Saturday, November 15, 2008

REPORTER BLOG: Last Day, Lasting Impressions

By: Shana O'Malley

I’ve heard that occasionally as a reporter I might find stories that impact me on a personal level or hit close to home. In my four years as a journalism student I had never had that experience, until the very last day of MidDay this quarter. I was assigned the county commissioners meeting, which I thought would most likely be about local roads and businesses, I was wrong.

The Problem
As I was standing in the small room trying to stay focused and figure out what the commissioners were talking about, I suddenly heard a word that sparked my attention…puppies! Unfortunately, what they had to say following that wasn’t exactly what a dog lover like me wanted to hear.

Apparently, a few weeks ago, the dog shelter adopted out several puppies that had the parvo virus and some of them died. The virus is often deadly to puppies because they have no immunity to the virus and it attacks their systems very fast. The dog warden and a few volunteers were at the meeting and explained to the commissioners that the puppies were not vaccinated before they were adopted out because the shelter ran out of the shot.

A volunteer group called Friends of the Shelter supplies the shots when they can, but they pay for them through donations and there isn’t always enough money. The purpose of their meeting was to try and get the county to help pay for the shots so healthy puppies can be adopted into the community.

Too Close to Home
This really caught my attention for a few reasons. First, a few years ago, I adopted a puppy (Lucy) from a place back home, only to have her die 6 days later from parvo. It left me completely heartbroken and it left my parents with several hundred dollars in vet bills. The worst part of it all was how miserable it was to watch Lucy battle the virus.

The vet concluded that our puppy had caught the virus at the shelter before we adopted her. We had to bleach our entire home and throw all of her belongings away. We also had to wait six months before we could get another dog. Being at the commissioners meeting was like reliving my Lucy experience all over again.

The second reason this concerned me was because I adopted my own puppy from the shelter last year (luckily she received the shot). I feel like adopting is such a good way to save a dog in your local community and I think other adopters would agree that the last thing you expect when you try and do a good thing is to end up with a sad an disappointing experience.

The Happy Ending
At the end of the meeting the commissioners decided that they will help provide money for the shots either by raising dog license fees or raising puppy drop-off fees. Hopefully, the resolution will allow the shelter to continue to do a great job at finding healthy and happy homes for the local dogs. As for me, I have two healthy (and very spoiled mutts) at home.

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