Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Miami Animal Shelter by Melissa Rey

Melissa and I have been email buddies for a couple years now. She'll be a junior in high school and is a straight A student. (No surprise.) When she wrote me yesterday about these kittens, I was reminded of my own experiences with the Miami Animal Shelter—still a contradiction in terms.  

I wish Melissa’s story was a rare one, but mostly I wish she had met someone with a heart, who saw a kid trying to do what irresponsible adults failed to do, and I wish that woman had kept her big, stupid mouth shut. A pox on her and the people who dumped the kittens.

Melissa took the same route I did 35 years ago. She wrote about it. I have changed nothing in her story except to spell out the numeral 15.

My Experience with the Animal Shelter in Miami
Melissa Rey
There are moments in my life in which I am able to look at the world and have some faith in humanity. Yesterday, however, was not one of those moments. It was one of those days in which you witness such tragedy, that you no longer know what to think about society. It was approximately 3:00 in the afternoon in Miami, Florida, in an area that is rather polluted and very, very hot. It was about 95 degrees outside and the humidity made me feel as though I were in a sauna.
            I had an appointment in this area and as I prepared to get inside of my car after my appointment, I heard high-pitched meowing. Curious, I stepped out of my car and on the side of the road I found 3 kittens that had been placed in a black crate with a dirty cloth, some garbage, and a combination of rice and soil. The kittens were attempting to get out of the crate in an effort to find some shade, but they lacked the strength to get out. Their eyes were a beautiful clear blue, and I estimated they were about 2 weeks old. I could tell they had been deliberately left there as there is no way 2-week-old kittens can get into the crate by themselves and there is absolutely no way a mother cat will leave her babies. I was struck by the mental image of those little ones being cruelly ripped away from their mother and watched them as they huddled together seeking comfort.
            I now had two choices: I could leave the kittens alone so that they could die a lonely, torturous death where they would most likely starve, dehydrate, and bake under the hot sun or I could “rescue” them and take them to the shelter. I went on to pick up the kittens and sat in the backseat of the car with the kittens on my lap. On the 15 minute trip to the shelter, the kittens were so thirsty that they desperately licked the moisture on my arms. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I had seen in my whole life. They quieted as I held them in my arms and stroked their fluffy fur.
            Fifteen minutes later, at approximately 3:30, we arrived at the “shelter.” I was not impressed by the exterior. Quite frankly, the exterior of this “shelter” looked more like a death camp or prison. It was dirty, loud, and the employees were harsh and unhelpful. I was directed to this cat drop off area that was surprisingly clean. To the right of the wall were a series of cages that housed a variety of stray cats that had been rescued and were being put up for adoption. There were some people there in the process of adopting cats. For a brief moment, I was content because I thought these little ones would be put into a loving home. However, I was wrong. I was very wrong.
            When I walked in with the kittens, this young woman approached me telling me she was an employee. As soon as I saw this woman, my hopes began to go down. She had a very negative personality and her face told me that not only did she not want to be working there, but she did not care at all for those cats. I told her how I had found the kittens and after hearing my story, she told me to take them back to where I had found them. I looked at her with a combination of shock and disgust. I told her, “I can’t. They’re going to die.”
            She looks at me and she says, “They’re too young. Either you can take them back where you found them or keep them until they are 1.5 pounds and then bring them back. If you leave them here, they will be euthanized by tonight.” When she told me that, I felt very numb. However, I did not have a choice. I live in an apartment where cats are not allowed and I do not have the money to take care of 3 kittens anyway. Once again, I was faced with two choices. I could leave them here to die what I hope was a painless, quick death, or I can take them back and they would die a slow, torturous, and painful death.
            I had no choice but to leave them here. She pointed to a small cage by the window which was separate from the rest of the cats. When I attempted to put them in the cage, the kittens clung on to me and my shirt and I had to physically remove the cloth from their little claws. I couldn’t bear to watch them all snuggled up in their sad little cage, so I immediately turned away. This employee then gives me a paper which was titled “Good Samaritan.” On this paper, I had to put down my information so that the cats could be “put to sleep.” I had the urge to rip up this paper. At that moment, I felt like everything but a Good Samaritan. I had just given my consent so that three babies could be murdered.
            I walked quickly out of there, got into the car, and didn’t look back. My grandparents dropped me off at my house, and I just walked to my room and laid in bed. The moment I did that I broke down. I felt like an absolutely horrible person. The disgust and horror at what I had witnessed left me feeling sick. All I could think about were those kittens. I imagined their terror and discomfort at being put in a cold metal cage. I didn’t even want to begin to imagine how they had been euthanized or how their little bodies had been dumped into the garbage as if they were worthless trash.
            This is not just an issue in Miami. This is a nationwide crisis. This “shelter” does not have the right to be called that. It is a prison for the innocent and defenseless. This “shelter” is a death camp. My experience is not unique at all. This happens to thousands and thousands of poor, defenseless animals every year. If we do not have any respect and love for these defenseless creatures, how can we expect respect and love amongst our own selves? 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blog Slug

