Read Critter Chat!

Here is a list of articles published, with our gratitude, by the Chatham Star Tribune.

Critter Chat: February 15, 2017

The way I look at storm drains has significantly changed over the past 25 years.  More cats and dogs than we ever wanted to know about use these storm drains to safely go from place to place, and to get a little bit of perceived security.  I am not exaggerating…

Critter Chat: February 1, 2017

One Saturday evening recently, I received a call from dispatch informing me that a citizen had found a small dog he thought was a Yorkie. He took the dog to the shelter and put him in our after-hours area. The shelter manager went to the shelter and put him inside…

Critter Chat: January 18, 2017

Our beloved maternal grandfather, Dada, was a talented organist and once taught Shirley Temple’s daughter piano lessons. He was a kind, gentle man who had a wonderful sense of humor. Dada was also a worrier. He was a big-time, bona fide worrier who would worry if he had nothing to…

Critter Chat: January 4, 2017

A few months ago, a very tired-looking Marie Bushley brought neatly folded newspapers to the shelter. She brought sad news about a recent diagnosis, and all we could do was hug her and cry with her. Several of us attended her funeral on December 29, and the words spoken there…

Critter Chat: December 21, 2016

When my sister and I were children, we would write letters to Santa. In fact, our mother still has a section of the Manhattan, Kan., newspaper that printed lots of letters from our classes in Northview Elementary School. We laugh now because my letters and even my whispers to Santa…

Critter Chat: December 7, 2016

Until the mid-1990s, the shelter had never had a mascot animal because the thought had been that all animals would be happiest in a private home. As a result, staff members knew that they should try to have some emotional distance from their favorite shelter animals if they did not…

Critter Chat: November 22, 2016

Many years ago, a skeletal dog was found as a stray and brought to the shelter. Even after all the horrible sights we have seen at the shelter, this one profoundly affected us. The dog, a brown hound mix, had to be carried into the shelter and then into a

Critter Chat: November 9, 2016

By the time you read this, we will have survived a presidential election; maybe our nation can begin to heal and unite once again. In a bi-partisan kind of way, let us relax a little and take a brief look at some of the many pets that have occupied the…

Critter Chat: October 12, 2016

Last week as I parked my car at the shelter, I saw a woman standing at the front door. She was crying and held a cat in a blanket as she would have held a human baby. As I asked her if I could help her, she said she had…

Critter Chat: October 5, 2016

Recently, I came across a short video clip of a longer 2000 PBS documentary about an elephant named Shirley that was transferred to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Shirley had been captured as a young elephant in Asia in the 1950s and was brought to the United States to perform…

Critter Chat: September 22, 2016

A few years ago, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated her throne. When I first heard the news that this would take place, I remembered a story that was told of her childhood to her childhood. One day, Princess Beatrix forgot to feed her dog. The next morning, she was…

Critter Chat: August 31, 2016

Sometimes, the absolute sadness or even horror of a situation is hard to fathom.  Such was the case of a dog that, thankfully, is now in heaven.  We had received a complaint about a dog that was chained in a yard and people driving by were concerned about him because…

Critter Chat: August 17, 2016

Most animals that come into the animal shelter are accompanied by a sad story.  Such was the case with a small black and white Papillon mix with a serious underbite that came to us in 2008.  After wandering away from an unknown place, he wound up in a woman’s yard…

Critter Chat: August 3, 2016

Back before the days of the Internet, animal welfare groups warned people against free-to-good home advertisements in newspapers, radio yard sale programs, and community bulletin boards.  Anecdotal evidence was shared about small kittens being acquired for snake food and dog fighting training.  Larger, gentle dogs were acquired to be bait…

Critter Chat: July 20, 2016

In 1984, the Danville Area Humane Society took over operation of the Danville animal shelter.  We had one employee and the rest of the daily care of the animals was taken care of by volunteers. Although in those days, I shied away from seeing the abused, thin, or homeless animals…

Critter Chat: July 6, 2016

Humble birds – pigeons and seagulls – are considered pests by many people.  Amazingly, though, they also could be considered to be heroes. Carrier pigeons were used in World War I and World War II to carry messages.  Their speed, homing ability, and high-altitude flight abilities made them the perfect animals to…

Critter Chat: June 22, 2016

Years ago, I read that the coming decade would be called the Information Age. This was in the early days of the internet; we probably didn’t even have e-mail at the shelter. I wondered what could possibly be meant by that. I know the answer now. Today, I can know…

Critter Chat: June 1, 2016

Each year at the annual meeting, we give awards to people who have exemplified humane treatment of animals. We also give an award to an animal that has been adopted from the shelter after overcoming great hardships. The William Schwarz Animal Hero of the Year Award was named after the…

Critter Chat: May 11, 2016

When I was younger (okay, a lot younger), I looked forward to summer because days were filled with reading, playing badminton, playing street baseball, and Saturday picnics. Now, I dread hot weather because I know that summer can be more deadly to animals than winter. Since you are reading this…

Critter Chat: April 27, 2016

On April 1, 2016, Governor McAuliffe signed House Bill 476, and it will become law on July 1, 2016. This very simple bill actually had a long uphill road to climb before being signed. The bill was proposed by Delegate Matt Fariss of the 59th district, which encompasses parts of…

Critter Chat: April 13,2016

Have you ever seen an animal that has completely given up? I have and my heart breaks each time. With the ever-present cameras and on-line posting of videos and pictures, the comments and captions usually blame the animal’s broken spirit on the shelter. However, the sadness, neglect, and cruelty in…

Critter Chat: March 30, 2016

My nephew and his wife are busy. Mark has a more than full-time job in Bentonville, Ark., and they have almost three year-old twins and a senior dog. With church responsibilities in the mix, every day is filled with activity. Last week when I received a call from Jill and…

 Critter Chat: March 16, 2016

Several days ago, I drove past a convenience store in a part of town that is not on my regularly traveled route. As I passed the store, I did what I always do when I pass that store – I thought about the first dog I adopted from the Danville Are…

Critter Chat: Oct 1, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I was a witness to a sad moment for a family. They had brought their beloved Great Dane to us to be euthanized. He could no longer walk, and there was no hope he would ever be better. Since he was so large and unable…