridge closed because waves were breaking over it. That really struck home then – as it does now – because that bridge is in Tampa Bay. The bay can get really choppy, but to have that kind of wave action is almost unheard of.


I was so worried about Dad’s little car. I remember watching out the window as it lifted up (wheels completely off the ground) and bumped down. I was sure it was going to be destroyed, so I watched over it as best as I could. Surprisingly, the little car made it through the storm with only superficial damage. I always felt like I had helped “save” it.


There were several other hurricanes that we prepared for that never did much damage in our area because they changed course. That’s the thing, though, we prepared. So many have actually hit Atlantic coast up to, and including, New Jersey, New York, and much of New England, that I would have thought that they would have been prepared and sensible just like we always were when the threat existed. We always had several days – as did everyone with Sandy.

Hurricane David on FL Coast

The last hurricane that actually occurred in the area in which I was living was Hurricane David in 1979. I was living in Palm Beach County, Florida. My room-mate and I set about strapping up the windows of her four-plex condo as soon as it looked as though the hurricane might actually hit our area. Two or three days before the storm, we got all our shopping done and started boarding up windows. It absolutely DID make it dark inside, but better to be dark than have flying glass, and driving rain inside.


Waiting out while a hurricane blows outside can be incredibly boring. Once the power goes (and it’s usually one of the first to shut down), television, radio and all the “normal” activities are out. It’s a smart move to have battery-powered lights so you can read and do crafts. Two other activities that are the norm in a hurricane (at least the ones I can discuss on a “family-friendly” blog – but let me just say that I would imagine the birth-rate skyrockets nine months after a major storm) are sleeping and eating.


You can’t open your refrigerator when the power is out because all the cold escapes and goodness only knows when it will come back on. No, cold food is out. We luckily had a gas stove, so we could have hot food. We opened cans of Spaghetti-Os, beanie-weanie, and soup. We, also, had bought a couple of bags of ice just before stores and roads started shutting down, so it was cocktail hour – every hour.

Damage from Sandy

I sympathize with all those who are still trying to get their lives back to some sort of order after the storm. I feel especially sorry for those who have – through no fault of their own – lost their homes, businesses, and belongings to the superstorm that Sandy became. No matter how well prepared you are, in some areas there is just going to be loss. No way around it. I applaud all those who are out there doing their best to help.


We here at Kalitta Air are having fund raisers in hopes to be able to help some of our coworkers who have been impacted by the storm. There are many organizations that are doing their part. The groups that are out there trying to rescue and help abandoned pets have my particular interest. I’ve donated to several of them. Y’all know what an animal lover I am. Thankfully, there are associations like American Humane Association’s “Red Star,” among others. I was edified to hear that many shelters these days are allowing people who are seeking refuge to bring their WHOLE family – including their pets.

AHA’s Red Star Mobile Rescue & Veterinary Resource

If you are reading this and feel the urge to help out, I hope you will go on line and find a charity that fits your comfort level and ideals. It’s going to take lots of time, people, and donations to combat the effects of this storm.


Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. From there, follow the WordPress prompts to subscribe. I hope you will. I also hope you will jump in and comment on my posts.


Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!