Slime Mold
Banana Slug
I've been remiss in keeping up my blog posts. I'd like to think it's because I've finally joined other denizens of my forest and slowed the pace of my life down, but it's not true. Well, it is true, if sitting in front of a computer screen counts. My fingers fly, my brain tries to keep pace, but my rear end rarely budges. I believe one must have the perseverance and focus of a slug to be a writer. The only thing slower is slime mold, but I'd like to think I have more substance, more direction, bigger dreams.
 I did want to share this interview with you. Kellee Moye is a middle school teacher in Florida. She's been teaching Hurt Go Happy in her classes since it came out in 2006. She's not a slug. She reads more books than seems humanly possible, especially as a new Mom, and I'm eternally grateful to her for supporting my writing endeavors. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award which Hurt Go Happy won in 2008. Kellee interviewed me for the anniversary. Unleashing Readers

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Don't Get Mad Chokoloskee, Get Even.

Chokoloskee, FL by
 The summer is getting away from me. I've spent a week in my friend Teresa's 'cabin' (3X the size of my house) just outside Yosemite, and another at a friend's cabin in Mammoth Lakes. If you think I've been sitting on the decks with my feet on the railing, think again. I've been writing and rewriting the book for Scholastic. Then this morning, a friend sent me this article by Scott McIntyre for The New York Times.

Smallwood's Store in Chokoloskee, FL

The book I've written for Scholastic is about a dolphin. The first book I wrote, thirty some odd years ago, was also about a dolphin. Smallwood's Store played a huge part in Dolphin Sky. The last scene took place there. If you haven't read Dolphin Sky (now out of print and only available on Kindle) but the Smallwood Store sounds familiar to you, it might be because Peter Matthiessen's Killing Mister Watson took place there. My husband was their accountant. Iris Smallwood was a friend, and became one of my favorite characters in the book. I have ties. Strong ties.

Here's the quote from the Times story:

"Most famously, it was the spot where, on Oct. 24, 1910, Edgar Watson, an outlaw and fearsome sugar cane plantation owner with a reputation for killing instead of paying his workers, was gunned down by a group of fed-up residents. The shootout was richly told by the writer Peter Matthiessen in “Killing Mister Watson,” the first part of an award-winning trilogy about the man."

Ted Smallwood
Smallwood Store by

“Smallwood Store is the last of its kind; there should be a little more public respect for it,” said J. Robert Houghtaling, a Florida musician who wrote a song about the fight. “We don’t want to read about what it used to be like after it’s gone.”

Monday, June 2, 2014

Max, the WONDER-ful Dog

Barely a peep out of me in two months, but I have not been idle. I spent 3 weeks in Florida, Texas and Missouri: research, fun with friends, and visiting middle schools. I finished the first draft of my yet untitled novel about an autistic 4-year-old and a dolphin. It will be published by Scholastic Books in the spring of next year.

In early May, two friends and I flew to Japan, boarded a cruise ship and sailed back across the Pacific to Vancouver. Another 3 weeks away from home. I like cruising, and riding on trains, for great places to write.

