Tag Archives: cats

Best Moments of 2022

1 Jan

I was really grasping at straws for the most part to make this a list. I had to dig deep to think of the good times.

#21 Best thing:

Pride Parade was neutral. It Rained hard for a long time. We were soaked and chilly.

The police were good sports when the gays decorated them–they didn’t hate it. They DID refuse glitter though 😛

Despite the rain (and Cool’s event anxiety) we looked awesome.

#20 Best thing:

ScarecrowFest was neat. The entire town had sponsered scarecrows, and they were everywhere! We got to vote for our favorite on the website. Though as of yesterday (12/31) they still had not posting the result of the vote…

#19 Best thing:

I was in a totally different market at work:  (Jan-July/Aug) as extra help and that took me away from Jogre and KDouche-Finally! My interim supervisor was the best!!! He was communicative, friendly, and helpful. Good help was available, training was more frequent. They treated me nice, and so did everyone in that market (until I was actually transferred to their team permanently). I had really high confidence and hope that my work problems were over. [I didn’t know at the time it was a bait and switch…]. I was happy at work for half the year. 

#18 Best thing:

Zoo for Cool’s bday was fun.

This is not a zoom lens. You actually get this close to the penguins and the puffins!

It’s not higher because we got lost on the way back to the car, and walked (unplanned) 8 miles around sketchy areas in the heat and humidity.

#17 Best thing:

You-pick farm was low-key and fun. Flowers were beautiful. 

#16 Best thing:

Went permanent for the new market after the Sup said she doesn’t regulate OT. I was relieved and hopeful. 

At the time this was extremely good news. I would be away from Jogre and KDouche forever! Little did I know this sup was an even more aggressive narcissist. But for the time, it was really, really good news and a relief.

#15 Best thing:

Narwahls

They have alcohol slushies, and they do a flight. And also… Adorable!

Don’t I look miserable and tired, P.S.? This was after the moving ambush, packing frenzy, driving across 4 states, and sleeping on concrete. But the slushy was really good.

#14 Best thing:

Got a shamrock shake in the town of Shamrock TX when we were on our moving road trip. The milkshake machine worked!!!

#13 Best thing:

Randalls

#12 Best thing:

Music was pretty good again this year and I was on top of my ranking which felt good. 

Thanks to Taylor Swift for forcing me to finish it by Oct. It actually really helped (though I STILL have to do Weezer’s winter installment.

#11 Best thing:

Loft Landlord offered to let us sign a lease early to lock in same price for the next 19mo. We signed longer in order to move in better weather. 

We started asking about the price for renewal early, not wanting to be taken by surprise again. And I knew I needed to start packing and making reservations for storage and moving trucks by November. . . Having moving PTSD, I was very stressed and unprepared to pack all of our stuff again. And we had not recovered from 500 Move (Glendale, AZ) or our work CoL paycut. So even though there’s been car break-ins, burglary, fights that escalated to brandishing, a car on fire, rapes, and a full-on 12 person gun fight–I was relieved. I couldn’t pack and do all the moving logistics, make all the change of address calls, find a place, etc… so soon. And the money wouldn’t allow it-not in ideal way anyway. So it feels good to be locked into this rental price and to have some stability for the next year and a half.

#10 Best thing:

Halloween movie marathon! 

#9 Best thing:

Cool got her music on Spotify and Apple Music and other platforms!!!

This has been a long term goal and she made it happen this year. I am so PROUD of her. Take a listen to ManiK Fox. Follow on social media, as she is always making music and art. She has two albums up right now with more to come. I got to help name a couple songs on the first album, so that’s pretty neat too. And the second album has a song with the characteristics of each astrological sign, so January is the perfect time to check it out.

#8 Best thing:

After 13 years we ordered rings.

Wedding rings, commitment rings, whatever you want to call it. Cool and I don’t need papers, of licenses, or rings to legitimize what we have together. We could never afford it before, but made it a priority this year.

The rings are made of dinosaur bones/fossils! Cool’s will have stegosaurus and mine has T-rex. And they have actual meteor (is everything else second best after that meteor strike??!) in them. Mine (my planet in the moon) will have lunar meteor in it. And they’ll have beveled edges so they don’t look like a Claire’s ring.

It’s so low on the list because they won’t come for 10 weeks (in late March 2023).

#7 Best thing:

Double pained windows 

It’s toward the top of the list because it allows temperature control. We’ve always had drafty, single pane windows and a sliding glass door which do nothing for the cold or heat. So the double panes allow us to be more comfortable, and also lower the utility, which is a top priority for me. We always wanted double-pane windows, but could never afford that type of rental before! So Yay(?) random (gun) violence for making this loft affordable.

Except for the one drafty one (yup, that’s snow/ice/frost on the INSIDE):

And of course one of the items stolen from our storage was a window plastic kit…

#6 Best thing:

song analysis

well, you’ve seen.

At some points, analyzing songs was the ONLY thing that would stop my ruminations. It was one time I was relatively calm, and thinking about something else. Writing was a bright spot, and I wish I could get some type of income from writing from home.

#5 Best thing:

Finally found Goose a good vet

We have gone through FOUR (5 if you count my last vet job where the vet didn’t GAF) where the vets were too busy to care. Exams were done in the back, blood pressures half-assed or not done at all. Goose was treated like a checklist and I was treated as a nuisance.

But Dr. Ervin LISTENED. He took TIME to do things properly. He was professional and kind. Goose and I love him!

#4 Best thing:

Got $2800 from renters insurance for 500 Move (out of literally $10k paid directly to 500 move, and probably $5000 of damage/lost/stolen items) But it was something! 

It was very easy to complete the claim too (unlike 500 Move). You just select your items from an amazon-like link.

#3 A,B,C Best things:

Brandi in KC-close enough to walk and next door to the zoo!

And at the zoo, you got to go right in with the kangaroos! No fences between us at all. And no staff was even in there watching. It was amazing! This pic is actually how close we got (don’t worry, we stayed on the path, as advised by the signs).

The AirBnB was within walking to the venue. No lateness phobia! No parking! No paying to park! No having to wait to leave or messing around with drunk drivers trying to get out of the venue! We just ate at home, walked through the neighborhood, and walked right up. As a result we were first in our line (which is not usually my luck).

#2 Best thing:

The 4 cats were perfect angels on the car ride and in hotels during the move.

They were almost entirely quiet during the car ride. And we had charcoal liners in their carriers, so when baby Angus had to go at a very inopportune time on the road it wasn’t a big deal. He tried very hard to hold it, then harder to tell us he was about to have an accident. When we coaxed him to just pee nobody smelled it and no one was wet!

And it was the best they’ve ever done in a hotel. Goose gets angsty and stressed out in hotels and won’t sleep-or let us sleep. Once, he was so unhappy about a car ride that he peed on my hotel pillow! And he NEVER inappropriately urinates. And in the past, C.L. yowled the whole car ride and was wandery and unsettled in the hotel.

I was ready for the worst. If two cats made for a bad trip, 4 were going to be miserable! But more cats actually helped. It was like they calmed each other. The sat in pairs in the car and like I said, everyone was just cozy. And they SLEPT in both hotels. It was more than I could expect from 4 babies, and I was so PROUD of them. And relieved to listen to podcasts instead of meows in the car. And very pleased to sleep at night, instead of trying to calm stressed out cats. Oh, and NO meds, ZERO substances. Just more cats than before.

#1 Best thing:

It was bad: I felt hopeless, depressed, anxious, uncertain, and constant dread. I knew there was no way out without upsetting my whole life, probably getting less money, and likely having to go to an office, and I didn’t want that. So I remained in the company, just on edge and paranoid and unhappy. BUT out of nowhere the corporation moved me away from my narcissist supervisor back to the other side of the company! And NOT to Jogre’s team. I did not have to do anything or say anything. Everyone (including, and especially MNarc) was upset about the yanking, and lack of communication, and the timeline (NOW, NOW, NOW!), but it solved all my problems in one swift action! I automatically felt a million times better. I am able to think about things other than work. I don’t have required overtime every weekday, or holiday hours to work. And I don’t have to put up with being abused anymore. It feels good, and I want 2023 to be calm and peaceful!

Worst moments of 2022

31 Dec

The whole year was bad. Worse than 2021, which had bright spots, and despite constant work harassment, was one of my favorite times in my life. I loved quarantining with my family and working from home! 2022 was one of the worst years of my life. The only comparably bad years were: 1993 (had to switch classes bc of Courtney drama), 2005 (dealing with sociopathic Douche post break-up), 2007-08 (narcissistic discard at the Cabin-Mansion). I bought a book about how to deal with people who have personality disorders to hopefully prevent some of this in the future.

I know this list is long, so I’m going to make separate posts too. But we have to wait for DWMHT parts A-T and Quesion… 1-20 to finish posting. Anyway, on to this list of awfulness:

#15 Worst Moment

Our settlement from from 500 Move (Glendale, AZ) was $84 and contingent on an NDA

FUCK them. I’m going to tell the truth about them everywhere possible. My silence cannot be purchased for $84 measly dollars. That is literally not even 1.0% of the money wasted. This is only so low on the list, because after all this company’s $hit, I didn’t expect much in the first place.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/500-move-glendale

https://www.bbb.org/us/az/glendale/profile/moving-companies/500-move-llc-1126-4001288/complaints

#14 Worst Moment

We had tickets to see the Indigo Girls! We slogged through work, too excited to concentrate. We primped and got ready. Cool and I ate at a (terrible and overpriced) restaurant nearby. Then, we walked to the venue through the high humidity, sweating through our cute outfits. And nobody was around… Strange. There was no line. Were WE first? I walked up to the door of the venue, and a post-it was taped to the window: Indigo Girls was canceled. But we didn’t get the memo. So we walked back home. I guess somebody got Covid, but nobody had emailed us, or anything like that. And the event wasn’t rescheduled for 9 months so we were afraid it wouldn’t be…

#13 Worst Moment

Jogre was promoted to supervisor (insert LWYMMD, “What?!”)

I know for a fact that at least one other person filed an HR complaint against her. I literally have 49 pages (standard margins, font, etc…) of logged incidents (over 11 months) with date and time of bullying and harassment. HR and the EEOC both said the amount of micromanaging and communications she had with me was excessive. Yet, the company thought she needed a promotion. What nonsense. I hope I never have to deal with her again, but it is always a fear because we’re both still in the same department.

#12 Worst Moment

Cool got Covid during our moving ambush. 

While in our packing and calling frenzy, Cool got Covid. Before the move, we had been quarantining-getting everything delivered, going nowhere. In all the months Covid had been on the scene, she went inside one store, correctly wearing a mask–and got sick. Cool slept for 23 hours a day. She would try to get up and watch TV, and nod off in 20 min or less. She had a headache, aching legs, and a fever. She had a gray paler and couldn’t eat or think. For example, we keep Clorox wipes under the kitchen sink to clean the counters. While I was packing a box, I said, “Will you wipe off the counters?” And she said (after taking like a 3 min pause to think) “with what?” I about lost my mind. And she couldn’t help me with any of the moving logistics because she felt so run down. There was not enough time off from work for her to get her thinking straightened out, so she had to process claims in a Covid fog. It just exacerbated the stress of the situation. I can’t believe I didn’t catch it from her being inside the house (unventilated in winter) and sleeping in the same bed.

#11 Worst Moment

The fucking prices were bananas!

