Westside Animals for Adoption to hold appreciation event

Princess, a 9-year-old cocker spaniel, found a home through Westside Animals for Adoption in Patterson.
Princess, a 9-year-old cocker spaniel, found a home through Westside Animals for Adoption in Patterson. Westside Animals for Adoption

So many good people help in so many ways to find dogs and cats homes.

Dogs like Princess, a 9-year-old cocker spaniel. People like the couple who adopted her.

They saw her picture and bio on The Modesto Bee pet page and thought, “It’s too good to be true.” They had elderly cockers at home and figured Princess would be a perfect addition to the family.

“They showed up with collar, leash and engraved name tag in hand,” recalls Patterson’s Brooke Rex, my fellow volunteer for Westside Animals for Adoption. “I opened the door and Princess trotted out into his open arms. He immediately sat down on the ground and started loving her.”

The first WAG (We Are Grateful) event will be held Oct. 25 in Patterson to thank all those who help make such dog and cat adoptions possible.

The nonprofit WAA and Best Friends Pet Resort & Canine Academy, 2631 Olive Ave., will be hosts. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be food, drinks, gifts, door prizes, a photo wall, bounce house and more. Bring your kids. Bring your dogs.

Maybe you’re the couple who brought those two beautiful, young, stray golden retrievers to Best Friends, hoping to somehow help them get home. Thank you. WAA volunteer Bill Oxenrider made a little video, put it on Facebook, and hours later there was a joyous reunion that would melt your heart.

Oxenrider wrote of another emotional reunion between mom and kids and a dog called Daisy: “Out in the play yard, Daisy was on top of the little boy, smothering his face with kisses.”

Maybe you’re another rescue group, like Copper’s Dream. Its volunteers rescued a gentle, loving, 8-year-old blue-nosed pit bull named Mama Blue.

Until she was rescued and subsequently boarded at Best Friends, Mama suffered a life of abuse and neglect.

I can still see her gleefully pounding the water in our little blue wading pool, surrounded by people who adored her. We found her a great home and she lived out her life with love and joy.

Maybe you’re a politician who cares. Or one of the financial donors who keep the nonprofit rescue groups alive. Be it a big check or a dollar in a donation jar, thank you. Georgia, a redbone coonhound, got to love trips to Southern California beaches because of you.

If you’re a volunteer, you become attached to these wonderful creatures. Sometimes it hurts to see them go. But then you get a poignant email that says they’re doing great and you’re drying your eyes.

Guiness, the Dutch shepherd, doesn’t get to spend a lot of time on beaches as Georgia does, but he helps the community and seems enormously happy doing it.

When Guiness would play fetch in the yard at Best Friends, he would bring back a toy and drop it in your lap, remain almost nose to nose if you let him, so excited he was barking with joy as drops of saliva landed on your face and your shirt (informal wear recommended). “Again! Again! Throw it again!” he seemed to be saying.

Throw a ball in the tall grass, and he would search until he found it.

He’s in Guiness heaven now, doing what he loves as our K-9 contribution to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department.

Sometimes we hope there really is a doggie heaven. Oxenrider wrote of a sweet, aging beagle: “I noticed today when I was walking Heidi she was a little stiffer than normal in the hips. She seems to drag her right rear foot a little as she steps forward.” It turned out it was the start of something serious, and it wasn’t long before we had to say goodbye to our precious little Heidi.

There are ups and downs. Way more ups. That same day he wrote about Heidi limping, Oxenrider took two dogs named Hope and Tyler on slow, long walks: “Midway through the walks, I just sat in the middle of Olive Avenue with each of them, the breeze flowing over us, staring out over the farmland. Each of them seemed so content to just sit there, leaning their bodies against me, taking in the sights and smells. It was very peaceful and soulful; they will make someone or some family very happy.”

That’s what we all try to do. To all those who play a part, thank you!