Those are my alibis. I got home Monday and on Thursday, May 29, my God-dog died. Max Sholars was my friend Teresa's soul-mate. For 15 years, they shared a bond stronger than any I have ever known. They were probably apart, in total, less than a full month in all those years.

I'm posting this, with Teresa's permission, because, if you have loved an animal deeply, you know how she is suffering. I'm not going to write about how exceptional Max was--his total devotion to her; her total devotion to him. This is about all our dogs and cats and birds. The purest love many of us will ever know will come from a non-human soul-mate. 

Along with grieving for the dog that I have also loved for the last 15 years, I've been remembering the other special beings in my life. It's a comfort--kind of. It reminds me that I got past losing them. Even when I didn't think I could take that kind of pain again, I did and I have. If reading this brings similar memories, then you have, too. And Teresa will. We all heal, only the scars stay.

This morning I was also thinking about how we each handle sharing this most personal of losses--reaching out to some, holding others at bay. At the same time we so desperately need to be alone with our grief, we also need people, but only those close enough to understand what a catastrophic loss we are experiencing.

Through each of my non-human losses, it has been the memory of that love, and then the love of friends and family that has set the healing in motion. There's a certain irony in that, isn't there? Love heals the loss of a loved one. 

A friend sent Teresa this poem; she sent it to me. I'm sending it to you.
The House Dog's Grave by Robinson  Jeffers

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope than when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Speaking of Odysseys

I've been away for nearly a month. I finished up research in Florida, went birding in Texas and gave power point programs for about 1000 middle-school kids in Missouri. As soon as I once again recognize which way is up, I'll be back. In the meantime, this is a blog post done by my friend Nona Smith eighteen months ago. I thrilled to announce that she has turned this and the rest of the story into a book: Stuffed: Emptying the Hoarder's Nest. 

For those of us lucky enough to live near Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, Nona will be reading from her book on April 26th at 6:30 p.m. Hope to see you there

                 A Bear of a Problem: Guest Blog by Nona Smith
                                         Channeling Linda

When my friend, Linda, died, she left a thousand teddy bears orphaned. My husband, Art, was the executor of her estate, so the responsibility for finding them new homes fell to me. Linda and her husband were hoarders. They had stuff. Lots of it.
Art started to work on the bills and banking statements in one of Linda’s desks, leaving me to deal with the teddy bears and other stuffed animals in Linda’s bedroom.
I knew nothing about collectible teddy bears. I stood for a moment and looked around her bedroom. Drapes covered the sliding glass doors that ran the length of the room and a triple-tiered shelf stood in front of them. The shelf sagged in the middle from bear weight. Sunshine had eaten the curtains, and some of the bears were wedged between the decaying material and the back of the shelf.

“Right.” I addressed the bears. “Let’s get to it.”
I was familiar with the names Steiff  and Gund, so I began by looking for those. Working my way around the room, I inspected labels and sorted the animals by maker, creating two piles on Linda’s bed: one for Steiff, one for Gund. Before long, the piles grew so high they toppled into each other.
After awhile I began to sense Linda’s presence. I felt her scowling over my shoulder, unhappy that I was messing with her bears, unsure what I was up to. I offered a silent apology for disrupting her space and asked for her help with this project. I couldn’t intuit her response, so I continued to work.
By the time I got around to the animals on the bookcases surrounding the bed, I had developed a hacking cough. My hands were filthy. I had dust specks in my eyes. And I was pissed. These bears had been mistreated. Many were grungy and smelled of mildew. They’d been imprisoned in this apartment for years.
One by one, I twisted their little, jointed arms and legs to more comfortable positions and dusted them with a damp cloth. I placed the ones without designer labels on freshly cleaned shelves. Sometimes I gave one of them an accessory or two: a necklace, a rakish hat. I placed the ones from the dirty bottom shelf on a higher one, and sat them next to friendly-looking companions. I put small animals in the laps of larger ones, leaned sweet baby bears against maternal-looking mothers.
I stepped back to survey my work. They appeared happier.
“Good grief,” a voice in my head hissed. “Get a grip. These are toys for God’s sake. Open a window and get some fresh air.”
That was it. In a flash of clarity, I understood. These were toys. While Linda was alive, these bears were a collection. With her gone, they were free to become toys again. Re-purposed into something to be cuddled. Sent back into the world as some child’s lovey. I could do that.
Keeping the potentially valuable bears separate, I scooped up the others and put them into clean Hefty bags. By the time we were ready to call it quits for the day, I’d bagged over one hundred bears, puppets, monkeys, assorted rabbits and mice, all headed for a new life.

