Monica Sheppard

Monica Sheppard is a freelance graphic designer, beekeeper, mother and community supporter living in Rome.

Terri Morgan and I are in an epic battle with Braden Keith and Cameron Flaisch, and V3 Magazine started it.

The V3 Taste & Toast event happened a few weeks ago and was enjoyed by many, including the four of us. When V3 posts their photos from the event, they have a tradition of giving free tickets to the people in the photo that gets the most likes. Terri won tickets last year with Monika Wesolowski and Rachel Tanner, so when this year’s photos came out we both shared ours in hopes of gathering likes from our friends. A couple of days later, our chances were looking good with around 50 likes collected. I walked into Swift & Finch and my good friend Cameron greeted me, then immediately said, “My picture with Braden has more likes than yours.” Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather; Terri and I were pretty sure we were in the lead, and I told him so. When I was able to check later in the evening I found that, as suspected, we were way ahead of their measly 20 or so likes. Turns out he was just jerking my chain, and it worked. So, I posted a snarky comment on their photo about how pitiful they were with their little baby votes, which, in turn, tugged on Braden’s chain. He hadn’t been privy to my conversation with Cameron so he was rightly taken aback by fightin’ words from sweet little ol’ me, and the trash talk snowballed from there. Pretty quickly, Braden, Terri, Cameron and I were in a full on battle of words and GIFs, challenging each other over who would win the tickets.

Eventually, V3 suggested that we step this little feud up a notch with a photo shootout at the V3 Studios. Terri and I were happy to oblige, as were Cameron and Braden. Terri and I went into major prop-acquisition, costume-creation and set-design mode, intent on setting up the greatest photo shoot ever. Our banter continued and at one point, Braden suggested that we put our money where our trash-talking mouths were by upping the ante with a $100 donation by the losing team to the winners’ favorite charity. Terri and I had no problem with that; we knew we were going to win.

“While we’re at it,” I realized, “why not give our friends a chance to vote with dollars, too!” And so, we all decided to turn our energies towards raising money for our favorite charities while we duke it out for top photo cred. Why not turn our clash into cash for charity? Terri and I picked Claws for Paws as our recipient, and Braden and Cameron picked Rome Area Council for the Arts. And so it all began.

If you haven’t seen them already, look for our photos on Facebook. They posted on Monday and we are excited to get the ball rolling. I am writing this prior to their release, but I know that Terri and I are already way ahead, because how can you resist puppies? Claws for Paws is an organization I have been involved with for a long time that has the goal of supporting the various animal rescue efforts in our community. Along with raising support for our local homeless pets, Terri and I are hoping to remind folks of the lifetime commitment that results from a Christmas puppy or kitten. We have so many animals in need of a good home in Floyd County and would love nothing more than to see folks running to the Public Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) facility to rescue a new member for their family, but it is important to enter that relationship with a full understanding of the commitment it entails.

My own sweet dog Dasher was rescued by a friend when she saw her abandoned in the median of the Rome Bypass after jumping from the back of a pickup truck. The man pulled over, got the other puppy that had also jumped out, and moved it to the cab of the truck, then drove off, leaving Dasher to fend for herself. It was perfect timing for my daughter’s Christmas wish for a puppy, so we happily welcomed Dasher to our family on Christmas morning. As my daughter has grown and gone off to college, Dasher has become my constant and loyal companion, but that might feel differently had I not loved her as my own, as much as my daughter’s.

I am currently homing an adorable brother and sister pair, Hansel and Gretel, who were left as puppies with their brother in a plastic garbage bag by a dumpster. They are clever and adorable and loving, but the effects of being left to die alone are clear. Terri has also loved a number of rescue dogs over the years, so they are dear to each of us. The sweet puppies in our photo were borrowed from the PAWS facility and in the short time that we had them out, two more adorable pups had shown up in need of shelter. The overwhelming number of homeless animals this facility and our local rescue groups deal with on a daily basis is the direct result of the need for better spay and neuter habits, and people ending up with pets for whom they cannot or do not want to care.

If you are seeking a puppy or kitten as a holiday gift, please consider the “for better or worse” lifelong commitment that involves, and please consider visiting the PAWS facility to “adopt instead of shop” for the perfect match for your family. Oh yeah, and also consider voting for our photo with a like on social media or click on the link to make a contribution to efforts to help all the precious pets in need in our community. Help us turn our silly feud into a fight for good this holiday season.

To contribute to this fundraiser search for Monica Sheppard of Rome, Ga.’s facebook page. Monica Sheppard is a freelance graphic designer, beekeeper, mother and community supporter living in Rome.