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Clean Paws Mobile Pet Services

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Victims of Ignorance

Posted on 24 March, 2012 at 11:54 Comments comments (112)
I write this blog with both anger and sadness.  Yesterday started off like our normal day.  Up early feeding my pets and then heading off for our daily walk.  It is a route that I have taken my pets on for many years.  We spy the fields to see what new flowers have burst into action for spring, and enjoy the gay song of the birds in the trees as we pass by. 

Today started off no different.  As my Phat Gurl and I headed down the street for our daily exercise we were confronted by a pitt bull that I had seen in the area before.  When he saw us he immediately went into a low crouch and headed straight for me.  This dog was not a stray, but a well feed heavily muscled dog that was taught to fight.  I kept my dog's lead close to my body trying to ward off the would be attacker, but he lunged at me and my Phat Gurl sacrificed herself to protect me.  I pommeled the attacker with any and everything I could get me hands on as I called the police for help.  Finally,  a male appeared from the house that the dog had been fed at, and helped me beat him off of my dog.  He had savagely bitten her foreleg, but she continued to fight back.  I have never in my life been filled with such blinding white hot anger,and at that moment I am ashamed to admit, that all I wanted was the assailant to be DEAD!

Just as quickly as the male appeared to stave off the brutal attack his questions struck me as odd: "Oh!  That's a girl?"  "Your dog is not aggressive?"  What type of person asks those questions, unless you set the stage for the attack?  The only answer I could give was....I will not rest, until that dog is dead!  Like vapors in the wind both the dog and the male disappeared.  At the vet's office, despite being in tremendous pain, my Phat Gurl was the perfect patient her tail never stopped wagging.  She did all that they demanded of her with only a few out cries.  Fortunately, her injuries were not severe.  At a surpising 71 pounds she held off her attacker with a few deep puncture wounds to her foreleg.  They cleaned her wounds and sent us home with meds to help her heal.    Her Aunt Katy drove us gently to our destination, and she received a pop up visit from her Grandma. 

She was showered with kisses, gently rubs and hugs to ease her emotional suffering.  I looked into her eyes and I could see the confusion in her face behind the pain, and it made me angry all over again!  How can people do this?  How do they think that fighting dogs or any animal makes you mucho or tough?  How sick do you have to be to promote or even watch that garbage?  When animal control catches this dog, he is probably going to be put to sleep, and for that my heart feels sadness.  He was taught to be that way, and it will cost him his life.  What will happen to the human that ultimately signed his death warrant?  NOTHING!  He will get another dog and ruin his life as well, and he will continue until he dies....wouldn't be nice if he was attacked by the animals he trained?  Now THAT would be justice!

I look in my Phat Gurl's eyes and I can only wonder what this has done to her emotionally.  If it will change the loving sweet girl that is open and friendly to all animals.  If it will make her dog aggressive now.  All I can do, is keep loving and working with her so that she can come back through this the Princess that she was before.  The scars on her body will heal, I can only hope that the scars on her heart will do the same.

Animal Abuse

Posted on 11 March, 2012 at 9:11 Comments comments (273)
****Warning, I am going on a rant with this one so BEWARE****


If you have happened to watch the news lately, there was a 23 year old man and a 13 year old boy that posted a video on YouTube of them abusing puppies.  The things that the two of them did to these little puppies were ridiculous!  When they were caught, the 23 year was "surprised" because in his eyes he wasn't "hurting anybody"!   I guess the cries from an animal having tape ripped from his testicles didn't sound like pain(hurting) right?

People label Pitt Bull Terriers as "vicious" and "dangerous", and they want to ban the  breed, have them "put to sleep" because of the threat they pose.  Yet, if this guy goes to prison, which I highly doubt.  We the taxpayers of America have to pay $51,000.00 a year to house him, feed him, clothe him!  What a waste of my hard earned money!  In my opinion people like that are just a pimple on the butt-hole of life and should be destroyed!  

Where's the switch?  I would be happy to flip it, and while he's twitching throw a cup of water on him!  Let's have a bar-b-que!  What a waste of good oxygen that someone worthwhile could be using!

