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Sunday, Sep. 21, 2014
ShelterPosted Friday, December 10, 2010, at 8:31 AM
A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard. During the night the folks came across this scene. An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose Baby Jesus as his comfort. No one had the heart to send him away, so he was there all night.
I try to help by putting Marilyn's photos in the paper, picking up lost dogs and getting them back to their owners, and contributing to the few local rescue organizations. Marilyn's group - the Bollinger County Stray Project - is, of course, first on my list, because I've been out to her remote Zalma farm, where she juggles about 50-60 dogs at a time. The woman is tireless in her efforts to help the hundreds and hundreds of abandoned and suffering animals in Southeast Missouri. She doesn't confine her efforts to Bollinger and Stoddard County; her rescues extend to Cape and Scott. How one tiny little lady could find so much energy is beyond me!
I also contribute regularly to the Humane Society of Missouri, as I've seen first-hand the work they do. I've stood beside a Humane Society agent as he stooped down to examine a starving dog, covered in mange, waiting for the return of owners who had moved off and abandoned her. I've helped the agent load dogs for transport to the St. Louis shelter. I've attended Missouri Humane Society seminars with the Stoddard County Sheriff's department. I know their work, and I approve.
Certain dogs haunt my memory. Their faces have a permanent place in my mind. There was the beagle picked up on the streets of Marble Hill, carrying a small stuffed bear toy. I don't know his fate.
There was a big white dog they called "Buster," who looked out at me from the newspaper with the most incredibly sad eyes and droopy ears. His owner had been taken to the nursing home, and the family had turned Buster out to fend the streets by himself. Marilyn tried to get him to "smile" for the camera, but he was too heart-broken to respond. He knew the dog pound was not his home, and he refused to be cheered.
Buster's fate is a heart-warming one, as (believe it or not) a gentleman from Dexter saw his picture in the NSC and called the Marble Hill pound to say he would take him. The city clerk told me that it was the most joyous meeting they'd ever seen, as the Dexter man opened his truck door and invited Buster to ride back home with him. I've wished ever since that I could do a follow-up story on that story. If there's anyone out there who knows this man and dog, please call me!
I myself was captivated by one of the pictures I put in the NSC and went out to a remote hill at Arab, Mo., to bring back an enormous, fluffy puppy I named "Bucky." He grew into a 75-pound sweetheart that I dearly, dearly love!
Yes, I know that Christmas is a time to remember our fellow man and to give what we can to help others - but, surely, surely, there is also a place in our hearts for those animals who give us so much and ask for so little in return.
There are many ways we can help: We can give money or time to a shelter, adopt a shelter dog or cat, donate dog food or dog houses to shelters. Be aware of sites like www.hsmo.org, where the Humane Society of Missouri gives information on its programs for the prevention of cruelty, abuse and neglect of animals through its adoption centers, veterinary medical centers, and rehabilitation center. Use websites like www.petfinder.com to see current dogs and cats available in local shelters.
It is my prayer that the work of dedicated volunteers will help change the mindset of so many people in this state who treat their dogs and cats like disposible pieces of trash, worth no more consideration that the empty McDonald's carton that they throw from the windows of their cars.
From the hills of Tillman, Mo., site of many, many dumped dogs, this is your rural, roving reporter, Madeline, wishing all a very warm and happy Christmas season, full of good things for both man and beast!
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.