|my boy, cap'n lou|
|my girl, frances|
The Save the Animals Foundation, or STAF, is a volunteer operated, no-kill shelter on Red Bank Road, which simultaneously cares for over 600 animals at any given time. Tonight, as I write this, there are volunteers offering their time and energy to provide for these animals in need, many of whom are innocent victims of human neglect, irresponsibility, and cruelty. They are there working on Christmas day. They are there on Memorial Day. They are there on the Fourth of July. You get my point: the volunteers of STAF have carried the ball 99 yards, but they need people like you and me...people with loving homes and open places in their hearts...to push it across the goal line.
The mission of STAF is simple, pure, and beautiful: to provide each animal with the highest quality of life and care until they can be found a permanent home or until they reach their natural end of life, the former always being preferable. The facility is magnificent. The volunteers are dedicated and tenacious, and they are making our city a better place through their selfless work and steadfast devotion to these wonderful creatures, with whom we share this world.
I recently had a chance to spend time with, play with, and photograph several of the beautiful animals the good people at STAF are saving on behalf of all of us. Here are just a few of the hundreds of animals available for adoption. I hope that you will read their stories, look into their eyes, and then consider doing something to help. There will be contact information for STAF at the end of the post.
|photo by steve metz sabra|
How are those for some loyal, eager, and soulful, brown eyes? This is Sabra. She's a shepherd mix. Sabra was, sadly, dealt a double-whammy when it came to her earliest interactions with people. A breeder sold her as a pure-bred German Shepherd, which she isn't, and the person who bought the story, and consequently, the dog, decided that it would be ok to not feed poor Sabra very often or very much, after having attempted to return the dog to the shady breeder, to no avail. So, at 11 months old, Sabra arrived at STAF weighing only 37 pounds: far underweight for a dog of her stature. Those two encounters with humanity temporarily diminished her physique, but not her spirit or her mind. Luckily, for Sabra, and for her, future family, STAF is well versed in handling these situations and reversing the course. They know just how to nourish a soul like Sabra. Lots of love, high quality food, and even weekly water-therapy to help build muscle mass, have all combined to give Sabra a second chance at life. Now all she needs is a permanent place to call home and permanent people to call family. This highly intelligent girl loves children, rope toys, playing fetch, and will be a faithful companion to you and your family.
|photo by steve metz shay|
This love, a striped, brown Tabby was actually born at STAF. Shay's mother was left at the doorstep of the shelter, in a box, and carrying 9 kittens, all of whom were born at STAF. Shay is the perfect cat for a loving family with children. Your kids will be able to memorize those beautiful markings in his fur and carry those fond memories forward. Shay is very well socialized. He's loving, affectionate, and gently playful. Isn't now the right time for this lovely creature to have his permanent home? As I look at Shay's photograph, I imagine reaching my hand towards the top of his head to pet him. He tilts his head slightly to give me just the right angle, squints his eyes, and purrs.
|photo by steve metz cupcake|
I'll be honest here, when Cupcake walked into the visiting room at STAF to be photographed, there was a part of me that wanted to just sneak out the front door with her, hop in the car, and take this baby girl home. She's that lovable and that beautiful. In fact, in my opinion, she's television-commercial-beautiful. When you factor in her sweet nature, Cupcake's story becomes even more difficult to understand. She's a 3 1/2 year-old boxer, mastiff mix, who was dumped at a high kill shelter. She was scheduled to die, but thankfully the staff at the high kill shelter saw something special in her, and they saved her life by finding her a place at STAF. Now, it's nearly a year later, and Cupcake's still waiting for the perfect person or family to see what I see: a sensitive, adoring animal, who will be the perfect friend for you, once she settles into her new life. Cupcake loves playing with her toy football and giving big sloppy kisses. She's a bit of a snorer, too. Zzzzzzzzzz. Can't you imagine this cutie curled up in your house? Maybe even on the couch, too? Don't leave this sweet girl at STAF much longer than the year she's already been there. Give her a chance to lay a big sloppy wet one on you.
|photo by steve metz ophelia|
Along with her 3 young siblings, Ophelia, a Blue Maine Coon mix, was left at the front door of STAF in the middle of the night. They were malnourished, infested with fleas, emaciated, and terrified. The volunteers at STAF gave the kittens intensive medical care, special handling, and feeding for several months to follow. All of their hard work paid off. All four of them survived their shaky start and blossomed into beautiful, friendly cats. Ophelia is the last of the siblings to need a permanent home. Despite, the abundance of luxurious, soft fur, which you'll feel like petting for hours, she is a petite girl. Her spirit belies her size though. Independent, intelligent, and playful in nature, Ophelia will make the perfect addition to many different households. She just needs the right one to come and find her. Take a chance. A rescued pet can make almost any happy home even happier.
|photo by steve metz pascal|
To me, one of the most rewarding aspects of pet ownership is being exposed to someone extracting unbelievable and repeatable joy from a seemingly small activity. For instance, my dog Frances, even after over 7 years, still jumps for joy at the sight of a flashlight and a night-filled back yard. She howls like a wolf and runs in circles like a holy terror, no matter how many times she's experienced chasing that beam of light. Our next little buddy, Pascal, has a similar feeling about tennis balls, although less emotive than my pooch. If you toss a ball for Pascal, you've got yourself a lifelong friend. He came to STAF this past November, well groomed, well cared for: an apparent runaway. Efforts to reunite Pascal with his first home were unsuccessful, so now he's ready for phase two of his life. You'll be constantly amused by this canine comedian. Part basset and part terrier, but all irresistible. Imagine this adorable guy dropping a tennis ball at your feet. Sure, you'll have to pause the MacGyver rerun for a few minutes, but man, will it be fun...for both of you. Giggles abound with Pascal.
|photo by steve metz polly|
This beautiful American Short-hair, with nothing but kindness in her soft gaze, had a rough entry into this world. Only a few short hours after her birth, Polly's mother became startled, and was killed, having run in front of a car. Polly and her 5 tiny litter-mates were brought to STAF, where they were bottle fed for 6 weeks by shelter volunteers. Polly and 2 of her siblings remain at STAF, the others having found permanent homes. Polly is a healthy, happy, well adjusted cat who can handle any situation with ease. She will bring a calming, peaceful presence to your home. Imagine how much human love and care this small wonder has already been given by the folks at STAF. She's ready to give it back to the family that gives her the chance to do so. When I look at Polly's photograph, I imagine petting her neck and then seeing her knead little imaginary biscuits with her paws. Back and forth. Back and forth. Soon, you'll both be taking a nap. Polly's waiting for you at STAF.
google map to STAF