The Immeasurable Benefit Of Home Video Surveillance: Must Read!

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BOY!  Do I Have A Story to Share With You!

Sorry I’ve been gone awhile. I got behind on my BareFootPets blog recently because, on May 14, 2019, our home was robbed–in broad daylight–while we were at work. And I got to see it play out on video. It has been the most horrible horrible experience. Needless to say, over the past several weeks, we’ve been in clean-up mode, working with the insurance companies, police, repair people, and trying just to figure out our new normal.

On that day, while I was at work, I got a pop-up notification on my cell phone from the Canary video surveillance app that there was movement in our home. I figured the cameras were just picking up one of my pets moving about the house as usual, so I casually launched the Canary app on my cell phone. And instead I saw video footage of thieves ransacking our house–and I watched helplessly as my little blind senior pets struggled frantically to find safety in the midst of the chaos, but not knowing how to get away from the danger. My heart stopped! It was hands down one of the scariest moments of my life.  And the longest drive home I’ve ever made.

Dual Benefits Of Video Surveillance.

So I originally got the Canary security app and four video cameras just to keep a better watch on our senior pets while we were at work. You know, to see who was using the litterbox and who wasn’t, is everyone finding the food dishes okay, is anyone in distress while we’re away, were they all navigating the house okay in our absence since some of them are blind, etc. It was a huge help–I felt immensely better equipped to care for them and still be at work, able to supervise them by video.

For instance, we discovered that Chelsea the big black cat was picking on little Mikimoto, my blind and fragile senior cat. So, with that new information from the video cameras, we now knew to secure Chelsea in a separate room while we were away at work. Boom–problem solved. Mikimoto no longer lives in fear, and we have harmony in the house again. We are now able to protect Mikimoto by video and give him comfort and freedom from fear even when we’re gone. And Chelsea enjoys her private new “studio apartment” (a/k/a guest bathroom). We will never be without video surveillance again!

Little did we know that the day would come when we’d be watching video of thieves going room by room through our home, stealing everything of value, and trashing everything else. I was also able to watch my poor pets running for their lives, hiding wherever they could, or just going in circles because they’re blind and not knowing what was happening, just that it was something really really bad. Broken glass was flying everywhere, and they were stumbling over things being thrown randomly about. It was a nightmare for them!

New Kids On The Block …

So, here’s a little side story to lead us up to the robbery. I was at the county animal shelter a few days before the robbery, picking up a little 4lb senior Chihuahua. He was elisted and scheduled to be put to death the next morning for being old and feeble. Someone in my rescue network had given me a heads-up email about him, so I went to the shelter to get him. They hadn’t even given him a name, only a number. The folks at the shelter talked me out of pulling him initially. They said he had too many health issues and was just too old to mess with. So I reluctantly left without ever meeting him. But he stayed on my heart as I drove away.

At home that night, instinct made me look again at his profile and something just told me he wasn’t ready to go yet. I needed to step up. Knots formed in my tummy for fear he was going to die before I could get back to him. I quickly emailed the shelter and said I was picking him up the next day after all, and I wanted no argument about it. They agreed to remove him from the elist and keep him safe for me.

The next morning, I hustled back to the shelter and happily claimed him. When I walked into the elist room and saw him for the first time, curled up in a tiny donut bed with his back to me, and he turned his tiny wobbly head with giant rabbit ears and looked up at me soulfully, that was it. You could hear the chorus singing and see the hearts floating all around the room. He completely captured my heart with that one look. I named him Bug. And I scooped Bug gently up into my arms, and told him he was safe, we’re going home.

On our way out, a scruffy little black and white Terrier pup caught my eye, maybe some Doxie mixed in. He didn’t have a name, either, just a number. Listed as a two-year-old stray that no one had come back for. Now, as founder and president of Milagro Senior Pet Refuge, I’ve stayed true to Milagro’s mission statement since the 1980s–I haven’t had a young dog in decades. But this little boy grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. I fought it off and passed on by. But just down the hallway, I turned and headed back for another look. Yep, he was definitely calling my name loud. Still I resisted and decided to walk other aisles for awhile to see if it would pass … it didn’t.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in a lifetime of pet rescue, it’s that oftentimes, most times actually, rescue pets choose us, we don’t choose them. And I’ve learned to listen to that voice inside. I finally recognized that’s what was happening here. And so I turned around and went back and collected the little two-year-old fellow as well. We tried out quite a few names on him over the next couple of months, and finally decided on Kevin (you’ll find out why in the paragraphs below). And Kevin and Bug took their freedom ride home together. It was a most excellent day.


