Roice-Hurst Humane Society is the United Way for canines

A couple hundred or so people gathered on the lawn at Grande River Vineyards Saturday night. There they were treated to music by Stray Grass, some of the better local musicians, food from Rib City, some of the area’s best barbecue, wine from Grande River, certainly Colorado wine country’s best, and rain from Ma Nature, which is hardly surprising in western Colorado in August.

The showers didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for the evening. Music, food and wine were still to be had, but they weren’t the real reason for the gathering in Palisade. The real reason was to support one of the valley’s best nonprofit organizations, the Roice-Hurst Humane Society. Roice-Hurst is to the canine and feline world what United Way is to those of us who walk upright. It’s where animals go when they find themselves down on their luck, without a best friend and in need of a warm kennel and a few meals.

The lives of those in the animal kingdom, it seems, mirror those of the humanoid variety. When times are tough for us, times tend to be tough for dogs and cats. It makes sense, although the thought isn’t pleasant.

When an adult — I use the word loosely — loses a job, unfortunately one of the ways to save money is to get rid of the family pet. Sometimes that’s done in a humane way, and the pet is taken to a shelter like Roice-Hurst. Too often the animal is simply dumped alongside a road. If Fido’s lucky he may be found and taken to a shelter. If he’s not … there’s no reason to go there. We all know the dangers that lurk out there for stray animals.

Those dangers are why we all should be thankful for organizations like Roice-Hurst.

The staff, volunteers and board at Roice-Hurst do the work that the rest of us, for one reason or another, won’t or can’t do.

I salute the many volunteers who donate time and talent to Roice-Hurst. It truly takes a special person to spend time with homeless animals. I know it would be difficult not to bring home a new buddy every week. It would be too easy to become the guy we read about occasionally, the one with 20 dogs. Or the woman with 50 cats. Those people are suffering from some kind of mental illness, usually, an illness that would be all too easy to contract.

Fortunately there are a few people in the world like Bob Anthony. He was Roice-Hurst’s Volunteer of the Year last year. For seven years he’s been making the trip to Roice-Hurst at 3320 D ½ Road, where he has walked countless homeless dogs.

Not even a black eye from a German Shepherd mix named Abby, who was so happy to see him that she jumped up and hit his eye with her snout, dampened his enthusiasm. That was the first dog he ever walked. The bruised eye was a small price to pay for the joy of seeing a dog that is happy to get out of a kennel for a while.

Today Bob not only walks dogs, he is Roice-Hurst’s trainer for new dog walkers.

Roice-Hurst needs a lot of things. Dog and cat food is always on the list, as are such items as cat litter, animal toys, collars and harnesses. There are too many needed things to list them all here.

Money is always useful, of course, as are volunteers. Bob Anthony would like nothing better than for you to join his next class and become part of the team of dog-walkers.

I know there’s no shortage of worthwhile organizations competing for our time, talents and dollars. Roice-Hurst is hardly the only worthwhile organization in the Grand Valley. But it is one of the better ones. The need is great to take care of the stray dogs and cats that, with a little luck, could end up being great friends with someone.

Give Roice-Hurst a call if you’re interested in helping. They can be reached at 434-7337, or take a look at the website, rhhumanesociety.com.

Denny Herzog is the retired executive editor of The Daily Sentinel. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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