If it should be that I grow frail and weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done?
You will be sad I understand,
But don’t let grief then stay your hands,
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so,
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me until the end
And hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree,
It is a kindness you do for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you,
Who has to decide this thing you do.
We’ve been so close – we two – these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears. – author unknown
I trust many of you have seen this poem. It gets me every time, especially the last line. When I think about the final days, minutes and seconds with my last dog, Cooper, I lose it. If I think about the end with Murray, our perfectly healthy 11-year-old, I well-up. We can’t bear to think about losing our recent addition JoJo and she’s just 11 months old with hopefully 12-15 years ahead of her. I think about special relationships that family, friends and co-workers have with their pets and the loss they will feel someday, and that gets me.
Eric Clower, the SPCA’s super-talented Maintenance Manager, oversees all aspects of our 200+ acre campus. Our resident MacGyver tackles complicated HVAC systems, maintains a small fleet of vehicles, and chases down water intrusions from rooftops in a single bound. He didn’t wake up last Wednesday morning thinking he’d be building a turtle platform. But, it’s what he did and it’s among the many reasons I love this organization.
The backstory: our equally talented Humane Investigations Supervisor, Marty Opseth, was out playing a round of golf. Knowing he was with the SPCA, the golf course staff brought him their animal-related dilemma: turtles in their man-made pond were having trouble sunning themselves, clinging to the pond’s steep edge. Aquatic turtles, as some of you know, need sunlight. They spend the good part of their day basking in it. Basically, they live the lives of Kardashians.
According to Wikipedia, an “animal rescue group or animal rescue organization is dedicated to pet adoption. These groups take unwanted, abandoned, abused or stray pets and attempt to find suitable homes for them….rescue groups exist for most pet types (reptile rescue, rabbit rescue, bird rescue), but most are common for dogs and cats…rescue groups often find volunteers with space in their homes for temporary placement.”
Can an animal shelter also be an animal rescue group? What is the SPCA?
Like a rescue group, the SPCA is funded by donations and is dedicated to finding new loving homes for animals. We do this for between eight and nine of every 10 animals we receive which is especially meaningful given we never turn away animals. We accept unwanted, abandoned, abused, neglected and stray animals daily! This includes physically and behaviorally broken animals and animals that no amount of resources could possibly make well.
Here’s how we’re different from typical animal rescue groups:
We’d like to see rain tomorrow. Not a heavy downpour and gusty winds that rattle windows and cause power outages. Just the kind of steady rain that might cause people to stay off roads and inside, curled up by the TV, preferably with a loved pet on their lap or at their feet. We’re also hoping for no big breaking news, unplanned presidential messages or the release of the Mueller Report!
Why? Tomorrow is the SPCA’s annual “Share the Love” telethon, 6 am to 8 pm, on KSBW 8 and Central Coast ABC.
During commercial breaks of your favorite shows, fabulous KSBW news anchor Brittany Nielsen and irrepressible meteorologist Gina DeVecchio — animal lovers in their own right — will introduce heartwarming stories about animals you helped rescue, and they’ll be joined by yours truly and other SPCA staff. You’ll learn about everything your local, independent SPCA does for pets, people, and wildlife in Monterey County.
Here’s a spoiler alert: we do a ton. Animal sheltering of every kind of animal from guinea pigs to horses, humane education for children, rehabilitation of domestic animals and wildlife, low-cost spay/neuter, animal cruelty investigation, disaster response and behavior classes.
We snipped our way to 150,000! The SPCA’s low-cost spay/neuter clinic, which has served Monterey County since 1976 as the area’s only consistent provider of low-cost spay and neuter, reached the life-saving milestone this week.
We celebrated the feat with an unsuspecting pet owner — lucky number 150,000! Next week, we’ll party with our clinic staff. A sheet cake customized for spay/neuter work could go in a few interesting directions, but I didn’t want to be the one to describe this over the phone to a bakery. We’ll keep it simple, sweet and non anatomical.