Archive | November 2011

Breaking the Chain

Excerpts from Breaking the Chain, a children’s creative writing and art contest, that teaches kindness and compassion to animals


Chloe W. 1st place

Ryan Elementary School – Chandler AZ


“Harriet ran to the window and jumped inside. She went looking for tools to use but she could only find a rat named Rick. She was about to eat him but Rick spoke up and said he has three tools that could help Harriet. Harriet asked, “What kinds of tools do you have?”


Rick said, “I have a hammer, a saw, and a brain.”


“What’re you going to use those for?” Harriet asked.


“I can use the hammer to unleash the nail and the saw to cut the chain and a brain to think.”


After that Harriet put Rick on the ground and said, “Go, get all the tools and I will not eat you. I’ll make sure no other cats eats you either.” Then Rick ran and got all his tools.


Rick and Harriet ran as fast as they could to Joey (the chained dog). Here they saw Joey crying and they asked, “What’s wrong?”


Joey said, “My owner tightened my chain.”


“How could she?” Harriet said.


There was squeaking barking and meowing. “Uh oh,” Joey said. “Here comes my owner. You better go.” But she fainted on the way.


“I’m not leaving without you Joey,” Rick said.


“Hurry before she wakes up,” Joey said.
Harriet grabbed the hammer from Rick and pulled the nails as hard as she could and they popped out. Harriet was so happy but Joey wasn’t. “Get this tight chain off my neck and quick. It’s choking me,” Joey said. Then the great Harriet grabbed the saw from Rick. She rubbed and rubbed. The chain came off. They all became friends and lived a good life.


Ashley C – 2nd place

Hudson Elementary

Tempe AZ


Harriet runs to the tree full of birds but calls for Blue Sky the squirrel. “Hi Blue Sky I need you,” Harriet says. “Can you free this dog from his chain?”


“Yes I can,” Blue Sky says.


Harriet and Blue Sky go to Joey. “Joey, this is Blue Sky and we need to find out how to help you,” Harriet said.


Blue Sky ran to the chain and started biting it with her big teeth. Harriet asked what’re you doing?

“I’m breaking the chain in half,” Blue Sky says. It was cracking and finally broke. Joey said I’m finally free. Blue Sky pulled off his collar and left. Harriet and Joey went next to the front of Candace’s (Harriet’s owner) house. Candace said, “You poor dog.” Then Candace lived with Harriet. They had fun as long as they lived in a family feeling there was never a problem again.


Elaina M.- 3rd place

Hermosa Vista

Mesa AZ

When Harriet came back with Candace she said “Poor dog do you think we should adopt him?” Then they went home and called the police to Joey’s owner. But Joey’s owner saw they were calling the police. Joey barked and said, “Bring butter instead. I got an idea.” Candace threw it around the chain and amazingly Joey was free. Joey’s owner was arrested. Then Candace Joey and Harriet went home. They decided to have lunch take a nap and they lived happily ever after.




shelter cat diaries

The great Harriet scoped out the cattery once she pawed sleep from her eyes. Cats were everywhere. Big Bessy chomped down kibble. If that cat doesn’t watch her appetite Harriet thought she’ll get stuck in the kitty door on her way to the sun porch. She presumed former alley cats like Bessie would always have active appetites. As Harriet ambled among scratching posts and comfy beds, she greeted a trio of feline friends – Junkyard Joe, Lucky Lucy and Slim Jim.

“You’re up early Joe,” Harriet said.

“Waiting for my favorite volunteer,” Joe said. “She always gives me treats.”

“The great Harriet always gets doted on too. How can volunteers resist gorgeous cats like us?” she said glancing at Slim Jim and Lucky Lucy.

“That’s what I love about you Harriet,” Joe said. “Your ego is as big as my hairballs.”

Assured the three cats could get by without her Harriet moved on. Mother Nature called and Harriet needed a litter box. She preferred her own box with no clump litter but customized cat services weren’t possible. This was a shelter after all so she had to accept congregate living. Now that she took care of business Harriet scooted next to Big Bessie for her morning meal.

“What’s up big gal?” Harriet asked as she took a bite.

“Did you hear about the new arrival?”

“How’d you find out before me? I’m queen around here,” Harriet said.

“The clinic lady just left the black kitten inside a cage. I think he’s hurt or scared.”

“What happened?”

“I’ve been here eating,” Big Bessie said. “I overheard the clinic lady say a cab driver found the kitten under a dumpster and brought him to our shelter. The guy evidently has a cat at home and felt bad for the kitten.”

“You’ve been here eating a while,” Harriet said with a mouth full of food. “That was kind of the driver.”

“Must you always comment on my dietary habits? And don’t speak with your mouth full. It’s not becoming of the great Harriet.”

“Don’t be so touchy. Let’s go see the kit.”

Big Bessie licked crumbs off her whiskers, lapped up water then trailed Harriet to the next room. There they found Rosario, a fluffy black kitten nestled on a blanket. Rosario shivered as Harriet and Big Bessie stood in front of him.

“I’m Harriet and this is Big Bessie, we’re friends. You OK?”

Rosario nodded that he was not.

“Feel like talking?” Harriet asked.

“Big troubles, big troubles,” Rosario said. “You have time for me?”

“All newcomers have their say,” Harriet said. Big Bessie purred agreement.

“My barn cat mom had kittens again. The farmer’s daughter boxed us up and sat in front of the big store handing us out like candy. I guess some of my brothers and sisters went to good homes. Me, I wasn’t so lucky.

“The great Harriet doesn’t like tales of brutes. Go on though.”

“The lady who took me smelled like beer and cigarettes,” Rosario said. “She said I’d be a plaything for her kids she called brats. Right away I had a bad feeling but I was trapped in the car so what could I do?”

“How’d you end up at the dumpster?” Harriet asked.

“The beasty boys tossed me around like I was a football. I was so scared. I tried hiding but they’d always find me. The mother was usually drunk and wasn’t any help. Sometimes she even laughed as I squealed,” Rosario said. “Stupid woman fell asleep with a lit cigarette one night. If the kids hadn’t found her the trailer would’ve gone up in flames.”

“How dreadful,” Harriet said. “So what happened next?”

“Child protection came for the kids,” Rosario said. “I guess a neighbor called. The kids were always dirty and outside without coats. The court date made mommy dearest really mad. She drank a six pack and smacked me around. Staggering and burping, she opened the door and out I went. Honestly I was glad to be away from her madness. I moseyed around for a while until I found the dumpster. There I was protected from the rain and snow. I ate from the trash. Then the nice man found me and here I am.”

“The shelter people will find you a home,” Harriet said. “That’s what they do.”

“Why are you here?” Rosario asked.

“Be patient boy, finding good homes takes time especially for us mature cats,” Harriet said. “You’ll like it here. Workers keep the place clean although some can be lazy.”

“Harriet, you complain too much,” Bessie said. “Don’t listen to her Rosario.”

“I have high standards for us cats,” Harriet said. “We are cats after all and deserve the best.”