Letter from the Publisher
Feb 27, 2015 01:43AM
Thank you for all the wonderful feedback from last month’s letter. I deeply appreciate that so many readers took the time to let me know my Valentine’s Day note had meant something to them. I am blessed.
One of the first times in my life when I understood that I had an identity separate from my brothers or parents was a casual comment made by my mother when I was about 6 years old. It may have been when I was playing with my plastic toy dogs and horses, all who had names and family roles (this one is the sister and this one is the baby) and were the preferred toy choice for imaginative play. But more likely, it was when I was playing with my beloved Misty, a serene blue merle Shetland sheepdog, and Taffy, a scrappy Beagle-mix who had been found at a neighborhood park, plus a cat or two.
Our house was known in the neighborhood as the one where the strays would go. I don’t recall my mother’s exact words but the sentiment was, “Robin will bring home any lost pet.” I was a pet rescuer even before I knew there was such a thing. If a dog was running loose, I would hold it until the owner was located. Once, we found a litter of collie-mix puppies and took care of them until we could place them with good homes. There have only been a few times in my life when circumstances precluded dog ownership. After Misty and Taffy, there was Gretel, Benjy, Ali, Miranda and now, Ziggy.
We officially became “greyhound” people with Miranda, who we lost to cancer last year at the age of 14, but quickly filled that dog-shaped hole in our lives with Ziggy, another big, goofy sweet, greyhound. The rescue community that supports these retired racers is amazing, with hundreds of groups across the country taking them from tracks down South and bringing them to waiting families. It was a trip to our local library when we lived in Annapolis that we were first introduced to greyhound rescue and now we are pleased to be part of that movement.
The theme this month is companion animals—how they serve as inspiration, as companions and as teachers, if we allow them to. The very least we can do for them, in return, is to offer a soft bed, a bowl of healthy food, clean water and a chance to run and jump when the mood strikes. We look at the growing work of animal rescue groups across the country and focus on the work of a local hero, Kim Hawkins, the founder of Rural Dog Rescue, who has grown a cadre of more than 200 volunteers to rescue dogs, mostly hounds, from high-kill shelters in surrounding states. If horses are your thing, Grace Ogden shares her experiences of learning mindfulness in the presence of a pony named Flirt.
For the non-pet owner, we offer plenty of other insights this month, including pieces from Dr. Chas Gant and Dr. Isabel Sharkar that focus on ground-breaking work in the treatment of cancer and from Dr. Craig Sanford on what it means for us to live in a world filled with toxins.
Plus, we are coming into a time when lots of great events happening in the area—the Krishna Das concert and workshop, the Environmental Film Festival and Grown Your Own Health Conference in March, Mind-Body Week in April and looking ahead to the Green Festival in early June. Mark your calendar and plan to see us at each of these events.
In a past job, we were blessed to have an “office dog” as part of our staff. Solea, a rescued black lab, was a great mental health coach for everyone on staff and was always eager to comfort with a wag of the tail and a gentle nuzzle. Her owner had a great sign on her door that I never have forgotten: Lord, make me the person my dog thinks I am.
I couldn’t agree more.