Just over 8 years ago, I made a right turn instead of a left out of the Home Depot parking lot. That was a turn that would change our lives forever. In the bushes next to the bus stop sat a sad little puppy. She'd obviously been dumped there with a t-shirt as a blanket, and an empty cottage cheese container that probably served as a water dish.
For the next 8 years, we would have the best addition to our family: a dog who was dumped by someone who didn't care or appreciate what a smart, loving animal they were leaving. Ferris was like a sibling to our boys, a part of the family going on vacations and getting toys in her stocking at Christmas.
Ferris knew she was lucky. She appreciated all the love and care her new family gave her. Not every dog left on the street is so lucky. Some get hit by cars or left to starve. Fortunately, the Humane Society does everything they can to rescue these homeless or lost animals by giving them food, shelter, vaccinations and a chance to be adopted.
A month ago, we lost our awesome dog Ferris to cancer. Her happy face is one I'll always remember. Doing something positive in her honor is something we can all do together.
On Sunday September 27th, we're doing the annual Wiggle Waggle Walk in Ferris' honor. This is a fundraising effort to help the Pasadena Humane Society. Please donate through our site and help us reach our goal of $8,000; a thousand dollars for every year of Ferris' life. No donation is too small. We appreciate each donation. Thank you!
People like you made small and large donations, and within a week we blew our fundraising goal away. When everything was counted up, you guys donated over $13,000 to the Pasadena Humane Society!
Your contributions were so generous and added up so quickly, the Pasadena Humane Society asked Anne and me if we would like to walk one of their shelter dogs in the Wiggle Waggle Walk, as a way of saying thank you. We love dogs, so of course we accepted their offer. On the morning of the walk, we put on our Team Ferris T-shirts, wiped a lot of tears out of our eyes, met our friends at the Rose Bowl, and after a wiping a few more tears out of our eyes, met the shelter dog we'd be walking. He didn't have a name, because he'd only been at the PHS for a week, so I named him DOG, after the giant robot who loves everyone in Half Life 2.
Here's the girst picture I ever took of him, which I posted to TwitPic with my Blackberry:
(click to embiggen)
He was affectionate, friendly, happy, and seemed to love every person and dog we encountered. Anne leaned over to me while we were walking and said, "this dog is going to be awesome when he grows up."
Here's another picture I took with my Blackberry for Twitter:
I took some pictures during the walk, like when he got tired:
And after the walk, when he made a new friend:
Anne and I were pretty convinced that we shouldn't get another dog until at least after the holidays, but during the five hours we were at the Wiggle Waggle Walk, we completely fell in love with DOG (who eventually was named Seamus, even though I really lobbied hard to call him Batman), and we decided that we would adopt him.
(Here is the exact moment when I fell in love with Seamus.)
I have a bunch of other pictures on Flickr, if you want to fall in love with Seamus, too. In fact, go look at them, and then come back.
I know right? Isn't he the most adorable dog in the world? Pictures don't capture his personality that well, and I hope you'll trust me when I tell you how amazing he is, and how grateful I am that he is part of our family. Ferris was such an awesome dog, and though we knew we could never replace her, Seamus has been a worthy heir to her spot at the foot of our bed, by my side when I go for a walk, and under my feet when I'm working at my desk.
We never would have met Seamus if we hadn't decided to honor Ferris' memory by raising money for the Pasadena Humane Society. We wouldn't have met Seamus if you hadn't given so many donations, large and small, and pushed us into the top few fundraisers — in less than a week, even — last year. We wouldn't have met Seamus if the Pasadena Humane Society wasn't there to save dogs and other animals like him who are abandoned by their owners, and need a safe place to live until they can find a family.
I'm going to turn this over to Anne for a minute, like I did last year, because she has something she wants to say:
In August 2009, our dog Ferris died unexpectedly from cancer. We decided to turn our grief over the loss of our family member into something positive by raising money to help the Pasadena Humane Society with their annual Wiggle Waggle Walk; a fundraiser to help with the care of homeless, stray and abandoned animals.
We were overwhelmed by the emotional and financial support we received to help the Pasadena Humane Society. When we arrived at the walk last year, we were asked to walk one of their shelter dogs to bring awareness to adoption. It was both an honor and a crushing reminder that we were there because Ferris had died. We agreed to walk a dog and met Seamus.
Seamus was a 7 month old puppy, found running around the streets of Pasadena. He had been in the shelter for a week. No one claimed him and no one asked to adopt him. But thanks to the Pasadena Humane Society, he was safe, fed and protected until he found the right home. Support from people like you makes it possible for the PHS to maintain this care for all of their animals while they wait for their new family.
Please help us reach our goal by making a tax-deductible donation and support a wonderful cause.
This Sunday, Anne will take Seamus back to the Rose Bowl (I can't go, because I'll be flying home from Eureka) to celebrate not only Ferris' memory, but her legacy. We hope you'll join us again, just like you did last year, so that the Pasadena Humane Society can continue to care for animals, and provide a safe place for dogs like Seamus to find people like us.
Here's Seamus one last time:
I get to see this face every day, and know that I am unconditionally loved by this little guy, because people like you helped us support the Pasadena Humane Society.
Please make whatever contribution you can via our Wiggle Waggle Walk page. If just 1% of you who read this make a $5 contribution, we'll raise five figures. That possibility just blows me away.