MAC GORDON: Time passage doesn’t erase Michael’s devastation

Mac Gordon

Rescue dogs everywhere — including those still roaming America by the thousands — must be mighty happy that President-elect Joe Biden is taking such an animal to the White House.

A day or so after Biden’s election, a post appeared on social media showing “leaked pictures of what heaven looks like.” Appearing were dozens of both pedigreed and rescue-looking dogs awaiting their masters, with our own Tucker Chandler Gordon right there, front and center, among them.

The news that one of the Bidens’ two dogs, both German shepherds, was rescued from a Delaware shelter had to be why all those glorious animals were smiling so beautifully and broadly.

The two-year-old shelter dog “Major” joins the fully-pedigreed, 12-year-old “Champ” as new residents of the presidential home. Major thus becomes the first shelter, or rescue, dog to reside in the White House, NBC News reported.

Champ has lived the high life before. In 2008, he moved in with the Biden family at the vice president’s quarters at the Naval Observatory in Washington, while Biden served under President Obama.

Biden had been looking for a buddy for the aging Champ when he heard about a litter of German shepherds arriving at the Delaware Humane Society Shelter. “Major was one of six … after coming in contact with something toxic in their home,” a shelter official told NBC. “The original owner was unable to afford veterinary care. … Joe Biden caught wind of them and reached out immediately. The rest is history.”

This news helps Mary Lee and me during our period of mourning after our beloved (and well-known after many Facebook posts) Tucker crossed over the rainbow in late October. He was 15 and had suffered some major medical problems over the years, including a torn ligament, poisoning, the loss of one eye and, finally, cancerous tumors. Tucker bravely endured it all.

I can vouch for the adage that says “a dog is a man’s best friend.” Tucker had personified that spirit after being given to us by a relative a decade ago. She had adopted him and his brother Jack (who also passed on at 15) from a Jackson-area vet’s office. We have thanked God and her ever since for the honor and obligation of caring for — and I don’t mean this flippantly — “our baby boy.” Tucker was that and much more.

This grand news about the Bidens’ pets should inspire millions of “saves” from veterinary offices and rescue shelters nationwide over (at least) the next four years — and also from roadsides and clumps of woods where these mostly gentle animals reside until someone comes along and provides, hopefully, a loving home for them.

America does have a rescue dog “problem.” The animals aren’t the problem. The number of them needing to be saved is the problem, and the publicity surrounding the Bidens’ adoption of Major should help ease the situation.

The website Petpedia.com reports some sobering numbers related to this matter. Some 6.5 million animals (dogs and cats) enter the country’s estimated 3,500 animal shelters each year. Many are “no-kill shelters,” attempting to save 9 of every 10 animals. Sadly, more than 700,000 are euthanized annually. More cats are put down than dogs.

The hundreds of thousands of volunteers at local rescue shelters are doing the heavy work for the rest of us. They provide loving care and needed services to these animals until they are taken home. They cannot be thanked enough times to adequately express our gratitude.

Major and Champ no doubt look forward to playing and greeting visitors on the White House lawn. May their barks and licks hearten us all.

Mac Gordon lives near Blakely. He is a former reporter for the Albany Herald. He can be reached at macmarygordon@gmail.com.

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