The gray-and-white pit bull sat, tethered to a post, looking sad but stoic. The post was the only thing standing in the picture. Behind the dog was the rubble of houses reduced to unidentifiable debris by the killer tornado that leveled Moore, Okla., on Monday afternoon.
"This dog belongs to Kazi Skinner, and this picture was taken by KFOR News," said a Tuesday morning Facebook post from Boomer's Animal Networking. "We are desperately trying to find out where this picture was taken so she can go get him."
Robin Goucher lives in Alva, Okla., which was not affected by the tornado. She had gone to school with Ms. Skinner and had learned that she lost her home and two dogs in the tornado. The picture on her Facebook page touched the hearts of thousands of animal lovers everywhere, who widely "shared" the post. Ms. Goucher included her telephone number, which is something most people will not post on Facebook. I called that number at 5:05 p.m. Tuesday and asked if Ms. Skinner had found her dog.
"Yes! Five minutes ago!" Ms. Goucher said.
Her phone rang off the hook all day, with calls from reporters and animal lovers from all over the U.S. and Canada. The pit bull, Bentley, had spent Monday night in a home with strangers who had taken him in and then handed him off to someone else. Details are sketchy about how the reunion came about because it's hard to contact people in Moore, but Ms. Skinner thinks the widely shared picture did the trick.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ms. Skinner found her bull terrier, Benzie, in a local shelter. She posted this on her Facebook page at midnight Tuesday: "Such a completely emotional & draining day, in every sense. From our fam/friends dropping everything to drive up and help us."
She was contacted by "complete strangers" from all over the country, she said. "I completely felt the love today. I appreciate each and every one of you! Robin, if it weren't for you, my boys wouldn't be home. Thank you SO much for getting the word out."
KFOR News did not respond to emails or phone calls asking where the picture was taken.
The tornado killed 24 people, pummeled 12,000 homes and affected 33,900 people, according to a Thursday story by The New York Times. None of us needs to feel guilty about rejoicing over one small happy ending, nor should we feel guilty about donating to organizations that help animals.
Ms. Goucher and some volunteers are traveling to Moore to help rescues and shelters that are helping four-legged storm victims. Go to her Facebook page or Boomer's Animal Networking if you'd like to make a donation by PayPal.
When disaster strikes, I prefer to donate to local organizations that will have boots on the ground long after out-of-town organizations leave. I called the Central Oklahoma Humane Society, and it is grateful for any donations, which can be mailed to 9300 N. May Ave., Suite 400-281, Oklahoma City, OK 73120.
The Pet Food Pantry of Oklahoma City is giving dog and cat food, leashes, bowls and other supplies to those in need. Its address is Box 57678, Oklahoma City, OK 73157-7678.
A complete list of Oklahoma agencies can be found at www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-to-help-animals-affected-by-the-oklahoma-tornado or you can find the vetstreet post on my Linda Wilson Fuoco Facebook page.
WearWoof store opens
WearWoof is the best name ever for a retail/resale store whose sales benefit animals in 22 local shelters and rescue organizations. The grand opening is today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1105 Rochester Road, Ross. Founded by Nancy Lee, the store accepts donations of "new and gently worn" women's clothing and accessories. Recent donations have included Prada and Kate Spade purses. This is not a consignment store, Ms. Lee notes.
When you bring donations to WearWoof, you pick which shelter or rescue will get the money when your stuff is sold. The list includes the three Allegheny County shelters as well as Beaver County Humane Society, Washington Area Humane Society and smaller groups including Rabbit Wranglers and FurKid Rescue.
The all-volunteer sales staff works noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Information: www.wearwoof.org or the WearWoof Facebook page.
Springerfest is a joyful picnic that celebrates the many English springer spaniels that have been rescued locally. Many of them will be at next Saturday's event held by Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Round Hill Park, Round Hill Road, Elizabeth Township.
You don't have to own a springer; the picnic is open to all, especially rescuers.
I've been to a springer picnic, and it was great. This year, there will be free testing for the Canine Good Citizen title, microchips for $25, a "rescue parade" and games and prizes for dogs and people. Bring a chair and supplies -- especially water -- for dogs that accompany you. We've all missed the May 24 deadline (my bad) to order a $10 lunch, so bring your own food.
Look for Ginger and other dogs available for adoption. Ginger spent the first three years of her life tied outside on a chain. Now she's in a foster home with Renee Ayers, whose Facebook page has touching photos of Ginger. Go to www.maessr.org for more information.
Washington County cat help
There is no 911 for pets, so signing up for a $15 first-aid class could save the life of your dog or cat while helping the Fluffyjean Fund for Felines in Washington County. Last year, the organization spayed, neutered and inoculated nearly 1,000 cats -- some owned, many of them barn cats and ferals.
The two-hour first-aid class is noon to 2 p.m. next Saturday in Finleyville. Instructor Karen Sable will teach many things, including pet CPR, rescue breathing, and how to handle fractures, poisoning, bleeding and other emergencies until you can get to a veterinarian. Reservations are required, so call or email Faith Bjalobok at 724-941-3991 or Faith.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Bjalobok has a doctorate in philosophy and teaches ethics at Duquesne University. For the past four years, she has been running the Fluffyjean Fund as a "community partner" with the Animal Friends shelter in Ohio Township. Call or email her to make an appointment to have a cat neutered and vaccinated for $45.
It all started when someone dumped a long-haired tabby at her farm years ago. Ms. Bjalobok called her Fluffyjean and loved her and cared for her until she died eight years ago from a heart infection.
Pet Tales appears weekly in the Saturday Home & Garden section. Linda Wilson Fuoco: email@example.com or 412-263-3064. First Published May 25, 2013 4:00 AM