The Zipper — Zipped Us AWAY
Putting this in writing is important to me and I hope it helps me understand why some people are the way they are and why I am the way I am. I have always been loved. Throughout my childhood, I knew my family loved me, my school friends, the people I went to church with and everyone I knew, loved me. I have always known.
Cheryl was abandoned by her Father and her Mother didn’t pay much attention to her. She fell off “The Zipper” when she was in high school and spend a year in a body cast. She never say the money from the law suit and had to finish high school on her own.
She was abducted, raped, shot several times, and left for dead in a swamp. She was saved and got married, had two daughters, left her abusive husband and got her nursing degree. She fell in love with a doctor and they married and moved to Albany, GA.
In Albany she started volunteering with Paws Patrol Pet Partners which was founded by Marty Harris. Marty is the best friend that I have ever had and after a battle with lung cancer, she died. Marty, Cheryl, and I and many other people volunteered with Paws Patrol and Marty wanted Cheryl to be the team leader.
Cheryl was a great choice and everyone agreed that she would go a good job and continue Marty’s legacy. Cheryl picked the following Pet Partners to help her when she needed it and we would all meet to discuss things — Linda, Judy, Paula, Virginia, Jim, and me. At one of the meetings, she did make a comment that I was only part of the group because I was tenured.
Marty and I had completed many workshops and after she died, Jim and I did the workshops. Then Cheryl was certified to be an instructor and decided that the group only needed two instructors and asked me not to help with the workshops. I was really pissed because I have always enjoyed doing the workshops and I always make sure that everything is covered that needs to be taught to the new Pet Partners.
Virginia, Cheryl, and I are all evaluators and after new people complete the workshop, they are required to pass a 22 -part evaluation with their dog or cat. Marty and I had done lots of evaluations and Virginia, Cheryl, and I completed many as well. I never missed an evaluation that I was supposed to participate in and Cheryl and I did many together without Virginia.
I have always used a dog for my Pet Partner that was not my dog. I used Marty’s dogs, Happy Jack, Poppy, and Pat’s dog, Charlie. I use Rich’s dog, and Cheryl’s two dogs, Maxine and Spike.
Virginia and Judy went to a Sertoma Club with their dogs and didn’t go through Cheryl which made Cheryl very upset. Virginia called me one night right after the visit and Cheryl was sending her nasty text messages. Virginia was so upset that I went over to her house. It was almost midnight. Before this happened, Cheryl had accidentally sent a text to me that was intended for her husband. It was at that point, after reading her message to her husband that I lost all respect for Cheryl. I couldn’t believe some of the things she said to him. He was the ugliest message I had ever read from anyone until I got to Virginia’s house and read the messages that Cheryl had sent to her. Why in the world would Cheryl say things like that to anyone.
We all knew that she would sometimes drink a few too many glasses of wine but that still doesn’t make it okay to treat people the way she does. She even chewed Jim out because he had taken Campbell to Lowe’s with the Pet Partners vest on. Jim simply told Cheryl that what he does on his own time is his business. Campbell is now retired and Cheryl has not approved of Jim using his younger dog, Caulin at some of our visits. Jim knows that Cheryl doesn’t like Caulin.
Oh, the wicked ways she weaves. Why? Is it because of her childhood and everything that she has been through? Most people that know Cheryl don’t know this side of Cheryl. If they did, she wouldn’t have any friends. So — now I am going to share the ugly part that deals with me by copying and pasting the messages that she sent to me and the emails from other people about the way she acts.
Read on….On Saturday per Cheryl’s request, we had a group meeting to go over changes to the evaluation process and then we would conduct 3 or 4 evaluations that afternoon. We had finished the meeting and we all waiting for the first evaluation and I mentioned that I wanted to bring up a couple of things. One was that I thought Pet Partners did not allow our teams to participate in parades. This is when Cheryl decided that I was lying just to make her look bad. Anyway, I got so upset that I left and I told Judy and Virginia I’d be back because I had to do the evaluations. I got in my car and rode around and stopped and prayed and prayed and prayed. Lord, please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage the change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. After about ten minutes I went back and the first evaluation had already started.
This is the message I sent Laura and I got a call from Virginia about what happened.
Virginia Gray called me today to see if I was okay. She said that after I left the meeting on Saturday, Cheryl talked to the group about the way she feels that I try to discredit her. I know you would kind of caught up in all of this without knowing any of the history. So — here goes a little bit that I would like to share.