It’s Not A Bear Market

            I found new homes for one hundred of Linda’s stuffed animals with children in an East Oakland elementary school. No longer part of an inert collection, these bears, pigs, lambs and assorted other animals became summer reading buddies for freshly literate children.
I attended their adoption. The kids were happy with their new loveys, and I imagined the animals were thrilled too.
The day after the give-away, I had a date with Debi Ortega, a Bear Maker who’d known Linda for years. A tall woman, brimming with energy and good cheer, Debi wore a faded red t-shirt that read “Hugs for Bears,” and old jeans. She’d come ready to work.
“Where should we start?” she asked in a matter-of-fact voice.
“Let’s go into the bedroom, and you can educate me about this collection.”
            “Let’s start with the artist bears; those are hand-sewn by individuals who refer to themselves as ‘bear makers.’ Every bear maker has a brand name and a label sewn onto their product. We sell our bears on line and at Teddy Bear Conventions. That’s where I met Linda.”
This was an entire world I knew nothing about.
“I see you’ve separated the Steiff and Gund animals from the artist bears. That’s a good start.” She pulled a life-size pink pig to her chest and pressed its nose to hers. “Gunds are the ones with the cutest faces.”
I picked up a large brown bear and hugged him to me, hopeful he might bring in a honey-pot of money.
“Unfortunately, eBay and today’s economy has wiped out their value.”
I set him on a chair where he slumped and stared at us through caramel-colored eyes. He, too, seemed disappointed with this news. I gave him a comforting pat on the head.
“How much might he be worth?” I asked.
“Maybe $5. If you can find an interested buyer. You could try looking for one online. Bunch a few bears together, photograph them, put them on eBay and see what happens. It could be your new hobby.” Debi offered a sly smile. I liked her.
 “Steiff is a well-respected German company that’s been making bears since the 1800’s, and people are still interested in spending money on them. The value of a Steiff will depend upon the color of the label. See this? “ She unfolded a tiny taxicab-yellow label from a bear’s left ear. “Even the tiniest Steiff will have one. The bright yellow labels signify the bears were recently made. Feel this one’s fur.”
It felt smooth. Soft.
“Now feel this one.” She handed me another Steiff. “Feel the difference?”
This bear had a paler yellow label. I turned his head and jointed legs forward and stroked his fur, which felt like disheveled cowlicks.
“This one’s made of mohair and they’re more valuable. But the most valuable Steiffs have white labels. They’re originals, and are no longer being manufactured.”
I held up a cute, chocolate-colored bear with a natty vest. “How valuable might he be?
Debi pursed her lips. “I’m not sure. Let’s call John Fort, a Steiff expert who's familiar with Linda’s collection. He’ll know.” 
John confirmed what Debi told me. “But there are so many Steiffs in this collection that there might be value in a slug of them together. I can come out to look, if you put them aside for me.”
We arranged to do that, and Debi and I looked around for a suitable place to stash the Steiffs. We began by putting them on the recliner in the living room. Before long, it became apparent that the chair could only hold a fraction of them, so we stuffed them into large Hefty bags and hauled them into the second bedroom. Soon, the pile became so unwieldy there was no room for us to move around. In the end, we bagged the Steiffs as best we could and corralled them into the oversized bathroom shower stall. 
After a morning of work, there were still hundreds of bears, rabbits, monkeys, and assorted other animals to deal with. I stood with my hands at the small of my back, feeling daunted. I did not want to make these bears my life’s work.
“What can we do with the rest of these, the ones with no monetary value?”
Debi’s eyes lit up. “Don’t worry about that. There’s a non-profit group called Hug A Bear that distributes stuffed animals to kids in need. Would you consider donating some of them?”
“Absolutely,” I said without hesitation. “Let’s do it.”
  We carried bag after teddy-bear-filled bag to Debi’s car until her tiny two-seater was congested and its trunk teeming with bears. As we sorted, occasionally we came across animals with moth holes. We threw those into the hall, quarantining them from the others. They made a small, sad pile.
At 2:00, we stopped for lunch at a near-by restaurant, away from the bears. 
Linda’s friend Hanae dropped by when we returned from lunch. Since Linda’s death, Hanae often came to spend an odd hour now and then sorting and packing stuff. 
Debi told her how to identify the valued bears and sent her off with garbage bags to another apartment. Debi and I remained in Linda’s apartment, bagging bears until 5:00, when we decided we were beared-out.
“I’ll come back with my truck next week and pick up more of them.” She squashed down the bears in the back seat so that she could see out the rear view window, then squeezed herself into her tiny car and drove off.
I went in search of Hanae, and found her pouring over the pile of quarantined bears.
“What’s with these?”
“These are bears with moth issues. They need to be thrown into the garbage. In fact, let’s do that now so they don’t contaminate the others.”
Hanae held a garbage bag open and I pushed one damaged bear after another into it. There were surprisingly few, given the amount we’d dealt with.
 I picked up a medium-sized bear dressed in hiking clothes. He had a blue knapsack on his back and a jaunty-looking cap on his head. There was a brownish, quarter-size stain under his left eye, evidence of moth work.
Hanae extended the bear to me by his left arm. “You know…” she said. She squints her eyes as if trying to recall something. “Linda once mentioned she’d tucked some money into a bear with a zipper or something on his back.”
Now you mention it.
I’d never considered searching the bears for hidden contraband. I shook my head.
Hanae held the bag open, and I started to drop the bear into it when our eyes met. We looked from the bear to the bag and back to the bear.
 Hanae’s eyes twinkled with possibility. “Let’s check him out.”
I held his shoulders while she struggled to unbutton his backpack. She scrunched her small hand into it, and her eyes widened. She drew out a fisted hand and opened it to reveal…a bunch of purple artificial grapes. 
She reached in again, and a more serious expression crossed her face. This time, her fingers unfolded, revealing a thick wad of bills.
We dropped the bear and counted the money: three fifties, several hundreds, some fives, a bunch of singles. In the end, we totaled up one thousand, one hundred and seventeen dollars. We were giddy with astonishment.
Hanae’s face was animated. “This guy was seconds away from the garbage can!” 
I flashed through the bears we’d given away to the school kids in East Oakland, the bears I’d left with our local fire department to be donated to Toys for Tots, the ones that drove off with Debi moments ago. All given away without a thought to patting them down. Any one of them could have hidden a small fortune in their pockets or hat brims.
Actually, I hoped some of them had.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Guest Blog by K.B. Morgan

