pets' lives saved since becoming no-kill in
January 2002

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Richmond SPCA

Humane Center

2519 Hermitage Road
Richmond, VA 23220

Adoption Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Lora Robins Gift Shop Hours
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Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Donation Drop Off Hours
Mon. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Susan M. Markel
Veterinary Hospital

Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admissions Hours
Mon. - Fri. by appointment.

Administrative Hours
Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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CEO Purrspective

May 2007

Dear Fellow Animal Lover:

We all get those e-mail messages with touching stories or pithy sayings that get passed around the Internet endlessly like high tech fruitcakes.  The ones I get are all about dogs and cats and I usually see the same one about 25 times before it finally goes to whatever is the final resting place for those things. 

One of them has always intrigued me because it provides insight as to why most of us need a pet (or more than one, in my case) in our lives.  It is the one that lists all of the things that our dogs can teach us.  All of the items in the list relate to enjoying life and embracing the simple pleasures of each new day.  That seems to be something that we humans acknowledge we have no capacity for unless we have a four legged family member helping us along.  We must have no natural joie de vivre can get it by osmosis from our beloved canine or feline companion.

I was reminding myself of that as I bathed our dog Charley at 6:30 a.m. this past weekend.    Her copious amounts of joie de vivre had led her to visit the geese in the lower section of our back yard and roll in their excrement (sorry, no nicer way I could think of to convey that thought).  Charley absolutely loves to roll in things that smell terrible.  That behavior is, not surprisingly, omitted from the list on the Internet of the things we should learn to do from our dog.

But, the principle remains valid.  Charley loves life and goes at it with an abandon that leaves me awed.  We humans, on the other hand, find ourselves these days enveloped by a dark fog of imminent disaster.   We are assaulted from all sides with information on the dangers we and our children face.  The drumbeat of danger is everywhere – in our food, in our schools, in our airports.  We and our children receive constant messages about all the serious risks in our lives.

I am the first person to believe in the value of educating myself and my family about how to be safe and avoid risks to our health.  But, I do worry that all of this rampant fear has left us unable to embrace the glory and fun of living.  We, as parents, also have a duty to our kids to help them cultivate a joie de vivre.  We are not doing our job if we do not show them that life is to be loved, enjoyed and embraced each day with an expectation of great things. 

And, so, that is why every parent owes it to their child to have a pet, or more than one.  What a child (and an adult, for that matter) learns from a pet is not just a sense of responsibility and compassion, although they certainly learn those things.  Equally importantly, a pet shows a child that life is a great big present waiting to be unwrapped with each day that dawns.  Every time I see Charley turning in rapid circles at our back door in anticipation of my opening it for her, I absorb a bit of her excitement about what life might hold for me too that today. 

Oscar Wilde wrote, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."  Charley helps me see the stars and I bet your pets do that for you too.  Could there be any greater gift?
Robin Robertson Starr