Before Marty Harris died she asked Cheryl to take over the leadership of Paws Patrol and Cheryl graciously accepted. She picked the following people to help her when needed: Linda, Judy, Paula, Jim, Virginia, and me. We get together several times a year to discuss things and at one of these meetings at her home, she made the comment that I was only there because I was tenured. Virginia was not at this particular meeting because she had had an incident with Cheryl about a week before and Virginia was still getting over the hurt.
Virginia had a friend that asked her to participate in a Sertoma meeting at the last minute because of a cancellation. Virginia accepted and asked Judy to go with her and they did a short presentation fro the Sertoma Club on Paws Patrol, a community partner of Pet Partners. Cheryl was furious because Virginia didn’t let her know about it. Virginia called me at 11:30 pm crying and I went over to her house. Cheryl was sending one hateful message after another as we sat at Virginia’s kitchen table and I tried to comfort Virginia.
Virginia told me today that Cheryl had also jumped on Judy about her going to the Sertoma meeting with Virginia and Cheryl found out that Jim McCleary took Campbell to Lowe’s with his Pet Partner vest on and Cheryl chewed him out about it and Jim told her that what he does on his own time is his business.
Eventually everything worked out and things settled down again and about a month later I received a message from Cheryl that was intended to go to her husband, Mark. I messaged Cheryl back that I was not the person she wanted to send it to and she asked me how to forward it to Mark because she didn’t want to type it again. I told her that she probably didn’t want Mark to read it and that she should think about. I don’t know if she sent it or not but it was so very mean and hateful that I couldn’t believe anyone would want to read those words. I have never shown them to anyone else. When Cheryl starts having a glass or two of wine at night her way of taking things out of people becomes a character flaw and the following is the message she sent me on Sunday night the day after the meeting and evaluations at Easter Seals. I have not told anyone about this except Virginia when she called this afternoon.
- 8/28, 10:23pm
- Every time we have an update/intervention etc. You manage to try and sabotage me with the in aware/uninformed! You want to attack me? Well no more are you welcome to visit with my precious animals.
- You have broken my cycle of trust,
- Unaware, and the un informed
- You meditate my distructio
- I do not need friends like you
- Friday. Prior to our meeting, you posted so many things about the past with Marty! I am not Marty, but I have kept my promise!!
- I have not, and I will not let Paws Patrol die!
- Inspite if your demise
- Or selfish ventures
- My dogs at not available to you any longer !
- Betty Hester
- Cheryl, Thanks for letting me know how you feel. I didn’t mention the parade policy to make you feel bad and you could have just said we can check it out and get back to everyone. You didn’t have to make me feel like I didn’t know what I was talking about. I did not make it up and I have never tried to attack you and I never will. What I posted on Facebook about Marty’s funeral was because it was national dog day and it showed all the Paws Patrol dogs and the other post was a picture of Marty and Lucy and me. It had nothing to do with Paws Patrol. I have not selfish ventures that I am invested in nor ever have. I am a loving and giving person and all I want is to do evaluations and make visits. I can understand if you don’t want me to use your dogs and I will try to be evaluated with someone else’s dog is possible. If not, I will not be able to visit. I hope you didn’t mean the things you said in this message. Paws Patrol is not going to die with or without me. I do believe we can all work together. I came back to do Mark’s evaluation and I was fine after that. You did shake me up quite frankly and I had to go pray and think about what you said and calm down. But, I came back because I was responsible for doing the evaluations. I am so sorry and I apologize if I did anything to make you mad or hurt your feelings. You asked me if you hurt my feelings when we talked about me not being an instructor, and I told you no that you didn’t hurt my feelings. You did make me mad because I figured you thought I was not a good instructor. I am fine without having my instructor certification. I don’t think we need more than two. I would like to continue doing evaluations and helping with other stuff as needed. I would like to discuss any problems you have with me. I will be glad to come over and sit down with you or meet you somewhere any time you are available. I hope you will read this and know that I did not mean to do anything on Saturday or any other time that would make you or anyone else feel that I can not be trusted. I will pray that God will give me the strength to do and say the right thing. Thank you, Cheryl for letting me know how you feel about me and I hope we can talk about it.
- You are a good and caring person Betty. Why did you even bring up a parade, if not to derail me? I have never even participated in one, but Paula and Jim have Marty’s request. That is something I mentioned in my Newsletter just merely a thought. I did not intend my response to you as an attack on you, so why is that some ca not understand my frustration that I feel continually challenged by you.
- I feel very used and sorely kicked.
- Maybe I will just take a few weeks off and pray about it.
