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Dog lovers needed for "Open Paw" visiting program at Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society

As you may know, the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society does not
euthanize its animals. Dogs are sheltered there until permanent
homes can be found. Still, until that day, their lives are hard.

What's their biggest problem? The one that's worst of all? Loneliness.
Dogs are social creatures. Given the choice between every material
comfort known to canine kind absent humans, and life in an
uncomfortable cage with caring visitors, they'd choose the cage.

Can you spare one hour per month? That's all. Not two or eight
hours. Not a monetary donation. One hour. Per month. The
Humane Society recently initiated a new program to grrreatly
improve the quality of life there. It's called "Open Paw." It can't
succeed without you. What's needed? One hour. What will you do
during that hour? You'll stand outside the doggies' kennels, whisper
sweet nothings to them, and feed them treats. That's it. Period. One
hour per month of sweet whispers and treats.

You think this is a small thing? No. It's a colossal thing. It's the
most colossal thing there is in a dog's mind... to make it feel loved.
In turn, the dog will love you. Loving dogs learn to welcome the
presence of humans outside their kennels. They wag and wiggle and
kiss. They're happy. They get adopted far more quickly than dogs
who have forgotten how to hope... sad eyed dogs that tremble in the
back of their cages. The goal is to keep their hopes up. Keep their
tails wagging and their eyes bright.

One dog at a time. One hour per month. You can turn unrelenting
loneliness into the relief of love until the day when an adopter comes
along and says, "Yes, I want to spend my life with that one." And
then you can start with the next one. And then the next one. The
problem of unwanted pets is a daunting social crisis. It makes many
people feel they can't possibly make a difference. That isn't true.
You can. One dog at a time. One hour per month. Whispers. Treats.
That's all you're asked.

There's a line of e.e. cummings poetry that illustrates the foolishness
of trying to analyze the love of dogs: "Give them a scalpel and they'll
dissect a kiss." Still, I can't resist an attempt. See it through the eyes
of the caged. Let me know if you have one hour per month. I'll put
you in touch with Open Paw. You'll be loved, wagged, wiggled and
kissed for it.

Contact Paul Klein: pklein@uclink4.berkeley.edu

SOURCE: Point Isabel Dog Owners
Run dates: 2001-08-28 - 2001-09-08

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