Smudge and I spent two fun-filled days at the pet expo, a fundraiser for the Luzerne County S.P.C.A. And boy, are we tired! But it was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones. Thank you to the many readers who stopped by to say ‘hi,’ and of course, to meet Smudge. I am so happy to hear that readers have found the information I have presented to be helpful, entertaining, and sometimes soul-wrenching. I got much feedback regarding the column about the loss of my beloved pets since everyone has been there at some point in their lives and could relate to the pain and sorrow of such a loss. My tears flowed throughout the weekend, remembering and missing my beloved Whitney and Ty.
Meet Shorty Rossi
The guest of honor at the pet expo on Sunday was celebrity Shorty Rossi, star of the former reality show Pit Boss, featured on Animal Planet. I got to meet Shorty’s new service dog, Ares. Ares is a very handsome boy, with a beautiful dappled coat and HUGE head. This big boy could be an intimidating presence until you got to meet him and see that he is a big marshmallow. Ares loved everybody, with his constantly wagging tail and HUGE head (did I mention that before?) coming in for a sniff. Shorty spoke about the rescue work that he does and wanting to change the breed discrimination laws, where in some cities a pitbull will be seized and destroyed on sight. Shocking, but a law that is currently enforced.
Shorty talked about his own personal hero — that being the volunteers who devote their time and put much effort into their rescue work without the benefit of a television show. Shorty recognized the value and his appreciation for these committed individuals. Hats off to you all, and your organization, for all of the hard work that you do to benefit animals. And thank you, Shorty, for all that you continue to do as an advocate for pit bulls.
Mureille’s Place: The real deal
And speaking of heroes, my own personal hero was in attendance at the pet expo: Barbara Nullet-Yackel from Mureille’s Place, the senior dog sanctuary. Barbara was in attendance to educate the public about her commitment to saving senior dogs with a multitude of medical conditions and diseases. Barbara is a tireless worker who devotes all of her time and attention to her senior charges. Their lives are in her capable and loving hands. Barbara was showing me the many pictures she has of dogs and cats, past and present. She easily remembered the name and situation of each.
The picture of the turtle caught my eye. Barbara explained that Sam, the turtle,was her very first rescue at age 3, and 43 years later, Sam is happily still alive and kicking.
Thank you, Barbara, who accompanied me on Ty’s final journey. I asked her today how she can deal with the care and loss of senior animals. Her response was that she does not think about how much time each dog or cat will have, but rather how she can make the remaining time that each animal has as good as it can possibly be. She does not focus on what that animal can do for her, but rather what she can do for each animal. Barbara is the real deal. I am proud and humbled to know her.
Not to forget Barbara’s quiet and unassuming loyal volunteer, Bill. Bill has helped Barbara at the sanctuary for approximately five years. I know that Bill is a special man, not only because of his commitment to the sanctuary, but because Smudge told me so. Smudge was smitten with Bill, his tail madly wagging, pulling me in Bill’s direction whenever he came into sight. A dog knows.
I learned that Bill came into rescue later in life, coming from a military family and not having had pets throughout his life. Which perfectly illustrates that you can find a purpose and make significant changes in the lives of others, at whatever age you find that calling. Thank you, Bill. It is a pleasure and honor to know you.
You can learn more about this wonderful organization by visiting www.mureillesplace.org.
W-B Dog Training Club demos
The Wilkes-Barre Dog Training Club presented demos throughout the day with tricks (Cassie and Zep the skateboarding dogs), demonstrating some agility equipment such as tunnel and jumps, and the wonderful display of teamwork while doing freestyle, dancing with your dog. This long-standing club offers training classes throughout the year, its goal to promote well mannered canine citizens through fun and gentle training methods.
Rescue Road Warriors
With Rescue Road Warriors, you can volunteer your time to transport dogs and cats that have been rescued from high kill shelters. Each weekend, an army of volunteer rescue drivers deliver the animals to safety in an organized relay of vehicles from those facilities to various approved rescues, foster families, and forever homes. Volunteers can sign up for a “leg” of the route they would like to drive in their area (usually 1 to 1.5 hours.). For information, contact email@example.com.
Behind the scenes
On Sunday, I ran in behind the scenes to greet my own personal vet, Dr. Mark Stair, who was volunteering his time at the rabies clinic. It was a family affair, with the doctor’s daughter and grandson assisting. I would have easily keeled over, but Dr. Stair did not miss a beat as the dogs continued to file through, with the long, long line wrapping all the way around two outer walls. Holy moly, Dr. Stair, and I am complaining about being tired??!
I saw my long-time friend Karen from Pine Creek Kennels Pet Resort. And a resort it is. Located in the beautiful countryside, if I was able to take a vacation, I would happily spend it at her facility. Reserve me a kennel in June, Karen!
If you were at the pet expo you got to see a multitude of dogs, a few cats, a ferret, parrot, two bunnies, and a snake! Of course I had to pose with the snake. Hey, as a kid I played with worms. Snakes are just a step up.
There were delicious homemade dog treats with vendors from Three Dog Bakery and Dog Mom Cookies. And non-animal vendors such as Electrolux Vacuums (pick up that pet hair) and Children and Youth Foster Parent Program, another very rewarding service in need of volunteers, were also featured.
In the unpredictable and violent world we live in today, it was heartwarming to spend my time this weekend in the company of kind, compassionate, and committed animal-loving people. Bless you all.
Judy Endo writes about pets. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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