Sure, sure supply chain problems. But also corporate greed. Everybody out to make up for their two year losses, and demand from cooped up people remains high, so nothing has hemmed them in. I hate our extreme capitalism. Of course during our 1476 mile move, gas was in the $5 range. We are spending LESS than we did the last two and a half years, but struggling much more to stay financially afloat. Regular groceries jumped from about $200/mo to (same or less groceries) $800-it’s obnoxious.

#10 Worst Moment

Someone broke Jasmine’s window in our gated parking lot. 

So much for the security gate, I guess they either lived here or climbed it. And we never heard if anyone got caught–per the usual here. There was nothing to steal, actually, they took one thing. I had a mini Bath & Bodyworks hand sanitizer bottle in the driver’s side door. The lovely smelling B&B had long run out, but I had refilled it with generic hand sanitizer. And that had sat in the AZ heat plenty of times, so I’m not sure it was doing much. They took that. I hope they were disappointed. And I hope they touched their face with a germy hand.

But the window needed to be repaired. Unfortunately, this is a huge issue in the city so we were far from the only ones on the fix-it list. Safelight made us wait forever (Sept 13 to Oct 4) to repair the car window and we couldn’t drive the car in all that time. Then, when they finally put in a new pane, he couldn’t fix it completely. The window will not go back up if it’s ever opened. And shards of glass were left in the back of the car. To add insult to injury, we still had to pay our $85/mo parking fee.

#9 Worst Moment

My company skipped my raise when I went to a market that was desperate for help and again when I was advanced trained in that market.

It’s a slap in the face, because every meeting was all about how behind they were, and how the mandatory 10 hour/wk overtime was indefinite (and been in place for the last three years). It was difficult to find and train people for that market because it is on an entirely different platform than the rest of the company. Yet, they still shortchanged me. I had been emailing with HR, then they just dropped out of contact. HR ghosted me for a month! And when I emailed the head HR lady (I had her info from when we moved states) she said–it’s a lateral move to the same position. Which is egregious because we had to be trained from January to late March just to be able to adapt to the new system. She knows damn well that is a specialized position requiring more skill than the average analyst.

As for the advanced training raise, both Cool and I had gotten a pay increase every time we were further trained. Obviously, because our added skillset was valuable. But not in this new, desperate market. I was skipped over, and I knew it was a waste of breathe to even ask. But it sucks.

#8 Worst Moment

Someone broke the lock mechanisms off the doors in our apt storage units.

“Lock broken, slur spoken” indeed. I had felt safe because you have to have key fob access to get into the property, where there are cameras. And you have to scan at the door to get into the building, and pass through the lobby which has more cameras. You have to use your key fob a third time to get into the storage area. But apparently someone who lives here broke the actual lock fixtures off of the doors. All of our padlocks were locked and intact, but the doors were ripped apart. This person rifled thru every box. They climbed up to the top of our washer/dryer to open boxes stacked to the ceiling. I couldn’t get up there without a full size ladder because I was too heavy and was crushing things, so they must have been more petite than me. They unpacked things, putting them in other boxes, or in a different storage unit (sometimes one of ours, sometimes a random person’s). For example, they took socks out of the homemade draft protector box, and put them in the very back, 4 deep, bottom box in one of other storage units. It was disconcerting. They opened our snow shoes and put the bag in someone else’s unit, put the pole in the hallway, and apparently took the 2nd pole of out there because we never did find it. So many things were like that! They unpacked and mixed up nearly every box of every storage unit, strewing it around. But they also stole things. Weird things like one box fan, a window plastic kit, blackout curtains, shower curtains, and a security bar. But also things I will miss like my snowboard jacket, helmet, gloves, and heavy Sorel snow boots among other things.  They left Cool’s snowboard gear aside from goggles and gloves alone, and luckily didn’t take her nice waterproof jacket. We never found out if anyone was caught. It took the property manager a full month to fix any of the locks, and since we had put bicycle locks on our units, they skipped fixing ours. Not only did I lose valuble necessities, but I have to do another insurance claim. And I have to re-pack everything, which is a whole big thing.

#7 Worst Moment

I had to file the moving claims.

They intentionally make it as difficult as possible to discourage you from filing. It was time-consuming and retraumatized me every time I had to work on it. I honestly think I have PTSD over the whole situation. The whole thing took months to prepare! The moving company’s insurance would not accept emails, files, usb drives, discs, nothing–it HAD to be snail mail. And of course it was a lot of pages, with some colored pictures to convey the damage. Going to the UPS store was a disorganized nightmare, that took 4 times longer than it should and required me to go behind the counter in the back and help. It cost more to mail the claim ($100) than we were offered as a settlement ($84). Actual size of the finished claim components:

Surprisingly, only #6 Worst Moment

Gunfight right outside.

How can an actual gun fight (with automatic weapons) be in the middle of a worst-of list, you ask? That explains my 2022–it was one of my worst years ever. See my other post about how scary and weird the gun-fight was. And there are now actual bullet holes in my car, giving it a ghetto aesthetic. Here, are some comments from my community, which ranged from apathy, to unrealistic do-gooders, to gun-happy, to judgy.

#5.5 Worst Moment

My supervisor micromanaged my every click and berated me over hours

We did group work during the entire advanced training. So I was able to gauge that I was picking the information up the fastest, and doing the best of my team. The trainer also told me I was doing really well on the last day. The day after training reports went out (I’m assuming mine was good) codename MNarc started treating me dumb. She watched me process claims for 30 min one day and an hour on another day. It was more time than she spent watching my peers (according to them). And she was “helping” me with things I did not need help with–like reading the workflow. She kept saying I was getting ahead of myself in the workflow when I wasn’t and said that I needed to learn how to read them (I’ve been using workflows at this company for over 3 years). But also she was saying the workflow was wrong, couldn’t be trusted, and she never used it.

She was telling me things like not to take notes, and saying my personal claims tracker was a waste of time that I didn’t need. Even after I gave her 4 ways that the tracker helped, she didn’t want me using it. She also said not to open all the attachments, just one. She told me if the EOB was for a different member than the claim, just to say YES there is an EOB. She said not to read into boxes, just answer the question they write–is there an EOB, YES/NO? Which leads you to apply that coordination for the wrong person.

I’ve worked there for over 3 years, so I knew some of what she was telling me was bad advise. Her words were contradicting my training, my work over the years, Cool’s training, and everything Cool’s teams have told her. It was confusing, and I didn’t understand what had caused the major change in MNarc’s demeanor. I was afraid that I present myself as confused and flaky. Why else does this keep happening to me? Jogre and KDouche also treated me like I was stupid (despite having access to my production data, and my end of the year review, which was the highest you can get on every quantitative measure).

So I went to YouTube and asked why my boss thinks I’m dumb. In researching why, I found out MNarc, KDouche, Jogre, and my ex-mentor are narcissists. Everything fell into place (there will be many future posts on this topic)! But I also felt shock and had an impending sense of doom. Being targeted by yet another narcissist that was in a position of power over me made me maximally anxious, hopeless, and depressed. How could this be happening to me again??!

#5 Worst Moment

Processing Tests (slightly different/worse than the processing belligerence of before)

I had to process for an hour and a half and another hour in front of JFM under the guise of support. But each of the five of us on my team had to process on one screen instead of the normal two, while JFM watched silently, and took notes on what we did wrong. Leadership kept saying it wasn’t a test, it was help, yet they wouldn’t answer questions–they were just watching and noting. Which is exactly like an exam. As you remember from my Riverpoint days, I have major test anxiety, and adding the layer of narcissism over that made me nearly incapacitated by stress. But I used all of my best test-taking strategies. I took it slow, read every instruction carefully, and double checked my work. I did not change answers or second guess myself or overthink it. And I made sure to write things down, showing my work because that helps me not get lost (or forget the little things) if anxiety takes over. I even took a deep, cleansing breathe between every claim to calm down. It’s nerve-wracking to be watched. Once, I floundered, then got confused, and spiraled into anxiety and panic-confusion. But then I stopped myself, closed the claim entirely, breathed and started over. JFM kept insisting it wasn’t a test.

Except I guess my screen-sharing froze. On my side, it looked just as it had the entire 40+ minutes, and I hadn’t touched it or done anything different. I didn’t even know there was a problem until JFM said my screen was in the same place it had been for minutes. My screen said “stop sharing” which indicated it WAS sharing. But for some reason I think JFM thought I unshared on purpose? I don’t know what’s so hard to believe about technical difficulties at my job–we are constantly having them! But I think she tattled, because MNarc suddenly came into my meeting and her tone was so over the top annoyed that it was completely unprofessional. And she was condescending. She was like, “go to the top right and press share” but like in the shittiest voice possible. I said, “I did.” I tried to un-share and re-share, but that didn’t help. I don’t know why they thought I was too dumb to share, or was un-sharing (after 40 min) on purpose. When JFM had watched me do 8 claims over almost an hour. I could tell both of them blamed me for technical issues of my screen not sharing. I couldn’t stop ruminating about how rude and belligerent MNarc was. I was dreading the next session. I had no one to turn to. We know how last year turned out when I went to HR, the Director, then finally the EEOC. I felt hopeless. 

I went to IT right away, and they were able to see my shared screen. They could see it via chat, and within a meeting. And they said they would be able to tell if there had been problems on my end–and there hadn’t. IT said the issue must be on my leadership’s side of things. And I knew my leadership would not want to hear that. I didn’t know what to do.

When the make-up test was scheduled, my screen showed I was sharing, but JFM couldn’t ever see it. Again, MNarc came in to our session and sounded SO annoyed. I’m not just exaggerating, Cool sits across the desk from me, and works at the same job, different market–and she said it was really bad. This tone was not work appropriate. MNarc was insinuating that I was either doing something stupid or purposely not sharing my screen. So I sent screenshots of the “stop sharing” over the meeting chat to show that my system said it was sharing. She lost her shit when I sent pictures and roared, “Why are you sending pictures??! Talk! How can we help you if you won’t talk to us??!!” Looking back, I think MNarc was trying to paint me as insubordinate, but when I sent physical evidence that it was an IT issue, it foiled her plan and upset her. She abruptly hung up the call.

JFM didn’t say anything about it! I said, “I’m not used to being talked to that way.” There was the longest pause, and then she just said to go back to IT, because the problem was on my side. I even sent her the entire IT transcript from before, but since MNarc said the problem was me, JFM believed the problem was with me.

MNarc went on vacation, so I asked JFM to call me. I honestly wanted her advise on how best to deal with MNarc in order to not provoke her. JFM seemed to get along with her, so I hoped she could give me tips about what to do and what to avoid. JFM pretended there was no problem. I was like, “Are you really going to normalize what happened the other day?” JFM made excuses for MNarc. She said she’s just blunt. And frustrated. And really busy. On and on. And I told JFM she’s a mandatory reporter of harassment, yet she didn’t say or do anything. Then, JFM went from making excuses for the bad behavior to saying she hadn’t noticed anything–I was just oversensitive… I was so frustrated and disheartened I had no allies because this flying monkey was brainwashed or afraid or both!

#4 Worst Moment

My company gave me a 5% COL raise.

Except they took away our quarterly quality bonus. Without my reward for quality four times a year, it’s a $0.37/hr pay cut!!! But the company mailed us a candy bar, amIright?! It’s a slap in the face. When we complained in meetings they gaslighted us and told us that it WAS a raise. 

#3 Worst Moment

Our landlord ambushed us with 25% rent increase on renewal.

