Kayla: A Requiem
“Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are Anger and Courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” — St. Augustine
With every case that Let’s Adopt! Global takes on there is always hope. Hope of offering an animal what they deserve, but did not get. It’s not only about giving them their survival, but about giving them a life. About living a life, not just being alive. A life of dignity and love and health. We offer them redemption. We offer you redemption. We are redeemed. We offer them hope. In return, they selflessly inspire us to make this world worthy of their existence.
We see things differently than most rescue groups. We see possibilities for a better life amongst the desert of hopelessness that is the animal rescue world. Upon the piles of killed animals that have ravished most rescuers’ souls, we see light. A light that is not yet ready to be extinguished. In a dump amongst rotting flesh, they see a dead puppy; we see a breath of life. We see beyond their current state of temporary pain and injury and see the possibilities for their future. Where most rescues see death and despair numbed away or comforted by thoughts of rainbow bridges and unleashed runs on heavenly beaches and clouds, we see the “now” and the “what could be”. Rainbow bridges and heavenly clouds can wait.
That vision has allowed Let’s Adopt! Global to perform, well, quite frankly, “miracles”. But only if miracles are simply the result of not giving up; of going beyond that dark place that most cynical rescue groups inhabit and fear to depart from. It’s dark, but it’s safe. Miracles happen by not walking away when it’s too difficult for our own eyes while an animal is begging to live. They happen when we acknowledge that the desire to live is the thing we share on this earth with every other living thing. It is what binds us all. Miracles happen when we don’t give in to convenient “professional” opinions that absolves most rescuers from the act of killing. We say “killing” at Let’s Adopt!, not Orwellian euphemism like “put to sleep”, or “PTS”, or “humanely euthanized”. We acknowledge it for what it is. Even when it’s the only option — the last option — we accept that it is killing, nonetheless. To accept it as anything else degrades the sacredness of the one before you whose life you hold in your hands.
“Miracles” in reality are quite easy to achieve, if you try. Most “rescuers” never attempt them. We’ve performed thousands of them. Yes, there is a time when there is no more hope. We understand that better than anyone. We have experienced that in its most painful, soul devouring of ways. But it is where that line lies that separates our two worlds. The world of the average rescue group and the world of Let’s Adopt! Global and others like us. It is at that line where courage begins. It is beyond that line where miracles happen. It is anger of the mere existence of the line that drives us.
That difference has caused admiration and inspiration to many. It has instilled courage in the people that we call our friends and supporters; those we call our community…our tribe. It has driven ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It has changed the way many new rescue groups now operate and it has changed us in the deepest of ways. But mostly, it has changed the lives of our rescues. Many of them living long, full lives in warm homes.
But it has also caused suspicion, anger, hate, jealousy and in some the inexplicable desire to destroy Let’s Adopt! Global. You see, miracles by their nature are unbelievable. They are “impossible” to those that stand on the other side of the line away from us. To them, it’s not a “miracle”; it’s a scam. When the “miracle” is achieved it exposes their failure for not crossing that line. For not showing courage. For preparing for rainbow bridges, rather taking the difficult and expensive path of saving the animal’s life.
This is no truer than in NASH County. A dark and sad corner populated by dark and sad people in the backwoods of North Carolina, USA, where a meat grinder of a “shelter” exists. Where once-neglected animals are suffocated with toxic gasses until their last bit of hope is wrenched from their bodies. Where they cry for help in a metal box covered in shit and urine and blood until they die. Where, after a life of abuse and neglect, they reach this “shelter” only to see those that are supposed to help them walk passed in search of a more “adoptable” animal. To be sick, or scared, or confused in this “shelter” is to be dead.
And yet, the “shelter” is a clear enemy. We know it is there to be a killing machine. It doesn’t lie. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a disposal site for life. The garbage bags that are taken out the back by the dozen are proof. It’s clear.