K. B. (Kitty) Morgan is a friend of a friend. Love this story and thought you would enjoy it, too.

How We Came to Love Rottweilers

Most people dream of traveling when they retire. Having done so much of that during our careers, my partner and I dreamed instead of having dogs in our lives again.

Our original retirement destination was 4 acres of beautiful, off-the-grid wilderness on the NE corner of the Dominican Republic. We’d never built a house before but, in preparation for our big move, we asked around and were told by just about every expat living there that what the locals feared and respected most were large dogs with black faces and pointed ears. I wanted a short flat coat for wash and wear grooming and to see ticks quickly. We turned every page of the big 700 Dog Breeds book and discovered there is but a single breed that meets all four requirements:  Dobermans. We were mentally sold and started collecting books specifically on that breed.

Time marched on and while visiting the D.R. one summer, we met an expat who bought a small cafĂ© in town and an enormous 14-acre finca near our property.  We were enjoying cocktails with him one evening and discussing dogs when Gerry made the odd comment, "Nah, nah, nah. You don't want Dobermans because a Doberman won't let anyone in...but a Rottweiler won't let anyone out."  This didn't make much sense to us until we visited the fina a few days later. A large red and white sign on the gate translated: “Caution, Bad Dogs.”  (Years later, our Mexican neighbors had a similar sign on their front wall that read “Caution, Killer Dogs” which turned out to be nine female Chihuahuas and their father, Romeo.)  