When we moved into the house in Dec of 2019, we hoped to be there awhile. And the landlord said, “I hope you stay for 10 years.” We are great tenants paying on time and in-full, not wrecking the place or upsetting the neighborhood. After all was said and done only $100 was taken off our deposit, and that was for the damage 500 Move had done, not us. I just couldn’t fix it, because our tools were packed in the truck along with everything else. Anyway, we had been planning to stay but couldn’t pay the extra $400/mo. He gave us 5 weeks notice.  being completely unprepared for a move, I negotiated 8 weeks with prorating bc we weren’t going to make it. Packing, moving, and logistics were chaos for months. I was not ready to leave Arizona. We hadn’t been to the Grand Canyon, Saguaro Park, or Four corners. We hadn’t really been anywhere, because as temps we got no time off work, then pretty much as soon as we were both permanent employees, Covid hit. We were pretty much home for the entire 3 years we lived in the state. Cool and I got to drive through Sedona on the way out, but had 4 cats in the car so couldn’t take advantage of it very much. The whole thing was horrible, and put us in a financial bind. Luckily, we had been saving to replace Cool’s car, or I don’t know what we would have done. I wish bad things for that landlord.

#2 Worst Moment

500 Move, 5555 N 51st Ave, Glendale, AZ

On loading day (March 11) the 500 Move foreman said the broker (who had not identified themselves as such) HOMESAFE TRANSIT put down “27 boxes” in order to artificially lower our estimate and secure our business.  We had more like 250 boxes, and the moving foreman said, “This is going to cost “thousands and thousands and thousands more”. When he said that, and when he berated me for a full 30 minutes, I knew this was a bait and switch scam.  But we were between a rock and a hard place. Our lease expired at that rental house the next day, and utilities were being shut off the 12th. If we weren’t in St. Louis in person on the 14th of March, our lease would be canceled and we’d lose that deposit. If we haggled or tried to negotiate, this foreman seemed like he was going to just take his crew and leave. I did not think I could find movers for that same day, or make accommodations to move all the items, my Rav4, and 4 cats to a different state within the time-frame.  In short, I knew that was scammy and a bad deal, sketchy contract, but felt I didn’t have any other options, so I regretfully signed.  I had to pay $5,000.00 that day in order for them to load our stuff.  And I paid $3797.00 to get them to deliver it.

We had carefully packed, for example, putting shoes in shoe boxes then tying yarn around the boxes so they would not open in transit.  The movers redundantly packed our boxes into larger boxes, taking no care at all with even the most delicate things.  For one example of many:  Cowboy hats were thrown into the bottom of 5 foot tall wardrobe boxes, and heavy furniture and boxes were thrown on top, crushing them.  I had staged all the boxes on the patio and in the living room, and even with their carelessness, it took the two movers 4 hours to load everything in their truck.

As I was going through the contract, I noticed it said the moving company had 45 days to deliver our belongings.  I said, “That’s not gonna work!  It doesn’t really take that long, does it?”  The foreman assured me they are a national company who works with Alaska and Hawaii so that timeline is for the longer trips.  He said ours would probably take 1-3 days (total lie).  I underlined the 1-3 days portion of the contract and initialed by that time-frame (instead of the provided line by 45 days) to indicate my expectations.  The contract asked when we were available to accept our delivery and we wrote we’d like them to be there on March 16th.The AZ foreman did not say that this date would not be guaranteed, or explain their process of storing, and combining our items with other jobs. Kenneth at Home Safe Transit had said we would just tell the movers the date we wanted our stuff delivered, and he promised we would have the cell phone number of “his” movers to allow frequent communication with the driver ( a lie). 

500 Move was completely uncommunicative. That was not the case. We kept calling to get a status on when the truck would be here and got the run-around from Lisa, the lady who answers the phone no matter what option you press on the phone tree.  Communication was nonexistent and atrocious, and Lisa just seemed annoyed when we kept asking for an ETA.  We were told (for the first time) that our items were being stored in a warehouse, on their property, until the truck was available. It had not been made known to us that our items would be stored, or combined with other moves.  Had I known this was their process I would have never used this company! 

Lisa was getting very ugly on the phone so I said, “We are paying more than double any other company, literally ten thousand dollars, and I would like to see better customer service.”  Lisa doubled-down on her rudeness telling me, “10,000, 30,000, 100,000 gets the same customer service!  She refused to tell us when our stuff would leave the AZ storage facility, and insisted that we wait for an email 24 hours prior to delivery.  I told her we had not received that email at pick up so how could I trust that we would receive it on delivery.  She hung up on us during any pause in the conversation.  We kept trying to find out why we were waiting so long for our belongings to be delivered.  Nobody ever explained the process to us, or why there was a delay.  Did they not own their own truck? Did they only have ONE truck???  We were promised 24 hours before delivery, but we had been promised that at pick up too, and it didn’t happen so I was not confident. 

We were in our new place with just what would fit in a Rav4 (not much). A comforter and pillows, jammies, workout clothes, and 2 outfits each. Our work laptops (but not the 2nd monitors). And the 4 cats and their carriers, bowls, food, litterboxes and that’s it. After a few days of sleeping on the concrete floor we went to Walmart and got an air mattress, a card table and kids folding chairs to work on, and a bed for the kitties. Remember, 500 Move had charged $10,000 which was pretty much all of our money and our credit card limit (I had to apply for a credit line increase to make it). We had to shop around the whole store for an extended time looking for the cheapest items. We finally got mini cutlery in the baby section. It was sparse.

On March 21st we got an email when the truck left AZ, but the next day we didn’t hear anything.  Our items had been in a storage unit in AZ for a full 10 days! We didn’t understand where the truck was, or why it was taking so long to get to us.  We called, and Lisa said they didn’t know where the truck was or how long before our delivery arrived.  500 Move kept us in the dark and would not reveal what was happening. We just waited, not knowing what was going on.

The driver said they would arrive Saturday, March 26 around 11 AM. But it was 1:30 PM and we hadn’t heard from them. Completely unprofessional and uncommunicative as usual. At around 2PM, the driver said he was 5 miles away and got pulled over by the police. They said he could not continue driving in this wind. The driver said they would be waylaid until tomorrow.

On March 27 (6 days after the truck left AZ, 16 days after packing day, a full 2 weeks later than we wrote on the contract) They were supposed to show up at 8AM. At 8:47 AM the driver called and said he just woke up [LATE,LATE,LATE]. He needed to have his coffee and go to the bathroom [TMI] then he would be along. OK… When the truck arrived at 9:37 AM, it was two men that looked over 50 ( if not 60) years old, both with obvious COPD (yet still smoking), and both terribly out of shape.  It took them about an hour (until 10:20 AM)  just to park the 18 wheeler, which was packed with six other customer’s items, as well (there had been one customer prior to us).  Before unloading, the driver demanded $75 more dollars, in cash for “75 foot long-carry,” which I felt was sketchy because we were paying for a 2nd floor move, but the building has an elevator, so I was paying for stairs already that they didn’t have to use. But like everything else, I just paid it because we had to have our stuff back.

Even though we had paid literally $10,075.00 for the moving service, I moved the majority of the 250 boxes and rubbermaid bins (probably 40% of all of our belongings). Since the movers took a 35 min lunch break, and a 20 min break, and they moved with no urgency, it took 6 hours to unload the truck (we finally finished at 4:30 PM). As items came in, Cool was doing inventory, checking box numbers off on a list provided by the company. When there were no more items in the truck, the sidewalk, the hall, lobby, or elevator, that checklist still had many boxes unaccounted for.  The driver brushed that off, and had us sign the original contract under the box count.  I told him their box count was different (240 vs 266) on different pages of their contract, and also didn’t match the box inventory that we had been marking in real time.  He said that was fine (another direct lie), but I had to sign.  I thought it was sketchy that he also asked for my carbon copies of the contract’s box count so we could both sign that. 

Many, many things were damaged by the moving company:

500 Move took no care at all with any items.  They also took no care with either rental upon packing up or delivering.  While loading, they wrenched the curtains by the sliding glass door so hard that the curtain bracket was ripped from the wall!  They bumped and left scrape marks on the walls of the loft while delivering.  Luckily, the floor of the loft is concrete or that would have been damaged the way they were dragging heavy items.

They had carelessly stacked very heavy items on top of these smaller boxes, instead of putting lighter items toward the top of the load. As a result, 7 medium sized rubbermaid boxes were cracked, broken, and unusable. A long, christmas tree rubbermaid storage box was broken to pieces, and those shards cut and sliced the contents inside of that box.

When the movers were staging all the items, I saw a Walmart 5 shelf bookcase in the apartment lobby that had the back piece folded in one corner, akin to the first fold of a paper airplane.  I was helping load items on the elevator and that fold was the only damage on that shelf by the time that shelf went in the elevator.  Some time between the elevator and the door to our loft (apparently 75 feet, according to our extra charge) the movers were so egregiously rough with that lightly damaged piece of furniture that it was literally ripped in half and unusable by the time it got to my door!

A large 5 shelf pantry was carried and stored upside down, and handled so roughly the back board became un-nailed along the entire top of the shelf.  Both of the cambers were ripped out and completely unattached at the top left side.  The bottom frame was completely ripped from the sides.  We tried to repair it, but the walls were now too wide to hold the shelves, and the damage caused the pantry to shift forward, dangerously.

500 Move Dug into Our Secured Boxes to Steal:

I had a paperwork box and tucked inside the bottom was a wallet.  Tightly inside the clear pocket of the wallet was my spare car key.  When I opened the box after delivery, the wallet was at the top of the box and that car key had fallen to the bottom of the box. The box labeled “Wii” had no tape at all on it anymore.  The box labeled “computer games” had tape but a round rip was near the center of the box as if someone put their hand through. A box labeled “mail” was missing a new book of stamps. I had a clear rubbermaid packed full of shampoo, body wash, and lotion.  When I packed it it was so full I had to strategically move things around in order to fit everything.  Upon delivery, things in that box were loose and rolling around because so many things had been removed. A small shoe box sized rubbermaid contained bar soaps, bath salts, etc…  was packed so tightly that nothing moved.  Upon delivery, the box was half empty!

The company does not seem interested in finding the items. We called at least 7 days in a row from the delivery date to report more and more missing items and ask for an update on the status of the search for any lost things.  The receptionist, Lisa and dispatcher, Stephanie, seem annoyed that we keep calling.  On the 4th day we called they said they still hadn’t talked to the driver (even though the driver called headquarters prior to and immediately after our delivery) and couldn’t get ahold of the customer who was right after us.  They keep telling us to just file a claim, but we actually want them to finish the delivery that we paid them to do and give our items back. They declined to give us any contact information for the elderly lady immediately after us in Nebraska, or any of the other customers who delivered before and after us. 500 Move stated they looked for the items in their truck and warehouse and called all the other customers that had been loaded on the truck with us, and no one could find anything.  That doesn’t make sense to me, because I saw the rubbermaid containing the items we were now missing on the sidewalk in front of our complex on unloading day.  If we don’t have it, none of the following customers got it, and it wasn’t held back on the truck–where did it go?  I suspect they are not making an effort to track down our remaining items, and I would like to motivate them to do their due diligence so we can rescue our items.

We were not getting anywhere by calling or writing 500 Move, or via all our complaints against the company.  So my mom, tried to call 500 Move to get information and try to get them to give all of our belongings back.  She did not have success either.  She was unable to get much more information, and Lisa would not allow her to escalate the call to the owner.  My mom was able to find out that 500 Move had not yet entered their warehouse (10 days after notification) to search for any of our things!  Lisa said the warehouse was too crowded and it was difficult to find anything in there, so nobody had been sent to look.