What wasn’t clear and has shattered some of our hope for humanity are those that are supposed to help these trapped souls. Those that call themselves “friends” of these animals. People like Carol Vierela of NASH County Animal Friends and Julie Taitt Braswell of SPCA Alliance of NC. It has never been clearer than now of the difference in our worlds. Where their line lies is light years away from where ours lies. Kayla’s case brought this out in the most ugly and heinous of ways. At least it is now clear.
Kayla’s story began with hope for a possible miracle. Let’s Adopt! Global would take her and provide her with what ever she needed to have a chance. No one else would. No one else did. We had hope. We crossed the line. We only needed her to get out.
“One should rather die than be betrayed. There is no deceit in death. It delivers precisely what it has promised. Betrayal, though … betrayal is the willful slaughter of hope” – Stephen Deitz
Kayla was betrayed 3 times.
The first was when she was abandoned and found herself in NASH County’s killing machine.
It was an anomaly that NASH County Animal Friends even promoted Kayla. She was nothing like their usual array of cute, perfect, “adoptables”. Perhaps for a moment someone at Nash County Animal Friends had a bit of hope? Perhaps there was some lingering effect of when Let’s Adopt! was there and temporarily halted the killing machine? For whatever reason, Let’s Adopt! saw her in her desperate last hours and we moved in.
It is clear that Let’s Adopt! Global was the rescue that saved Kayla’s life. Despite what the mindless and hateful echo-chamber, fomented by hate sites like Tanya Fusco’s “Let’s Adopt! Global-Beware’”, were repeating over and over again, only Let’s Adopt! Global stepped in to save her. No one wanted her. Not even the SPCA Alliance of NC. She was sick, old, neglected, not purebred, and terrified. The only interest came from Viktor and Let’s Adopt!! Global 3 hours before her execution. This was not unusual for us. Kayla is the reason we exist. Kayla is Let’s Adopt! Global. Where all other rescues stood behind their line of comfort, we moved forward. We had a foster within minutes along with a commitment of thousands of dollars to pay the vet directly. All we needed was Kayla and for NASH County Animal Friends to help pull her for us.
Hope, we thought, had come back to NASH County.
Shockingly, Carol Vierela coldly refused. Kayla’s life would end because of a dispute over money that may, or may not be owed to Carol Vierela. To Carol, Kayla’s life was not worth putting this dispute aside. Carol would let Kayla die. At that point, Kayla was worth $2000 to Carol Vierela. Let’s Adopt could have just bought her then. In hindsight we should have.
It was then that Kayla was betrayed a second time.
Those “friends” turned their backs on her blinded by their hate for Let’s Adopt! Global. They would not lift a finger if we were involved, even if it meant Kayla would be killed in the gas chamber gasping for her last precious breath and choking on her own vomit.
Taking Carol’s callous orders of “If you want her, come and get her yourself”, we decided to move around Carol. There is no room in matters of life and death for jaded, blinded empty shells of humans. ”We arranged with Julie Tait Braswell of SPCA Alliance of NC to have her pulled on our behalf. She agreed and for a night she was also hopeful. Per Julie’s instruction Let’s Adopt! called the vet to set up direct payment. We did. The vet’s office agreed that we would pay but didn’t want to keep the credit card number for security reasons. That made it “our vet”. Julie announced that Kayla was at the vet and Let’s Adopt! started the fundraising. We committed to providing Kayla a lifetime of support. Everything she needed would be provided. How could anyone think that a $3000 dollar goal is too much for a lifetime of medical care and support?
Here is part of that unedited conversation between Julie Taitt Braswell and Katy Cohen of Let’s Adopt! Global. Julie is in gray.
Even Carol Vierela acknowledged that Let’s Adopt! Global and Katy Cohen were now responsible for Kalya, but she couldn’t leave it at that. We’re sure it angered Carol that Let’s Adopt! bypassed her and still saved Kayla. After all, Carol was going to let her die.
Unfortunately, even after Carol handed custody to Julie Taitt Braswell after NCAF dropped Kayla off at the vet’s office, Carol began to undermine our efforts. It appeared to be a mission of hers.
This link is the complete communication with Julie clearly showing there was no doubt that she was acting on behalf of Katy Cohen and Let’s Adopt! Global.
