I recently had the following conversation with a veterinarian technician and a shelter dog, Nemo, outside the La Plata County Humane Society. Nemo's words are translations.
Me: That is such a cute dog.
Tech: He just had a walk.
Nemo sits. I pat his head.
Me: Oh yes. People can walk the shelter dogs. I forgot about that.
Tech: Every dog needs a walk every day.
Me: I volunteer at the Thrift Shop.
Nemo: Hey! We're in doggy jail next door. We need exercise.
Me: How many dogs you got in the shelter now?
Tech: About 40.
Nemo: So do the math. That's 280 walks a week.
Tech: Some don't get out much. Too bad. The river walk back here is so nice.
Nemo: Walks with people make shelter life bearable. And a walk wouldn't hurt you any either. Get a friend to come with you; we'll make it a foursome.
Me: I can't take on a schedule; I never know.
Tech: There's no schedule. You can come whenever you want.
Nemo: Call Steve Crnkovich, the volunteer coordinator. You sign up, get an orientation - you know, you don't let us loose, you don't feed us - easy stuff.
Me: What's the phone number to call?
Tech: 259-2847. I better get Nemo back. See ya.
Nemo: Don't forget. Most of us pups can't speak for ourselves. Remember that New Year's resolution about helping and giving more in 2009.
They walk back to the shelter.
Nemo sings "Man's Best Friend Blues":
"I'm waitin' for a friend to take me away
Dog pound's nice, but I don't want to stay,While I'm hanging 'round, here's a favor you could do:
Take me for a walk, an impromptu rescue. Oooooooou."
Dinah Leavitt Swan, Durango