I have been coming to the lovely island of St. John from time to time over the last 20 years. My husband’s family has had a house here since 1980, so I have the opportunity of enjoying the warmth and sunshine of the island. I’m a veritable chicken of the sea and do not worship the sun as much as in my younger days. It’s hard to believe, but the highlight of my vacations here has been volunteering at the Animal Care Center to walk the wonderful dogs. This particular visit has been extra special!
It was my first day here and, as usual, I couldn’t wait to get to the ACC to get my dog fix. As always I was amazed at the spotlessly clean kennels and the overall stellar operation of the ACC. Dogs and cats are not only fed and given water at the ACC but are also given daily walks, rehabilitated if needed and are very well loved by their many human friends who either work or volunteer at the shelter. I think that there is even something the Dog Whisperer himself could learn from the young man who works in the kennel about socializing dogs to make them quality pets. The woman in charge of the kennel runs it with a high degree of professionalism and integrity. She always seems to know each of the dogs by name as well as those of countless cats. Before adopting an animal out, she does a background check on the prospective owner and then does a follow up to see if the pet is getting adequate care. There is truly a large amount of love that goes on at the ACC. The improvements made to the shelter over the years have been numerous and well worth the money.
The first dog I met his time happened to be an older, large black lab mix named Sable. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked identical to my friend’s dog back home in Columbus, Ohio. But the beautiful dog looked so forlorn and sad. She just wanted to find a home.
I couldn’t wait to get back to the house to email Sharon to tell her about the look-alike. As it would happen, Sharon herself was coming for a visit to St. John the next week. She was eager to see Sable for herself.
As with other dogs at the shelter, it was hard to believe that Sable was there and not at home with her owner. She was so friendly, affectionate, intelligent, and quite a handsome animal as well. As usual, Connie knew Sable’s background and explained that this wonderful creature had lived its whole life with her owner but now the man had to go to the states for cancer treatment and couldn’t take her with him. I was told that the owner had put signs up all over town trying to find someone to keep Sable until he was able to return. When no one spoke up, his only recourse was to take Sable to the ACC and hope that she would be cared for or fostered until he returned. It must have been heart wrenching for both of them.
When I took Sharon to the ACC to look at Sable, it was love at first sight. She had actually been looking for a second dog, and a female too.
When Sharon woke up the next morning she said she hadn’t slept well all night because she was thinking of Sable. We asked Connie if we could take her to the house just for one night to see how she would work out, as if we didn’t already know. She is still here.
It was quite apparent that Sable was very well loved and taken care of, and maybe spoiled too. My husband complained one night that she was sleeping on his pillow when he came to bed. She knows how to sit, shake, lie down and stay. She came house broken and walks nicely on a leash. There is nothing not to love here!
And now you know the rest of the story. Sable is flying home next week to her new home with Sharon. Sharon is not only a friend of mine, but is Dr. Sharon Barnewall, DVM. I think she has loved dogs and animals since birth. She has a sweet 8-year-old son and a teenage daughter who are counting down the days until they meet Sable themselves. So now Sable will have a little boy to go fishing with, to go for a swim in the lake with, to go with her for a walk in the woods, to go with her for a ride in the car, to cuddle with her in bed and just to love her to pieces. Nobody seems to know if Sable’s original owner will return to St. John or not. Sharon is even willing to give Sable back to him if he should be able to care for her again even though it would break her heart. That’s my friend, Dr. Sharon.
Maybe the real reason that St. John got its name as the Love City is because of the ACC! There are many more Sables there and I encourage everyone to support the shelter either by volunteering or adopting one of its wonderful animals.
Love from Sable and Carol Spring,