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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Meet Dawn Blackburn

Dawn is in the middle, I'm the one in purple,
And our great friend Kelley is on the other side of Dawn.
The little one is my granddaughter Kahlen.
She photobombed us at my daughter's wedding.

Since I have been trying so hard to get you to support Dawn Blackburn in her fight to get Randy the Pig  back from Humane Society of Missouri and Longmeadow Rescue Ranch. I thought, those of you who have never met her or don't know her personally might like a little insight into who she is. 

I have known Dawn since seventh grade. We first met in Mrs. Hagen's language arts class, or it might have been social studies, seventh grade was over 35 years ago. Somehow, we both decided that a certain desk was our own. We disagreed over whose desk it was for most of that semester. I would try my hardest to get to class first to lay claim to my territory. It was all in good fun, and I still say it was my desk. 

Dawn was a tiny little thing. She had ears that stuck out. Her ears grew before the rest of her, and they were a cause of much distress to her. Being as tiny as she was, she was bullied by some of the meanest girls I have ever known in my life. They were hateful girls who took great joy in bullying anyone they thought was "beneath" them. One time one of them even picked Dawn up and threw her over a couple of rows of seats in the school auditorium. What they didn't know about Dawn was that she was the dynamite that came in small packages. While they made her life miserable, as well as mine, she was never held down by them. She came back up, even stronger, every time they knocked her down. She would not be stopped by anyone, least of all a bunch of girls who were not worth the time of day it took to say their names. 

Our real deep and lasting friendship didn't really start until ninth grade when my best friend Tari moved to Kansas City and I was feeling a little lost. Somehow, Dawn, Kelley, another friend Kathy and I formed in to a group of friends that still lasts to this day. 

The four of us spent most of our time together, including working at an Orange Julius throughout high school together. Our sophomore year of high school we were split between two different schools. Kelley and I were at Lincoln and Dawn and Kathy were at Des Moines Tech. Kelley and I both wanted to go to Tech, but both of our mothers had reservations about it. (In our junior year Kelley and I won over our mothers and transferred to Tech.) Still even during this time, when many kids would drift away from each other being at different schools, our bonds grew tighter and deeper. We all spent the afternoons after school at Dawn's house. Her mom would make us oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, (still my favorite to this day) and we would drink Pepsi. Dawn would let her dog Jiggs, a pekinese, drink out of her pop glass, which would set the rest of us gagging. Even then Dawn loved her animals, now, though she knows better than letting her animals drink Pepsi. I think she would still let them drink out of her glass though. 

During high school I spent much more time at Dawn's house than I did my own. Dawn's mom was one for taking in strays, animal or human. Probably where Dawn gets it. Dawn's barn seems to attract cats. She will have them spayed or neutered and let them live in her barn chasing mice. While she loves animals she doesn't want to contribute to the population of feral cats. When she finds a feral mother with a litter of kittens, she will do her best to socialize the kittens so that they will be adoptable. She has the kittens spayed and neutered, and does her best to find them homes. Though occasionally one or two end up as pets that stay in the house. Ricky the cat is one example. He was supposed to be a barn cat... He had other ideas. 

Patrick the Pig and Ricky the Cat

After we graduated high school and all went our separate ways our friendship stayed a solid rock that we all depended on. As we all started our own families and working full-time we drifted some and would lose touch now and again. Dawn moved from Des Moines to St. Louis but even through distance and occasional lapses in communication our friendships stayed strong. 

Dawn has always been there for me. ALWAYS! She was the maid of honor in my wedding. When my mother died in 1988, Dawn came up with small child in tow, and was there for me. When I would get mad at my husband and want to run away, Dawn would open her home to me even when I would just show up on her door step with my three kids. Dawn was there to help me with all three of my children's weddings, bridal showers and baby showers. She was there for me when my brother died a year and a half ago. If I need her, she is there. She is like that for all of her friends. 

Now, don't get me wrong. She is no saint. She has a stubborn streak a mile wide. (Sorry, Dawn, but you know it's true.) It has served her well many times. Fighting for Randy is one example of where her stubbornness is going to pay off. Other times, well, I'm sure her husband Jim would have a lot of examples where her stubbornness gets in the way a bit. He is pretty darn stubborn himself... soooo.... 

You get the two of them working on something together, and they are unstoppable! (Just get out of the way if they aren't on the same side... It's safer that way.) 

Dawn spent several years breeding a pair of Maltese dogs named Izabelle and Pig. She only had the one breeding pair. Not a puppy mill. Just like with the pigs, she worked with the puppies. She and her family held and loved them. Dawn got them potty trained, and even trained to ring a bell when they needed to go out. Her puppies transitioned very easily to new homes. I know this, because Bazinga is one of her babies. 

Bazinga really wants his step brother
Randy to get to go home
When Izabelle started showing signs that she was no longer happy having puppies, Dawn spayed her and neutered Pig. They happily lounge around the house all day, playing with piggies and chasing cats. 

When Izabelle was done having puppies, Dawn started studying and researching mini pigs. She learned the proper care for a piglet. She learned about their socialization needs. She learned that spaying and neutering baby piglets is very necessary to assure that they stay good pets. Especially with the males. Males being males can get domineering and territorial if they are not fixed at a very young age. She found out what shots they need, how often they need wormed. She became a mini pig expert. 

She also learned about the plague of bad breeders out there. She became an advocate for good breeders and a crusader against bad ones. She has on her website what to look for in bad breeders. The tricks they use to keep piglets small, including starving them. She is and will always be an out spoken opponent of bad breeders and their practices. 

It is those bad breeders that have gotten Randy into the predicament he is still in today. The humane society has decided that all breeders are spawn of the devil and refuses to work with any. They refuse to even consider that any breeder could be a good, honest, generous person who loves her animals with all of her heart. After all they sell animals for MONEY! Gasp!! As I stated in my last post, the director of the humane society has a salary of over $230,000 a year. She seems to be making a whole lot of money off of unfortunate animals. Much more than Dawn would even dream of. 

Dawn would very much like to work with, not for,  Longmeadow in revising their "policy" regarding pet pigs. They need someone who knows what a PET pig needs. How they need to be treated, what they need beyond the physical needs of food, water and shelter. They cannot be treated like livestock and expect to be able to adopt them out. 

Dawn would also very much like to work with Longmeadow to help find homes for the pigs they have now.  Good, loving, forever homes. She is part of a network of many very good breeders and mini pig families. If they worked with her every pig they have that still is able to be rehabilitated and adopted out as pets, would be. 

Even after every thing they have done to her. The harsh, hostile way they have treated her. The way they have held Randy hostage based on a policy they will not produce in writing, she still wants to work with them for the benefit of the pigs in their care. That, my friends, IS Dawn Blackburn. 

Yet, the "Humane" Society of Missouri, and Longmeadow Rescue Ranch still refuse to work with her. Why? Because she is an evil breeder....

Dawn's ever so evil pig mill....   Greg in this video is Randy. Greg was his original name. 

Dawn refused to lay down when she was a tiny seventh grader being bullied at McCombs Junior High. I can promise you, she will not be bullied now. Her tiny pig, will be rescued. 

This photo is by Jodi Kemp
one of Dawn's hundreds of supporters
#bringRandythePigHome

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