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Barks from Sparks, Winter 2017-2018

dog listening with big ear



Sometimes they are our own, and we fill our shopping cart with extra toys and treats. We rearrange schedules, share our pillows, take the walk even when we don’t have the energy, leave the party a little early (or skip it altogether) to be home with our beloved pet.

Sometimes they are are not ours. We pick up a dog or cat running loose in the neighborhood. We foster when our homes seem full already. We donate to the local rescues.

Maybe it’s easy because we know animals rely on us for health and safety. And we treat them as family members.

It was easy, then, for me to say yes to a family who called our rescue in September after the owner of three dogs had died suddenly, leaving his Springer Spaniels without a home. I drove three hours to get them, released them from their chains, and drove them to foster homes. Then the difficult news that two of them tested positive for heartworm disease. The treatment would be long, expensive, painful, dangerous. One of them, Saiko, would stay with us for the duration.

Two weeks later, Brandy arrived. A pregnant mama, just days away from delivery. Last time she had pups, the entire litter died. We set up the guest room with a whelping box. On the hottest autumn day of the year, through seven hours of labor, she delivered five healthy pups. Our in-home dog count increased to 11. Eight weeks of puppy care and socialization.

When it was Mama Brandy’s turn for care, a vet visit revealed bad news: congestive heart failure. A reflection back to that long day of labor haunts me; her body could have given out. I am so glad we said yes to her and her pups.

I love the way Kate Herness said yes to her Chocolate Lab, Berit, after the dog suffered a stroke. She employed acupuncture and chiropractic to help Berit enjoy the last year of her life, and she extended Berit’s life in the right way, for the right reasons. See p. 14.

Bonnie Prestagard said yes to her miniature horse, Billy the Kid, in the most unexpected way, and the ripple effect of that decision is bringing smiles to residents at care facilities around the region. See p. 16.

The women who run the Healing Haven in Zimmerman, Minn. have said yes to homeless animals in a tremendous way. Their spacious property can house dogs and cats with immediate medical and behavioral needs who flounder in the shelter but aren’t ready for foster homes. Read about this lifesaving effort on p. 22.

And the professionals who have made animal care their life’s work deserve to be recognized. The Wagazine is looking forward to awarding the Golden Paws Award to 12 businesses with your help. See. p. 7 and vote!

I maintain that we say yes to animals because we can’t stomach the thought of what might happen if we say no. These creatures who love us unconditionally didn’t ask to be pregnant or ill or left at the shelter. When we encounter an animal in need, we do the human thing: we compassionately say yes.

If you’re a fan of the Wagazine, you probably say yes to animals daily. And so, we’re all in this animal devotion-fest together. Let’s keep the party going!