And just to show the kind of sketchy company 500 Move is, here’s a random call we got from them 10 days after delivery:

4/5/22 @ 2:38 PM:

Cool:  Hello?

Caller:  Long pause

Cool:  Hello

Caller:  Sound of typing 

Caller:  Is Charles there?

Cool:  You have the wrong #

Caller:  Oh OK well Just so you know here’s the story of what happened. somebody named Charles asked for moving quotes from AZ to WI and wrote down a number one digit off so you might get several calls.

Cool:  That’s funny bc I just moved and had called for quotes–What company are you with?

Caller:  500 Move

 Cool:  That’s who we used. But we’re having a bit of a problem with some missing items.

Caller:  Oh I’m really sorry to hear about that. Stephanie our office manager usually handles that. She’s on lunch right now but I’ll give you her ext so you can call her.

Caller:  Stephanie 8775006683 & ext219

Cool:  And who am I speaking to?

Caller:  Anthony at 6023317010 “cold called” for 500 Move

Caller:  Who am I talking to?

Cool: gives name

I still don’t know what they were phishing for, but the call, was NOT random. They were up to something, and it was weird and unprofessional.

We’ve contacted the BBB, FTC, Move Rescue police for both AZ and MO, the Glendale non-emergency police line, the FCMSA, the Attorneys General of Missouri and Arizona, Mark Kelly (AZ Senator), 6 members of congress on the housing or transportation committees, and abc15’s Let Joe Know. We really don’t know what to do to get those items back at this point.  Everyone we’ve spoken to indicates this business and contract seem sketchy, and scammy, but nothing they’ve done is illegal.  That needs to change!  This whole situation is egregious and needs more regulation.  This has been the most stressful, horrible experience, and it seems like no one is able to help us.

#1 Worst Moment

The kittens opened the bathroom drawers locking the bathroom door closed.

The day 500 Move was finally supposed to deliver our stuff, after 14 days of camping. One of us got up for the morning and headed to the bathroom to pee. The door would only open a teeny crack. The kittens have always slept in the bathroom so that the senior cats can eat, sleep, and go potty undisturbed. Goose is underweight and blind and needs full access to food at night. And Bison tends to bully C.L. for fun, so it works out better to have them separate while we sleep. It has always worked out fine, the kittens have their beds, water, 2 litterboxes, and it’s their habit.

But in the night (the 15th night we lived in the loft) the kittens had opened all the drawers of the bathroom vanity. Unfortunately, some idiot had built the bathroom cabinets so that the drawers opened immediately next to the door. Even more unfortunately, the bathroom door opens IN to the bathroom, with the hinges on the inside of the bathroom.

The door would hardly open at all. I couldn’t get my hand through. The kittens were purring and nuzzling, but obviously couldn’t help the situation. When Cool wedged herself against the wall across from the bathroom door, and pushed on the door with her feet, it would open just enough for the broom handle to be pushed through. But there was such tension on the door, that the broom handle broke in half.

We have to pee first thing in the morning. And have been living in this empty apartment for 14 days–none of our stuff is there. We have no tools, and even if we did they wouldn’t have helped. I didn’t know what to do. And it was urgent, not only because I had to pee really bad, but because now two live animals were trapped. There was no way to even put food in there, let alone water. I was panic-stricken. What were we going to do if we couldn’t get into the bathroom before the movers arrived??! We had 2 cats locked inside, and 2 cats out in the apartment. The door is nearly flush to the floor so we couldn’t reach under.

I said fuck the deposit I guess, and started kicking the door hard, hoping to break the drawers and get in. The drawers were too strong. I tried to use the broken broom handle to force the drawer back in so we could open the door. But because you had to push the door open in order to get the opening large enough for the handle, it put tension on the drawer, and it sat diagonally on it’s track, unable to slide. Since the drawer was askew on the rails, and there was pressure on just one side, it would not slide.

This was BAD, and I didn’t know what we (or anyone) could do. It was Sunday at 5AM so there was nobody to call. We had to get the door open before the movers came!

I have no idea how I got my hand through. It was pure desperation. I shoved it through and it pinched and scraped my skin off and hurt. It was squeezed so tight and I could barely move it. But somehow through the crack that even a broom handle barely fit when pushing the door in, I got my whole hand and arm through. I had pure adrenaline so I don’t remember the details of how I jimmied that wedged, open drawer in order to close it. After 45 minutes we were able to close the drawer to open the door!

My hand and arm were scraped and bruised, the broom was broken, the drawer is completely bent on one side, and the drawers don’t slide properly on their tracks anymore. But we got to let the kittens out and finally pee that morning. And we needn’t have worried about the time, because of course the movers were an hour late, and it took them a full hour to park.

P.S. We took all the drawers out and put them in the closet, because even if we got child locks to keep them closed I would have been paranoid. That can NEVER happen again!

Jellicle Cat Names

14 Jan

You’ve heard of the Cats musical? See my other post on that:

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=9391&action=edit

Jellicle is what the cats turn into when they’re more magical and special and they all have Jellicle names apart from their regular given names.

Of course, many significant Jellicle Cats are featured in poems describing them –

Many of the names used in the ensemble are pulled from the poem “The Naming of Cats” (https://catsmusical.fandom.com/wiki/Jellicle_Cats).

Our oldest cat is Goose. He’s 16 and sweet. He is a meticulous groomer on himself and his kitty-buddies. He will purr every time you pick him up, and you could never kiss Goose too much. His Jellicle name is: Gustopher P. Soft (the P is for purr).

Choco-Luv already has a lot of nicknames: CL, Stein, ick-scum buddy, ISB. She is 15 but you’d think she was 3 or 4 the way she acts. Very playful, active, cute, and independent. She wants to do as many “ups” (where she stands on her hind legs to rub her face on her hand) as she possibly can! Her Jellicle name is: GrizzleShanks.

Bison is 2 years old. He is sensitive and can be angsty. Bison has a big frame, and the softest medium black fur. He loves to snuggle to the point one of his nicknames is Snuggle-B. We also call him bear-cat because when he plays he sounds like one, and is ROUGH like one! His name is: Rambo-Brutus.

Angus is 8 months old. He’s an orange ball of sunshine and sweetness. Angus gets along with everyone in the household. He loves to eat and wants his food a million times a day, and tries to help everyone else finish their food too. Because of his bursts of energy we call him Cowboy-Ancho-Norris often. His Jellicle name is: Sun Tum Siracha.

Now that we know him better, we changed Angus’ Jellicle name to Rumble-Tumble Chunk. It fits him perfectly!

Worst Moments of 2021

31 Dec

This list goes from the worst to the absolute #1 worst:

 

-Mercury made finals, but only 1 game was on a channel we get, the community didn’t GAF, & they lost

Especially compared to the hype and excitement of the Suns making it.

 

-variants nullified our vaccine & we were mostly back in quarantine

-Brnovich & Yee are running
 
 
Kimberly Yee publicly came out against prop 208 which taxed the highest earners on their personal income only to help AZ schools.
 
 
-missing out on activities bc of high risk of Delta variant
 
 
 
 
-Doug Ducey didn’t get recalled, ironically bc they couldn’t safely gather enough signatures in the pandemic
 
 
 
-realized NBA is rigged (covid playoff states, Giannis/shaq)
 
It’s no accident the NBA finals ended up being in two states with no Covid precautions/laws (AZ & WI).
 
 
 
 
-found out our Senator, Kyrsten Sinema sold out
 
 
 
-dad lost a hearing aid
 
-mom cancelled her vax bc she was listening to dis/mis-info
 
-missed Kathleen Madigan & Fortune Fenster & Lord Huron bc delta variant
 
 
 
-dad lost his 2nd hearing aid
 
-prop 208 was undermined by ducey’s new statute
 
 
-my parents were out & about w/high covid risk. Won’t listen.
 
-mom said she thought dad didn’t love her anymore (I hope/think it’s probably his depression)
 
-the heating pad burned Steins tummy
 
 
 
-mom saying trumpy talking-points
 
-KDouche accused me of excessively routing & holding claims too long
 
He said I would need to sit side by side with our mentor so she could tell me what I was doing wrong…  I told him (for at least the 7th time, between emails and verbally on phone calls) that even this phone call gives me anxiety.  And I asked if I could just do the work and send the claim for her to check it.  He did not listen.  He did not try to work with me.  He did not see any other way to accomplish the goal other than the one method he stated.  Kind of annoyed I was asking for accommodation for my anxiety disorder, he said she would  be side by side watching me do the claim so she could tell me what I was doing wrong in real time.  I was upset bc I do have anxiety, and have emailed him at length about that, and even talked about getting an ADA for anxiety, but he would not work with me.  After a long pause, where I was considering bringing up the ADA or alternate methods to achieve the goal, I just said I understood—mostly bc he never listens to me anyway, so why bother?
 

5/18/21:  KDouche’s recap of our 1:1

I understand that your anxiety can get really bad, however, it is best for someone to sit with you on a live claim example. This way there is no confusion and they would be able to see first-hand what’s happening and possibly propose a solution. This will also aid in your questions in regards to the Xref claims.

I do mostly Zx claims all day long, and they are my favorite.  

The auditors have looked them over many times, and the Zx claims passed as correct. 

I do not have questions about Zx claims.

There are many correct examples of Zx claims that I complete every day and claims that have passed audit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t do those random 6 that came through unpaid, for the reasons I explained verbally in the 1:1, and wrote out in an email recap of the 1:1 bc I could tell KDouche wasn’t listening to me. 

He is STILL under the impression I am doing them wrong even though I do them all the time.

 
 
-Jogre micromanaged me

 

-KDouche said “we need more”
 

I emailed you back regarding your email, but I think it got confused within the chain.  In the email, I told you I originally provided:  The claim #, pend, the auth #, how many units it was over, the problem that it’s split into a decimal, a picture of the calculator showing the days split into a decimal, and a pic of the wf tab, and wf box # I got to.  Also, it wasn’t my question—it was a directive of the wf to send it to TL.   And I asked what else I need to do.  I really need to know what else to send to clear up future confusion, as this is a persistent problem.

I asked what else was needed, because I felt like I had sent everything, and rather than admitting he didn’t read the email chain before admonishing me, he gaslighted me and said a vague:  “We need more.” And that’s all he would tell me.  By the end of the call, I was literally screaming, “What else do you need????!!!!”
 
 
-We pinched Bison’s neck in his collar & he said he always hated us so he wanted to move out
 
 
-EEOC didn’t even open my documentation & got everything wrong in the 1 paragraph they wrote!
 
As a last resort, I went through with reporting my work harassment and retaliation to the government.  I spent 3 hours on the phone telling my caseworker the specific details of what happened.  Then I spent 5 hours on a weekend, trying to make all my documentation understandable to an outsider.  It contained a lot of jargon and technical information.  I sent a whole zip file of the documentation because it was SO much evidence.  The day before the case was to be finalized, my case worker emailed asking me to call her a 2nd time.  I was only able to speak to her for 10-15 min during my lunch break.  And guess what?  I could tell 
 
SHE HAD NOT TAKEN ANY NOTES DURING OUR FIRST 3 HOUR CONVERSATION, AND SHE SAID SHE WAS UNABLE TO OPEN MY ZIP FILE, SO SHE HAD NOT READ A SINGLE WORD OF MY DOCUMENTATION.
 
