Journey of Phillip, the Forgotten, to Phillip, the Fabulous, in 30 Days – #1 of the Series
December 17, 2015
Help, I Need Somebody!
Little did we know that the routine act of turning on the computer to check the e-mail this morning would so drastically change our lives. There among all the ads and notifications was a simple request in the subject line…Can you help?
I did not click to open the message assuming that it was for my husband and not for me, but my curiosity in the urgency of those three words stayed with me most of the day. When my husband, Paul, arrived home from volunteering at the Humane Society for Animals perfumed with the scent of the hotdog treats he used to help coax dog smiles for the camera, I could not restrain myself any longer. “Paul, there is a message from Gail. I think you should open it right away,” I suggested.
Gail is a fellow volunteer at the local animal shelter. Together they have worked miracles finding homes for hundreds of dogs this year alone both locally and nationwide. Other areas of the country do not experience the dog over-population problem that is present here in Northwest Arkansas. My husband photographs and analyzes the behavior of the dogs for the website often writing humorous descriptions of his first impressions to accompany the photos. Gail uses her vast networking resources to send the information to acceptable shelters across the country to help some of the dogs find homes elsewhere. I give the dogs names and help at offsite adoption events. I know that getting a dog adopted is a team effort including vets, van drivers, dog walkers, and poop scoopers. But….then there is Gail!
In the years that we have volunteered at the Humane Society for Animals, we have seen numerous changes that have given the dogs more hope and a better chance for happiness. Some of the dogs at the facility are owner surrendered. Most are abandoned and brought in by animal control officers from the Benton County countryside. Nationwide adoption websites like PetFinder.com have helped make the animals visible to a larger audience and local businesses have offered to host adoption events and fundraisers. Volunteers are essential to the operation of the organization. They are always in short supply as a double handful of devoted people seem to run on adrenaline to meet the needs of the furry residents. The director is one of the adrenaline driven devoted. The fact remains that when our shelter gets “maxed out”, room for the new arrivals must be made, and our efforts at finding homes makes that possible.
When Gail came onto the scene, she used her extensive talents to network with other shelters to not only help reduce our numbers, but to also assist a variety of rescues across the state. Our kennels were no longer filled to the brim as more dogs were being matched with their forever homes.
Of course, when I mention to Gail that her efforts have single handedly given hundreds of dogs a well-deserved second chance, she always says,” I couldn’t have done any of this without Paul’s pictures, or I couldn’t have done it without ….” and she fills in a name. She is a humble hero!
As Paul wiped the drool covered camera lens clean, our dog family gathered around him to take in the sniffs of the many canines that had come into contact with him that day. Reaching into his treat bag, each dog pranced or sat for the hotdog treat that Paul distributed to the four legged members of his welcoming committee.
“She probably wants to see if I have pictures of a particular dog that she can send to a rescue group somewhere,” he stated matter-of-factly. For a moment, my curiosity was satisfied. “Yeah, that’s it. I’m sure she is busy working something out for some sweet animal somewhere,” I reassured myself as the man and his entourage made their way to the computer.
“Honey”,… he paused as he read and reread the message. “Gail is talking about a real sick dog from southern Arkansas that needs assistance FAST” I could hear the urgency in his tone. “She doesn’t know anyone else to ask. This is serious! GAIL… NEEDS… HELP!”