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From the Editor, Spring 2015

Commitment.

It’s the unwritten pact you make with your pet the moment you agree to be a pet parent. It means “I’ll feed you. I’ll shelter you. I’ll keep you safe. I’ll play with you. I’ll take you to the vet when you’re sick. I’ll make the hard choices to prevent you from suffering. I’ll give you a good life.” It’s the sickness-and-health, better-or-worse part of pet ownership.

It’s what Jenna Macken promised to her Italian Greyhound, Jackson, the day she brought him home. And, as part of his promise to her, Jackson saw Jenna through long days of school, hard days of work and even the birth of her child. He was her best friend and as much a family member as any dog could be.

If you lived in or visited Rochester in December and January, you probably saw the signs. Bright, neon announcements that a “Mini Greyhound” was missing. The day after Jenna boarded a plane to Florida for a family vacation, Jackson, 6, escaped from his boarding facility.

But something amazing happened as Jenna searched. A social media campaign ensued. Teams of people, strangers to the Macken family, set out on foot daily, to search and post signs. A Twin Cities group, The Retrievers, became involved and organized maps, food stations, cameras and volunteers. In restaurants, shops and workplaces around the city, people would ask if “that lost dog” had been found yet. The energy behind the search for Jackson was palpable. In fact, it resulted in the reunion of several other lost dogs and their owners. Jenna’s commitment became a community cry.

Nobody was more distraught than Jenna the day Jackson was found, by a nice woman, beneath her patio. For 45 days, Jenna had fielded phone calls at all hours of the day and night. She had raced out to locations where he had been sighted. She had spent hours in the cold, waiting, watching, hoping. Within hours, there were 1,200 condolences on the Find Jackson page on Facebook. Jackson had united a community and had broken our hearts with his story.

In the end, though Jenna wasn’t able to save him, she was able to keep her promise: To never give up the search. To bring him home.

It’s all we can give our pets: a commitment.

This issue of the Wagazine has abundant evidence that we are committed our pets: an entire roller derby team is involved in animal welfare and rescue; a 70-year-old adopter finds therapy in her puppy-mill pooch; adults and young handlers travel across the country to participate in canine sporting events or dog camps; a cat mom cooks a shrimp feast to delight her normally-glum kitty; and one local rescue is raising money to travel to a South Dakota reservation to help slow the animal overpopulation there.

We are a community committed to our own pets, the animals we don’t know yet, and the animals we never knew.

Thank you for sharing your love of animals with the Wagazine!