I felt like it was a colossal waste of time, and hopeless.  When she finally did start my case, the one paragraph was full of incorrect information, and did not identify the correct problem.  #$%^@*
 
-dad drove recklessly and was lucky he didn’t cause an accident, and wrecked the car
 
-KDouche said I worked off the clock
 
Employee Handbook: Timekeeping Violations As a company founded on ethical behavior, we take timekeeping violations seriously. It is a violation of company policy for anyone to work off the clock, incorrectly report hours worked, or alter another employee’s time records without a legitimate reason or authorization to do so. It is also a violation to instruct, encourage, or pressure someone to engage in any of these acts. Any employee who engages in behavior that results in inaccurate timekeeping or incorrect payment is subject to discipline up to and including termination.
 
-dad weird sex-talk
 
-HR didn’t help me

-Goose has a mass in his diaphragm

Dr., 
 
I have been thinking of what to say, and sorry, if this is all over the place.  I’m concerned with the density on x-ray too.  I want everything for Goose, and want to have him (happy and comfortable) as long as possible.  I was trying to imagine what it could be to foresee what the treatment could be. . .  
 
If it was a tumor, most the time there would be some anomaly on bloodwork, is that true? And I didn’t think he was really at risk for diaphragmatic hernia at his age/activity level (I’ve heard about it in regards to very young puppies)? And if it was fluid, he would still have a “wet” sound or some respiratory symptoms?  I guess I’m not actually asking for the textbook of the various possibilities.  
 
My real question is:  Out of all the possibilities your knowledge and experience can think of–what is most likely, and are any of them completely reversible for Goose, & what timelines should I prepare for?  I don’t feel at his weight/age he’s a very good candidate for any surgery–do you think he would be? I wouldn’t want to lose him in trying to heal him w/sx, especially if it was uncertain to work, or only bought him a little more time.  Because, honestly just knowing what it is but not having a viable/affordable/long-term treatment would be more horrible than just not knowing for some reason.
 
I would only want to do u/s if it would absolutely tell us what it is, if there is definitely a treatment, and if that treatment worked for Goose long-term.  Which is to say, I know you’re not prescient, but you do have tons of experience.  Please be candid.
 
In every scenario, I’d like Goose to be as comfortable as possible.

Thank you so much,

 
 
Reply:
 
My biggest concern/worst case scenario for that area in Goose’s x-ray would be a cancerous mass.  However if surgery would not be a possibility then I agree the ultrasound would be a bit of a moot point. 
 
As long as he is comfortable, I think it would be reasonable to do some watchful waiting for him. If his respirations change, he is not eating, has vomiting, or any other signs he is not feeling well, we could repeat x-rays and address any findings at that time.
 
As long as he is happy, that is all that counts.
 
Warm regards,

My TNR Series Got Interrupted… Because I Adopted a Kitten!

30 Sep

I took a pause on writing my series (don’t worry, more is on the way!) to spend time with my cats. 

We have Goose, a 15 year old Maine coon.  He is on a lot of medications, and likes to snooze and drink water and go outside in the fenced yard for brief spans of time.  His arthritis bothers him, but he still jumps from the toilet, to the tank, to the bathroom counter about a 100 times a day. He is the sweetest man, his Jelicle name is Gustopher P. Soft (the P is for purrrr).  He is ALWAYS up for snuggles and kisses, and has the best purr.  I like to call him Magnetic Goose of a Man sometimes, because it’s better than the actual lyric, and also we always kinda had the nickname, Goose-man, for him.  He is my best friend on the entire planet!

Then, there is Choco-Luv (alternately called C.L., Stein, or ISB for ick-scum-buddy).  She is 14 years old, but you’d think she’s 3 or 4 based on her activity and health status.  Her favorite thing is “ups” where she just stands on her hind legs and rubs her face on your elevated hand.  She also adores herp-fish.  Sidenote:  As I’m typing this I see our family has a language all our own.  Herp fish are just the fish-shaped lysine treats that may help resolve herpes flair-ups.  And C.L. is a high-strung thing, so the flair ups happen a lot.  Anyway, to earn herp-fish, Stein has to do 10 ups in a row.  And she begs to do that all morning until we tell her to stop asking. 

My mate and I always talked about getting a kitten some day.  And at the beginning of the pandemic, we thought it would be the perfect time to get a kitten accustomed to everything since we were working from home, so we got Bison.  He is also black (I forgot to say C.L. is a black domestic short hair) but he’s a medium hair.  Bison is the best guy when it comes to grooming!  He’s excellent for his lion cut, and we have even had to give him 2 full baths, and he was great.  Bison used to play fetch, and it was adorable!  He would do it a lot when we first got him, but then we started having to retrieve the ball ourselves, though he would run after it.  And soon, he barely even wanted to chase, and we would try to get him to play, but he just wasn’t into it.  We have tunnel-toys, wands, stuffed-toys, catnip stuff, self-playing toys, lasers, the one where the ball spins on 3 levels, on and on.  Bison likes to play with a toy once or twice, but he quickly gets bored of it.  And we do already rotate the toys, putting some away for awhile and getting out packed ones to seem new again.  Bison just gets bored quickly.  But he’s hyper!  And because he won’t play with us that much, he can act out.  He thinks it’s funny to bully Stein, or jump on the kitchen counter, which we are NOT impressed with.  We didn’t want Bison to be sad a lonely, living with 2 senior cats, so we got him his own kitten.  Which 4 is too many, but it’s important the Bison can have a friend and playmate too.

We got Angus last month, as a 4 month old tiny-kitten.  He’s an orange short hair, which I’ve never owned before.  His temperament is amazing!  I picked up out because in his picture, he was actually smiling!  Which he does all the time, even now.  Angus gets along with everyone in the family, and fit right into our household.  He and Bison will chase, and even wrestle sometimes.  He snuggles with Goose where he likes to nap, in the shower-and has never jumped on Goose, thank goodness.  And he co-exists with Choco-Luv.  She came into the vet hospital is a teeny baby, because someone found her in a Missoura barn all alone.  So she wasn’t really socialized to any cat (other than Goose).  She doesn’t really know how to interact, and gets easily stressed and perturbed with any cat besides Goose, so it’s not really Angus’ fault.  But he doesn’t make her upset, so that’s actually great.

So for the last month, we just had to get everyone adjusted, test boundaries, establish hierarchy, snuggle, play, form routines–all the new cat things.  I will be back on the TNR series pretty soon.  In the mean time, here’s a pic of each that really showcases their personality.

Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

11 Aug

Last time, we talked about semantics.  The Humane Society (HSUS), is not associated with your local shelter, and a very small amount of their money is granted to any shelter.  The vast majority of HSUS funds are kept for its own agenda (27).  I told you we would discuss what the primary agenda of HSUS is if it’s not the rescue of dogs and cats. 

Before we get into that, lets review animal rights vs. animal welfare, because the difference will become pertinent to this discussion, and the following posts as well.  Important note:  These terms are politically and emotionally charged so I tried to get (extra!)-valid sources, and I also tried to find a source aligned with each respective side for their own definition.  Because both sides of the ethical divide believe their philosophy is the most sensical and humane, there was a decided slant when they defined the opposing view.  I also tried to do very minimal editing, just changing slight things so the sentences flow, but never the meaning.

An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling, and humane slaughter. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.1 Protecting an animal’s welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs.

  1. https://www.avma.org/resources/animal-health-welfare/animal-welfare-what-it

I think it’s fair to say that many people believe that animal welfare and animal rights are one and the same. And while there is definitely some overlap, from a technical perspective, as I alluded to above, they are actually opposing viewpoints.

Believe it or not, the definition of animal rights is actually very difficult to nail down, depending on if you ask a lawyer, an animal rights advocate, or a philosopher.

But we can stick to defining it at one core principle any person would agree with- animal rights concerns itself, in large part, with the notion of the legal entitlements of [non-human] animals that pertain to giving that animal:

  • An independent life and thus the freedom to pursue its activities as it chooses to do so within a set legal framework.
  • At the very least, basic considerations and rights (on par with similar human ones) that would allow them to avoid needless suffering.

Affording rights to animals is not about letting them do whatever they want or allowing them every single right a person has, but it is about allowing them to have the possession of their own life and the avoidance of suffering that may be imposed upon them by humans.

With respect to this and current law, an animal is not a legal person. Your dog is technically a piece of property and not its own legal entity, as a human would be. In other words, your pet dog is closer to having the legal status of the chair you sit on than it does a person.  [Animal rights activists] are for the right of an animal to choose its own destiny much like a person can. Animal rights is about ensuring humans cannot use animals in many of the same ways they once did (and still do) use slaves. It’s about giving animals the right to their own destiny, a destiny that’s not chosen, by and large, by someone or something else.

                       28). https://study.com/academy/lesson/animal-rights-ethics-arguments.html

My takeaway points:

Animal welfare is observable, measurable, and evidence-based.  It is (supposed to be) practiced by all entities that work with animals in any capacity.

Animal rights is a philosophy, and it is difficult to implement or measure because historically that is not how our system has been built.  Animal rights is more of an ideal and future goal.

In my opinion, the largest difference between animal welfare and rights is the use of animals.  The animal rights side does not believe humans should be engaging with animals for research, work, entertainment, food–nothing. Animal welfare proponents acknowledges that society already uses animals for a multitude of things.

It’s a judgement call where you stand, and your decision has implications for the rest of our discussion.  So next time (promise!) we will talk about what HSUS wants to accomplish as an organization.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) & Shelter [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

10 Aug

How much does the HSUS contribute to your local animal shelter?  

Before that question can be answered, we need to define what the HSUS is, what its goals are, and how much money HSUS has.  On the HSUS website, they give the following mission statement:

The mission of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. We seek to forge a lasting and comprehensive change in human consciousness of and behavior toward all animals in order to prevent animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect and to protect wild habitats and the entire community of life.

The HSUS seeks to achieve our goals through education, advocacy, public policy reform and the empowerment of our supporters and partners. We do not engage in or support actions that are illegal or violent or that run counter to the basic principles of compassion and respect for others.

The HSUS strives for integrity, fairness and professionalism in pursuit of our mission. We will seek to be inclusive and to develop partnerships with a broad array of society’s institutions to further our goals.

                  26). https://www.humanesociety.org/our-policies

So what exactly does that mean?  Who is the HSUS and what are they trying to do?

There is a misconception of who The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is and what their function is nationally.  According to a national poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (CNN’s pollster) on November 23rd to the 25th, 2011, 71 percent of Americans think the Humane Society of the United States is a pet shelter “umbrella group” (27) that filters its donations to state branches, helping support local animal shelters (24).  

Despite the words “humane society” in its name, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not formally affiliated with any humane societies that operate at a city, county or regional level. HSUS does not run a single pet shelter (27).  The words “humane society” may appear on its letterhead and omnipresent dogs and cats are in its fundraising materials and television commercials, but the HSUS is not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets (25).  According to HumaneWatch.org, “HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter, nor does it serve as a national headquarters for humane societies that serve cities, towns, counties or states” (24).

A Feb. 2010 poll by Opinion Research Corporation determined that 63 percent of Americans believe their local humane society is affiliated with HSUS and 48 percent believe their local shelter receives financial support from HSUS (27). Furthermore, according to that November 2011 national poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, 68 percent [of Americans] believe HSUS contributes most of its money to local hands-on pet-shelter groups (27). Probably due to the commercials that show sad dogs and cats and strongly imply that giving $19 per month will alleviate their suffering (24).  

All of these statements are false (27).

