By BILL GRAY
Mt. Pleasant News
Curt Swarm had a wonderful tribute to the passing of his longtime companion Holly Dog on Wednesday. If you are not a regular reader of this Mt. Pleasant resident?s regular column, I urge you to get in the habit.
(And you can go read it right now at www.mpnews.net with your subscriber user name and password, he said pluggingly.)
I was going to write my own column about some of my adventures with Rusty, my longtime companion of the canine persuasion. If you?ve driven in or near the downtown area on weekends, or spent any time at Saunders Park after 5 p.m., you may have noticed a speckled brown-on-white dog dragging an old man on a leash.
Yeah, that?d be us. Rusty has more than a few dog years under his belt, but he still makes me look like a slacker as he tries futilely to get my legs to keep up with him as squirrels and rabbits are stalked, spotted and (he wishes) chased.
Curt has a heart-warming theme to his writing about his treasured pet that I can?t attempt to match. But his subject matter makes me realize that this is an excellent time to call attention to the wonderfulness of dogs and pets in Mt. Pleasant and Henry County.
The Pura Vida team for the upcoming American Cancer Society?s Relay for Life last weekend demonstrated the love and care our community has for puppies young and old. It was a fitting fund-raiser held at Central Park that brought out many for ?Bark for Life? on Saturday.
(Photos were in Monday?s paper, and should be online at www.mpnews.net right now. Plug number two!)
The Relay for Life effort is one in which deservedly, our community takes pride. It?s a wonderful evening of activities and sharing on the Iowa Wesleyan College campus. This year?s event will be held June 22, and if you?d like to get more information and be involved ? first, I?m surprised someone hasn?t snared you already ? second, go www.relayforlife.org and plug in our zip code for the basics, including how to donate to fight this deadly disease.
Meanwhile, there are dogs in Henry County not as fortunate as Rusty as far as their living arrangements, and more so since last week?s storm on May 29. Winds clocked at 80 miles per hour or better selected some usually sturdy targets for destruction, including a row of kennels at Henry County Veterinary Hospital on West Washington Street.
Those kennels were used to house temporarily strays and lost dogs from the community. Fortunately, no animals were injured, but Henry County Animal Rescue, which was allowed to use the kennels for this purpose, is scrambling to find alternatives.
(See the story that was in the June 4 paper online at www.mpnews.net. Plug number three for the Trifecta!)
The organization, which itself has been revamped and strengthened after some tough times in recent years, is working toward the goal of taking over the ?city pound,? according to Rescue President Gary Ruth. Of course, that?s the necessary component of the need for local law enforcement to round up those homeless and lost animals.
While they have a good organization of ?foster homes? to house pets, their capacity is being exceeded, and work needs to be done to establish a permanent facility ? perhaps a separately maintained kennel facility and ideally a full-fledged community animal shelter.
Henry County Animal Rescue needs our help to do this, so if you can donate time, funding or good ideas, call 319-537-0200. Just as this community rallies in good numbers for the Relay for Life, we need to come to the Rescue for the good of our pets.