paying it forward: the meandering path of life

Life is a crazy, meandering thing.

This is Cathy Costello. I never knew she existed until yesterday.  She showed up on one of those crazy Oklahoma Senior Follies/ Ms. Senior Oklahoma pageant emails I have been trying to get off the mailing list of for over a decade (It started out as pageant emails for Ms. Senior Oklahoma pageants and then morphed into Senior Follies in Oklahoma emails)

Over the weekend I started getting Oklahoma Senior Follies emails again, and I shot off an email to the entire un-BCC’d mailing list. And yes I was QUITE testy…I have been trying to get off these email lists I never signed up for for over a decade. I have found it maddening (right or wrong) that I can’t get off these e-mail lists.

I do not even have any friends or family in Oklahoma, I just ended up on these e-mail list and chains. And for over a decade it has been this thing that (again right or wrong) just irritated the snot out of me – it didn’t matter if I was polite or miserable, I could not get off these e-mail lists. Even by blocking many of the senders e-mail addresses I could not stop the flow of misdirected e-mails.

Anyway, this lady Cathy Costello replied to me by accident in response to my cranky gram (a get-me-the-hell-off-this-email-list-it-has-been-over-a-decade message), and after I climbed off the ceiling from being Ms. Cranky Pants  we swapped a couple of e-mails and she told me her story. Her husband Mark, who had been the Labor Commissioner of the State of Oklahoma was stabbed (and subsequently died) by a young man suffering from schizophrenia on a psychotic break.  The young man was one of their children. Her son. Reading her words was almost surreal and put life right back into perspective in as much as what is truly important. (As in shut my mouth and quit complaining is what I said to myself)

It never ceases to amaze me how people who are total strangers to one and other can relate to each other for even a moment in time, or in a misdirected email.  Crazy as it sounds, this Cathy is the kind of person anyone would like to have as a friend.

So today I Googled her story.  I was blown away by the devastating reality of it.  I found her Facebook page Cathy Costello for Hope and gave her video a listen so my pen pal by accident had an actual human voice.

Six degrees of separation – it’s crazy the way life and fate connect you to people for even a few moments or a few hours.

I think Cathy’s voice is a good one to hear, so I hope you take the time for her video, and more importantly her message. She is true grace in the face of unbelievable loss and tragedy so I am paying it forward.

Mental illness touches so many.  I have had friends affected by it over the years, and I have friends who have had family members affected by it for years.  One of my closest and best friends is a mental health social worker in another state – she has been the help and advocate for so many over the years.  And I can’t help but also think about the teenagers lost to depression and suicide in this area over the past few years, as well.

So I am paying it forward.

Her website is Cathy Costello for Hope.

Thanks for stopping by.

carol’s story

Happy horses grazing somewhere in Chester County

Happy horses grazing somewhere in Chester County

So way back in late October and early November when a friend saw these kooky Craig’s List ads and then I started looking on my own and asking questions about horse rescue, I have said it before, but it is the truth: I had no clue the craziness that would ensue.

Day after day, week after week things just swirled about Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue in Glenmoore (Oxford too?) and Parx Racing’s Turning for home.  I did not seek it out.  I even got comments from people as far away as Oklahoma. On and on, and drama swirled.   Facebook kamikaze to odd things happening at people’s homes. (Unless you think the state police showing up in full Ninja turtle gear is normal for Chester County mornings?). People getting followed, people feeling generally bothered, and lots of finger-pointing, and how nutty was all of it?  Even I received comments and such that could be interpreted as threatening or menacing, and wow, what did I do?  Ask questions? Care about animals in rescue?

When would it stop?

No one seemed to know.  And all it was to begin with was worry over horses entering rescue and how they were being cared for and where was LAPs in all of this?

Now from my perspective can it be said that Barbara Luna who is with Parx Racing’s non-profit Turning for Home among others has a lot of questions she should be answering versus dodging?  After all isn’t it Barbara Luna who helps shift these racehorses who have outlived their track usefulness off the track around here and into local rescue?  Still to this day, where is this woman’s accountability?  How did these horses end up across state lines without proper paperwork in some cases? And did some end up in that awful New Holland place in line to become god knows what?

Anyway, last week it was noticed that Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue of Fairview Road in Glenmoore (and elsewhere?) was offline.  As in the Facebook page and website suddenly went dark. It had be active in both cases as of March 11, because they were advertising a yard sale to raise money for the rescue sometime this month, so why?  Why is the only thing left (probably until this post gets published) a tumblr page? Are they closing their doors or merging with another horse rescue?  If either occurs, what happens to the horses in this rescue?  And where are they?

So many unanswered questions.  But today, I have been asked by someone who says they were duped by Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue to publish something.  It is her story.  She wants to go public because she is tired of being painted as a villain in a multi-act play.

Her name is Carol.  Below is what she wrote verbatim.  She owns her words and takes responsibility for them.  If Off  The Track Thoroughbred Rescue is indeed done, then perhaps Barbara Luna of Turning for Home can address this? Even  apologize?

Click on hyperlink for Carol’s Story.  carols story

A lot of this centers around Carol’s special needs daughter.  And anyone who knows horses or has worked with say Thorncroft or other horse therapy programs knows the power horses have for good in these situations.

Here is the text (there are photos and other things the author embedded in the document above):

In Jan of 1999 God blessed our family with a beautiful baby girl. Her birthmother loved her so much she actually came to our home with a weapon and ripped her from my arms.

My baby was lost to me for 3 months before authorities were able to bring her home. She came home very lethargic. I had my baby back but, she didn’t laugh, she didn’t coo, she didn’t even cry all that much. She simply laid there, a human baby with no light in her eyes. It was like holding a doll.