Very little money given to HSUS will ever reach a pet shelter (24).  And quite unlike the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth (25).  HSUS has an annual budget of more than $100 million, and its affiliated groups have more than $191 million in assets, $160 million of which HSUS itself holds 24).

The HSUS disseminates merely one percent of its budget to pet shelters in the form of grants (27). More specifically, according to HSUS’s 2008 tax return, less than half of one percent (0.5%) of HSUS budget consisted of grants to hands-on pet shelters. And in 2009, again according to HSUS’s tax returns, less than one percent of HSUS’s budget (0.8%, to be exact) consisted of grants to shelters (24).

Most Americans aren’t aware of these facts, because the organization perpetuates the misconception the HSUS is directly affiliated with your local animal shelter, and the donations sent to HSUS will help shelter animals.

Even animal shelters believe that HSUS has helped perpetuate Americans’ misperception of what they do. In fact, 71 percent of animal shelters think HSUS “misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.” The animals featured in HSUS’s TV ads are almost always cats and dogs. Additionally, their fundraising letters often give the misleading impression about what HSUS does.

One recent letter claimed that “the only way we can make these critical life-saving programs work and help save the lives of puppies and kittens in peril is with the continued support of our very best members such as you.” Another letter asked, “How can we save these innocent puppies and kittens and find them good, loving homes?”

The most likely explanation for this is that donors respond with open checkbooks to dogs and cats more than, say, pigs and chickens. But while HSUS’s advertising plays on people’s love for pets, it uses much of the money in completely different ways.

               27). https://humaneforpets.com/the-problem/

The vast majority of HSUS funds are kept for its own agenda, and next time we’ll discuss what that agenda entails.

Sources:

24). https://humanewatch.org/the_humane_society_of_the_united_states

_and_pet_shelter_giving/

25). https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/hsus

-humane-society-of-the-united-states/ 

26). https://www.humanesociety.org/our-policies

27). https://humaneforpets.com/the-problem/

Funding Sources of Animal Shelters [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

9 Aug

In the last few posts we talked about how TNR is not all it’s cracked up to be, there are many downsides.  We went into how TNR started in the United States, and how Alley Cat Allies (ACA), which was integral to that process, seems biased, and according to employee reviews, is sketchy.  Last time we went over some horrible statistics about the number of animals that are abandoned and require shelter services, and the astronomical costs associated with running a shelter.  It’s not a pretty picture, and it’s not a simple problem to resolve. This time I’m going to share how animal shelters get the money to operate.

In trying to convey how animal shelters are funded, I found that two words are apt:  Inconsistent and incompletely.  Before I try to explain how animal shelters are funded, we have to look at semantics.  The term “animal shelter” is a generic term usually used to refer to an animal rescue organization that has a physical facility where you can go and adopt an animal.  To confused things further, some organizations even use the moniker “animal shelter” in their title.  Referring to an organization as an “animal shelter” or “animal rescue” has become common in the industry as a simple way to understand whether the organization has a physical facility where they house the animals.  So they’re catch-all terms, and may or may not be accurate to that particular animal shelter’s business model.

 

Despite the similar names, there are different types of animal shelters, and those classifications can help us decipher funding source–not always.  The majority of animal shelters are operated as rescues. They’re classified as charities and have 501c3 (non-profit) status.  Most animal rescue organizations are foster based and rely on volunteers to take care of the animals in their homes since they cannot afford a building, staff and all of the costs associated with running it.  

 

The second classification is animal shelter organization.  Neither animal rescue organizations or animal shelter organizations are funded by the federal government directly.  Though in some larger municipalities, local government does often provide funding to provide a public service of animal control.  Some cities even have organizations that are designated as animal control like in Milwaukee where MADACC (Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Care and Control) receives public funding for their operations.  

 

The third type are animal control organizationsWhile there are variations and exceptions, generally when you see the term “animal control,” the organization is funded by the local government to provide animal control services.  What this generally means is that the animal control organization is therefore required to take in strays or owner surrenders and they often have a “dog catcher” that is dispatched for animal complaints. Though the USDA does play a part in enforcing animal welfare laws, congress is not pouring money directly into your local shelter (though the USDA does offer some grants to shelters).  The shelters that do get some tax money, do not get nearly enough to sustain operations.

                  23). https://www.animalrescueprofessionals.org/myth-vs-fact

                   /animal-shelters-funded-by-the-government/

 

As you can see the funding is different depending on type of shelter, but also depends on the state, county, city, municipality, etc… There is not a consistent standard I can tell you about.  Everyone would have to look into their specific area to know the answer to that.  And the only way to truly understand the funding model of an organization is to dig a little deeper into their 990 form (if they are an IRS public charity) or hunt around on the internet to find more local or state information if they are not.

 

Bottom line:   

Recognize that your local animal rescue and animal shelter does not receive a big, fat check every month from the government to run their operations.  Most shelters get most of their funding from any grants (they can qualify for), fundraisers and events, and primarily:  Donations.  The vast majority of them rely on your donations and volunteerism to support their great work.

                 23). https://www.animalrescueprofessionals.org/myth-vs-fact

                 /animal-shelters-funded-by-the-government/

 

 This brings me to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  Next time I will share my research on the mission of the HSUS, and how it helps your local animal shelter.  

Animal Shelters [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

4 Aug

Ok, I think we’ve established that Alley Cat Allies (ACA) are integral in promoting TNR, and also a bit sketchy as an organization. We’ve talked at length about the disputed history of TNR, the ACA’s domination of Google Search, their manipulation of language, their exaggerated timeline of “success” and we’ve covered the employee reviews of that non-profit organization. There is more to discuss regarding them, but let’s take a pause with the ACA, because this paper is not about them-directly. Yes, ACA is linked very closely with TNR, but it’s TNR that I want to focus on in my research. So we’ll take a pause on ACA and discuss some other issues with TNR before going back the the ACA’s many problems.

Animal Shelters:

Bottom line is animal shelters are chronically overwhelmed, under-funded, and under-supported by both politicians and the community at large.

 

There are too many animals and not enough shelters, people, or money to support them:

The following grim stats were gathered by dosomething.org, and are an example of the scope of the problem:

According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.

Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.

The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.

Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.

About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.

Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.

25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.

Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes.

21). https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-animal-homelessness

 

Costs incurred by the Shelter:

Running an animal shelter is expensive, and many shelters have to turn away animals due to lack of funds.  Shelters often have to resort to euthanasia if they cannot afford to keep an animal for the remainder of that creature’s life.

An approximate average cost of owning a feline is anywhere from $491.00 to $3125.00 for the first year and
subsequent yearly cost of $310.00 to $1169.00. (Foster & Smith). When it comes to canines the average cost of owning a dog for a first year $374.00 to $658.00 (www.icanimalcenter.org) and following years anywhere from $287.00 to 2485.00. (Foster and Smith).

Costs of owning a pet may include:  supplies such as food, bowls, litter, leashes, etc , vaccines, deworming, spay/neutering, preventative care like dentals, monthly medications such as flea medicine & heartworm, grooming. As an example, The total cost of simply animal supplies such as bowls, food, leashes, toys, collars, etc. for the Camden County Animal Shelter (CCAS) was $35,000, not including any form of Veterinary care. And the above list of potential costs of caring for a dog or cat was by no means, exhaustive.  And you have to think–that’s per cat or dog. See the above section for estimates of how many dogs and cats animal shelters house and multiply these costs.  The amount quickly becomes astronomical! 

The animals themselves cost money, but the physical shelter also costs money to maintain.  Since they are housing multiple animals they need to make sure that living conditions are suitable. This means that working heating and air condition units are an absolute necessity, along with utilities, feed storage, pest control, dog runs and shelters are just a few of the many things that need to be updated.  One example of routine shelter costs comes from Pearl River Township animal shelter.  In 2003 they had to update some of their equipment and published the costs. Pest control ran them $576, new dog runs and shelters $1,200, feed storage $1000, and A/C units $700 (Cashion).

There are still more costs of running an animal shelter: It is required by state law for animal shelters to carry liability insurance and workers compensation insurance in case a visitor and/or employee gets injured or bitten by an animal.  For the Camden County Animal Shelter, insurance ran $43,313 in 2006.  In addition, different kinds of licenses are required to run a shelter such as a kennel licenses, and those different licenses and fees can cost $298 and are required to be renewed every few years. (Egan, B).

Perhaps the most important cost a shelter has are its employees.  Without much money to support the needs of the animals, the salary of the shelter employees also suffers. Many shelters have their own on-site veterinarians along with executive directors, veterinary technicians, director of developments, general and operation managers, and animal control workers. All of them garner relatively meager salaries compared to those working in other areas of their field. From a national standpoint the average salary of the Executive Director (non-profit) is $51,146 and the Director of Development (Non-profit) is about $43,502. Veterinarian’s salaries are around $67,220 and their technicians receive earnings of approximately $25,018. General operations manager’s salary is $36,856, operations managers make $37,871, and animal control officers receive an income of approximately $30,723 (payscale). Animal shelter staff must be passionate about their jobs and their passion is what must drive them, not their salary (Germann, J). 

Animal Shelters are severely understaffed all due to lack of funds. It had been found that some larger shelters have a staff to animal ration of 1 employee to 600-1,000 animals, with an average ratio of 691 animals to one employee (Cashion, 2003). It is difficult to imagine that animals are getting the proper care, no matter how efficiently a staff member is working, with the sheer mass of animals one person is responsible for. 

Which is why volunteers are integral to a well functioning shelter. With regulations based on safety and (insurance liabilities) the type and quantity of volunteers may be limited.  Many volunteers are at the core of shelters and without them a shelter may crumble and unfortunately the animals are the main recipients of the repercussions of this occurrence. Without the care and attention these animals deserve, they are not getting an equal opportunity to find a home.  

Even if a shelter receives funding from local government based on taxes, it is not nearly enough to run a well-functioning kennel with all the proper necessities, resources, employees and supplies. Fundraising and donations are the main source of funds for those shelters as well as those (which are many) that do not receive money from the government. Depending on how well a shelter is at raising funds, has a direct impact on how well they are able care for and adopt out these homeless animals.

 

For many shelters the amount of debt they are faced with increases each and every year and piles on the debt they already encompass from past years.

Here’s an example of what sounds like a lot of revenue being exceeded by operating costs:  Total revenue and support for CCAS in 2010 was $101,232 in donations and $48,903 in grants ($150,135). The shelters total operating costs for 2010 was $1.2 million (1,049,865 in the red).

In a second example, compare to 2010 revenue and total costs for the Camden County Animal Shelter to their 2006 costs and revenue. In 2006 their total revenue reached $564,380 while their total operating costs were $548,099. This leaves a deficit of $16, 281 (Egan, B).

Because of all these overhead expenses, many shelters are in some sort of deficit year after year that never disappears. Monmouth County SPCA stated, “It costs approximately $250,000 per month to fund all the important programs of the MCSPCA. We need to receive donations of over $250,000 per month just to maintain normal operations throughout the year. Unfortunately, because the amount we receive usually falls well short of the minimum required amount, we operate at a deficit each and every month” (Germann, J).

                   22). https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/38418/PDF/1/play

                  /#:~:text=Most%20shelters%20receive%20donations%20to,many%

                 20they%20can%20adopt%20out.

 

So you see the problem.  Next time we’ll talk about how animal shelters are funded

 

 

Alley Cat Allies (ACA) [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

3 Aug

There are 38 reviews (it’s a small organization) and the company score was 1.6 out of 5 stars.  Only 13% of people that have been employed with ACA would recommend the job.

