By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer
The Greeks have a word for it: empatheia. Empathy. For some, it’s learned. For others, it’s inherent. For one little boy, it is part of his character. Owen is a just-turned-7-year-old who has a Labrador retriever. Recently, his heart was moved when he learned that not all dogs are as lucky as his dog; some dogs are abandoned and left homeless. Owen knew he needed to do something for these creatures, and for his birthday he asked his friends for donations for the shelter instead of presents for himself. Just a few days ago, Owen and his mother arrived at our shelter with a car full of things the shelter can use: food, treats, bedding and toys. This kind little boy wanted to see the dogs who would be benefiting and was given a tour of the facility. He needed to know that the dogs were happy and cared for, and he got to watch them playing in the sun. He checked their kennels and their playgrounds. Owen left satisfied.
Thank you, Owen. We know how much you care.
One of the dogs benefiting from this boy’s tender heart is Caper, the older German shepherd. We know that someone will come along and give Caper the same loving home so many other dogs enjoy. We just wish that home would come along sooner rather than later. Caper is a big boy, lanky and long. His coat is blond tipped with ermine, giving him an unusual delicate frosted look. He offers the opportunity (and reminder) to get out and walk, and with spring weather coming, the timing is perfect. But Caper also offers devotion and serenity while sitting nearby, quietly, as you do your work or read or sew. You pore over your papers, then glance at him, and he will be watching you with interest and love. Really. He is a true shepherd in every sense.
Ladybird enjoys Caper’s company but we know she wouldn’t mind saying good-bye to him if it meant going to a home of her own. She is an adult beagle whose good nature and funny gait make her quite the little package. Sometimes she will sidle up to you and reach the top of her head up for a kiss. She also offers an excuse to get out in the fresh air and the company of a boon companion as you do your chores inside. That’s the advantage of adopting an older dog—they offer the best of both worlds.
In the adult dog echelon, Leah reigns. She is a mighty small miniature pinscher with a mighty big attitude. This 10-year-old little gal oozes charm with people. She seems to like everyone, big, small, man, woman. Although the tiniest bit overweight, she is quite delicate but can be handled with ease. What do we mean? Well, getting her dressed for the cold weather takes some real doing but she lets you manipulate her tiny legs into her little sweater without complaint. She is an alpha female, with all that that entails.
Of course, Cupid might disagree with the advantages to adopting an older dog. At less than 2 years old, Cupid is a lively, affectionate, lively, pretty, lively, freckled beagle. And she is lively. Cupid is quite smart and willing to learn new things but she needs lots of exercise and attention. She seems to really enjoy the company of other dogs. As this column goes to press, Cupid might still be in foster care, so you might want to give us a call if you would like to see her. We will let you know if she is at the shelter.
We remind you to check our website for updates. We usually hear of dogs needing new homes and we’re glad to act as liaisons for those dogs.
* * *
Friends, new and old, stopped by the Black Dog “Doggie Adoption Day” last Saturday, and there were even some alumni on hand to say hello. We thank the Black Dog for all their efforts in helping us re-home dogs and we thank them for their continued financial support. Oh, and the next nine dogs to be adopted from us will go home with special gift packages supplied by the Black Dog.
And for those of you who weren’t able to attend last Saturday, the Black Dog in Mashpee Commons is sponsoring another “Doggie Adoption Day” tomorrow, March 29, from 11 AM to 3 PM. Two special alumni are expected so we hope you will find some time to stop by and say hello (and see posters of the available dogs).
In the meantime, we hope you find time to stop by the shelter and visit the dogs. We are open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6. Volunteers are also at the shelter Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 4 to 5 PM to take the dogs for an evening walk, give them supper and tuck them in.