1200 Words

Posted on 26 January, 2012 at 5:30 Comments comments (10)
Recently, I embarked upon a new adventure.  I wrote an article for a magazine, whether or not the article will be used is yet to be seen.  In the process of writing this article, it forced me to write down the experiences of my lifetime that lead me to where I am today.  Have you ever taken the time to do that?  It is a remarkable discovery of who you are, and what you have overcome in your life.  Sometimes we are a little too hard on ourselves, and we can become paralyzed by fear.  Fear of failure or worst of all fear of success! 

I want to challenge you, to take a day, just one day, and write down all the experiences from as far back as you can remember up until today.  Yes, turn the television, radio or whatever distractions you may have and jot down every road of your journey.  What you may find can be humbling and eye-opening.  You may find that you had hidden strength that you didn't think that you had, or you came through a tough patch with only minor nicks and bruises!  What I discovered in my journey was, the trials and tribulations that I have gone through and come out on the other side of were really not about me!  Most of them were about a road map laid out to help the person behind me find their way through!

If you have never walked through the fire yourself, how can you help navigate some one else through it?  What an amazing journey we are on in this thing called life!

What's your story?  Don't let your journey through life be the best kept secret!

Coming into her own

Posted on 8 January, 2012 at 12:19 Comments comments (178)
The sting of losing my Bear Theodore is still fresh in my heart.  My house still feels cold and empty without him, and I miss the sound of him snoring like a buzz saw at the foot of my bed.  I realize that his loss is as great to me as it is to my Phat Gurl.  She sleeps in the new bed that their grandma bought for Bear, but I have noticed that she stares blankly at the empty spot where he once slept.  She no longer drinks from the water bowl that all of them once shared.  Her favorite cat curls up next to her as if they are leaning on each other for support. 

Before she would whine to go potty a hundred times a day, so she could run around and bounce happily up and down the fence at people passing by.  Now when she goes out she at attention, and she studies the area carefully.  She is on duty, it's like she grew up in a few days.  My Phat Gurl is not a barker.   I have heard her bark on a few occasions usually early in the morning at play, she could honestly wake the dead!  My Phat Gurl is a watcher, a stalker like a cat, and as fast as greased lightening!  I have a O'possum named Eddie that comes to visit at night,  If I don't check before letting her out, I have to shout his name so he can hide while she is out.  I have noticed that now some of her playfulness has subsided and while we are on our walk she pays attention to everything.

Thankfully, this January has been busier than last year.  Working has kept me grounded while going through our loss.  On this particular day my last client was a cat groom.  It was a first time customer, and I made sure I asked the most important question.....when was the last time that your cat was professionally groomed?  She told me "oh she is groomed all the time, the last time was a couple of months ago."  Cats, they are a  tricky breed, you always, and I do mean ALWAYS have to be on your A game, otherwise there could be a problem.  When I arrived I went to do the paperwork and retrieve the cat.  As I walked in the home I noticed that she had not followed my instructions, which were DO NOT put the cat in the carrier until after I see her, just keep her in a smaller room where she can't escape.  It reduces the amount of stress on the cat.    The cat was sitting in the carrier by the door with a blanket over it.   Somehow....in my "knower"  I KNOW this is not going to be good, but the cat sat quietly in the cage so I pressed on.  I get in Proud Mary, place the carrier on the table and removed the blanket.....still quiet.   I give her the usual meow greetings....still quiet.  I open the door to the cage to let walk out and investigate.  She comes out looks around and sits on the edge of the table.  I tell her how beautiful she is, and she is still ok.   I placed my hand on the carrier to remove it from the table, and all hell broke out!  This cat let out some kind of crazy banchee scream, hit the crane position from the movie Kirate Kid and came flying at me screaming, peeing, and swinging like that monster that popped out of that guy's chest in the movie Alien!  Like I said, I wasn't on my A-game that day, but my B-game was still pretty good! I stepped back, opened the cage door with one hand, shoved her back into the cage with the other, and slammed the door shut!  I noticed blood on my thumb, she had tagged me on the way back in the cage.  As I tried to lock the door she attacked the gate until I got it locked.  I fumbled around trying to get the blanket back over the cage while the cat bounced around in the carrier like a radioactive isotope dropped in cold water!  She was hitting the walls in the carrier so hard that it almost toppled off the table! 