I have copied and pasted excerpts, and sometimes all of, the employee reviews for ACA as is.  If you have a Glassdoor login, you can see for yourself the way this information is conveyed by me is truthful and accurate to what is posted on this public job board.

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Alley-Cat-Allies-Reviews-E848138.htm

From most helpful votes to least: 

a).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 3 years

Feb 27, 2016 –  in Bethesda, MD

Pros

– Office cats live on the 6th floor and you can bring your dog in if you work on the 5th floor

– Good insurance benefits

– Free bagels every Friday

Cons

– Constant turnover and low morale. Less than a handful of employees have been here longer than 2 years

– Lack of upper management. Just a slew of temps, entry level, and mid-level employees with several vacant Director positions and no real HR

– Almost every employee reports directly to the President and/or COO creating huge delays on urgent work

– There is no strategic vision, just constant day-to-day micromanaging

– President and COO. . .are frequently emotionally abusive to employees. 

Advice to Management

My advice to management would be to actually read and truly absorb what all of the 1 star reviews are saying. This many people can’t be wrong. ACA has lost dozens of amazing employees because the President and COO refuse to listen and change. It’s a toxic environment that is bound to self destruct. There is no hope.

39 people found this review helpful

b).

1.0★★★★★

Nov 8, 2017 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Salaries and benefits are good, but job security is non-existent.

Cons

Alley Cat Allies is an unethical, unprofessional and deeply unkind organization. Contributions are misused and employees are mistreated, disrespected and emotionally abused. Direct Mail expenses, Development team and donor management costs mean that very little money raised goes to help cats.

The office is located in the most expensive zip code in the country.

But the unethical and possible illegal behavior is not as bad the way that staff are treated. Humiliation is the #1 management tool.

Advice to Management

Fire Charelene Pedrolie. Dismiss Becky Robinson. Board members should should be ashamed of how they have abandoned their fiduciary responsibility.

39 people found this review helpful

c).

1.0★★★★★

Current Employee, more than 3 years

Horrible place to work.

Feb 22, 2016 – Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD

Cons

The leadership doesn’t lead. They reign through cruelty and spite. . . It is a dysfunctional and toxic workplace. The founder has serious mental health issues demonstrated by major ups and downs, erratic behaviour, insecurity and micromanagement. She is quick to put down others and fails to accept responsibility for her mistakes. Employees are scared of retribution and thus can’t make a move without approval from Becky. Thus they can’t truly do their jobs.

Advice to Management

The founder and president, Becky Robinson, needs to step down. She is a detriment to the organization, incapable of leading or inspiring, with dismal people skills. If she really cared about cats and the organization she created, she would do what’s best for both and hand over the reign to a competent leader. Her ego is unfortunately bigger than her abilities. Also Charlene Pedrolie should be removed. 

38 people found this review helpful

d).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Perhaps the worst animal welfare organization to work for in the country

Nov 26, 2015 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

The original mission (protecting the welfare of cats) is noble.

Cons

There are two issues – (1) the ineffectiveness of the organization as a whole and its failure to achieve even the smallest of goals in recent years and (2) the cruelty with which the president and founder (Becky Robinson) and her second in command (Charlene Pedrolie) treat employees.

To the first point, Alley Cat Allies has tremendous wealth (upwards of $7 million) yet made no positive impact for cats. Look at the claims made in fundraising emails and try to match it to actual victories. You simply can’t. The successes don’t exist, instead the organization helps a few individual cats (through relocation, adoption, covering spay/neuter costs) every week. 

most money is spent on fundraising. 

The board has been notified of these issues yet chooses to do nothing. Potential donors should carefully consider whether Alley Cat Allies merits their donations.

Management (Robinson and Pedrolie) have created an environment so hostile and demeaning that it borders on the Kafkaesque. Management . . .screams at employees for inconsequential issues (like using a black pen instead of blue). One particularly distressing habit that the president has is to speak to employees as though they are mentally disabled (very slowly, enunciating each syllable). Clearly, this is an insensitive and offensive way to speak to anyone (regardless of their mental acuity) but it’s particularly humiliating when done to you in front of large groups of people.

38 people found this review helpful

e).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

Apr 29, 2016 – Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

Pros

Alley Cat Allies pays (most of) their staff more than the majority of animal welfare organizations.

Monthly healthcare premiums covered at 100% for staff.

Colleagues are great (exceptions exist).

Cons

Just read all of the other reviews (minus an obvious outlier…).

There is also a ENORMOUS amount of money wasted on things ranging from daily operational costs all the way to the refusal to give grant funds to worthy groups despite the amount spent on marketing.

Advice to Management

Get a Board of Directors that actually provides oversight to senior management instead of “yessing” everything and taking glossy slideshows as fact.

Find a President who can run an organization effectively.

And get an HR Department. The lack of this department is truly offensive.

37 people found this review helpful

f)

1.0★★★★★

Run

Nov 18, 2015 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

If there was a strategic plan in place and if the organization actually followed its mission to save cat’s lives then this would be an amazing place to work.

Cons

Unfortunately, there is no strategic plan, campaigns and programs are never implemented yet the halfway achieved campaigns and programs are used for fundraising purposes. There is a lack of trust by senior leadership and no one stays long enough!

There is no HR department. No accountability for senior staff- the rules do not apply to them. 

37 people found this review helpful

g).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 3 years

As BAD as They Say

Sep 3, 2018 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Excellent benefits. Mostly awesome employees/coworkers.

Cons

At the time of this writing, 18 out of 26 reviews of Alley Cat Allies are one-star (only 4 five-star reviews that are obviously written by management or someone else hired to polish the turd that is this organization’s reputation). Common threads that run through these reviews are:

  • Ineffective leadership
  • Board inaction to the above
  • No strategic vision
  • Donations are misused, and successes exaggerated
  • High turnover
  • Unethical, cruel, abusive, erratic behavior by the president and the COO
  • Dysfunctional, toxic environment
  • Micromanaging and demeaning leadership style

I’m here to tell you that this is all true and waiting for you when you accept employment at Alley Cat Allies. This organization could do great things but will NEVER live up to its potential because of its useless leadership that controls its employees through fear and humiliation instead of inspiring and empowering them.

The pervasiveness of the injury and indignity suffered by employees of this organization speak through these reviews.

Heed my warning and the warning of others! This place is a dumpster fire. Enter at your own risk… I did (believing it couldn’t be THAT BAD, ignoring reviews and verbal notice of the impending nightmare) and I certainly paid the price. My friends and family were relieved when I was free of this place and could “begin healing.”

Advice to Management

What can be said that hasn’t already? Leadership needs a complete overhaul.

36 people found this review helpful

h). 

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Negative reviews are ALL TRUE. Positive ones are FAKE. CEO has personality of Donald Trump

Feb 5, 2019 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Great benefits. That’s how they justify abusing you and creating a CLIMATE OF FEAR. I was afraid to leave because of the benefits but everyone eventually sees their mental health is more important. And it takes a long time to recover emotionally. Like years.

Cons

This sounds like a dystopian book. Or a better comparison is the Trump administration. BECKY ROBINSON acts like Donald Trump. She is angry, irrational, PSYCHOTIC and keeps the organization from accomplishing pretty much anything because she is focused on all the wrong things. Mostly LAWSUITS from other former employees and her EGO and ILLEGAL stuff she is doing with at least one other organization, using Alley Cat Allies donors money. And the COO Charlene Pedroile shuffles behind her quietly MANIPULATING. Whatever she has reported on the books or however she has managed to have a good audit is something she has manipulated. Which one is worse? Why do they do any of this? I honestly think they enjoy hurting people. Every inch of the negative reviews are true. Can’t get that across enough.

Advice to Management

Leave. Maybe the organization could be saved with competent leaders. But they will never leave unless they are forced out. No one has figured out how to do that yet. If you are a journalist help expose them and get them out.

35 people found this review helpful

i)

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Please Don’t Work Here

Jan 21, 2016 –  in Bethesda, MD

Cons

Horrible, horrible toxic work environment. The management is absolutely dreadful. 

Charlene pedrolie has absolutely NO idea how to deal with people in a respectful way…  She berates her staff for the most insignificant reasons, taking advantage of them, belittling them and demotivating them.. . Most people quit if they haven’t already been unreasonably threatened to leave by Charlene. She has also demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about animal care and animal rights – she is clearly all about the business aspect but can’t even prove to be an effective businesswoman. People do not last long as there is a high turnover rate. 

35 people found this review helpful

j).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Sep 11, 2015 – Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD

Pros

There were a fair amount of catered lunches and meetings, that’s about it.

Cons

– Management is dysfunctional in almost all areas except they excel in fostering an extremely toxic work environment.

– Employees are bad-mouthed by management in-front of other employees.

– Management lacks the ability to make decisions and changes course on major projects on almost a weekly basis.

– The turn-over rate is extremely high and directly affects the organizations ability to accomplish their mission.

– Resources are spent more on development (raising money) than mission goals.

– Administrative costs are high for an organization of this size.

Advice to Management

If you truly care about the organization and the ability to “Save Cats Lives” then let the skilled employees you hire do their jobs.

35 people found this review helpful

k)

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Would not recommend working here

May 30, 2015 – Manager in Bethesda, MD

Pros

ACA has a very toxic work environment and I would not recommend working there. The major pro is that the mission is wonderful, and employees are dedicated to supporting that mission.

Cons

Toxic work environment– leadership does not trust employees and thinks that employees are not smart or capable. Leadership gossips about employees with other employees regularly. Programs and initiatives are launched then abandoned as leadership loses focus and decides to do other things.

Advice to Management

New management is simply the only way the culture will change for more cats will be helped. This is not likely to happen.

35 people found this review helpful

l).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Read about Alley Cat Allies in the Chronicle of Philanthropy to learn it all…

Mar 29, 2019 – Assistant in Bethesda, MD

Pros

Good health insurance. Good job if you want to gather research for a book about toxic workplaces.

Cons

Google reporter Marc Gunther’s article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and then go to his website to read his blog posts about Alley Cat Allies and Becky Robinson. That sums up this organization. Dysfunctional and corrupt. Wasting donor dollars. Screaming at employees. Firing people who dare speak up. 

Advice to Management

Stop using donor dollars to fund lawsuits against former employees and consultants. Just shut the place down. Its not like we’re helping cats anyway.

34 people found this review helpful

m).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Unethical, High Turnover, Machiavellian Culture

Jan 15, 2017 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Benefits higher than other non profits.

Cons

Lack of professionalism in management. Management unethical, deceitful and plays employee and rescue group favoritism. Employs cruel, heartless actions against others. Although the salary and company benefits are much higher than other non profits I realized that those benefits and salaries are paid for by the donating public which means that money isn’t supporting the cause. Too much money spent on seeking donations and those donations aren’t funding the cause.

Advice to Management

Resign and replace.Read the other negative former employee reviews. 

34 people found this review helpful

n).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Very unhealthy work place!

Sep 30, 2015 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

The Cause of helping and saving feral cats is wonderful, and the company is truly making a difference for them. Everyone there is an animal lover. Overall, the staff members are very nice and work well with each other.

Cons

Executive managers micromanage at the NANO level and change processes and procedures constantly; this creates delays, unnecessary extra work, and more stress for staff. They yell, bully, and degrade staff and vendors, alike, in front of others. The extremely low morale level is rated at a 1, in my opinion. There is a revolving door with incoming and outgoing of employees, as the turnover rate is so high. 