I did receive one more message from Cheryl that said:
I also did not intend to hurt your feelings. I hope you realize that I am really not so childish as to keep my dogs from you.
Chat Conversation End
Virginia said that she will be glad to let me be evaluated with her King Charles Spaniel, Remi but I have decided to continue to use Cheryl’s two dogs, Spike and Maxine until I can be evaluated with Remi.
As far as the parade goes, I posted a message on the Paws Patrol Face book page from Pet Partners which you read. Carol Ouhl came to Albany to do our Practicum several years ago and she and I had discussed parades and you can read her response below. As far as I am concerned, Cheryl is not going to push me out because I love volunteering with Pet Partners. I will continue to go on visits with Cheryl as long as she allows me to use her dogs and when Remi is ready, I will go visit with Remi. I have never even thought about trying to discredit Cheryl. I have no reason to do so. Cheryl is a good and kind person when she hasn’t had too much wine. I know that about her and I also know that some of the Paws Patrol Pet Partners that have been volunteering the longest feel that she is trying to get all of us to leave.
This is a long email and I wanted to send it to you in order for you to know what’s going on with our group. We will continue to grow and serve our communities to the best of our ability.
I sent an email to Pet Partners asking about the policy on Pet Partners being in a parade. This is the response I received. I thought that I had read something about our dogs not being allowed to walk or ride in a parade because it is not part of the mission of Pet Partners.
FROM PET PARTNERS:
Hi Betty, and thanks for contacting us!
I don’t believe we have a specific policy concerning parades at this time. We do understand that occasionally our teams wish to represent Pet Partners in the greater community. If a handler feels that they will be able to consistently advocate for the safety and well-being of their animal during the event, and abide by all Policies and Procedures (limiting time at the event to two hours total, never releasing the leash, not wearing costumes, etc.), Pet Partners teams may participate in such events.
Betty — hope you and the group are doing well. You are right on initial policy on parades. A LOT has changed and continues to change at PP with new staff, new leadership, etc. Always good to ask them. Delighted to hear we can do parades.
Laura Aug 31
Thank you very much for sharing this with me Betty. I tried very hard to talk to Cheryl about her behavior after you walked out, but didn’t feel she was listening to me at all. It was very obvious to me, as an outsider to the group, that there was some history there. I talked to Jim a little bit, and I would really like to try and work with Cheryl to help her realize her leadership potential. That is something that I do with my 12 sites across the country, and I am hopeful that I can help her. But she has got to be willing to listen and do her part. I do not tolerate childish, selfish behavior in anyone. Although I am new to Paws Patrol, I am not new to Pet Partners, and I will protect the brand and image of pet therapy to the public and within the group. I appreciate you trusting me with this information.
Date: September 3, 2016 at 8:57:39 AM EDT
Subject: Paws Patrol
I am so sorry that you feel such opposition to my leadership. You have made it quite clear to me that you do not support the activities and fundraisers which I promote for our group. You frequently are unavailable for our required evaluations and when you are there you seem to have a chip on your shoulder. This is volunteer work and it needs to be enjoyable for all involved. It is vital and only fair to the teams being evaluated that we are cohesive and have a team attitude; therefore going forward from here I will not participate with you in any evaluations. I find the whole event much too stressful on everyone involved. I hope you understand.
I am so sorry that I have hurt your feelings concerning your ability to Instruct our Workshops. I never meant to for you to take it personally, I am simply trying to focus on everyones strengths. I feel very challenged by you whenever we do evaluations. Betty you challenged me three times right in front of everyone, right after I had asked our assistants to please use discretion when pointing out something of concern. I did become frustrated with you and felt the need to defend myself. This is volunteer work and it should be enjoyable for all involved, including me. It is vital and only fair to our group and the teams being evaluated that we are cohesive and have a team attitude; therefore I am no longer going to participate in evaluations or workshops with you or Virginia. These events have been much too stressful on everyone involved and not in the group’s best interest.
I hope you understand.
I got this email from Cheryl at 1:13 pm. You are not alone. We both have to suffer Cheryl’s wrath, child like behavior, and her thinking that we are out to get her in some way. I’m pretty sure she hasn’t had too much wine when she sent you and me these emails.
I have talked to Laura and we have decided it is not worth putting up with this. I am not going to use Cheryl’s dogs and will probably not be evaluated with Remi. I would love to visit with your sweet little dog, but I can’t put myself through anymore of this mess with Cheryl. She is the one with problems not you or me.