I held on to the carrier, placed the blanket over it to get her to calm down while I caught my breath.  If I never need a Pepsi, now I needed one BAD!!  All I could say was....what the hell is wrong with this crazy cat? I waited a few minutes for the cat to settle down.  The last thing I wanted to happen was the cage to come flying open while I am walking back to the house and this insane cat digging into my leg like a tree trunk!  As I entered the house, I asked her mom again, when was the last time this cat was groomed professionally?  She replied" OH, she has never been groomed professionally......I always do it."  The blanket had started coming off of the carrier and that the she-beast inside was beginning to rumble again!  I placed the carried in her mom's hand, and I couldn't get to the gas pedal fast enough!  I think Proud Mary popped a wheelie getting away from her street!  I really don't understand why people are not honest about what is going on with their pets.  Had I not reacted quickly, that could have been a VERY dangerous situation!

After stopping at the local gas station, I downed two 44oz Pepsis to get the color back in my skin, and headed home.  It was an early day and I decided to make it special for the Phat Gurl and I.  Just a girls day.  I took her for an extra long walk, we played ball, I gave her a bath in the new Creme Burlee Scent of the month and painted her toe nails red.  Later that night I popped some popcorn and we watched her favorite movie:  Eight Below.    I think we both fell asleep half way through it, but it was a nice evening of bonding for the both of us.  Losing Bear has changed both of us, and we now lean on each other.  She is coming back into her playful moments, but only inside, outside she is on her job, and I love her for it!

Keeping an open mind

Posted on 31 December, 2011 at 12:31 Comments comments (8)
I want to share this with you.  It is NOT an official idea, just my opinion so be patient with me while I stand on my soapbox here. 

I have been grooming going on my 10th year now as a profession.  I have prided myself on continuing my education in my profession, and I keep my mind in a learning position.  I have enjoyed inspiring new groomers and have been more of a drill sargent when it comes to learning, and understanding the basics especially when it comes to sanitation and safety.  I have always encouraged my students to grow and seek information and opportunities beyond the lessons that they get from me.   

If I ever get into a position where I feel like I "know everything" and close myself off to the possibility of new ideas and techniques I feel that would be the time for me to stop working in my profession.  When I was working with students, I always learned from them.  Every person is wired differently, and they can arrive at the same desired point via a different route, and I encourage it!  Everything in life is not cookie cutter.  There are basic fundamentals, however, there are certain visionaries that see the end result a different way.  That is why we have some of the most useful inventions that we have today!  

Listening, is a dying art!  Everyone is so hyped up, that all they want to do is talk and be heard, but who are YOU listening to?  I have a soft spot for the seniors, I enjoy listening to their stories of the days gone by.  They are such a treasure chest of history and knowledge, even if it is not in the capacity that they are seeking your assistance.  I have learned a technique that works with senior pets from one of my customers when I worked in the shop that still works for me today.  Some things, have started a spark in me that I have consulted with more experienced groomers as far as safety and usefulness. Some have worked others have not been so productive at this time, but I always listen and I keep myself in a learning mode.  Most times I learn from the pets that I am grooming in addition to my own pets.  Have you ever watch an animal figure something out?  It is an amazing thing to watch! 

When I attend seminars, I try to get to as many sessions as I can.  There are new tools and techniques that make my profession easier, safer and more enjoyable.  I am surprised on occasions when I discover that I have already figured out a technique that speaker is teaching, but I am glad to know that I am on the right track!  Some people in my profession and others as well have been callous to new ideas by budding  newbies that they can actually end up discouraging a new person from pursuing that field of study and that is really a shame!  The seeds of knowledge were meant to be planted to develop the next generation!  If you close yourself to it you are doing a terrible injustice to yourself and others that could benefit from your experiences.  What a waste!  I am very proud of the seeds that I have planted!  They have sprouted into strong seed bearing trees of their own!  They have embraced the confidence,and strength  that was inside of them all along and they are planting seeds in someone else, as I have planted in them!

Sometimes when you have been doing something for so long you become callous to new ideas and techniques, and therefore you begin to kill your own tree!  So I encourage you, the next time someone approaches you with a new idea.  Take a deep breath, let it roll around in your "knower" for a few days, consult with another person in your profession to see if they have heard of it before, and figure out how to make it work.  Sometimes you are not the seed bearer, but the soil from which it shall grow! 

Off of my soapbox!

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!!!!