Gerry wasn't at home when we arrived but his caretaker Pindo let us onto the property. There was a small house near the front gate and a long garden shed on the other side of the driveway, open on one side, where five enormous Rottweilers were snoozing but quite alert. They were totally disinterested in us two trespassers for the hour or so that we strolled the property until we returned to the house to leave. Very slowly they rose; very slowly they approached me, surrounded me, leaned into me and did that huffy drooling thing that excited Rotties do. They expressed more and more interest as I tried inching my way to the gate. I was terrified and froze in the driveway – so close and yet so far from escape.

“Please,” I asked my partner, “go find Pindo, tell him we’d like to leave but we’re afraid of Thor, Zeus and the three girls.”

Eventually, Pindo returned and put the dogs inside the shed as if they were Yorkies.   The minute I was on the other side of the gate, my legs gave out and I crumpled to the pavement. I was shaking so hard I couldn't stand. My partner and I looked at each other and decided then and there that Rottweilers were probably too much dog for us. We were back to Dobermans, such elegant quick creatures, unlike the lumbering, slobbering Rottie.

Several weeks later, we spent a very pleasant afternoon at the finca picnicking on the grass with Gerry, Thor and Zeus. When we asked Gerry where the three girls were, he told us he had to re-home them because they were constantly raiding his neighbors’ properties, bringing home entire pigs and cows for dinner for which his neighbors were demanding payment.

Fast forward and we ended up in Mexico’s Yucatan.  We spent our first two years finding a house and making it habitable before we were finally ready to bring home our dogs!!!  We had seen two very large Dobermans in the local nursery while buying plants and asked the nurseryman where he got those beauties.

“Oh, those were untrainable,” he told us. “I sold them because they were too high strung, had too much energy and were into everything.”   (In my opinion, they were obviously bored with so little to do except watch the plants grow).  

We were mightily disappointed until he added, “But I have Rottweilers now and my bitch just delivered her first litter. Come see the puppies, all thirteen of them!”  We saw this as an omen.

We fought the urge as long as we could, but eventually succumbed and brought Bruno home, the best ambassador the breed could ever have. He was the sweetest, most mellow, loving creature yet, even a playful slap from a friend in my direction would have him up, his huge maw very gently around the offending wrist. Don't mess with my mommy!
I only had one dog as a child, a sweet mutt who lived to the ripe old age of 24 so I wasn't accustomed to having dogs until Bruno taught me what I needed with infinite patience. He was my best friend for 7 short years. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2008 and I miss him terribly to this day.
Bruno made us Rottie fans and, in retrospect, they actually turned out to be the best breed for us because we're older now and they're not quite as energetic as Dobies. I know this from personal experience as our Willie is a “Doberweiler“  (or “Rottenman,”  if you prefer). He turned ten last November and still has plenty of energy. Daily playtime with him wears us out but, I confess, he's my favorite of our five adult dogs because of his huge personality and goof ball antics.
After Bruno came Ivan, pure joy in a fuzzy, black-and-tan package, followed by Chester (a/k/a Grumpy as he was a soloist and never a pack member) and silly Willie, our Rottie-Dobie mix. They’re all in Dog Heaven now except Willie who’s on borrowed time. Knowing this, last month we brought home the next generation:  ten-week old brothers Ozzy and Gus. They will likely be our last dogs and we hope they don’t outlive us as the market for re-homing adult Rotties is slim to none. (Although we have provided doggie godparents for them in our wills).
It has been a wild and wonderful Rottie ride and I have never regretted choosing the breed; they’re smart, playful, loyal and extremely protective of their homes and their people.


 The Rottweiler is a large size breed of domestic dog. The dogs were known as "Rottweil butchers' dogs" because they were used to herd livestock and pull carts laden with butchered meat and other products to market.