Power for the People

So I was tossing back some Cracker Jacks and reading the New York Times when I happened upon this article “I Traded the 12-Step Program for Dog” (Sunday May 12) that was quite moving and real. It helped me to see how people still are barely tapping into the potential that pets hold for their people. I think it is time to step it up.

The author, Tyler Watamanuk, describes a varied list of pursuits he employed in an attempt to maintain sobriety, which work for some but not so much for him. He found the path to sobriety was through rescuing a dog. Yep a simple dog like me. Yes once again, who rescued who?

Here is my favorite paragraph from the article: When he rests beside me, I can feel my heartbeat slow down ever so slightly, and a woozy solace unknots my restless brain. For the two years we lived on a noisy Brooklyn street, the harsh sounds of the big city outside my window even seemed to soften. His presence feels more comforting than the slow euphoria of hydrocodone or the dizzying blackout of too many whiskey sodas — feelings I was well acquainted with before I got sober and welcomed this dog into my life.

Yes it is true that the calming effects Watamanuk describes while with his dog have in fact been researched and proven. We now know that being in the presence of pets lowers people’s heart rates, elevates their moods, increases their oxytocin levels, relieves their stress, etc. Pets are the love drug.

And this is the science behind Second Chance Humane Society’s Fluffies for Finals program. Last week Second Chance brought five shelter dogs and puppies to Ridgway Secondary School during the middle of stress inducing final exams. Students were allowed to come visit with the sociable dogs and puppies to de-stress between exams. Students were elated to see the wagging wiggling chill pills and commented that they felt their exam performance was improved after their cuddle time with the shelter dogs and pups.

Simply put, dogs like me just make people feel better. So if you don’t have a pet in your life today is a great day to do something about that. As for me, well, I am currently homeless but living with about 60 other natural therapists here at the Second Chance Shelter as we wait for our new clients, I mean families, to come bring us home.

I am a gentle 8 year young Heeler mix that got left behind when my family had to move. I am hearing impaired but respond well to hand signals. I am seeking an active family, with no young children, who will continue to teach me new hand signals so we can better connect with one another. I love walks, swimming in the creek and just exploring the fascinating world we live in. Let me be your love drug.

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online:


Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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