Michelle

A Spot of Tea

Posted on 15 December, 2011 at 11:26 Comments comments (7)

 I am avid tea drinker. It is one of my secret weapons of dealing with the stress of the day!   I have  a kitchen cabinet dedicated just to satisfy my cravings!  If you go to the health food store, there is just about a tea for every ailment possible.  There's energy tea, sleepy tea, green tea, black tea, chai tea, cold fighting tea, poop tea, PMS tea, weight loss tea, arthritis tea, detox tea (caution, I don't care how much honey you put in that one....it is STILL nasty.  During a cold or flu, it does help you recover quickly, but YUK!!!!).   I am not a pill popper either, even if it is a vitamin.  My frig is a vitamin graveyard for things that I should be taking. I can't tell you how many times I have set my vitamins out for the day, and just as I am pulling Proud Mary out of the yard I remember that I didn't take them.  Somewhere out there in Northwest Indiana lies the healthiest land fill as a courtesy of Clean Paws Mobile Grooming!   Until I find a tea for it, it will probably be donated to a friend or family member that needs it more than I do. 

I am not a coffee drinker.  Although I love the smell of aromatic blend from the local coffee shops the taste of it makes me gag!  It's something about the caffeine in coffee that sends me on a crazy roller coaster.  I get headaches, a bad case of the shakes, and my concentration goes out the window!  When finally come down from a coffee high, I am  usually sick to my stomach and wiped out for the rest of the day.  Tea is just a mellow  place for me!

Recently, I have gotten into making I guess what you can call a "concoction or potion" if you will of some of my favorite blends.  This morning I tried a vanilla hazelnut tea naturally blended of course with cinnamon stick and vanilla chai as a booster.  Mixed to perfection with a nice brand of honey and a splash of milk.......HEAVEN!!!!  Smooth, mellow and tantalizing to my taste buds!  It's the right pick me up start my day and it smells wonderful!  If you a have "good" grocery store near by stop in the tea isle and see what you find.  The one that frequent has a half of an isle dedicated to tea! It's a hidden treasure chest of simple pleasures!  In the summer, I like to make a mint tea with honey, place it in the frig with pineapples.  In the morning I fill my water bottle with it and I am refreshed all day!  

If you have a favorite tea concoction, please share!  TEA DRINKERS UNITE!!!!!

Until next time......pinkies up, and sip until your heart is content! =D



Holiday Pets

Posted on 26 November, 2011 at 16:07 Comments comments (122)
With the holidays fast approaching, a lot of people are thinking about getting a pet for their kids for Christmas.  Although is maybe enticing to have a puppy or kitten under the Christmas Tree, let me encourage you to think about older pets. 

The shelters are over run with pets of all ages, but the ones that get overlooked are beyond the puppy/kitten years.  Older pets can sometimes be a better option!  Most of the times they are housebroken, eager to please and some of them have come from homes that were bustling with children.  Puppies require time and patience, housebreaking, chewing, and other wonderful things that puppies like to do.  Some puppies take to housebreaking easily, others do not.  Which is why often times usually 3 months after Christmas the shelters are flooded with puppies because the new-ness has worn off.

Finding the right pet for you is always a challenge.  Before choosing a pet, consider your lifestyle.   Ask yourself when you see that cute maltese, shih-tzu, yorkie, or poodle pup, am I willing to make time to comb him daily?  Will I be able to keep up with a 3-4 week professional grooming schedule?  Will I be able to keep up with regular vet care?  Will I be able to feed my pet good healthy nutrition?  Will I have time to train him or take him to training classes to make him the best companion ever?  Am I willing to walking him rain,snow or shine?   If your answer is....I don't want to walk a dog!  Maybe a better option would be a cat!  Not a cat person...it's okay I forgive you!  Look  at a dog that require less upkeep.  Terriers are good pets for the right household.  Most terriers big or small are full of fire and have a lot of energy to burn.  Don't let the size fool you!  A rat-terrier can run from dust to dawn and never seem to run out of steam!  Labs are a favorite choice for some households, they are a full sized dog that usually have a really great personality!  Short hair dogs require regular grooming as well to control the shedding, but they are less demanding on grooming care than a coated dog.  Having a pet is like having another child in the house, and most dogs have the intelligence and temperment of a 3 year old, and cats.....well they allow us to live with them! =D.  So if you were wondering why the kids or grands-kids get along so well with the dog it's probably because they have a sibling connection.  

