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Aside from my supreme enjoyment of working with older adults, one of my other passions is dogs. Shelter pups, specifically. I have had furry family members all my life with a few rare years without a wiggly companion.

There are all sorts of emotions and reasons for this. I am rather fond of dogs, but those in the shelter tug at my heart strings. It is not mere sympathy. You will hear me say this again and again on this blog, but I identify with “other,” the outcasts, the folks on the fringes, the underdogs. It stems from growing up with an invisible disability and all the emotion and physical misunderstandings that come with it. And I’m a sucker for a happy makeover story and mutual love.

I have wanted to work with the a shelter or rescue group for years, but I just didn’t have the heart to see them hurt, abused, or be put down. When I walk into a shelter, I want to take them ALL home with me! It’s anguish. So I’ve donate supplies and money and various organizations. Now, I really want to step up do more.

In fact, just today the library hosted the Pets on Parade at one of our branches. It is on our local community television station. A police officer and animal control officer showcase about ten adoptable animals whom are staying at the facilities. This was a first time partnership with the library. We reached out to them because September is Library Card Sign Up Month and this year’s mascot/theme was Snoopy. Perfect tie in! When you come to the shelter and present your library card you can adopt a new family member at a discounted price! Of course, I begged to attend this event, even though I did not plan it nor was it held at my own library branch.

But what do you know?! Out of all the animals there, the one I was holding was adopted out before animal control left the premises! I could not let the animal control leave without holding one of the pooches. So I asked and the lady nearest to me handed me a small docile brown mutt named Hersey. I petted and cooed at him. Very mellow boy with amber eyes, about 18″ long. I cradled the little fellow and walked around the library with him. A few staff members and patrons came by to pet him. Finally, I went upstairs to return him to animal control when a lady, her daughter and her grand-daughter came in. She wanted to see the dogs. I walked over and turned the pup toward her. “This is Hersey. He’s good for kisses.” She told us her pug passed away not too long ago and she was looking for another. The younger women were fawning over Hersey who was taking the whole thing in stride. She was looking for a small girl dog that was quiet and mellow. She was really digging Hersey, but then caught that it was a boy dog and became a bit bummed. So I told her in all honesty, “Personally, I prefer males. At least I know when they are going to the bathroom. I like the beta-boys.” She’s had girl dogs for the last 25-30 years and has a cat . . . and she just wasn’t sure about going the boy-route. The daughter kept saying “Oh come on mom, this is your dog.” The lady vacillated while continuing to pet Hersey who began to wag his tail. “Well. . . he is kinda pretty.”–“Yes, he is!” I agreed and dumped the dogs into her arms. He nuzzled up into her neck. Another library staff member who was watching the proceedings beckoned for animal care to come over and assist with questions about Hersey’s history. At which point I walked away to tend to another dog. A few minutes later, my co-worker comes up to me crying and hugs me. “She’s going to adopt Hersey!” –I was thrilled!!! I just ‘sold’ a dog! I casually flipped my hair back and joked “I should be in sales.” We laughed.

Then I thought about it on the drive back to my library branch. I was bursting to tell everyone. . . but I think I am on to something. There are other ways I can assist with helping the local animals. In the up-coming weeks I’m going to go back down and see what other ways I could help. This is huge for me. Those faces and slobbery kisses bring me so much joy.

It you are looking for a lifelong companion go to www.petfinder.com. You could save a life of a an animal in need. Or if you want to help out your local animal shelter or rescue there are a million things you could do and they are always in need of volunteers. I’m going to finally put my money where my mouth is and assist in a more direct way. Whose with me?