Within this communication there is an acknowledgement that Julie and SPCAANC are pulling for Let’s Adopt! Global. Even if they wish to deny that, or twist it as they’ve been doing, there is still the fact that they were most definitely pulling for Katy Cohen, a Let’s Adopt! volunteer. There is an acknowledgement that Let’s Adopt will pay the vet directly and that Let’s Adopt! would even cover Julie Taitt Braswell’s out of pocket costs. Julie was even going to allow Let’s Adopt! to rehome her ill cat. It’s all there. No thinking reasonable person could read it otherwise, or deny the facts. But lies are easier to consume. A mob need not think to consume it. The truth requires thought. There’s pretty clear language in the communication threads that only a liar, or someone so filled with blinding hate , could disregard or just not see .
24 hours after Kayla was first saved by Let’s Adopt! something went terribly wrong. Julie Taitt Braswell was no longer responsive to our communication and Carol became very vocal of her disdain for us.
Kayla had been betrayed the third and final time. They seized her, in what was one of the most unethical moves witnessed in the Animal Rescue world, and began a campaign against Let’s Adopt! Global. The lie was that Kayla was never our dog and was never pulled for Katy Cohen or Let’s Adopt. Read the thread again. Who is lying?
In their hands, we knew that Kayla was a dead dog walking. We knew we had only hours before they would take the easy route, or a route that would ensure we never get her. After all, Carol was the same woman that was going to let a batch of kittens be killed because they all had treatable upper resperatory infections when we worked with her. In a foreshadowing post Carol played out the scenario that was to actually happen a few hours later. It’s as if it was a script for Kayla’s death.
“”Nash County Animal Friends Will do. THANKS Joy Hart….We know that Julie will do the best thing for her, even if it happens that she will have to be PTS, it will be with LOVE. But if she CAN be helped, Julie will do it. We personally know and trust Julie. She ROCKS! ~ Carol”
“They killed Kayla! They killed Kayla!” – Let’s Adopt! Global
What is the final price for dog’s life in Nash County to SPCA Alliance of NC and NASH County Animal Friends? The answer: $230.60. Kayla’s life had depreciated 90% overnight. No longer was she worth the $2000+ that Let’s Adopt! allegedly owed Carol Vierela. Kayla’s life was now a mere $230 dollars. Disposal is done on that type of budget, not miracles.
Let’s Adopt! will spend thousands to ensure every possible option is considered. We will ensure that the easy answer is never considered. $230 dollars. No wonder so many animals die in Nash County.
According to the SPCAANC site and Carol Vierela, multiple veterinarians were consulted and opined that killing Kayla was the “best course”. So? In our world Vets are meant to be challenged; to be pushed for a better solution; to do miracles instead of routine, quick fixes; to do the amazing, instead of the economical. They won’t say that the opinion was that it was the ONLY course, but that it was the “best” course. Then criteria must have have been added, right? This is where the line comes in again and why it is what separates us. Let’s Adopt! Global’s criteria is completely different from those of the people that had Kayla killed. Perhaps money was a factor? Money is clearly a factor to these people. They have publicly stated over and over again that $3000 is too much for a dog like Kayla. That they “would never spend that kind of money”. Clearly they wouldn’t. Clearly they didn’t. They spent $230 dollars. Did they decide to kill Kayla because her treatment would be too expensive? Did they decide to kill Kayla because in their eyes, she was “unadoptable”. Her only chance of being adopted was Let’s Adopt! Global and Carol Vierela and Julie Taitt Braswell made sure we’d never get her. They say they decided to kill Kayla because of cancer and pain. For $230 did they even bother with a byopsy? We’ll never know. All we know is that they only chose to spend $230. The cost of flea treatment, haircut, blood test, maybe one Xray, killing, and disposal. She didn’t even die “surrounded by love” as Carol would like everyone to believe. She was killed being held by the only Vet technician that Kayla was not terrified of.
