This past weekend was a very special event. Shelters and rescue groups from throughout the Tri-State joined forces to find forever homes for over 1800 dogs, cats, rabbits and even rodents. Bringing an animal into your home is such a wonderful gift and even more so when you are offering your heart to another living being who has somehow been let down by life in its past.
It is one thing to adopt an adorable puppy still so filled with rambunctious happiness, but so often the adult dogs who just aren’t as cute are the ones who face the most uncertain future. And for the ones who, by no fault of their own, have the most baggage by humans who failed them…well, they will be lucky if they find themselves with a kind foster parent or in a caring no-kill shelter.
Livy Lou Was One Of The Lucky Ones
A little terrier mix with a long white beard, bushy eyebrows and ears that flop over, Olivia (better known as Livy Lou) was 15 pounds of sheer terror when the Strubbes came by the shelter where Livy Lou had been spending her days. She was caged with large dogs – many at least double her weight – who didn’t understand the magnitude of their size or the concept of leaving a frightened animal alone. There really wasn’t enough space for that distance anyway.
The year was 2004. Sharon and David Strubbe had just become empty nesters and their house was getting awfully lonely without their long companion, a beautiful Samoyed who died just weeks earlier.
So, the couple visited the SCPA. “I didn’t want another big dog,” Sharon said…each time they left. They went back three times and each time she walked out crying because she didn’t see what she wanted but she hated leaving behind so many dogs that each had a need for love.
Their fourth attempt to find a new friend was at the League For Animal Welfare. “Is this one still here?,” Sharon asked of the dog in the picture. “Well, you had better meet her,” was the staff person’s response.
It turns out Livy Lu was all set to be adopted the week earlier. That is until she snapped and bit the woman’s ankle as she was paying the fee.
But that didn’t bother Sharon. If anything, it made her more determined. Sharon was going to win over Livy Lu’s heart and she wasn’t going to leave until she did it. After thirty minutes, Livy Lu still wouldn’t come close. She only barked and growled.
The rest of the story is what tells me what a huge heart Sharon and David have and makes me so grateful to know there are people in this world just like them.
A Heart Opened
They were brought into an enclosed room – Sharon, David and a little ferocious beast who took guard of the corner. Time went by. Finally Livy Lu took a step forward, wagged her tail, and returned to the only place in that space that seemed safe at the time. “I just had to have her,” Sharon said. “I wasn’t going to give up.”
And neither was Livy Lu. Sharon and David patiently kept their distance, allowing this dog who until then had no reason to trust anyone, to somehow find the strength to have courage enough to try. That’s when magic happened. Livy Lu took a leap and landed on Sharon’s lap.
“She’s coming home with us,” Sharon told her husband.
They have been together ever since. Livy Lu is about 15 years old now and is deaf. Lucky for her, the most important language of life – the language of love, needs no words.
Last August, I wrote a blog post about a local photographer who specializes in capturing the personalities of pets. For Carolyn Evans though, her work goes so much deeper than her talent. She devotes so much time and energy into finding permanent, loving homes for animals who are without much hope.
If you know me, you know I have a special heart for what she does.
And so, I’m eager to help get word out about a huge event coming up next weekend that Carolyn is organizing with help from a friend, Kathy Parsanko, and a crew of other committed volunteers.
With Carolyn at the helm, for the first time EVER, shelters and rescue groups from our entire Tri-State region are pulling together with one unified mission: to educate the public that adoptable animals from shelters and rescue groups are one of the best sources for finding a new family pet -‐-‐ and to achieve the highest number of homeless pets ever adopted in Cincinnati in one day.
My Furry Valentine, the Tri-‐State’s largest Pet Adopton Event, will be held Saturday, February 11, from 11 am to 6 pm. with the main event being held at flexi USA, Inc. Headquarters. (8494 Firebird Drive
West Chester, OH 45014) There are other participating locations – for a list, please visit www.myfurryvalentine.com
Over 1,600 adoptable animals will be looking for their permanent home. Could you be one?
Participating Shelters and Rescue Groups
ABC’s of Bullies, Adams County Dog Pound, Adore-‐A-‐Bull Rescue, All Dogs Come From Heaven, Animal Adoption Foundation (AAF), Animal Friends Humane Society, Animal Rescue Fund, Bluegrass Boxer Rescue, Boone County Animal Shelter, Brown County Animal Shelter, Campbell County Animal Shelter, Cincinnati Lab Rescue, Circle Tail, Coalition to Ban Dog Auctions, Clermont County Humane Society, Franklin County Humane Society, Friends of Noah, Grant County Animal Shelter, Golden Retriever Rescue & Adoption of Needy Dogs (GRRAND), Greyhound Adoption of Greater Cincinnati, Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART), Homeward Bound Greyhound Association, Humane Association of Warren County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center, Joey’s Greyhound Friends, Inc., Kenton County Animal Shelter, Kyle’s New Hope Animal Rescue, League for Animal Welfare, Maverick’s Mission Rescue, Maysville Rescue Team, Michelle’s Spoiled Rotten Foster Dogs, Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue, Moore Love Rescue, No Kill Tri-‐State, Ohio Pug Rescue, Our Gang Rescue, Owen County Friends of Animals, Pampered Pets Animal Rescue (PPAR), Paws Adoption Center, Puppy Pals Rescue, Queen City Greyhounds, Recycled Doggies, Sacred Hearts Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, Save The Animals Foundation (STAF), SPCA Cincinnati Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP), The Scratching Post, This Little Piggy & Me Guinea Pig Adoption & Rescue, Three Sisters Pet Rescue, Tri-‐State CART (County Animal Response Team), UCAN Non-‐profit Spay Neuter Clinic, United Pet Fund, Wags & Whiskers… and more continue to register daily!
My Furry Valentine is accepting donations that day on behalf of the Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry (providing temporary food assistance for animals whose owners are struggling financially.) They accept unopened, unexpired bags of dog/cat food and kitty litter. And also for Blankets and Bones (a community outreach program that provides comfort to dogs in shelters) accepts new or gently-‐used blankets and new rawhide bones. Anyone bringing a donation to the event will be eligible to win one of several great prizes.
My Furry Valentine is sponsored by Flexi USA, Alcott and PhoDographer. More information, including adoptable pets and satellite adoption locations for the day is available at http://MyFurryValentine.com
This is a GREAT PSA on pet adoption!
Sam is our family companion, friend and pet. I’m his trainer (or I like to say teacher); however, it occurred to me this morning how much he is teaching us. Here are some of his lessons.
When loved ones and visitors come to your home,
always run with enthusiasm to greet them.
Give of yourself freely to others just because you can.
Thrive on the joy of just being together, of getting
and giving attention.
Remember to let everyone know they are important
and practice loyalty every day.
When someone you care about is happy,
When someone you care about is having a bad day,
know that just nuzzling close may be all that is needed.
Don’t waste time being angry or sad,
life is way too short for that.
Don’t fret about the little stuff,
be joyous that this is a new day
and a new moment.
Run, romp and play every day.
Show your happiness by waggling your whole body.
Pay attention to everything meaningful.
Take time to sit on a rock and just watch the world
Lay in the grass and savor the scents carried through
the fresh air crossing your face.
Delight in the joy of a long walk with your favorite person.
Never ever pass up an opportunity to go for a ride in the car.
And don’t ever try to be anyone but yourself..
Just be the very best you can be.