"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
-- Mahatma Gandhi
Some unknown individual dropped off a year-old Italian greyhound mix at the depository of the county animal shelter in Martinez after it closed for the night.
That was four years ago. I reckon the person just plain gave up the dog that had a partially amputated leg which required further medical treatment. Or could it have been because the dog wasn't pedigreed that it wasn't worth him keeping?
As it is, too many unwanted animals are being dropped off at the center, including a significant number that are old or require special attention, like the greyhound mix. Regrettably, a goodly number of them end up being euthanized ... a common practice only a handful of people are willing to openly criticize.
On the other hand, there are the exceptional organizations that totally oppose killing animals -- especially the hapless ones -- and devote countless hours finding ways to fulfill the animals' needs and place them where they will be welcomed.
One such organization is the Contra Costa Humane Society, a nonprofit shelter that opened its doors for dogs and cats 21 years ago. Among its many successful ventures includes the Homes of Kitty Corner which offers the only free-roam shelter in Contra Costa County.
The society also provides spay/neutering and supplemental pet food services to residents living in the county.
I spoke with the director of CCHS, Leeann Lorono, who had this to add about her program:
"Contra Costa Humane Society encourages proper education and care before adopting an animal. Our animals are receiving a second chance at life; and in helping them find forever homes we also want to make sure individuals and families are prepared for their animals and are matched well to their choice of animals which are often a lifelong commitment."
CCHS recently got together with the Concord Senior Center to outline a family friendly event -- Furry Pet Faire -- that promises to be entertaining and enlightening for youngsters and oldsters alike. Admission to the fair is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.
The fair will be held in John Baldwin Park across from the Concord Senior Center at 2727 Parkside Circle in Concord from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Included in the program will be lectures and tips on pet care and grooming, pet behavior and training and agility demonstrations.
Highlighting the fair will be a pet parade with anyone wishing to show off their pet welcome to participate, and a dog contest with prizes being awarded to the winners in various categories. Retail and service booths that offer a variety of benefits for pet owners will remain open throughout the day.
There will be a nominal charge for anyone wishing to enter their pet in the dog contest. All donations and fees collected will be turned over to the Humane Society to help them in their ongoing fight to save the dogs and cats in our community.
Patti Lee, a news reporter for KTVU Channel 2, will emcee the program. As an aide, when Patti learned of the plight of the greyhound mix from her cousin Tamiko, she and husband Paul arranged to see the dog. It was love at first sight.
The dog, which they named Samba, has been a member of their family ever since. I will add with pride that Tamiko is my daughter, and volunteers her services at the shelter every Saturday.
For those of you planning to attend the fair, it will be a double treat seeing a television personality and her three-legged adopted "son" up front.
And thank you, CCHS, Concord Senior Center and Patti Lee for looking after us on behalf of all the cats and dogs awaiting homes in Contra Costa County.
Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at email@example.com.