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Tear-producing TV spots should be a motivating force

July 3, 2010

Last week in this spot, my colleague and friend Deb Pascoe eloquently wrote about "Toy Story 3" and the weeping that movie stimulated in her and numerous other folks.

I'm a weeper, too. In fact, the only people I know who weep more easily than me are my beloved cousin Kristen Smith Christian and my dear high school friend Debbie Saari Wickstrom. Either of them can start crying at just about any juncture, happy or sad. That is not a character flaw in any regard: They are both sensitive, sentimental souls and I love them for it.

And I understand the waterwork syndrome. Like Deb, Kristen and Debbie, I bawl my eyes out without much provocation.

Lately, two things on television get me to crying every single time they air. One is the new Pedigree commerical showing absolutely adorable pooches "behind bars" with a voiceover talking about how they are good dogs.

The other, in a similar vein, is a spot encouraging pet adoption in which a gorgeous cat "talks" - and I mean her lips move and everything - as her humans scream at each other in the background. The cat says that she's headed for the shelter, but to not assume it's because she has some defect. It's because her owners are breaking up.

If I am really watching the screen, I switch stations when either of these pet-centric pieces pop up.

But if I don't switch in time, the tears start.

The crying cannot be in vain. It takes everything in me not to drive over to the Marquette County Humane Society to rescue another cat or bring home a dog. Then reason takes over and I remind myself that I already adopted three homeless cats as kittens and am working to provide them with a happy life.

My small apartment cannot happily hold more creatures at this time in all fairness to the animals. And I stifle the impulse to get another Fluffy or a first Spot for my household.

So this column is a plea to anyone reading it who may be thinking about adding a pet to the household: DO IT! Pets enhance one's home life. Their unconditional love and the funny things they do make life brighter.

Of course, taking an animal in requires a commitment on the part of the person doing it. Pets deserve structure and training. They deserve a comfortable place to sleep, plenty of food and fresh water and most especially time and attention from their humans.

They require regular health care as well.

Animals in shelters deserve forever homes. If you are able to offer such a haven to a pet, please, please do. The rewards you receive in return will far outweigh the dollars you might spend.

Years back, my sister Chris and her family adopted a feral cat who had been hanging out in the woods behind their home. Not that I loved him more than the other dogs and cats that have graced my life, but Smokey was one special dude.

It took him awhile to understand the humans who were feeding him meant him no harm. He was probably about 2 years old when he came into our lives and those years living in the wild had made him understandably cautious. His survival instinct was strong, but gradually, with love and patience, Smokey came to trust my sister, her kids and me.

When he finally felt ready to fully trust, Smokey climbed into a human's lap for the first time and switched on a purr that rattled and hummed like a fine-tuned race car. He never was one for spending lengthy periods cuddling, but he showed his humans great respect and affection.

Smokey loved pizza sauce and our friend Mary Beth and most especially Christmas. He would sit under the tree for hours, gazing up at the twinkling lights and colorful ornaments. He would launch that massive purr as he contently napped on the tree skirt.

Smokey was a gray furry mass of pure love. Our lives were blessed by his presence and when he died, it was because he had cardiomyopathy, meaning his heart grew too big. Literally. He was a great animal.

Consider adopting a shelter pet. It might be the smartest move you ever make.

Visit the Marquette County Humane Society website at to see the beautiful animals waiting for a home. While you're there, vote in the Animal Rescue Site Shelter Challenge as well.

Bring some unconditional love into your home and make your family's world a better place.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253, or



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