Doctors said she’d outgrow it…experts said that severely neglected infants become very withdrawn but love would heal that. I couldn’t just sit by and hope. I quit my job and devoted every minute of my life to bringing her back. She never left my sight during those first nine months. We bonded and slowly I began to see a spark in her eyes.

At 4, we learned she was on the autism spectrum. I watched my child struggle to fit in, to make friends, to be good at something/anything for years. The pain was incredible. Then in 2010 at the age of 11 she discovered horses and her whole world changed. She started taking lessons, she learned to ride and she found her voice. Finally she had friends, she was good at something and she liked her world. For months she saved every penny of her allowance, her birthday money and Christmas money. Her goal was to own a horse of her own.

Day after day she spent hours on dream horse trying to find a horse she could afford until the day she saw an ad placed by Jessica Troxell Basciano. Of course we took her to see the horse. Of course we let her buy him. What parent could say no to a child’s dream?

Never did we think anyone, much less a mother, would take advantage of a handicapped child but that is exactly what Jessica Troxell Basciano did. She said the horse was perfect for my daughter. She said the horse was sound and well trained. Jessica Troxell Basciano stood next to me, watched the tears rolling down my face as my only child lived out her dream on the back of that horse…and she lied.

Instead of a sound, well trained, suitable for a child, horse Jessica Troxell Basciano sold my baby a horse that had only been off the track for three weeks, had been recently gelded and had severe stifle issues.

We returned the horse to Jessica Troxell Basciano within 24 hours of purchase. Two years later we are still fighting to have my daughter’s money returned to her.

mooseThis is “Moose’.  In the background is my car and the tent we slept in next to Moose because my child refused to leave him that night. Below is Jessica’s response. We did not leave the horse alone at all actually. He never fell during the night and he didn’t have a soft tissue injury anywhere on his body.  He was not injured while we had him.

words

As for the vet bill:

  1. My husband is a well respected, highly intelligent engineer. To suggest he would offer to pay anything more to her is just insulting.
  2. What vet charges $300 to come look at a horse? No x-rays were taken. The vet came at 3:00 pm and Jessica started texting me to say the horse was perfectly fine at 3:05.
  3. She claims to have a bill and a letter. We have yet to see anything of the sort.

Jessica Troxell Basciano “re-homed’ ‘Moose’ to a young woman named Jenn Messner. Jenn is one of many young women who work for Jessica in exchange for free horses. Below is Jenn’s response:

words1

Please note that she says she wouldn’t have put my child on that horse but Jessica did. Also note she says he has stifle issues.

All I want is my daughters money back and for Jessica Troxell Basciano not to be able to do this to any other family. Yes, it IS about the horses but sometimes it’s also about the people who love them.

Carol Linares

back to the horses

wildcat lakeLest we forget out here in Chester County, it is not just dogs that need the kindness and caring of the public, horses do too.

So I am circling back to the topic of horse rescue.  Briefly.  It is my hope since the media that is interested in horse rescue irregularities now knows how to find their way to Chester County, they will check out what is up with horse rescue.  Especially since so many come literally off a track in Pennsylvania.

See this horse photo posted?  His name I am told is Wildcat.  He has a story posted with his photo.  I found it all on Facebook yesterday, and it is quite recent. I will share that too:

wildcat story

Yes it is fugly out there when it comes to horse rescue, and I wish that just one iota of the media attention shown to other types of animals, animal cruelty, and animal rescue would show here.  Wildcat ended up with a happy ending of sorts because he ended up thousands of miles away on a farm of a caring woman from Oklahoma….who is still waiting apparently for either Turning for Home through Parx or Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue to pony up the horse’s paperwork and medical records.  I can’t make this stuff up, just look for yourselves:

wildcat 2

Horses are expensive and when they change hands they have all these things that are supposed to go with them. I am too tired to go into all of it again, but can we leave it as horse rescue seems to me to be a somewhat dirty business?  And can we also say around here that these race horses that come off the track via a woman named Barbara Luna and Turning for Home and in turn go to a rescue that isn’t even a non-profit called Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue at 261 Fairview Road in Glenmoore are long overdue with some explaining on Wildcat and other horses placed into rescue?   Are there still horses related to this rescue at a place called Lasko Farm in Oxford? After all how else do you explain why some horse lovers/owners are still so upset in Chester County? That photo of Wildcat above is on Facebook in a couple of different places – in once place it cause enough uproar for over 80 comments .  These PA “rescues” are even being discussed by a pretty big deal nationally known horse rescue person, and I would not say it is all positive and love, is it?

The dogs in our world have a lot of good people to look after them and fight for them.  Horses, not so much.  Around these parts they are supposed to have LAPs, but does that do any good?  No one can ever seem to answer that question for me.

My final comment this morning is for the dogs. The outpouring of love and support for the Bock family over the loss of their beloved dogs Argus & Fiona is so truly amazing and wonderful…some of the more negative behavior I have heard about associated with this? Not so much. I really don’t dig the idea of strangers taking the nosy pleasure ride through Chester Springs to see “where it happened” or the comments I have seen threatening innocent animals or when I heard about the freak of a woman who stood in the road with a bull horn screaming.

I find this morning’s article in The Daily Local interesting.  Especially since West Vincent officials pretty much hid from the media and public for days on this.  Are they utterly innocent in this? Only time will tell.  Seems to me they were advised to get on the publicity bandwagon. People don’t generally think warm fuzzie bunnies and chickens when it comes to these supervisors do they?  I do applaud the Chief of Police for stating flat-out that they freaky vigilante justice has to stop.  No civilized person condones that kind of behavior so good for them.