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Rescued cats and dogs make wonderful pets

Welcome back to the bark side of life here in Ottertail, where crystalline portraits are painted on the windows in shades of silver and white. The reflection of the outdoor Christmas lights glisten in the early morning dawn and another cold chilly day begins at Rosswood. Warmth has taken a holiday somewhere south and does not promise to return until late spring... we walk in winter and dream summer dreams.

Speaking of walking in winter, my lovely wife Cindy was driving towards Perham on State Highway 78 Tuesday morning and noticed a small dog trotting down the highway, headed south. She immediately pulled over and beckoned to the diminutive canine to come over. At first the mangled mess of tangled fur started towards Cindy, but after looking both ways down the road, thought better of it.

Cindy got out of the car and pursued this tiny tyke of a dog (our 7 canines weigh well over 80 lbs on average) and was joined by another motorist in her quest. Finally the small dog gave in and squatted in the ditch... wet, cold, and shivering. Several cars passed the two ladies, and after inquiring as to the ownership of the lost pooch, a decision had to be made. What to do?

Cindy phoned our veterinarian, Dr. William Rose, and spoke to him about the procedure of rescuing a dog that had no identification, collar, or anything that would help return the dog to her (later identified as a female) home. She found out that since the dog was in Ottertail County, outside city limits, that the poor thing had to be taken to the Humane Society in Fergus Falls. He also told her that we (Rosswood Kennels) could not bring an outside dog into our community of canines without being medically cleared. I was next to be phoned by the tender hearted wife.

Although this happened in Ottertail County, the procedure as to what you can do to rescue a lost animal applies to all counties, including Becker as well. I heard the urgency in my wife's voice and did what a good husband should do... I got dressed and was ready to take the dog to Fergus Falls, as was suggested by our vet.

She arrived with the shivering mess of tangles and matted fur wrapped in a blanket, and off we went to the Humane Society. She was accepted by Erika (a veterinary technician) at the shelter, and since the lovely Cindy became attached to the bundle of (soon to be white fluffy) fur, we became the first on the list to adopt the lost doggie. We will find out soon if the pooch is available for adoption.

This summer, I campaigned for the establishment of a shelter in East Otter Tail County, and joined a few conscientious souls in making that need a public concern. The Humane Society in Detroit Lakes does a remarkable job in providing a service to the community. In this time of economic gymnastics (the Dow going up and down like a child on a trampoline), it is particularly important to be cognizant of our pets' well being.

It seems more and more animals are being neglected or even abandoned these days. Pets as presents are risky at best, because of the responsibility needed to provide the care the pet so truly needs. Some young adults lose the ambition or motivation to care for their newly acquired present. Adults have also been notorious for abandoning pets. In a climate like ours, these creatures are doomed to die in the throes of those wicked winter winds. We must strive to ensure that the animals that we have under our care are properly treated. The bare essentials of food and water are not enough. They need lots of love.

I feel like I am a steward of the breed of German Shepherd dogs. There is a great challenge in raising, breeding, and training them to be the best the breed can be. It is also true for just the average person who has a household pet. They look to us for everything. Rescued dogs and cats are wonderful pets, and we need to become more active in our communities in order to provide these helpless bundles of fur a safe place where they are cared for and loved.

The "Weirdest thing my pet has done is..." contest is officially on, and I look forward to your entries in the near future. You can send your stories to me by e-mail at or write to me at Keith Alan Ross, Richville MN 56576; you can even phone me at 218-495-2195. Until next time...