This One

We get all manner of phone calls at the Gabber office. Not just the “I have a news idea for you” or “I’d like to place an ad” calls, but the ones that most people might not expect. For example, a few years ago a duck with an injured wing found its way into the pond at Wood Ibis Park. We received daily phone calls asking us what we were going to do about it. We’ve also received calls inquiring about stray animals (sometimes they bring them in), doctor recommendations, high water bills… you name it, people ask us. And we don’t mind, because that’s part of being a community paper and not a big, faceless daily. You trust us, and we appreciate that, even if we really can’t tell you which doctor is best.

After 11 years of writing for this paper, my cell phone number is as common knowledge to some people as their own, and I get calls whenever the paper office isn’t open, which is to say Thursdays, nights and weekends.

Many times, people call to ask me, “What time do the Urban Gyspies play at Geckofest?” or “Hey, you ran an article about a guy making wood chains for Christmas trees; where can I find him?”

Other times, the calls aren’t as much fun.

Last weekend I received a Saturday morning call from a Marina District resident – let’s call her Frances, because she asked I not use her name –whose neighbors had died as part of an alleged murder/suicide. That wasn’t the point of the call, though. The point was this: Six days before, when the couple died, they had left a cat shut in a room and a dachshund running loose in the home.

Animal Services had taken the cat before the neighbors, stunned, could act. But when they saw the elderly dachshund tied to a mailbox, they didn’t wait for permission to take it. The dachshund, when I got the call, was in a “safe house”and could I either adopt it myself or find it a home, please?

We have just adopted a goofy hound dog who has some re-entry issues after too long in the pound and Calypso is recovering from a back injury. I told Frances I couldn’t take the dog but I would find a home.

This is why I love Gulfport. It took me all of five minutes to find someone who would take the dog indefinitely, but by the time I called to tell Frances, someone else had stepped up.

Olive Davis, thank you.

You may not know Olive or her partner, Tammy. I barely know Tammy and remember Olive from when she worked at Stella’s. They already have several dogs and didn’t think twice about saying, yes, we will take this dog and yes, if the next of kin wants the dog, we understand we have to let them keep her.

What Olive and Tammy did, it isn’t, in the grand scheme of things, a big deal. People adopt dogs every day, and every one of those dogs has a story. I’m living with one now, who flinches whenever you raise an arm over her eye level, who is so profoundly unsocialized she doesn’t know how to react to people, so walking her is traumatic. We get these calls all the time at the paper. Every abandoned animal has a story that will break your heart. This dog was no different.

But the voices in my head will do a number on me for a good long time, because this dog most likely saw a murder/suicide and then had to sit by her masters’sides for six days before someone helped her. She didn’t understand.

Which is why this whole space is just about thanking Olive and Tammy. Like I said, we get calls at the paper about stray animals all the time, and as much as everyone in our office loves animals (walk in some Friday when we have more dogs than people in the office and you’ll see what I mean), even we cannot save them all. We do what we can, but sometimes I start to feel like it will never be enough. Our hearts break every day with the calls we get.

So, on behalf of everyone out there who I know cares as much as I do about the animals, thank you, Olive and Tammy. I know we can’t save them all, but, as the saying goes, you saved this one, and I know I am not alone in telling you how much that means to so many of us.

Hard Candy is an opinion column written by veteran reporter Cathy Salustri. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Gabber publishers, staff or advertisers. Contact Cathy Salustri at CathySalustri@theGabber.com.

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