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Saturday, August 06, 2005


Published: August 6, 2005, By Marjorie Woodfin
Pilot staff writer, Curry Coastal Pilot

One day in mid-July everyone at the South Coast Humane Society animal shelter was crying, but they were tears of joy.

A man named Richard had come to the shelter begging for a dog to take back to Ohio.

When he picked out a dog he wanted to adopt, Shelter Manager Vicki Cooley said she told him it was not a good choice. "I told him that the dog he wanted runs and attacks other animals."

Richard then began to cry. He said he had started on his trip from Ohio to the Pacific Northwest with his old dog, and his dog died. According to Cooley he said, "I have to have a dog. Without one I'll kill myself."

"And I believed him," she said. "He was so broken up, there was no way I was going to send a dog out with him driving back to Ohio in this heat."

With the man sobbing uncontrollably and threatening to kill himself, she didn't know what to do. She called the Outreach Gospel Mission and spoke with Harry

Lawrence, a minister who volunteers at the mission.

Cooley said within 10 minutes Lawrence was at the shelter and she put the two men together in her office. She said the men talked and prayed together for some time before Lawrence came out to speak with her.

She said Lawrence told her, "I really think that this is a good owner." He reassured her that the man had money to take care of an animal and had air conditioning in his vehicle.

They went back to the kennels for another look and when Richard saw Sissy, a Border collie mix, and Sissy saw Richard, "They bonded immediately," Cooley said. "She followed him everywhere and obeyed all commands."

Sissy was brought to the shelter in June when her owner moved to a care facility and could no longer care for her.

Lawrence said, "When I got there this middle-aged fellow was sobbing in his car. He said he and his wife had an argument and she yelled at him and he hit the road and his dog died, and he talked about his dog." Lawrence said after his conversation with Richard, he told Cooley, "I know you want to place an animal and this guy is a human being and he really needs a dog."

"Sissy was a perfect dog for him," Cooley said. "We gave him a non-tip dog dish and a lot of food and new leashes and sent him on his way. He was so happy. Everyone was crying. He said, ‘you saved a life,' and I believed him. It was just wonderful."

On July 14, Richard drove off from the shelter smiling, with Sissy sitting beside him looking equally happy, Cooley said.

About a week later she received a post card from Richard saying, "Hi Vicky, Got home last night Sissy is doing great. My wife Agnes likes her. So the three of us are doing good in Cecil, Ohio. Say Hi to Harry. God Bless."


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