Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Injustice System

This is a painting that hangs above my bed - of a statue I saw in front of a Memphis courthouse years ago, when I was just moseying around being a tourist. Little did I know what future meaning it held, and how it would become the battle cry of my life.

This morning, as I was getting ready to appear in court again, my husband asked how I slept last night. As I stopped to think about it, I literally could not remember the last time I slept well. I can’t remember what it’s like to NOT wake up at 4 am and toss and turn for hours with my mind full of worry.

I want justice, but the court system has not delivered. And what does justice look like anyway?

Every day through this trial, I have asked myself if we’re doing the right thing. What is the deeper, spiritual reason for all of this? Why is this guy suing us for a dog that he didn’t even realize was missing until a day later, a dog he left with others for months at a time while he went off to live in his other home in Hawaii…Why? At first, since he was suing us in unlimited court (up to $50,000) I thought it was merely for money. But now the judge has awarded him Stitch, but no money, and in fact he ordered the plaintiff to pay us for all the care we gave Stitch in the past year and a half (over a thousand dollars), and still he’s fighting. So why does he want Stitch? Why this fight?

In court, he proved himself to be negligent. In his own words, he let Stitch run free on a 50 acre property, and Stitch would sometimes go missing for a day or so, and that was no big deal to him. By his own admission, he’d lost him in L.A. twice, too. After losing him on numerous occasions, he never licensed nor microchipped Stitch. So why the sudden interest? Ego? A sense of entitlement? Or just a simple power struggle?

Why this fight?

I would never withhold a dog from someone I believed owned, and truly loved him. But in this case, I don’t believe either to be true. Even the judge wrote in his final ruling that the plaintiff’s case “lacked credibility” and that there was “no physical proof” of ownership. (I know…unbelieveable, right?) So I’m fighting. I’m fighting for Stitch because I fear what would happen to him in this guy’s care.

Driving to court this morning, I was feeling disheartened so I turned on the radio, hoping music would lift my spirits. There was Neil Young, sorrowfully droning on…helpless, helpless, helpless….I became more depressed. Yes, I feel helpless. Totally and completely helpless. What does it all mean? Am I to surrender? But what about Stitch- maybe that song is really about him. He is completely helpless. He has no voice but ours.

I have prayed and prayed for resolve with this trial, and gotten nothing but murky, fuzzy situations in response. So I decided to pray for a specific sign. I asked the following:

“If I’m supposed to fight, show me a white feather. If I’m supposed to retreat, show me a black feather.” But there were no feathers…

So I went to court, and because of a freeking clerical error, we have to go back next week. What a waste of a sleepless night! And then…when I got home, there was a small peacock feather on my porch: gray with blue tips.

Yesterday, the opposing attorney said to our attorney, “I’m bringing in the big guns to take the Dexters down.” And all because we adopted an abandoned dog. This is insanity. How the hell did we get to this point?

I’m an anti-war girl, and yet here I am smack dab in the middle of one, and as Troy said we’re “out of bullets.” How are we going to pay for this? Where will we find the strength to keep going? But what choice do we have but to fight for Stitch? Do we turn our backs on him because it’s too hard?

I remember hearing President Obama say in the midst of his own struggles, “Power concedes nothing without a fight.” So true. No true change has ever come about because all of a sudden one day someone said Hey, this isn’t fair and then wham-o, the scales of justice were balanced. Women who fought for the right to vote were imprisoned and starved, civil right activists were beaten and sprayed with hoses, and don’t even get me started on Prop 8 (and wow…suddenly this idea of fighting is becoming very unappealing). But if we just stay silent, or back down when there is injustice, then what do we stand for?
my "writing partners" in my "office".
We are really taking a leap with this appeal, hoping the net will appear. For now, I will walk through each day as it comes. My writing partners and I will continue working on the case, and promise to keep you updated.

I hope and pray we are doing the right thing.

Oh Gray feather, how you taunt me.


  1. Comment on Commitment? You are a beautiful example of commitment for all your friends and family. My heart is yours. Linda

  2. I refuse to believe this is the way this story ends. Just remember, Dumbo didn't really need that feather after all. You are all the white feathers you need.

  3. I had no idea that they decided on the stay. When did that happen and what is happening on Monday. Do you get to appeal the stay appeal? I hope this all works out for you and your family.

  4. amazing piece of writing....and oh, how my heart aches for you and yours. Stitch is one lucky guy to have you on his side. I pray with all my might that justice prevails...hell, we all need to see some of that in living color.

  5. Hollye, your gift of communication -- the heartbreaking honesty of it, the fact that you so freely share yourself and of yourself -- is breathtaking. Of course your feather would be grey (or half-light/half-dark). You have shown us every day how life is exactly that. And yet still we go on. And do what we need to do (dark or light). xoxo love love love B

  6. We all have to be voices for animals. Stitch is one lucky pup! And you DID see A feather so someone is listening and will hopefully give you the strength you and your family need. I am still out here praying and thinking all positive thought for you all. Carol XOX


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