EDITION OF FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2017 (PetPowellPress) When winter arrived in North Texas Thursday morning -- 10:28 a.m. Dallas time -- drifts of snow began to pile up along the freeways, paralyzing the metro area with ice and..oh, I’m kidding. Here’s the truth: The temp was in the mid-70s and my SeasonSensitiveSpouse Martha said she was “busy turning the air conditioning on in my car.” Yep, winter manages to chill us one way or another.
We’re going to cool things off with a presentation of some Santa photos from our pal, the determined foster, Beth Leermakers. A little more on this photo -- it’s from 2016 and you see Santa getting a face full of Husky tongue from Zane while Sparky pretends that he didn’t see anything. You’ll see why this photo is important in a few paragraphs.
Beth has been fostering a while and can speak knowledgeably about the challenges and the absolute joy. “Fostering isn’t always easy,” she says, “and saying goodbye is bittersweet, but it's incredibly rewarding to watch a scared, neglected shelter dog (who would've been euthanized without a foster) blossom into a healthy, happy pup who brings immense joy to his new family.” [LARRY ASIDE: If you’re thinking about fostering, you can ask Beth about the challenges and the triumphs at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
As she notes, “All 4 wonderful dogs in my  photos would've been dead if I (or someone else) hadn't fostered them. And that's why I do what I do, crazy as it makes me sometimes. Sparky is alive and living the good life today because you featured him in your column back in 2011.”
Here’s the report from Beth on these pictures -- a collection we look forward to not just for the dogs but for Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick, too.
Beth’s accompanying note read, “It's time to share my annual holiday photos. Sadly, last April I said goodbye to 12-year-old Zane (my Husky), so it was just Sparky in my ‘personal dog’ photos this year. I'm keeping my eyes open for a calm, water-loving dog to join my permanent pack. Meanwhile, I usually have 3 foster dogs to walk and love.
“Here's the rundown on the attached photos:
“--My boy Sparky with the Grinch. Photo session hosted by the Duke and Oliver Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports animal rescue groups with emergencies, medical expenses, training and transport.
- -Sparky kissing Santa Claus. Photo taken by the wonderful John Sealander to benefit Dalmatian Rescue of North Texas. I've been taking my dogs to this photo session for 4 years now, and the photos are just as gorgeous and fun as always.
--My foster dog Ana Banana at a photo session benefiting Animal Allies of Texas. Ana, who loves to swim and play fetch, is available for adoption through Lucky Lab Rescue.
--My foster dog Cinnamon (wearing Christmas neck-wear) at the Operation Kindness photo session. Cinnamon, who's a snuggly, active girl, is available for adoption through Legacy Humane Society.”
A day later Beth sent this note, “If you have room for one more photo on Friday, here's sweet Sidney (rescued from the EU list at the Weatherford shelter) with the Half Price Books Santa. Sidney waited patiently for 90 minutes to see Santa. Such an angel baby, she's headed to a Minnesota rescue group in January. ... Just wanted to share this Santa's magnificent smile with you. He smiles from his heart. He was 2 hours into his shift when I took this photo (benefiting North Texas Food Bank).”
It is always a joy to see animals that are loved so much that they get an audience with the great Saint Nick!
MEANWHILE, DOMINO 'WRITES'
Usually we don’t post letters allegedly written by dogs -- people just can’ mimic a literary dog’s style, you know. But this one from Domino is a bit special, mainly because of its addressee: the famous “Dear Santa,” “I know that you’re pretty busy right now, but I thought I’d drop you a line. You must have gotten a little confused this year, because although I was very, very good, I still ended up without a home! I’d just love a new family for Christmas, one that will spend time with me, give me lots of belly rubs, & teach me all kinds of tricks, because I’m smart & eager to learn! I’ll be honest – it would be great if I could have a yard & a playmate, too, because I’ve got lots of energy, & running with a buddy is my favorite thing to do. I’m really sweet & I get along with kids, other dogs, & even a few cats! I’m sure there’s a wonderful family out there for me. If you hear of anyone who might be looking for a BFF – or who could foster me until I find my forever home - my friend, Mary, will be happy to tell that person all about me. She can be reached at 214-783-2060.
Thanks so much, Santa, & Merry Christmas! Your pal, Domino.” Mary T. Sullivan is Santa’s helper who forwarded Domino’s note.
THE CURRENT BURNS FLAT CHALLENGE
Our longtime Burns Flat, Okla., contact, rescuer Terry Lynn Fisher, is not having the best of Christmas seasons -- broke an ankle, financial challenges and animal challenges, too. These two are currently in the open-air facility in Burns Flat, getting colder and more wintry with each day. She writes, “I am desperate for help with these two.... Their story breaks my heart. This is a momma and her son. They belonged to a drug dealer and her family. I was always told she had them at her house for protection and that they were very mean. Her 70-plus year old mom lived with her. She had a small Chi I helped with earlier this year with a very large tumor. These two were around that Chi. A couple of months ago, the owner was sentenced to prison for 7 years for armed robbery. These two stayed with the mom. She seemed to be doing well for them. I helped her with food a few times and never had any issues.
“Two days ago, my ACO called me that he had picked them up. When he told me whose they were, I was concerned. Always hearing how mean they were, I asked how in the world he caught them. He told me they were very sweet and loaded right up. I contacted a mutual friend of the mothers and asked her to tell her we had them. I was shocked to learn what has been going on. I guess this 70-plus woman is on meth as well. She has been staying in a well-known drug house with the people there. She left these guys in the backyard with a bucket of food and water --for two weeks. They got out last week after running out and have been wandering around searching for food. ... I have no place for them. We have an area out back of the regular pound that use to be the old pound. It is the area I call HELL HOLE. This is where they are. Snow and very cold weather are moving in. I need a safe place for them. ... The town has given me a week to place them, or they will be put down. They have already been bailed on so many times... PLEASE help me keep them alive. ... Even if anyone has an empty kennel they can hang out in while I search for help.”
Email Terry Lynn at email@example.com or call 580-3300-1459.
AMONG THE MESQUITE ANIMALS
This guy Hercules, about whom we’ve written before, was on the clock for Thursday -- maybe he made it beyond deadline at Mesquite Animal Services. The story from Mesquite volunteer monitor Judi Brown is the 45-pound dog “was abandoned with another when his owner left the rental home.” Left without food or water. He was adopted, but has been returned “because of landlord issues.” He’s 37212581.
The other dog is Nellie, a 2-year-old Pittie mix who came in as a stray. She’s said to be gentle and obedient and “she will even sit for you.” She’s 37363084. To ask about either of these dogs, call the shelter at 972-216-6283 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTEMPLATIONS: I wrote this little novella, The Christmas Sentinel, about 20th century newspapering and breaking a big yuletide story because there’s not enough time nor space on the internet to write about all the dogs and cats that need a home in Dallas County and the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth Spay/Neuterplex. The book's on amazon.com -- dogs and cats are all over the place. ... I heard a bird singing Thursday afternoon -- one more song before winter really digs in. ... Tradition: Driving around looking at Christmas lights -- I swear that we’ll put up a display in 2018. It would help if one of us won Lotto Texas. ... In a rare moment of congeniality, this front porch feral plopped down on the front walk Thursday and posed for me. I think she’s on the brink of becoming a housecat. Look at those eyes -- they are beautiful and so is she -- like she was painted by one of the masters. Doesn’t have a name yet. I’m thinking of something that matches her beauty and the season. Myrrrrphy. Sorry. Wise man joke. At least I didn’t go for Frankensense N. Sensibility.
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