Who is this self-absorbed Sue Hankins who is so intent on discrediting the Pacific County Animal Shelter? What does she want? Does she want to close the shelter? Does she wish to fire the staff? Does she wish to chase off the many volunteers who devote hours without pay? Is the intent to deter people from adopting and giving homes to pets? Just what do she and the Chinook Observer intend to accomplish by writing and publishing such a diatribe?

I began volunteering over a year ago a few hours a week at the shelter to walk dogs and clean kennels. I adopted one great dog and one beautiful cat. I am not there long hours every week like Char and Diana, and Melanie and Karen and many others so I don't know them well. But, I see the work they do and the care they give. I see the dogs and cats, some there for several weeks, waiting for a family. I've seen how Diana will work with those which are totally unmanageable and help them become trusting and more stable so that they will appeal to prospective adopters. She and other volunteers often take some home on a foster-care basis to socialize them to become more suitable for adoption.

And yes, I've seen some people discouraged to adopt, those who may be motivated by reasons other than to give a good home to a previously abused or homeless animal, and some who may not be mentally or emotionally stable enough to be good caregivers. The staff also has to deal with the ones who "surrender" their pets, sometimes due to an owner's death, ill health, a move, or finances. And sometimes "because it just doesn't suit me: it sheds, it pees, it barks, it chews things, I don't have time for it, etc."

At the same time, Diana reaches out to contact and find homes suitable for those who have already been rejected/ejected from a home they knew. Each week I go in, I look for the ones I thought unadoptable and hope someone has opened their heart to them, such as Forest, a very old Border Collie mix, who was found wandering in the woods by a law enforcement officer and taken to the shelter. Thus they named her "Forest." She was partially deaf, blind and very confused. Maybe someone just abandoned her, or perhaps she just wandered off, became lost and unable to find her way home. She couldn't tell her story. The next week when I came to clean kennels, Forest was gone. Anxiously, I asked Diana, "Did Forest find a home?" "Yes," she smiled, "and the woman who took her promised to care for her as long as Forest needs her."

Sue Hankins, you are not going to find anyone as skilled and devoted to this work and to unfortunate animals as Diana and her staff of volunteers are. And yes, they do tend to put the animal's needs first, every time. Maybe they make mistakes, but commend them for their good work, don't criticize and discourage. If you really care for homeless animals, I suggest you apologize to the shelter staff and offer to volunteer your services. I look forward to meeting you there and working with you.

Patricia G. Christie

Ocean Park

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