Our 12th year! Wow! Where does the time go? If it wasn’t for the fact of making my son pose for photos for articles from time to time, I might not believe Whole Dog Journal is so old. But Eli was five when he first posed (with our darling old Rupert) for an article about the benefits of using reusable hand-sized heating pads for massaging muscle-sore or arthritic dogs. And he’s about to turn 17 – too old to model for our upcoming article about teaching young children how to positively train the family dog. (I did make him go with me to one of our new dog Otto’s training classes a few months ago, and took pictures of them together in class. He’s a hair under six feet –too tall to fit in the frame with the dog!)
It’s been 12 years of progress in the dog world, though. The foods we review have gotten better, and the top-quality varieties have gotten far more numerous. Just look at how many types of healthy foods you can now buy for your dog! I’d probably eat any one of the products included in our review of wet foods (“Yes, We Can!”) that appears on page 4 – they are that good.
But I won’t eat them, and our newsish dog Otto won’t either. With this issue done, they go straight to our local animal shelter, which makes the absolute best use of every donation, no matter how large or small. Since we moved to this town and I first donated dog food (left over from a review), I’ve been such a fan of the facility (the Northwest SPCA) and its supporters, starting with its executive director, Rainy Green. She works daily miracles to improve the facility, add to her staff’s education, and do everything she can do for the shelter’s wards – all on a tiny budget in one of this state’s poorest counties.
And she finds the best people to help her! I recently photographed an employee of the shelter, Humane Officer James Harrison, for Pat Miller’s article about shelters in this issue (page 18). As I set up the camera, Jimmy told me about the two times he’s been bitten by a dog in the 12 years he’s worked for the NW SPCA. His first bite came in his first year of employment, but he still honors that dog’s memory – he used those words – as the animal who taught him to move slowly and gently and take his time with fearful animals. His second bite came in the midst of saving a Malamute who was hanging by a back leg that was wound in wire from the top of an eight-foot fence. He showed me the scar and said, “It was worth it! I saved his life, and saved his leg, too.”
I hope Whole Dog Journal can bring you another 12 years of great ideas and products for your dog from great people.