Before I formally introduce myself, I'd like to give a big shout out to Francesca and Sharkey for having me as a contributing blogger on the Daily Wag. I am honored to be invited by such prolific canines, and will hereby vow that I will share only the most useful, entertaining and enlightening information possible. Sharkey and Francesca have set the bar high, but I will work tirelessly to meet it!
With my bunny, Harvey, in Maine. There are bunnies and many other kinds of pets at shelters, too! Bunnies should be kept in pairs -- they bond very strongly -- but take care to assure it's a good match!
I am Dr. Pia Salk. While I am a psychologist for humans, my specialty is animal welfare and the human-animal bond. "Hmmm... go on..." you say in typical therapist-speak. And to this I say, Gladly, I'll start with my childhood!
Even as a small child I had a strong affinity for my fellow animals.
I distinctly remember that whenever I had the good fortune to pick out a stuffed animal at the local toy store, I would actually look for any that were missing an eye, ear or whisker and purchase that one. I feared others would pass them over as not worthy and I wanted them all to get the love they deserved!
At our summer cabin in Maine I recall posting a makeshift sign on the nearby dirt road to alert drivers to watch for toads, moles and the occasional garter snake. I believe I even threatened a nickel fine if reckless vacationers did not heed my crayon-written warning.
So while I was small in stature, I had a commitment to the animals that was anything but small. I saw the intrinsic value in members of all species and wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who I felt needed my help. My childhood cat Seymour (pictured here) received all the benefits of having precocious Pia as his mommy!
When I grew up, I pursued a career in psychology. I was naturally analytical, and I had watched my father Dr. Lee Salk, a best selling author and psychologist, make a real difference for children by fostering an understanding of their needs and speaking on their behalf. As a professional, I have used my expertise on human nature to affirm the value of the human-animal bond; a bond that has been shown to have tremendous therapeutic value for those involved. At the same time, I want to raise awareness regarding the effect that our treatment of animals has on our children's understanding of compassion and personal responsibility--for better or worse.
Since personal responsibility resides in the choices we make, I am honored to have the opportunity to blog about pet adoption as one of those choices.
There is great power in our choices, and the choice to welcome a shelter pet into one's home literally saves a life. The ripple effect of such a choice is something I will often highlight in this blog.
I will frequently report on the life-saving choices the YOU, the readers, are making every day to help your fellow critters; the piece of the puzzle that each of you is taking on to help the homeless animals among us -- you the mom, the teacher, the local business -- how you are creating a ripple of your own and an example for the rest of us to follow.
Additionally, I will speak to the ways in which these furry creatures ultimately teach us a thing or two. Anyone who has adopted an animal in need can likely attest to this. Whether it's a lesson in forgiveness, trust and resilience or an account of how a furry member of the family literally saved a life, I will share the tales!
So again, thanks to Francesca and Sharkey, and their human mom, Martha, for helping those waiting for loving homes by giving them this exposure. And thanks to the caring folks at Purina for getting behind this important cause!
All that these adoptable treasures really crave is a soft pillow on which to rest their furry little heads -- preferably a hand crafted vintage gingham one with chenille piping and few homemade dog biscuits slow-baked by the masterful Martha herself….
But then, a plain pillow would be fine too...
Dr. Pia Salk