When you challenge vets to be better you get “miracles”. When barriers of cost and logistics (and incompetence as we see here) are removed you get “miracles”. When you have 40,000 people supporting one animal “miracles” will happen. This is where we operate. NASH County Animals Friends and small minded groups like them will never understand that.
How do we know this with such resolve?
Because this is the smile of a survivor of 4 Veterinarians’ opinions to kill and hundreds of people to send her “over the rainbow bridge”.
Because these are the eyes of a survivor of 2 Vet’s opinions to let him die because he’ll never have a good life.
Because this is the laugh of a survivor of 3 Vets’ opinions to kill and many people asking to relieve his pain. Their pain, really.
Because this is the charm of a survivor of 2 Vets’ opinions to kill and many people condemning us to stop selfishly keeping him alive because he’s paralyzed.
And finally, because this is the confidence of a survivor who was left for dead by a crowd and and sentenced to death by 5 vets who refused to do anything because she would never survive.
These survivors, along with countless other are enjoying life now. Enjoying love here amongst the living with our friends. They are miracles. Easily, achievable, “every day” miracles because someone crossed over the line and showed a bit of courage and hope. These survivors could care less of rainbow bridges and heavenly beaches.
Kayla was killed. Carol Vierela and Julie Tait Braswell made that decision. Julie Braswell collected her change left over from the pledges Carol collected. Yes, there was change. Carol achieved her goal. The donation money raised by Let’s Adopt! was refunded. Let’s Adopt! would not save Kayla.
Kayla’s death hit hard. It devastated all those that hoped for her. It laid waste every bit of momentum Let’s Adopt! had and toppled some pillars. Why keep trying? We are seen as corrupt no matter what we do, or how many we save. We are scammers to everyone that cannot see beyond the line, beyond their safe vantage point. We were lied to, betrayed, and our dog, Kayla, was unethically seized and killed. And yet we are seen as the thieves and the liars. Called scammers and lied about by every mediocre rescue out there and every hate fueled page, like Tanya Fusco’s “Let’s Adopt! Global – Beware”.
We retreated towards the line where it is safe. Where we can fade into the crowd with everyone else. It would be easier to just stand behind the line like the others. To stand behind the line with Carol Vierela and Julie Taitt Braswell. We would no longer be hated. We could just save the easy ones and count numbers and let the hard, more costly ones go. We could believe that quantity mattered above all and that the quality of an animal’s life should only be consequential, but not necessary. We could drop the fight and put our courage in a box….a metal box that smelled of death and bleach. All we had to do was put our silly notions of hope away and be safe. Be like Nash County Animal Friends.
And then this happened.
A message announcing a donation. A simple, unsolicited email sent directly to us. No chip in. Just to Let’s Adopt! with a note saying “In Memory of Kayla”. Not many words, but the most powerful words we could have ever read at that moment. From a treasured supporter who just wanted to say that they believed in what we do and to remind us of why we exist.
And then another by another supporter and friend. And then another. Each donation having a note saying that Kayla had inspired them and that her death would not be in vain. From Kayla’s tragic death something magical was happening. From her ashes her legacy spontaneously emerged.
As it was happening we realized that Kayla gave Let’s Adopt! a gift in her death. A renewed sense of a new mission and a reminder of an unfinished mission.
Kayla’s death will now help end the killing machine in Nash County and other kill shelters. If need be, it will help remove obstacles like Carol Vierela from protecting these institutions through their apathy. Kayla’s death will inspire people to support this effort so that no other animal that is “too old”, “too sick” or “unadoptable” ever knows the horrors of the inside of that gas chamber. So that they never know what it feels like to be passed by “friends” because they are too frightened to be handled. “Friends” who are are supposedly there to save them.
Kayla’s Legacy was born. It will fund rescues just like Kayla, advocate for legislative change, provide legal assistance to the No-Kill movement, and anything else needed to ensure that No-Kill arrives to Nash County and places like it. Places where people no longer have anger at the way things are, and lack the courage to change them.
In the coming weeks we will create a site where you can help. Please join us in the mission.
Together we will bring No-Kill to Nash County!