Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Contraband Greyhounds and Escaped Convicts

Since A Year of Centuries is all about cycling, I have to share a story about bicycle racing and greyhounds.  Several years ago, Robert and his cycling teammates headed to Rome, Georgia for a weekend of racing.  I thought it would be fun to tag along, especially because it was Robert’s birthday.  Also, it was a good venue for some greyhound meeting & greeting, and so Cosmo and Mr. Spock joined the party.

The team set up a few pop-up tents as a base location during the races.  I think Robert’s teammates liked having the greyhounds hang out with them during their downtime.  As is typical, the guys did a lot of sitting when they weren’t racing, trying to conserve their energy.  It occurred to us that cyclists and greyhounds are similar in that way: they’re either vegging out or racing like the wind.

Our adventures weren’t limited to the races.  The motel where we stayed offered plenty of excitement, too.  We stayed at the Howard Johnson, the only motel I could find in Rome that accepted dogs over 20 lb., at least according to the Internet.  When we were checking in, however, we noticed a sign behind the counter that read “No Pets.”  Oops.  So, we snuck the greyhounds in and out of our room all weekend.  Besides, we couldn’t have been much more conspicuous than the groups of blue hairs on tour buses and apparent escaped convicts that made up the rest of the motel’s clientele while we were there.

At about 3:30 A.M. Friday night, Cosmo awakened me – I kid you not! – by tapping me with his paw.  I got out of bed and saw him standing by the door, and so of course I assumed he needed to go out.  Robert had taken the greyhounds’ collars off of them because the jingling of their tags was keeping him awake.  I was feeling around in the dark for their collars.  Robert wasn’t sleeping much anyway, and he whispered to me where the collars were, trying not to disturb his teammate Jake and his wife Kristy, who were sharing a room with us.  Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to get the room key off of the table as I headed out with both greyhounds.  I went out just as I was, wearing a long, pink nightshirt.  It had two cartoon ducks on it, one carrying the other, and the caption “Seducktion.”  The greyhounds did their business, and we went back to the room.  When we got to the door, I realized that I hadn’t grabbed the room key; I had Jake’s credit card!  So there I was at 3:30 A.M. in my pink Seducktion nightshirt, locked out of the room, holding a couple of contraband greyhounds, and laughing my butt off!  I tapped on the door gently, and Robert let me in.  Jake and Kristy told us the next morning that they didn’t hear a thing.

Cosmo didn’t try to get on the motel beds, being content to lie on the floor:

Mr. Spock, however, enjoyed getting on the people beds, something he’s not allowed to do at home:

Mr. Spock even spent Saturday night between Robert’s and my feet.  All of us were pretty worn out on Saturday night and didn’t have any trouble sleeping – until a fight broke out among the escaped convicts right outside our door at about 1:30 A.M.  (We assumed it was the escaped convicts and not the blue hairs.)  They were screaming and kicking doors.  Jake peeked through the curtain and saw some guy fly out the door of the room next to us, through the air, and onto a car hood.  We were afraid that knives or guns were involved.  We were debating whether to call management or go straight to 911.  Then we heard the motel manager trying to break it up.  I guess no one was killed, but it was frightening.  Cosmo was scared, too.  The next morning, Jake and Kristy said he crawled in bed with them for the rest of the night.  Jake said he just snuggled up next to Cosmo and went back to sleep.

We found out later from the manager that the people who caused the ruckus were contestants in Battle of Rome V that was held Saturday night at The Forum.  Apparently, this was a series of fights in which the contestants were put in a cage to beat the crap out of each other.  Sounds pretty much like the gladiators in ancient Rome.

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