By Kirsten Gross
Buddy, a dog of unknown origin, finds himself in the Madera County Animal Shelter. The shelter is full of anxious animals, the desperate barking is deafening, and the instinct to survive is on high alert. The overcrowded kennels cause great stress, vicious fights break out constantly, and each animal can only pray for those they adore to come and rescue them.
What happened to those who picked him as their very own puppy only a year or two ago? He always depended on them for food, shelter, guidance and affection. In return he only wanted to be with them, he was devoted, protective, and would have given his life to keep them safe. Why don’t they come and help him now? What did he do wrong to be confined with so many others, without a familiar face, a soft bed, or anything normal that would give him comfort?
Days turned into nights, nights into days, and the same struggle to survive persisted. Every person walking through the shelter was an opportunity to be set free. All the dogs barked and jumped to get the most attention. Disappointment was normal in the shelter, despair followed close behind.
Finally, someone noticed Buddy. Their eyes connected, Buddy gave a slight wag of his tail, he pleaded with this special person using every ounce of his body language and expression to say “please take me home!” It worked! He was freed, loved and wanted again!
The Arnold’s were looking for a new dog to add to their household. Buddy had just what they were looking for, he was a sturdy mixed breed, he was intelligent, and he was devoted. Buddy proved his devotion and gratitude to the Arnolds for his remaining years and they adored him for it. He was their BUDDY!
This is not the end of Buddy’s story. There is much more to the Arnold’s beloved Buddy.
The Arnold family enjoyed Madera in so many ways. They spent their married years together enjoying business, personal lives, professional acquaintances, and all the charm that only a wonderful farming community like Madera could provide.
Before and during their search for a new dog, the Arnolds noticed that many animals were struggling to survive in Madera. Thousands of stray dogs and cats roamed the streets, they were getting injured, killed, and few were spayed or neutered. Adorable puppies and kittens kept pouring into the shelter with little hope for a future. The shelter was filled beyond capacity and officials could not find the resources to help all those that needed it. It seemed like a hopeless situation.
The Arnolds also noticed the human struggle in Madera. There were people without health services, without enough food, without proper shelter and even access to services. The Arnold family wanted to give back to a community that enriched their lives.
Red and Nancy Arnold have since passed but they have never left Madera. They left their life investment to benefit multiple organizations with funding to continue their incredible work, provide essential services, and prevent unnecessary suffering.
The Arnold family left enough funds to spay or neuter over 20,000 animals and help to provide a solution to the pet overpopulation problem. Spaying and neutering of pets is the simplest, most economical and efficient answer to this problem.
Buddy left a legacy of love, devotion, and an understanding of the needs of Madera. If Buddy could talk, he would encourage each and every one of us to invest in our community. If your community matters to you, find a way to make it better.
Commit two hours a week doing good things, volunteering, helping, and caring. Invest your time, your interest, your heart, then you and the community will prosper. You will help to create a community full of life, love, and create a future our children and grandchildren will enjoy.
Thank you Red and Nancy Arnold for the blessings you have given Madera. It is not just the monetary gifts you provided, but the role model we can all aspire to follow to make our community better.
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Kirsten Gross is the executive director of Madera County Animal Services.