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Gone to the dogs

Yes, folks, it is absolutely true…I have gone to the dogs. My friends have suspected as much for quite some time, and now I simply must agree. Each Thursday and Friday I drive up the hill to the Center to go to the dogs. The drive itself is part of the pleasure. Living as I do on the river in the Village of Bellaire, I am surrounded by the world of civilized delights: the movie theatre, quaint stores, the charming white church on the hill above my house whose chimes summon the congregation to worship and, occasionally, peal joyfully for a wedding. And, naturally, Moka Café and Starlight Lounge, our very own “local” (a term from my British childhood), our favorite hangout spot.

The morning drive to the Center has become a lesson in transformation. From late summer when I first began volunteering, with its lush undergrowth and late summer flowers; to fall and the astonishing changing of the leaves; the first snowfall; the bitter cold of winter; and now, most thrilling perhaps, the onset of spring. I see deer tracks in abundance, rabbit runs intertwined like lovers, the occasional scurrying red or black squirrel. Once, a majestic eagle, whose flight virtually over the hood of my car took my breath away and forced me to stop on the dirt road to collect myself. Such is my pathway as I go to the dogs. And what lovely dogs await me.

Asia: a year-old Lab and Hound mix—virtually full-grown to a manageable medium size—she was found stray. It is clear, however, that somewhere she was a much-loved companion, since her social skills are well developed. She likes nothing more than to press her speckled nose into my side as if to say “play with me; love me; take me home.” She is a most delightful young dog whose only desire is for a family to cherish her and return her abundant devotion.

Calypso is the most amazing one-year-old I have met. A Saint Bernard/Lab mix of shiny black with a white chest, she is a most unusual dog. Reluctantly surrendered by her former owners whose lives were thrown into turmoil, she could easily pass for a graduate of obedience school. She is gentle, even with strangers, already trained to come, sit and shake, with a soft mouth that gently nibbles the occasional treat. I can see her in a home with young children since her patient demeanor and affectionate devotion would allow for the lavish attentions of youngsters. She would make a fine companion on the walks she so loves.

And then there is Buddy the Beagle! At the still-youthful age of 5, Buddy has an impressive resume. He was “employed” as a companion animal at a local retirement facility where he gained such a devoted following amongst staff and residents that the desire for his company caused disagreements among his admirers. Reluctantly Buddy was laid off and subsequently came to us. Through no fault of his own and due only to his charming personality and affectionate nature, Buddy is seeking permanent employment as a family pet. We can guarantee that as a faithful companion, Buddy will far exceed the job requirements. Do come and see our lovely dogs, and as you drive, enjoy the just emerging bounty of Spring on your trip up the hill to the Center. C

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