Advice to Management

Stop your condescension with staff and vendors. Paying their salaries and vendors’ businesses does not entitle you to treat people like you own them. Be more thoughtful and tactful, and please stop the micromanagement; allow staff to have some level of autonomy.

34 people found this review helpful

o).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

If it looks like a duck & quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Mar 1, 2019 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

* Salary levels

* Constantly being around cats

* Bethesda is a nice neighborhood

Cons

Becky Robinson is truly a pioneer in the TNR field. But these days she’s an afterthought. All the big names in animal rescue leave her out of their planning & events. Why? She simply can’t play nice with others and is batguano crazy. Then, she sealed her fate by hiring Charlene Pedrolie to basically take over the entire operation. Charlene is controlling and heartless. She is intimidated by strong women & will take you down whatever way she’s able. Napoleon complex times a thousand.

Between Becky’s erratic behavior & Charlene’s over the top need to control everything, the work environment is extremely toxic. . .  I doubt the PTSD will ever dissipate. And I’m far from alone! The hiring cannot keep up with the firings & resignations.

Raising money is the #1 focus and with each $5 check from a cat-loving senior citizen is another lawsuit from aggrieved employees or vendors (See Putsche v. ACA). Or, another trip for Becky to far away lands like Hawaii or Australia. She often has a videographer accompany her to capture heart-tugging moments in order to raise more money.

For years, I watched other people berated, treated like trash, and then summarily tossed aside. I thought it would never happen to me, until it did. And my life will never be the same. That isn’t drama, it’s just the awful truth.

Advice to Management

Management = Becky & Charlene who will never take responsibility & forever point the finger at others. So, giving them advice is a waste of time.

For the current employees: the longer you stay, the more complicit you become.

34 people found this review helpful

l).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Read about Alley Cat Allies in the Chronicle of Philanthropy to learn it all…

Mar 29, 2019 – Assistant in Bethesda, MD

Pros

Good health insurance. Good job if you want to gather research for a book about toxic workplaces.

Cons

Google reporter Marc Gunther’s article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and then go to his website to read his blog posts about Alley Cat Allies and Becky Robinson. That sums up this organization. Dysfunctional and corrupt. Wasting donor dollars. Screaming at employees. Firing people who dare speak up. 

Advice to Management

Stop using donor dollars to fund lawsuits against former employees and consultants. Just shut the place down. Its not like we’re helping cats anyway.

34 people found this review helpful

m).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Unethical, High Turnover, Machiavellian Culture

Jan 15, 2017 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Benefits higher than other non profits.

Cons

Lack of professionalism in management. Management unethical, deceitful and plays employee and rescue group favoritism. Employs cruel, heartless actions against others. Although the salary and company benefits are much higher than other non profits I realized that those benefits and salaries are paid for by the donating public which means that money isn’t supporting the cause. Too much money spent on seeking donations and those donations aren’t funding the cause.

Advice to Management

Resign and replace.Read the other negative former employee reviews. 

34 people found this review helpful

n).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Very unhealthy work place!

Sep 30, 2015 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

The Cause of helping and saving feral cats is wonderful, and the company is truly making a difference for them. Everyone there is an animal lover. Overall, the staff members are very nice and work well with each other.

Cons

Executive managers micromanage at the NANO level and change processes and procedures constantly; this creates delays, unnecessary extra work, and more stress for staff. They yell, bully, and degrade staff and vendors, alike, in front of others. The extremely low morale level is rated at a 1, in my opinion. There is a revolving door with incoming and outgoing of employees, as the turnover rate is so high. 

Advice to Management

Stop your condescension with staff and vendors. Paying their salaries and vendors’ businesses does not entitle you to treat people like you own them. Be more thoughtful and tactful, and please stop the micromanagement; allow staff to have some level of autonomy.

34 people found this review helpful

o).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

If it looks like a duck & quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Mar 1, 2019 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

* Salary levels

* Constantly being around cats

* Bethesda is a nice neighborhood

Cons

Becky Robinson is truly a pioneer in the TNR field. But these days she’s an afterthought. All the big names in animal rescue leave her out of their planning & events. Why? She simply can’t play nice with others and is batguano crazy. Then, she sealed her fate by hiring Charlene Pedrolie to basically take over the entire operation. Charlene is controlling and heartless. She is intimidated by strong women & will take you down whatever way she’s able. Napoleon complex times a thousand.

Between Becky’s erratic behavior & Charlene’s over the top need to control everything, the work environment is extremely toxic. . .  I doubt the PTSD will ever dissipate. And I’m far from alone! The hiring cannot keep up with the firings & resignations.

Raising money is the #1 focus and with each $5 check from a cat-loving senior citizen is another lawsuit from aggrieved employees or vendors (See Putsche v. ACA). Or, another trip for Becky to far away lands like Hawaii or Australia. She often has a videographer accompany her to capture heart-tugging moments in order to raise more money.

For years, I watched other people berated, treated like trash, and then summarily tossed aside. I thought it would never happen to me, until it did. And my life will never be the same. That isn’t drama, it’s just the awful truth.

Advice to Management

Management = Becky & Charlene who will never take responsibility & forever point the finger at others. So, giving them advice is a waste of time.

For the current employees: the longer you stay, the more complicit you become.

34 people found this review helpful

p)

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Worst job ever – I needed therapy

Oct 3, 2017 –  

Pros

Great mission, decent pay, cats in office, good health insurance, some colleagues were nice. Office was clean and modern.

Cons

Continual verbal and emotional abuse, harassment, gaslighting, and micromanagement from emotionally unstable boss caused serious mental distress and inability to do job properly.

Several employees sought therapy locally on our lunch breaks because of Becky. Nothing can ever be done to her liking; she has severe mood swings and sometimes violent outbursts; she micromanages everyone to the point where you cannot get your job done; she picks favorites and others are her “whipping boy”. 

Advice to Management

CEO needs psychiatric medication and therapy. She shouldn’t be in a position of managing others.

32 people found this review helpful

q).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

Atrocious workplace culture, inept leadership

Feb 23, 2016 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Cats in the office.

Company pays 100% of health insurance premium.

Free donuts on Friday.

Intelligent, compassionate coworkers at middle-management levels and below.

Cons

Organizational leadership and workplace culture are actively harmful to productivity and morale, borderline abusive. Morale across the company is low, and the organization suffers from constant employee turnover. The president and the COO are ineffective leaders with poor people and leadership skills. Their condescension, verbal abuse and aggression toward employees creates a toxic work environment. Alley Cat Allies is a case study in micromanagement. The president oversees every project, mandating her personal approval on everything. This is an enormous drag on productivity, and projects pile up on each other and are approved long after their deadline. Most employees are extremely competent and effective in their field, and are successful in spite of upper management, not because of it.

Projects are often forgotten. Successes are exaggerated or minor, given the stated national scope of the organization. Upward mobility is almost nonexistent, and salaries only increase in an attempt to stop turnover.

Employees have to pay for parking in downtown Bethesda themselves, which is very expensive; you can shave about $7 per day off your daily take-home pay before you even walk through the door. Any food that is not vegan or vegetarian is prohibited in the office, which is not a problem if you’re vegetarian but is frustrating if you’re not.

Advice to Management

The CEO and COO are unfit to guide the organization and should both step down. Drastic changes in leadership are necessary but unlikely. Providing employees with occasional perks like free luncheons or guided meditation are not replacements for increasing salaries and transforming the workplace into a positive, supportive environment.

31 people found this review helpful

r).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Immature, Defective, Malignant Management

Dec 29, 2018 – Administrative in Baltimore, MD

Pros

They spend a lot of money on salaries and benefits (not to the cats).

Cons

Management is backbiting, immature, personality disordered and can not change. The only way this organization will survive is for people to 1) Boycott working here and 2) Stop donating to this abusive, self serving, cruel management. They do nothing for the cats, border on the illegal, certainly unethical practices. 

Advice to Management

Please remove yourselves and step down to allow competent, mature and ethical people to run the show.

28 people found this review helpful

u).

3.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

Reviews speak for themselves

May 14, 2020 – Development Assistant 

Cons

Management is just…rife with scandals, and CEO is pretty much a crazy person.

16 people found this review helpful

v).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 3 years

Dishonesty and paranoia in abundance

Sep 5, 2020 – Manager in Bethesda, MD

Pros

None. You work hard to earn your vacation days then they wont let you to take then because of a million reasons!

Cons

Never got reimbursed for any of my sick or vacation days accumulated. Had to get a lawyer and ACA would rather pay thousands to legal fees then do whats right. 

Advice to Management

Learn how to operate a company the honest way. Stop acting like your busy working foe cats. . .

15 people found this review helpful

w).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

I would call this place a joke, but that would be ignoring the real damage they do

Jan 19, 2021 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Benefits and pay, but that’s it

Cons

-Leadership: The founder is prime example of founder’s syndrome. She has too much control over the organization she founded, even though it has grown beyond her ability to manage. She micromanages everything, to the point of nothing getting done. That would be bad enough, but even worse is that she was horrible to employees. At best she’s rude, snapping at people and making them bend to her every whim, acting like we had nothing better to do than serve her, instead of doing our real jobs. At worst, she’s emotionally abusive and makes employees cry.

There’s no HR department, so there is nowhere for people to go with these problems. There’s also no board oversight for questionable management and financial practices.

-High employee turnover

Advice to Management

Leave and let competent people run the organization. Maybe it could actually do some good for cats.

8 people found this review helpful

x).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 3 years

Checking in

Jun 21, 2021 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

I left the organization before getting fired years ago – my first review is posted here already. (PS Most people at ACA get fired, and for no good reason). I sometimes check back in here at Glassdoor to see how things are going, if anything at ACA has changed. Sort of like checking an ex’s social media. I see that nothing has changed.

Cons

The same cruel leadership and ineffective management is reflected in these reviews. Just a note to job seekers…I have thought about this organization, and my negative, scary, sad, stressful experiences there, many times. Truly. Many times. I probably needed therapy.

2 people found this review helpful

y)

5.0★★★★★

Current Employee, more than 1 year

MANAGER

May 3, 2016 – Manager 

Pros

Great benefits, passionate about mission, flexibility, get to be involved in high level strategic discussions that at all of my other jobs I didn’t get to be part of, great staff and great leadership. Becky, Charlene and Rebekah provide good strategic decisions and they care about the employees. I have learned a lot from them and appreciate their dedication and genuine concern for animals. If you don’t work hard and don’t care about the mission, you wont do well here. They don’t put up with slackers.

Cons

I have a long commute so I wished I lived closer to the office.

2 people found this review helpful

z).

5.0★★★★★

Current Employee, more than 1 year

Mission focused, great team, huge impact in movement

Jan 20, 2017 – Program Manager in Bethesda, MD

Pros

Love working here, we are very focused on having huge impact to stop killing of cats. For such a small team, we have had tremendous across the country in saving cats and changing laws. I am so proud of our work and my team members. I now think of them as some of my best friends. I love the dedication and passion of the executive team. They work late nights and almost every weekend.

Cons

its hard when we cant save every cat, although we try. The metro commute has been bad because of the metro work. –

Advice to Management

please consider more remote work options

Be the first to find this review helpful

As you can see, the majority of the reviews are abysmal.  Common complaints were no long-term plans that support the mission, the president and COO foster a toxic workplace environment through micromanaging, verbal abuse, and sketchy practices, and a high turnover rate.  The last reviews, with the fewest “helpful’ votes have an entirely different tone.

That was a lot to get through so next time I’ll give more sources about how ACA is a poorly-run and corrupt organization.