Click on these photos to see Bug’s and Kevin’s Freedom Rides. 🙂

Fast Forward Back To The Robbery.

So, Bug’s and Kevin’s freedom ride happened only a few days before the robbery. The boys were still brand new to my home when all the crazy went down. I don’t know if they even recognized us as their new home and family yet. That is, until I saw the Canary video of the robbery. I have watched it over and over to memorize every unbelievable detail. And what I saw touched my heart and blew my mind.

Kevin, in all his little 9lbs of fuzzy scruffy glory, recognized immediately that these guys did NOT belong in our house.  And he stood up to them. He met them at the back door as they popped the lock and tiptoed in, and he nipped at their heels and barked loud and hard at them. Then he very smartly moved to the safety of the upper back of the living room sofa and barked louder and harder. He gave them royal hell and didn’t let up till they were gone. His body shook with fear and adrenaline, and he barked so hard he couldn’t breathe.

And right behind Kevin was little Bug, bringing up the rear, toodling along behind the robbers in his oversized diaper, backing up Kevin with the barking. I could not be more proud of these little guys. And they were immensely proud of themselves, too, which is even more awesome. They saw there was a job to be done, and they stepped up and saved the day.

The Aftermath.

Ever since the robbery, Kevin is still a bit freaked out. He barks at every little thing, hides up on my bed (it has become his safe place), and dribbles a little pee when he feels really unsure of things (probably he’d prefer I didn’t tell you that). Still, he’s proud to be the man of the house. He is now acutely tuned in to the security app notifications on my cell phone. As soon as they announce, he’s off to the doors and windows like a shot. He is front and center whenever someone comes to the house and lets them know they have to get past him. So far he has chased away the housekeeper, the pest control guy, the police detective, the neighbor’s lawnkeeper, my best friend Donna, and the Amazon prime driver. He has taken on the role of protector and takes the role very seriously, God Bless His Sweet Little Soul. By the way, Kevin is named for Kevin Costner, who was Whitney Houston’s bodyguard in the movie “The Bodyguard.”  Perfect, isn’t it.

And Bug is Kevin’s wing man (pun intended). Bug is a pretty chill little fellow, so he seems to have weathered the robbery like no big thing. Bug is always right behind Kevin, barking and bringing up the rear–way back in the rear. After all, Bug is only 4lbs, 15yrs old, very delicate, has no teeth, falls easily, and wears a diaper (which I have agreed to call a “toolbelt” because he feels that’s more manly), but he’s as fearless as Kevin. And together they are the force that keeps the other senior pets, and our home, safe and sound. They are our Avengers!!

A Very Unexpected Gift of the Video Monitoring.

Being able to watch the details of the robbery, and see with my own eyes that the robbers did not hurt my animals is the one comfort I have gotten out of this awful ordeal. They could have kicked them to the side–they didn’t. They could have picked them up and tossed them–they didn’t. They could have kidnapped them–they didn’t. Had they hurt my animals, even a little, I would have broken out a level of crazy that would have made those robbers’ nightmares seem like happy dreams (that’s actually a post I saw on Instagram awhile back and saved, thinking I might be able to use it someday. oh look–it’s someday).

Yes, the boys are impacted by what happened, and Gabriel, my youngest cat, too. They all still show signs of some stress. We’re working on that, and they’re improving every day. But at least I still have them with me, and they’re going to be okay soon. When we made it home from work that day, our home was surrounded by police SUVs, news vans, forensics team, and helicopters. My home was turned upside down–every room. Everything of value was taken, and everything else was destroyed. But when the dust settled and the chaos subsided, there were Kevin and Bug standing proudly right in the middle of it all, like the legendary Boxer in the clearing (Simon & Garfunkel), letting me know everything was okay–we got this. That was all I needed to know. Thank you, Jesus.


God Bless and Happy Pet Parenting!

With love and good wishes,
jeannie.   ?

About jeannie:  I’ve been pro-actively involved in pet rescue all of my life. I founded Milagro Senior Pet Refuge© (Phoenix) in 1998, and BareFootPets (TM) in 2008. Animal welfare has always been and will always be my heart’s work. If my only legacy is that I save a handful of precious souls that would not survive otherwise, I’m good with that.