Puppy Dog Tales | Georgia On My Mind


Ive got a number of things to talk about this week and Im going to begin with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria Annual Dinner.

I was one of the 328 attendees at the October 25th AWLA Annual Dinner, 326 humans, a seeing-eye dog and me, where more than $34,000 was raised to help support the programs of the AWLA. This was a great evening and I am so grateful to Vola Lawson, the staff, board and volunteers at the AWLA. They do what they do out of love and we just cannot thank them enough.

I cant get one of the rescue stories we heard out of my mind. In March of this year a passer-by saw a crate on the side of the road on the George Washington Parkway. Inside was a small cocker spaniel in hideous condition. The cocker had not only been abandoned but would have died if someone had not investigated that crate on the side of the road.

When the cocker arrived at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter it was so matted that it was unable to walk freely and at first no one could tell if it was a he or a she. What they did see was a wagging tale and lots of doggy kisses. A trip to the emergency vet was in order. There it was identified as a she and the matted body was shaved and a good bath removed some of the offensive odor.

A full exam revealed the extent of the ear infection that was causing the cocker so much discomfort. Her eyes were also in bad condition and her vision was limited.

Eventually surgery had to be performed and she lost her hearing. The shelter now had a deaf, nearly blind dog to try to place in a home. My friend Delores Murray, who is the AWLA Manager of Volunteer Services, knew just what to do. She called her friend Inga, an AWLA supporter, and asked if she would foster the cocker, now named Georgia. Adoption soon followed and Georgia is now happy and loved.

This was a happy ending because one person decided to investigate a crate lying on the side of the road. There are many stories every day about abandoned, lost or mistreated animals. If you have room in your life for one more animal family member please consider a rescued animal. Or consider volunteering or a monetary donation. I hear that our new President-elect and his family are planning to adopt a shelter dog.

Fluffy to the Rescue
I keep telling you that we are good medicine and here is a study that proves my point. Researchers at the University of Minnesotas Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center conducted a 10-year study. Subjects with cats were 40 percent less likely to die from a heart attack than their cat-less counterparts. They found that feline companionship may actually combat heart-harming stress and anxiety. A comparable effect has already been shown in studies of dog owners.

From the Humane Society of the United States
A new documentary from the HSUS is now available. This 26-minute documentary entitled Eating Mercifully explores factory farming. I saw the film and I really recommend that you go to www.hsus.org and order the DVD. Many people are concerned about the way animals are treated on factory farms and want others to know how the meat we eat is raised. If you think green pastures and clean, airy housing when you think pigs, cattle and chickens you are really out of touch. This documentary is a wonderful introduction and a real eye-opener. The HSUS also has companion study guides for adults and kids at their All Creatures Great and Small resource page.

Proposition 2 Passes in California
In California, by the year 2015 factory farmers are required to provide enough space for animals to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs. Read this past sentence again and ponder on what that says. It says that many pigs, veal calves and chickens do not have enough room to even stand up or turn around. The new law applies to breeding pigs, egg laying hens and veal calves. Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the HSUS said, California voters have taken a stand for decency and compassion and said that the systemic mistreatment of animals on factory farms cannot continue. All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food.

I leave you with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Keep your tail high and your feet dry.