When I was growing up, I remember being assigned a specific duty with the pets like making sure the water bowl was full until I old enough to begin walking( or being  drug by our German Shepherd).  For me that took time and as a kid I wasn't  up to the task of full care of our pets, but I was really good at the smaller assignments as are most kids.  Know your kids limitations, if you give them too much responsibility they can become overwhelmed which could mean disaster for everyone.  Always supervisor kids and pets at play, just to make sure that one or the other does not get too rough. NEVER let your kids groom your pet.  This can be very dangerous.  Kids don't know any better and as a Salon Manager we would get pets in that were severely matted from a child trying to bathe the dog, to rubber-bands embedded to the skin to the point of infection and amputation.  I have seen more than my share of shih-tzus that have had one ear amputated because the kids tried to place a bow on the it's hair and wrapped the rubber band  around the ear leather.  I remember one poodle in particular that had been scalded with the hot water, because the kids tried to give him a bath in the tub.  His skin never recovered and he was bald over 70% of his body.

If you are looking a specific breed, try searching for a rescue group that only deals with the breed you are looking for!  It's a great idea to do your homework on the type of pet you want first.  The internet is a wonderful tool, arm yourself with knowledge or someone will sucker punch if you don't know better.  Pet stores will get you caught up in the cuteness of a pup that is usually from a puppy mill, often times sick and then pick your wallet clean!  As a Salon Manager I have seen people walk in with a dog that they have paid from $500.00 up to $2500.00 and the dog was not at all what they were told it was. 

If you decide to get an older pet, read their story or ask about it!  You may find that some of them lost their home when their parents lost theirs, or their parent passed away.   An older pet may surprise you, my Scruffy Dog came to me when he was 14years old.  He fit into my family like he had always been here.  He was housebroken, had his own favorite TV shows, and enjoyed laying on his pillow by the floor vent.  When the mood struck him he would play hard for a few minutes, have a drink a water and take a nap!   I personally am too busy for a puppy.  When my Phat Girl had puppies, I thought I had been committed into an insane asylum!   It was like they had been drinking extra bold coffee all day!  I loved every one of them, but I never want to do that again!  If puppies are your thing...have at it!  Just please check the shelters and rescues first! Some dog or cat is waiting for you and your family this holiday season!  


If you are considering adoption....Thank you from all the pets waiting for a forever home!


Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!




Happy Birthday Clean Paws Mobile!

Posted on 13 November, 2011 at 3:02 Comments comments (106)
November 8, 2010 marked the one year anniversary of Clean Paws Mobile Grooming Salon, LLC.  It is mind boggling how a year has moved past so quickly.  I am truly thankful for event that set my feet on this path!

I have met some wonderful people along the way.  I have enjoyed and endured snow falls, slippery roads, beautiful gardens, relaxing grooming sessions by the beach.  Proud Mary  has the been the star of 2 videos, 1 commercial, and feature article (coming 12/11/11) in the local newspaper!

I can honestly say, that I don't think that I have ever enjoyed grooming as much as I do now.  Even while I am picking dog hair out of my eyeballs from doing a DeShedd treatment on a big hairy dog, or doing the water tango with an older cat that has never been groomed before.  More or less what I have enjoyed the most is the balance that is starting to re-emerge back into my life.  From time to time I still have to work a long day, because a pet needs more time, but it is truly a different life now from what I had experienced before.  It's like everything that I have done in my life time, all the other jobs and experiences have led me to this point.  It is very liberating!  I feel like I can breath again.

What I enjoy the most is the time I get to spend with each customer.  We share information, pictures, gardening tips, new ideas, and even tears.  I have to laugh because my first tip from a customer came the day before Thanksgiving, I received a fresh baked sweet potato pie!  Who said groomers don't work for food?

I am appreciative for potential customers who have called, and discovered that Mobile Grooming is a great idea, but a little bit out of their budget.  Yet they refer new people to me, because I gave them tips and shared tricks to help them with their pets, or even referred them to someone that could help them with vet or grooming needs.  Things like that are priceless. 

Since I started in the winter, I feel like I have been through the most challenging part.  The spring and summer flew past with my own garden being a casualty.  I get to come home have lunch and spend some outdoor playtime with my dogs.  I haven't started partying like it was 1999, but I have been seen tapping my foot to some music more often.  Spending time with my family has been awesome!  To have prepare Sunday dinner and enjoy Football all day makes my heart sing!  

