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Bigfoot's Valentine

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Valentine's Day. The easiest blog post for me to write is the one I do each year around Valentine's Day. Yes, of course, we deal with a great deal of sadness and real drama in the world of animal shelters, but love is quite literally here in the air. Every day, everywhere. Walk the kennels and cat rooms, talk to volunteers and staff and visitors and spend any time with the animals so ready for a new home and family: You will know love each day, as I do.

This year, this Valentine's Day post has been made even easier to write since it was sent to me already written by reader Mike Smith by email this past weekend. He wrote:

I work in downtown Oakland, and over the years there's been this big Rottweiler off leash up the street, milling around and greeting people. His name is Bigfoot, and he basically lived in this little cell phone store, sleeping there overnight as a 'guard dog.'

Well, his owner is changing over the business into a nightclub, and he and a woman who also works on the block talked about how it might be good for Bigfoot, in his twilight years (he's 12), to go to a home with a yard and more companionship. So this woman, Lisa, took him to live with her family and other dogs in SF.

Turns out that Lisa first met Bigfoot seven years ago -- on Valentine's Day! She remembers Valentine's Day in 2007 walking by this store and being scared by this big Rottweiler barking through the glass. She likes dogs but was nervous about this one.

One day the owner told her that the dog, Bigfoot, was actually very friendly, and he had her come in to see for herself. She really hit it off with him, and for a long time Bigfoot would walk with her as she left work and went to the BART stairs. He'd sit at the top and watch her go down.

So since Valentine's is coming up, I thought that might be a compelling peg on which to hang this story -- since now Bigfoot is actually part of her family all these years later. He went from scaring her, to watching her walk down the steps to BART, to now watching her walk up the stairs to greet him at home!

But the end of the story is her work to raise money for Bigfoot. He has severe leg pain and needs surgery, costing thousands of dollars. So she's trying to raise money from people in the neighborhood who have loved the big guy over the years.

Anyways, I'm a dog lover who has worked with media on stories over the years, and I just felt that this had both a nice Bay Area/neighbors theme and Valentine's Day hook. (Plus I know that dog stories can get crazy traffic once shared online.) Let me know if you think your space might take interest in this.

Ok readers, I don't know either Mike or Lisa so please read and enjoy and then, should you be moved to help, do whatever it is you do when you see such a request. Sounds to me like a happy story made possible by someone who cares, someone who could now use help to make possible several more happy Valentine's Days.

And if making possible happy endings appeals to you then please also consider the three things your local animal sheltering organization needs: think about adopting, consider volunteering, and if you have any discretionary dollars you can afford to spare please donate. If you don't know the organization dedicated to serving the homeless animals in your community just send me an email and I'll figure that out for you (keep in mind that donations to the ASPCA and Humane Society of the U.S. do not trickle down to the shelters caring for animals in your 'hood.)