1. Tell us about yourself. Where do you live? Interests? Hobbies? Family?
My name is Tina Ann Byers. I was born and currently live in my hometown of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, although I have lived in NYC, Washington DC and Philadelphia at various times in my life. I am a former federal prosecutor, and have been engaged in the private practice of law for the last ten years as a trial attorney specializing in litigation at the state and federal level. I have my B.A. (magna cum laude) from New York University, my J.D. (cum laude) from New York Law School and my LL.M. (with highest honors) in Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution from George Washington University National Law Center.
I am pro bono legal counsel to YTNR and additionally serve as advisory pro bono counsel for numerous other no-kill and rescue organizations across the country. I also negotiate with puppy mills in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee for the voluntary surrender to Rescue of Yorkies who are no longer being used as breeders.
Prior to my career in law, I founded and operated for seven years my own lighting design firm in NYC which specialized in lighting and projection for theatre, television and large-scale rock and roll.
In addition to my love of Yorkies, I enjoy gardening at my 1894 Victorian Queen Anne home, which is known as "Highspire". The history of Highspire and my photographs of "Highspire Gardens" can be found at http://www.highspiregardens.com/
It took me 1 ˝ years to build the website from scratch -- including writing the copy and creating the photography and videos. Each Spring, Highspire is a featured stop on the local Garden Tour. Highspire also hosts visitors at our "Open Garden Days" series which is held on select Sunday afternoons from Mother's Day weekend to the end of June each year.
My twin brother, Todd, is an athletic event coordinator and a barefoot marathon runner who plans to run his 300th marathon in January 2013.
2. How did you become interested in Yorkies?
I met my first Yorkie, "Chancery Collette Byers" (or "C.C." to her friends) in early 1995 when I lived in NYC. C.C. was "the doggie in the window". All of her littermates were crowded up against the neighborhood pet shop window begging for attention, but 12 week old C.C. was sitting elegantly in the back of the display -- completely upstaging every other dog. I did not know the facts about pet stores or puppy mills at that time, but I did know that my heart was now hers - so C.C. came home with me that day and stayed for the next 13 ˝ years as my beloved friend and companion.
3. How and when did you get involved in Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue?
In November 2005, I found the YTNR website through Google. It was the first time I heard of "Yorkie Rescue"! It never occurred to me that these little gems could ever be abused or abandoned or unloved. I was looking for a companion for "C.C." as she was entering her senior years. I saw "Brandie's" photo on the YTNR website - and it was Love! Brandie was a YTNR senior special needs Yorkie with congestive heart failure. I spent the next two hours nervously filling out my application for Brandie and practically hyperventilated when I pressed "Send". It was thrilling when Stephanie Luken (Brandie's Foster Mom) agreed to bring Brandie for a home visit - and Brandie's adoption to me was Approved!! I loved Brandie deeply for her remaining ten months of life - and knew from that moment on that senior special needs Yorkies are terrific!
4. Tell us about your Yorkies. What are their ages, names, hobbies?
I adopt mostly senior special needs (age 16 and up) and end-of-life Yorkies. However since the recent passing of my 17 year old, "Sadie", all of my current "Yorkies of Highspire" are relatively young. I always keep my eyes open for "Super Special Seniors" who need a new home and lots of Love!
Today, I have seven Yorkies at Highspire. In 2007, "Tashia" moved into Highspire. She was a member of the first group of surrendered Yorkies that I negotiated away from an Arkansas puppy mill. There were 13 Yorkies in that group, and I fell in love with Tashia at first sight! Tashia is shy and enjoys quiet naps. She is prone to multiple hernias from repeated backyard c-section deliveries during her first 4 years of life when she was a puppy mill momma. She is 9 years old and 10 pounds.
"Liah" is a 4 year old, 2.3 pound Rescue Biewer Yorkshire terrier who has lived at Highspire since 2009. She attended both the Yorkie Ball in Nashville in 2011 and the Rochester gathering earlier this year. Liah is the "nursemaid" of my group and grooms my Yorkies who are no longer able to take care of themselves. She likes to sit on my shoulders while I clean the house. Liah enjoys visiting nursing homes and cuddles for hours in bed beside the residents.
"Lucy" is a 4 year old Rescue multiple-special needs Yorkshire terrier who uses a wheelchair. Lucy is 2.2 pounds of spunk and fun and is the darling of every children's center we have ever visited! Lucy moved to Highspire in 2010 and attended the 2011 Yorkie Ball and the Rochester gathering. She has multiple birth defects, but today none of them slow her down one bit! Lucy wears a cervical collar to support her neck and does regular hydrotherapy, physical therapy and acupuncture to keep her body limber and strong. Lucy is the "alpha" dog at Highspire and serves as "official greeter" at my law office. She has her own local fan club members who stop by regularly to visit with her. Every client arrival at my office is announced by Lucy in her surprisingly rich (and loud) mezzo-soprano voice.
"Maxwell" is a 3 year old, 5 pound Rescue Morkie (Yorkshire / Maltese mix) who hails from Tennessee. He came from a neglect situation, so Maxwell moved to Highspire in 2012 to share the Love he has saved up for so long. He is a "sneaky kisser" and likes to steal shoes. Maxwell has a light-golden, medium-curly coat that feels like sheep's wool! Maxwell's turn-ons are belly rubs, being adored by his Public and long walks in the Park. His turn-offs are mean people, cold winters and being chained to a tree.
"Bayleigh" is a 1 ˝ year old, 5 pound Rescue retired Biewer Yorkshire terrier Puppy Mill momma from Alabama. Bayleigh was bred too young and was not able to properly care for her puppies. She is prone to seizures when she feels stressed. Bayleigh was surrendered to Rescue in 2012 and today enjoys sleeping upside down in front of the heater at Highspire and inspecting bugs in the garden.
"Gypsie" - (foster) is a 5 year old, 5 pound Rescue Chorkie (Yorkie / Chihuahua mix) owner-surrender from West Virginia. Gypsie was surrendered to Rescue in 2012 when her family lost their home and was living in a car. She has an all-Yorkie build and features (including amazing ears!) and black coat with silver highlights. Gypsie loves cats and follows me everywhere making friends with my inside and outside kitties. Her favorite place to sleep is in my bed with her long elegant nose shoved in my ear. Gypsie is recovering her good health with a nutritious diet and looks forward to having a small mammary tumor removed during her spay next month.
"Rooney" - (foster) is a 2 year old, 4.5 pound Rescue retired Biewer Yorkshire terrier Puppy Mill father from Alabama. Now in 2012, he is free and is getting used to the Good Life in a real home. He loves to cuddle and melts like butter in my lap. Rooney enjoys sleeping in the laundry basket, wearing doggie sweaters and watching QVC.
5. What do you love about Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue?
YTNR is special in the membership's genuine love and promotion of the Yorkshire Terrier breed. The geographic diversity of its members allows it to spread the message of Rescue nationwide. Last, YTNR has built a warm and welcoming environment among its members for the exchange of information and advice to make our Yorkies' lives as wonderful as they can possibly be.
6. What else would you like us to know?
There is Love in the heart of every Yorkie - no matter their age or state of health. Give a Super Special Senior Yorkie a chance to change your life forever.
My work with Rescue is in Loving Memory of my Yorkies who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge since 2006: Brandie, Victor, Teensy, Toto, Arnold, Chancery Collette ("C.C." - my 1st Yorkie), Dudley, Skooter, Roody, Daisey Mae, Gizmoe, Miss Paras, Gabby, Dylan, Muffin, Gillespie, Eddy, J.J., Zeke, Mikey and Sadie