I am preparing for my second winter season, and loving every minute of it!  Can't wait to see what new adventures are waiting for my second year!  If we haven't met yet, I hope to meet you soon!  Until then, Proud Mary and I will keep rollin...rollin....rollin...down the highway!  

I hope that you find your passion in life, and pursuit it with all your heart!

Thank you for a wonderful year, and many more to come!

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday!



Michelle

Appreciation Journal

Posted on 24 September, 2011 at 10:36 Comments comments (10)
When look at the date on the calendar, I am amazed that we now approaching the close of 2011.  Time has moved seemingly at a blink of an eye.  I began to think about the changes that have occurred in my life and the people that I have encountered in that time.  

When you listen to the news it would seem that no good is happening in the world, but  we all know that is not the case, however, we tend to gravitate naturally to the negative.  I began to think of the changes both good and bad that have transpired from the close of 2010 to the birthing of 2011.  I realized that I had not giving thanks for the little things in my life the build the foundation for the bigger things. 

My Granny use to always tell me "a house built on a weak foundation can not withstand the shifts of change."  As a child, I did not grasp the seed that she was planting, but as a seasoned adult it has become all to clear to me.  So I am asking you to join me to give thanks at least twice a day: once as you rise, and again before you lay your head to rest.  I will share my gratitude with you on my facebook page, and I hope you will share yours with me as well.   If you want to keep a ledger, so that when you reach a challenging period in your life you can look back and keep things in perspective, please do!  I would recommend a pocket notebook to keep by your bedside, and at the end of the year, take a gander and see what happens!


I hope you join me on the journey!


Enjoy the Fall



Michelle

Reflection

Posted on 9 September, 2011 at 11:44 Comments comments (233)
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the tragedy that occurred September 11, 2001, my emotions seem heavier this year than most.   For me so much has changed, careers, locations, thought process, and the people that were in my life then and now.    I did not lose a friend or family member on that day, although it came close.  As fate would have it my family had been removed from harms way, but other families were not so fortunate.  You hear countless stories on the news of family members who recall that day, and the pain is still fresh, although it may not be as sharp the pain still exists.

I do not understand the point of terriorism.  Innocent people are killed, maimed and dismembered for a cause that they did not ask to be in.  Does the act change a person's point of view?  Does it sway them to their cause?  Does anyone really hear them?  Or is the point just to instill fear, like the antics of a bully?  I don't really know.  All I know that it changed us, and on that day, it united us.  Strangers were kind to one another, we reached out to our fellow man, and we acted like people instead of shattered pieces of glass.  

My story was being partially stranded in Charlotte SC.   I was standing at the front desk of the hotel, and I hear the desperate pleas of a mother trying to find a way to New Jersey.  Her daughters who were both flight attendants on the airlines were grounded there.  Cellphones were not as advanced then as they are now.  We had to rely on friends plugging us in with directions from the computer,and writing them down to find out way.   What I recall along the way, is that people were kinder along the way.  The disbelief of what happen was not real to me, until we passed the Pentagon at 1:00am and it was still on fire.  The roads were as empty as a country back road, and there was a helicopter following us.   You could smell the fumes from the jet fuel 70 miles away, and the roads and tunnels to New York and our Nation's Capitol were closed.   When we reached New Jersey we all hugged each other, and crammed out exhausted bodies into the small SUV.  Our only thoughts were HOME!   It seemed like the trip from New Jersey to Chicago went passed in a blink of an eye.   There were 5 drivers, and we took turns behind the wheel.  Each of us partnered with a co-pilot to keep the driver alert, all of us with a heavy foot! 

We said our good-byes at the car rental drop off, and I headed home.  I called my mom, I needed to see her face.  When my feet touched the steps of porch, my knees buckled and I was overcome with emotion.  I remember looking up and seeing her face at the top of the stairs, and I let it go.  She held me so tight, and we cried together......home, I was home!  I was safe!  The nightmare was over for me. 


For all of those who have lost someone during that day in history, I send you {{HUGS}}  For all of those who gave your life that someone else could live, I say THANK YOU!  The price of freedom is NOT FREE!  Your sacrifice was not in vain!