Why do us shelter dogs get such a bad rap? It wasn’t my fault I didn’t have a home…I wasn’t a bad or destructive dog. If people haven’t noticed, times are tough out there. Our owners have to give us up when they can’t afford us anymore; they have to move away and can’t take us with them; or worse yet, our beloved masters die before we do and we’re orphaned.
I myself fell victim to one of these hardships and ended up at ‘Fannie’s House’ when I was only a year old. I waited patiently in my kennel day after day, until the thirtieth day….As I sat by the chain link fence, I saw a girl and a young boy walking my way—looking at me with their kind brown eyes—and I thought, “Could this be the day?,” as I softly raised my paw onto the fence as a gesture of my willingness to greet them. Before I knew it, they were leading me out of my kennel and bringing me outside. We came to a grassy area across the street and I met the most beautiful dog I had ever laid eyes on. His name was Mickey. He was regal and proud, with a sunlit-golden mane—like the noblest king of the jungle—into which I couldn’t wait to bury my snout!
My puppy prayers were answered. The very next day I started my new life with Mickey, and my new owners, but I will never forget Fannie’s House, and the shelter and safety her home provided for me when life dealt me a bad hand.
Yes, this is the tale of my dog, Rossi. And you may be wondering to yourself, “Where the heck is Fannie’s house?” The home Rossi speaks of is none other than the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society, which was founded in 1924 by Fannie Thompson Kessler. She created the SGVHS because the city kept fining her for taking helpless animals into her home. Of course, afterwards, they couldn’t stop her! (Can you imagine the determination this woman had?—women had just been granted the right to vote four years earlier.)
Kessler was born in 1859, therefore, she was 65 years old when she decided to further devote her life to humane work—and she continued to do so until her death in 1945. I was so inspired to learn about this amazing woman from my friend Doreen this week, I couldn’t wait to dedicate this week’s blog to Kessler’s dedication to animals—and in allegiance to my own personal love for animals and willingness to help where I can.
Hopefully, Rossi and I have inspired more people not to forget about this historic shelter that has come so close to shutting down, and has been a home to loving animals (like my own) for almost 90 years. Mrs. Fannie Thompson Kessler was a woman of strength and devotion; and those of you who are acquainted with me already, know how whole-heartedly I embrace women who dedicate their lives to others. They should not be forgotten—and in my book—should be honored without end.
San Gabriel Valley Humane Society
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
851 E. Grand Ave., San Gabriel
SGVHumane.org or call 626.286.1159
Marinella Pollo’s blog can be found at Piazza Press. Her cookbook You Never Grow Old at the Dinner Table is available at Vroman’s, in Kindle format at Amazon, at Claro’s Italian Markets, or at SpadaBooks.com.