I’ve been very quiet here for the past month; I’ve been completely under water with the production on the Changespell Saga and the prep to start on LYNX REVEALED (the next Sentinels book). Connery’s re-injury, re-treatment, rehab, and a plethora of new routines have been the other half of things. At some point I guess I admitted to myself that I simply can’t. do. it. all.
But over the weekend I finished a major piece of the backlist work, and today I started writing LYNX REVEALED…and I spent some time thinking about Catherine & Elyse. On this day, I’ll be thinking about them a lot. And I hope you will, too. This is their story…a blog I wrote just under a year ago today…because of what happened a year ago today.
After this, I’ll put on my barn duds and go out for a ride with DuncanHorse. He’s not been so well and I’ve not been so well, but on a day like this, it’s also important to celebrate life. For me, nothing does that like time on the land with my animals. I suspect Catherine would understand that, too.
(first posted 2/13/12)
For the past week, I’ve been tweeting about Elyse Rescue Puppy.
Elyse was left at an Albuquerque pound at the age of six weeks old. Way off on the East Coast, an eagle-eyed rescue worker spotted her situation and–of all the dogs she’s helped to new homes–chose Elyse to be her own. An Albuquerque rescue worker pulled Elyse from the pound and homed her for two weeks as the call went out for a new Rescue Road Warriors transport route: a long and deftly stitched chain of 90-minute driving legs over two weekends.
My leg was the first–from Albuquerque to Santa Rosa. There, Catherine Bugg took two legs to get Elyse to Amarillo, Texas.
So over the past week, I’ve been on Twitter and FaceBook, blurting out my excitement. “We’re going to get to help Elyse!” “I’m going to pick up Elyse for her overnight stay before we leave!” “ConneryBeagle loves Elyse!” “We’re heading out with Elyse–!” She was 8 weeks old at that point, a 6-pound brindle bundle of energy and personality.
There wasn’t any particular weather forecast for the day, but we soon ran into a strange, thick and freezing Twilight Zone fog–I even took pictures of it, trying to capture its eerie nature. It waxed and waned, and followed us into Santa Rosa.
We met Catherine, and talked about Elyse’s travel accommodations and Catherine’s extensive experience with transport. She was cheerful, friendly, and absolutely dedicated to what she was doing–I remember thinking, “I’d like to have this woman as a friend.” We also talked about the weather, which had been better on her side of Santa Rosa.
It didn’t stay that way.
Shortly after I returned home and made my report to the transport chain, I received a phone call from Kerin, the coordinator for this Rescue Road Warrior transport. She was crying, and in short order, so was I.
TUCUMCARI, N.M. (KRQE) – An animal-rescue volunteer and the adopted puppy she was helping relay to its new owner died Saturday when freezing fog iced over Interstate 40 in Tucumcari.
Catherine Bugg of Tucumcari had picked up the puppy in Santa Rosa and was headed to Amarillo, Texas, when her pickup slid off I-40 and into oncoming traffic Saturday morning and hit a tractor-trailer rig.
The weather was freakish, sudden, and catastrophic, layering hidden black ice over the road, and now we mourn for an exceptional woman and the little piece of hope who was with her.
Catherine making a rescue dog transport exchange (Amy Franks, photo)
I talked to Catherine’s friend Christina today. On the one hand, I wanted to know more about this kindred spirit. On the other, I wanted everyone else to know, too. Because a life such as Catherine’s deserves tribute…and it deserves to be honored by the ongoing support for the causes about which she not only felt so deeply, but that she also did something about. You think I’m kidding? Just look at this.
She was a volunteer firefighter.
She was a volunteer reader for children–and she never let them down, even when it meant missing important events.
She started food co-op in the small, remote town of Tucumcari, changing the lives of those in a community with limited access to healthy food.
She was one of six foundation volunteers who started Quay County Rescue, funding it, organizing it, and providing the people power. She drove transport; she fostered dogs; she did adoption events. And as small as it is, the Tucumcari Rescue group still managed to make national news with their above-and-beyond efforts to return a Maltese to the family who had lost him a year earlier in their own tragic accident–the publicity from that event has helped to keep them going. In 2008, the euthanasia rates in Tucumcari were five times higher than the national average. Now? They’re just about down to nothing.
Catherine was raised in Santa Fe and led a fairly privileged early life, but when she came to Tucumcari, she plunged into support and volunteer activities and was adopted as one of their own. She put her journalist’s degree to work at the Quay County Sun, and her lively personality to work at KTMM as an announcer and talk show host. Nine years ago she became a single mother when her husband Allen passed away from West Nile; her son Quinten now lives in Tucumcari with his wife Cara and the step-daughter Catherine loved dearly. Catherine’s parents still live in Santa Fe, and her adventurous family is otherwise spread between Alaska and New Zealand. She recently found joy in a new relationship, a man named Jimmy whom she mentioned to me with a little bit of extra sparkle in her expression.
In other words, that first impression of mine… it was on the money and then some. Catherine was smart and savvy and she had a wicked sense of humor; she always found a way to make things good and positive and she didn’t carry a grudge. She paid it forward, sideways, and every which way but loose, making changes that made a difference.
It must run in the family. For what I’m hearing from those who were close to Catherine is how important it is to them that her work survives…and goes on.
Quay County Rescue (Petfinder #NM144; firstname.lastname@example.org) would love to continue what Catherine helped them start. They receive no funding from any outside agency; they manage on personal funds and donations. They’re accepting donations in Catherine’s memory.
There are two accounts at which donations are being accepted–the local vet hospital and the local feed store; there, donations are applied directly against expenses. Please mention that the donation is in Catherine’s memory.
The Animal Rescue Fund at Tucumcari Animal Hospital
101 North 10th St
Tucumcari, NM 88401
Tucumcari Ranch Supply
Animal Rescue Account
502 S. Lake Street
Tucumcari, NM 88401
Catherine’s story is a compelling one; the rescue has already heard from those as far away as China. For Catherine and Elyse–two brave hearts in two very different packages who we lost far, far too early–this blog, these efforts to fund Catherine’s rescue work–are tributes forward. I hope you’ll join me in spreading the word.