Rescuers Deserve Kudos

Dennis Rogers, Staff Writer News and Observer

All dogs go to heaven, or so says the movie title. Cat lovers would probably say the same about their furry buddies.

I doubt that I could qualify as a Wal-Mart greeter, much less for duty at the Pearly Gates. But if I could, people who care for sick, abandoned or abused animals would get a free pass.

I don't know how they do it.

On Saturday night, we went to Durham for the fourth annual Painted Chair and More Auction. The event was held to raise money for Independent Animal Rescue, a foster home network that cares for Triangle dogs and cats in trouble.

We left with two chairs we didn't need, a lump in our throats from meeting such selfless people and an even greater appreciation for folks who open their hearts and homes to animals needing a safe place to bunk for a while.

Relax, I'm not going to browbeat you into adopting some homeless animal or writing a fat check. I just want to you to be aware that in spite of what often seems like overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there are some saintly folks among us.

The headlines may shout of soulless gang-bangers. We shudder at the thought of thugs so cold-hearted they could gun down a kid because of the color of his shirt. But far from such front-page terrors are people making the world a better place, one lost, abandoned and scared animal at a time.

Somehow, just knowing they're out there, doing what most of us don't have the strength to do, makes me feel better. They're proof the world hasn't entirely gone to hell.

Animal rescue volunteers take in dogs and cats who, with a little help, would make a loyal family companion. They provide medical care and training to ensure the animals are well-mannered and housebroken.

Families wanting to adopt pets are carefully screened, too. Not all pets are right for all people. Some animals, for good reason, may be wary of rambunctious kids. Perhaps they are easily startled by loud noises or shouldn't be around other animals. And some people -- like me -- are best suited for critters as lazy as we are.

No one is paid at IAR, but it takes money to pay the huge vet bills, buy food and provide transportation. To that end, some Triangle-area artists painted chairs for Saturday night's fundraising auction.

I have no earthly idea what "neo-Floridian" means, but that's what the program said was the artistic influence for one of our chairs. Whatever you call it, our living room now boasts a brightly colored wooden rocking chair adorned with two wooden flamingo heads that swivel.

Yes, it's just as odd-looking as it sounds. But then, some folks have said the same thing about me and my rescued dog.

I'd never tell you what kind of pet to bring into your home. Some people like mutts while others want show dogs. I've always admired Australian shepherds and border collies, but they're both smarter than I am. Pretty soon they'd have control of the TV remote, and then where would I be?

All I'm saying is that when it's time for a new pet at your place, at least consider a rescued critter from IAR or one of the other rescue groups in the area.

Or perhaps you'd like a nice flamingo chair?