Most of my visits have always been with Cheryl. I take these attacks from Cheryl very personally and I am through with her and Paws Patrol.
I can’t handle it anymore.
After much thought over conversations we’ve had, I’ve come to the conclusion that my participation in Paws Patrol is over. Paws Patrol needs a good leader and if you feel challenged, used, or sorely kicked by me, it’s time for me to go. Marty had faith that you would be the leader Paws Patrol needed and I in no way want to keep you from her vision. With a little work on your communication skills, I’m sure you are that leader Marty envisioned. You are dedicated, smart, and compassionate for the human-animal bond that Paws Patrol stands for and many people see and appreciate the hard work and effort you put into Paws Patrol. It saddens me to leave.
Best wishes for the future of Paws Patrol.
The following email from Cheryl was sent to Virginia and me on 9/5 and she obviously thought it was going to everyone in the group.
On Monday, September 5, 2016 6:49 PM, Cheryl wrote:
I am just as surprised and saddened as anyone, about Virginia and Betty’s decision to leave the group. I understand that the two of them have not always agreed with my leadership decisions and opinions. I have made every effort to make our evaluations go smoothly, but I find doing evaluations with the two them quite stressful. I told them that I would no longer do evaluations with them, but I did not tell them that they could not do them, or that they should leave the group. This is their choice, not mine. I find working with the two of them in this capacity is robbing me of my joy in carrying out our mission. They will be missed.
Thank you for all you and your furry friends do for our communities in the name of Paws Patrol.
This is the email from Cheryl that was sent to the entire group on the day after Virginia and I got the email above.
I am as surprised and disappointed as anyone to receive the news that Betty and Virginia have decided to leave our group. It saddens me that they have also chosen to pull our potential newbies into this conversation. I find doing our evaluations with either of them is stressful and this is not fair to the teams being evaluated, to our volunteers assisting, or to myself. I simply told them that I do not intend to do evaluations with either of them anymore for these reasons. I did not tell them that they could not continue to do evaluations or that they had to leave the group, this is their choice.
Thank you for all you and your fur babies do for Paws Patrol and our communities.
Sep 6 (13 days ago)
to Virginia, me
Dear Virginia and Betty,
I am very upset that Cheryl has run you both away from something you obviously care about very much. I have thought about this all weekend long, and I just don’t know how to deal with the situation. I was so excited about getting on board with Paws Patrol, but very quickly became worried about the future of the group. The problem is certainly not the two of you, and your leaving will not fix anything. I have already had my own personal issues with Cheryl, and with a high stress full-time job, I don’t have time for her childish drama. As a new member, I don’t know the rest of the group members well enough to know if there’s anyone who could step in and take over the group. If there is, please have them make that known. Paws Patrol will continue to lose members if nothing changes. Her email expressing disappointment in you both resigning is dishonest and cruel. Those are 2 traits that I can not abide. I know she has sent you mean and hateful messages, and I think you should both send those messages out to the entire group so they will know the truth. She is putting herself out there as the victim in all of this, and that is just a bald faced lie.
I’m very sorry to lose you both. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.
Betty & Virginia,
I am sorry that you have chosen to quit the group. I offered leadership to all involved and everyone of you declined. I do 90% of the work, worry and grunt work, I have a right to protect myself from undo stress and constant challenges. I have been told that no one wants to hear how hard I work anymore and that everyone is tired of hearing it, but it is my way of trying to explain just where I get off making the decisions that I do make. This has been so hard on me and it is very stressful on my personal life, I would have expected more support from you. No one wants the job, but you constantly judge and want to tell me how to do it. When I have asked for your assistance with tasks, it always comes back to me. I have felt great resentment and challenge from both of you from the beginning that Marty asked me to be Team Leader instead of you, and that is poison for the group. No one even wanted to except the fact that I was asked to be Team Leader. I am only guilty of being too nice and trying my very best to appease all, but this assignment that we were left with was doomed from the beginning. I do not wish anyone that is following the Pet Partners rules to leave this group. We will soon have tripled in size and are very active in several communities. I ask where in the world have I failed? I am very saddened that you do not see the extraordinary challenge from my perspective. This is a difficult time for all of us, but how is this helping the group or Marty’s legacy? My friends and family think I should have already just walked away and let y’all deal with it. I just wonder how that would have turned out? I remember when signing up to visit and letting Marty deal with everything was so much easier and so much more enjoyable compared to all of this ugly stuff, and yet you just quit and walk away???? My ethics and integrity will not allow me to walk away from the promise made to Marty. I am truly just shaking my head!!!!