I don’t recall exactly what I was doing between July 4-10 2007, and I’m too lazy to look it up. I have a pretty good hunch that I spent a lot of that time with my dog – playing catch, walking in the park, playing catch, cooking while he cleaned my spills off the floor… and playing catch.
I certainly was not thinking about Manhattan or Brooklyn, or the animal shelters there, or anyone who visited those shelters, or any dog in those shelters.
And yet, those seven days had a huge effect on my life.
On July 4, 2007, a stray dog was picked up in the Bronx. I’ll never know the story, but odds are good that he pulled a door open, went out and got lost. He was picked up and taken to the ACC in Manhattan.
He looked like this:
The ACC did what it does for the thousands of animals who come through their doors – estimated his age (one year), weighed him (59 pounds), and gave him a name – July.
July, they said, was fearful and withdrawn. He did not approach the handler, and leaned away with his ears flattened. He resisted being removed from his cage, He did not exhibit aggression. When tested with another dog, he did not interact.
He was put up for adoption, in a cage with a tag that said his health status was mild and his behavior moderate.
On July 8, he came up for review. The sheer volume that goes through the ACC forces them to euthanize unwanted animals, and that was the decision made that day. July was to be euthanized.
Two amazing women spend an astonishing amount of time reviewing the “at risk” list. They select as many animals as they can, pay the adoption fees, and arrange transportation for each animal to be taken to a no-kill shelter.
On July 10, 2007, Bernadette Peters and Patty Saccente saved July’s life.
They put him in their car and took him to BARC Shelter in Brooklyn. At BARC, Vinny and Tony took him in. They actually took him in twice, but that’s a story for another day.
Somewhere between the cage at the ACC and a large pen at BARC, July got a new name. Ms. Peters says that he had such a classic old-time look, so she gave him an old-time name to match. Bosco.
Today, and every day, I say to these four people:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Those seven days did not involve me, but they changed my life. Five years later, crushed by the loss of my dog, I knew that the only way to dig out was to love another. And Bosco was there.
So now I’m getting up on a soapbox: everyone, support an animal shelter. Whether it’s with money, or by performing services, do it today. Whatever you do today saves a life today.
That life could very well be your future sweet boy.