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April 2, 2020

Submitted photo

Suzanne Flory and one of her canine friends.
Submitted photo

Suzanne Flory and one of her canine friends.
2/13/2020 7:30:00 AM
What makes me fall in love? A canine Valentine's Day story
Suzanne Flory
Submitted Article

I have fallen in love so many times. With each my mind wonders. What would it be like to snuggle? Take long walks every day? Laugh and play together? Would this one protect me? Be gentle and loving?

As I am busy pondering, these objects of my love just trot along. I am glad they are so unaware I am daydreaming about what it would be like to adopt them. Lucky for me these four-legged pooches don't know they can't make any more of a play for my heart than they already do with just a wag of their tails.

How many of these dogs have I fallen in love with over the course of my three years as a volunteer dog walker? (In reality it tends to be more dog pulling human!) I have walked at least a few hundred different dogs. Sometimes when I fall in love I will walk that one more frequently than others. How many would I have at home if I was able to?

All of them - big, small, young and old - have a story. Much of the time that story is a mystery, sometimes a tragedy. One thing they have in common is how happy they are to be outside in the sun, rain or snow. The happiness comes as they are pulling me along while they explore and sniff their way in a world outside of the kennel, away from the other dogs. Some smile, some wag their tails, some jump and spin for joy. To some the outside world is a brand new thing, to others they were born to run.

What makes me fall in love? Is it the wag of the tail? The glance over the shoulder? The big sloppy kisses? I am not sure what it is, but I do know it's true what they say, "There is no other living thing that will be as happy to see you as a dog." That fact alone melts my heart.

I spend a pretty good amount of time volunteering here and there for various groups, church and youth sports, but dog walking will always be my favorite. No missions to create, budgets to discuss or people to persuade. Just me and my loves happily trotting down the road together.

The Oneida County Humane Society (OCHS) and other shelters across the country are run by tireless employees and volunteers. They care deeply about each animal fortunate enough to have found shelter with them while they wait to be rescued by a good home. 

The OCHS and other non-profit shelters have many needs beyond volunteers. Donations of money or supplies are needed and always helpful. Of course, the most helpful way to support animal shelters is to consider adopting one of these animals (cats, dogs, rabbits, etc.). They need your love. And you may find that you need theirs.

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020
Article comment by: Brian Holmes

Thanks for the lovely thoughts this Valentines Day.

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