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Letter: Nothing like the gratitude of a rescue animal

In April 2012, I watched a news program about seniors having to give up their dogs due to various inabilities to keep them. Being a dog owner and dog lover, the story of these unfortunate dogs weighed sadly on my mind. I already had a dog, but nonetheless the idea of a dog being confined to life in a pound without a human friend was with me when I went to bed and when I woke up — every day. I made the decision to see what the Beltrami Humane Society had in the way of a dog that I was looking for.

I asked if they had any old dogs that had been given up. Although they had many dogs, they did not have what I was looking for. I then asked if they had any long-term residents they feared would never leave. They had three. The one I settled on was a strange looking 3-year-old Basset hound/German shepherd mix with saliva hanging from his lips, very short legs, the strangest blue eyes and looked like he was made with spare parts. He had been there for nearly a year and a half, a long time to live in a cage. His name is Rodney.

Today, Rodney, after a long wait, has a caring home with us. I have not one regret in rescuing Rodney. Every day he shows me his appreciation for making him a part of our family. If, when I die, they can only find one really good thing I’ve done in my life, it will be rescuing Rodney, and I think Rodney will agree.

The BHS gets no government funding. They have an outstanding staff, trying to provide for unwanted pets the best they can. Their only funding comes from private donations, fundraisers, and grants — and they work hard at it — but they are always short of what they need. I saw for myself how they genuinely care about the poor animals they have had left with them. Next time you want a dog or cat, please think seriously about the BHS. If all Americans would only rescue one pet a lifetime, that would sure make a needy dog or cat happy and you, too -- and take care of a problem we humans are responsible for. I see proof of this gratitude every day from Rodney.

Barry W. Babcock