Readers of my columns over the years know that I always end with an observation about what my beloved Sheltie Gabby might think about what I have written. In actuality, during the sixteen years of her life we did carry on quite a few conversations. I would say something to her and she would look up at me with those deeply set sable eyes and I would understand.
There are times when wordless chats are more communicative than otherwise. Prolixity has a time and place and purpose.
Some of the homo erectus variety could learn a lot from dogs. As Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “there is nothing more tedious than the conversation of well-informed people.”
It was organized chaos at the Susquehanna SPCA (SQSPCA) animal shelter on Sunday as children came to read Christmas stories to the dogs in the kennels.
Children hung stockings and ornaments on the dog homes as the excitable canines vied for their attention. The kids excitedly bounced around from dog to dog, all as part of an effort to socialize the furry friends while simultaneously helping the children with their reading skills.
Three young boys climbed right inside the kennels with the dogs to read the stories. Amber the bulldog cuddled up next to Vincent Moscatello, 9, as he read “All the Colors of Christmas” to her. Matteo Basile, 9, read “One Starry Night” to Petunia, a heavyset bulldog, while Declan Artale, 9, sat inside the kennel to pet her. The bulldogs seemed to relax and settle into the stories.
About a year-and-a-half ago, Liz Keller bought Mossy Creek Kennel in Cherry Valley, changed the name to “El-Liza’s Dog House at Mossy Creek Kennel,” and adopted the motto, “The Bed and Biscuit Getaway.”
For someone dedicated to animal rescue, the ‘Dog House’ is a passion project.
“We’re so much more than just dog grooming, boarding, and training,” Ms. Keller said. “My background is mostly in animal rescue, specifically dogs.”
She grew up in Queens, New York, and volunteered with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in Manhattan, then opened her own kennel in Sullivan County. She decided to attend veterinary school for an associate’s degree in vet science after holding a job in the banking industry.
OTSEGO — Hundreds gathered outside the Susquehanna SPCA’s new facility in Cooperstown for a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, July 17, which they say would help better service the needs of animals who are homeless and in need of caring adoptees.
In spite of the humidity — one young woman apparently fainted during remarks from State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland — the crowd was lively and enthusiastic, some bringing their own dogs to the ceremony.
Stacie Haynes, who as executive director has been at the forefront of this whole project, told the crowd this has been her “dream job” and joked she “hasn’t been home since.”
“I’m a dreamer and optimistic by nature,” Haynes said, but never imagined she’d be “standing on a multi-million dollar campus.”
Haynes thanked the “Shelter Us” capital campaign, which was largely responsible for raising the money necessary to build and open the facility, calling them an “all-star group.”
The Shelter Us Capital Campaign was able to secure a grant from the New York State Animal Capital Fund from the Department of Agriculture and Markets in order to move the facility to state Route 28 near Cooperstown.
COOPERSTOWN – Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna SPCA executive director, will depart for Beirut, Lebanon, tomorrow to work with Animals Lebanon on a goodwill mission to help share their best practices with the animal rescue organization.
In addition to offering assistance and sharing their best practices, Haynes will bring back as many as 13 dogs in need of foster and permanent homes. They include:
• Bethoven, 1, a male black lab, described as “very gentle with cats, dogs and people.”
•Star Shepherd, 4-month-old female, found chained on the side of the road.
•Sadie, 3, a female, very friendly with other dogs, although can be shy at first.
Jasmine, who gave birth to a litter of puppies at the Susquehanna SPCA last week, has found a foster home with Jeni Metch and her family. Jeni, a stay-at-home-mom, has become very close to Jasmine, close enough that the protective Mama will let Jeni pick up her puppies – as she is doing with Cocoa – so long as she keeps them close by. Colton and Wyatt, seen with mom Jeni and their father, Dan, right, named the puppies – three boys, Cocoa, Reese and Ruger, and girl, Ruby. Though Jasmine gave birth to six puppies last Tuesday, two of them died at just a few days old, according to Stacie Haynes, SSPCA executive director. Consequently, the surviving puppies from the litter are being treated with a unique mix of Dog Vitamins to build up their strength. But when Jeni, who has fostered dogs before through the SSPCA, saw the call for homes last week, she immediately contacted Becca Daly, communications director, and offered up her Davenport home. “I wish I could keep all of them,” said Jeni. “More dogs are better in my book.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
FILM SCREENING – 6 – 8 p.m. Showing of “Screenagers: Growing Up In The Digital Age,” introduced by filmaker & pediatrician Delaney Ruston, M.D. who will moderate a thoughtful and considerate discussion following. Belden Auditorium, Oneonta Senior High School, 130 East St., Oneonta. Call 607-433-8200 or visit www.oneontacsd.org
HARTWICK SEMINARY – The Susquehanna Animal Shelter assisted county sheriff’s deputies early this morning in an animal cruelty investigation, and now is helping “re-home” more than 90 farm animals, shelter Director Stacie Haynes reported a few minutes ago.
The shelter on Route 28 in Hartwick Seminary also took over the housing and caring of eight dogs and one cat.
If you are interested in rescuing a farm animal, please call the shelter up until 7 p.m. today at 547-8111.
DOG COMPETITION – 10:30 a.m. Check out the Fido Fest Dog show where dogs and their owners compete for titles in categories like best trick, waggiest tail, and best mirror image. Part of the Winter Carnival Festivities. Pioneer Park, Cooperstown. Info, susquehannaanimalshelter.org/category/events/
WINTERFEST – 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Stay warm and have fun with outdoor activities like sledding, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing,campfires and more. Cost, free. Gilbert Lake State Park, 18 CCC Road, Laurens. Info, www.cabinfeverwinterfest.com
CABIN FEVER FILM SERIES – 6:30 p.m. “The Jungle Book” (1967). Refreshments available with proceeds benefiting Susquehanna animal Shelter. Clark Sports Center, 124 Cty. Hwy. 52, Cooperstown. Info, baseballhall.org/events/cabin-fever-2017