Morning in Nashville

It’s 7am and I am watching CNN in a nearly empty breakfast room. Just me and the man who braved the make-your-own waffle machine. The news is playing up the race between Clinton and Sanders taking turns criticizing the only non-Trump options left in this primary. I am drinking coffee out of little cups receiving bite size news for me to shallow without chewing. I could be anywhere in America right now in this tiny windowless room.


Last night I could smell the river under the layers of flesh and fur. Nashville is certainly a dog town, although class lines among canines are striking. The homeless in South Bend blend into the city or are removed. I am back in a city of vocal buskers who all seem to have the same well-feed pit bull better with crowds that any inside dog you will meet. When I lived on the West coast people would be angry with me for doing nothing for those busking dogs, so we started a food bank to make sure they weren’t hungry. But that wasn’t enough. People wanted us to separate the dog from the people; offer the dog a chance at a “real home”. As if we could ever replicate the level of companionship that animal already has. A humane society should intersect with humanity.

The last time I was in Nashville I was attending the HSUS Animal Care Expo. I passed myself six years ago crossing the bridge over the river. That girl had just gotten engaged. That girl was trying to be the best animal shelter manager she could be. That girl was so deeply frustrated she couldn’t even understand what the anger inside her was screaming. To articulate rather than placate has been my struggle in leadership development. Problem solve through programs that can show you are doing something without challenging the institutions causing the problem. I look at our legacy of band-aids over bullet holes and wonder how we are ever going to stop the bleeding.

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