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Looking From the Outside In

hew! It’s been a hectic time around this house. For the past two weeks I have been host to family and friends from the west coast. Animal lovers all, I have cheerfully encouraged them to come with me on my twice-weekly shifts at the Center. It has been an interesting experience to watch my guests as they observe the daily goings on in a communal multi cat/dog sanctuary. Our first visitor was my adult son whose lifelong love of animals made him (in my mind) a perfect companion for a morning of dog walking and cat socializing. When I extended the invitation to accompany me, I sensed a guarded reluctance on his part.

He did agree to spend the morning with me, and we set off on a mild spring day to see what the critters had in store for us. Dog walking was on the agenda and he chose first to walk Vinnie. That one walk from the Center to Ritt road and back was all it took for him to fall in love. Conversations began about the advisability of adopting this medium sized ball of love and energy and somehow getting him home to San Francisco and the confines of a tiny shared (2 roommates, 2 cats) second floor apartment. The conversation went thus, “Yes, I do know that the apartment is only one block from the beach and Golden Gate Park. Yes, I do know that your roommates (both girls) are animal lovers themselves. No, I don’t think it is a swell idea!” A similar scenario accompanied our second outing, this time with Asia in tow. Same response, except that now my son’s vision included two medium sized bundles of love and energy. “Company for each other while I am at work”, he commented. Alas, it was not to be and he flew back unaccompanied by his new found canine friends to the land of tiny apartments, 20-something high-jinks and, sadly, no pups. Before he left we talked about the Center. He explained his initial reluctance to visit by comparing our situation at WaLHFMF to that of the large urban shelter that was my volunteer home for the last several years. “Such a stressful and sad place,” he said. “I never could make myself hang out with you at the (SF) shelter since I knew the images of dozens of dogs and cats in steel cages would haunt me. All those little paws poking through the bars…” I know the feeling. “However”, he said, “the Center is just the opposite environment…I wanted to take Asia and Vinnie home FOR ME! But leaving them with you guys wasn’t all that hard since it is clear that they are loved and happy.” Enough said! Kudos to Mona and Jenna and everyone who makes sure that our guests enjoy their stay in our very special “spa”.

Days later I repeated the experience with my friend Susan. A true Beagle lover, she was anxious to walk Buddy—and indeed she walked him not once but twice before retiring to pull weeds in the garden. Again, love at first sight. Again, the comment “They all seem so well adjusted and happy. Someone is doing something very right up at the Center! I would encourage everyone to come and see for yourselves just what 37 % ​a cheerful and life affirming place it is!”

On another note…What a garage sale we had last Saturday! Tons of treasures happily acquired by satisfied bargain hunters! Money made for the shelter; many articles of clothing, books, furniture and household goods cheerfully recycled. A great “staff” and fine weather made for an altogether outstanding experience. If Mona and Jenna and the Board are willing, our house and driveway are ready to repeat the event next year. Now, on to the next fund raising event. Come and join in the fun. See you at the Center. CC

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