Always a reason to smile . . . and new ways to play!

Jennifer McCammon with Broadway

We at Spot have always placed high priority on the support side of the animal world, working regularly with many amazing people in rescue, spay/neuter, vet care programs, and the like. Some of our brightest stars in the Willamette Valley include STP (Save the Pets), WAG (Willamette Animal Guild) and ProBoneO, to name just a few. 

Marnie, who heads up Spot’s Eugene/Springfield office (and who is also my mama), recently began volunteering at STP’s new adoption center at Gateway Mall in Springfield. If you haven’t been, stop by! These folks are a joy, they’re doing great work, and the shop is fabulous. Marnie works her weekly shift not in her “Spot hat,” but wholly as an STP volunteer. 

This week, while scanning the latest STP newsletter, I was delighted to discover mama among a shining group named “STP Volunteers of the Month.” The lineup also included Brenda Frazee, Sandra McCollum, Cathy Bill and Johnna Harms. What an awesome twist on the ol’ Proud Parent Moment! 

* * * 

As to Spot’s efforts in “the trenches,” we’re frequently involved in helping rally triage for animals in need. The frequency of urgent situations is alarming. We get calls about the pet whose person has died. About the sweet boy whose people moved and left him behind. About the beloved girl whose person will soon be deployed. 

The realities are heartbreaking, the happy endings life-affirming. And while on one hand it feels like we can never do enough, on the other, every success is a HUGE victory. 

* * * 

Being so focused on helping, I didn’t realize the fun we were missing in another, wonderful side of the animal world — games! Agility, flyball, disc, jumping, and on. Now that we’ve sampled a little of this fare, game on!

I was thrilled to discover that even at the highest levels of competition most activities welcome beginners and, in fact, are eager to help them get in and try. Another great discovery was the AKC’s changing policies, welcoming mixed breeds to compete.

In a recent chat with Adriana Ericson of woofd2 (Washington Owners of Flying Disc Dogs), which organizes the competitive disc season in the Northwest, Adriana said her club is helping get Oregon groups organized. She emphasized that friendliness and helping newcomers is the spirit of the sport. You’ll hear more from Adriana next issue, when we kick off our coverage of canine games. 

These activities provide important bonding, and sharpen training (for pets AND people), which is good for everyone. Well-behaved dogs (and guardians) simply make for a better, more harmonious community. We should all be striving for that. 

On a sort-of related note, Kennedy Morgan starts a three-part series on breed-related concerns this month. While the series focuses on Great Danes (it was inspired by concern in the Dane community about a coming feature film that could trigger the kind of breed-specific craze like those fueled by Paris Hilton’s pocket pets, the film Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and the Taco Bell Chi. A Dane mom herself, Kennedy knows this breed; better still, much of what she covers will apply to any breed. 

I love this adventure for so many reasons! There’s always something new . . . to learn, to share, to “take on,” and to celebrate. 

Yours in everything pet,